What Kind of UTV Is Right For You? Maybe It’s A Sidekick

UTVs are extremely popular, and if you’re considering one, there are some fairly straight-forward points to consider, including…

  • For what will you be using the UTV? (e.g. speed vs. work, utility vs. trails)
  • In what kind of terrain will you be driving?
  • How much are you going to carry/tow?
  • Number of passengers?
  • How much power do you need?
  • How much can you spend?

However, what if you don’t know what, exactly, you want and you’re having a hard time parting with $12,000-$25,000, depending on options, to get into a UTV? Or, what if you question the wisdom of the herd and you’re wary of the marketing hype surrounding UTVs?

The answer may reside in Minnesota’s northwoods

Recently, I spent some time at my uncle’s lake cabin, where UTVs seem to be standard issue for the people who spend time there. Many of my uncle’s neighbors have UTVs, and I asked him when he was going to get his UTV. He responded that he was not going to pay $12,000 for a beefed-up golf cart, and instead he was going to buy a Suzuki Sidekick.

Retired at 57 after 35 years as a master welder, boilermaker and skilled mechanic, I respect my uncle’s option on matters of financial frugality and anything to do with an engine. My uncle’s insights, coupled with a recent ride in a Sidekick in the Mojave Desert, inspired me to investigate the Suzuki Sidekick as a possible alternative to the UTV.

A couple disclaimers regarding the Sidekick or similarly small SUVs

Because it’s a used vehicle and Suzuki has left the U.S. market, you’ll have to go online or to an auto parts store to get replacement parts, and if you don’t have the aptitude or appetite for DIY repairs and maintenance, the Sidekick may not be a good choice.

Acknowledging these limitations, the chart below compared the popular Polaris Ranger SUV and a used Sidekick. Most notable is the price. The cost of the most basic options (doors, roof, windshield) on the Ranger exceed the total cost of the Sidekick. In addition to the obvious age and mileage difference, the weight and size of the Sidekick are disadvantages.

All things considered, if you’re considering a UTV, but you’re unsure what you want or have a hard time justifying the cost, the answer may be a Sidekick.

05Feb 2019

Today’s Gas Engines can Produce as much Soot as Yesterday’s Diesels. Matt Erickson | TECHNICAL MANAGER – PCLT PRODUCTS AND MECHANICAL R&D I bet most of you reading this have some level of emotional attachment to traditional vehicles. The muscle-car era of the 1960s and 1970s kindled a lifelong passion for cars for millions of […]

05Feb 2019

Why Motor Oil Deteriorates Like just about everything else, motor oil has a lifespan. Even the best oils eventually require you to change them. Historically, many motorists like the convenience of changing oil with the seasons, visiting the quick lube or pulling the ramps out of their garage each spring and fall. Motor oil can […]

04Feb 2019

Why You Should Invest in a Fishing Guide Dan Peterson|Jan 24, 2019 10:48 AM Beginners and experienced fishermen both benefit from hiring a fishing guide, but for different reasons. Beginners are interested in learning the basics of how to catch fish. Without a guide, they would most likely not be successful. Experienced fishermen benefit from […]

31Jan 2019

From the Presidents (Archive) This issue of AMSOIL Magazine is one of our favorites so far this year. It has a little bit of everything – testimonials, technical information, new products – and it’s all good news. Sometimes you have to stop to appreciate all of the good things happening around you. Take Lavon Miller, […]

31Jan 2019
easy squeeze pack

The New SEVERE GEAR Easy-Pack Makes Changing Gear Oil Easy Andy Arendt|Aug 01, 2018 10:28 AM Changing gear oil in differentials and manual transmissions is critical for smooth operation and reduced maintenance. But professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts agree: changing gear oil is a hassle. – YOu gotta see this new Squeeze Pack That ’70s squeeze bottle […]