Every piece of equipment has a natural lifespan. Whether it’s your push mower that eventually corrodes and dies or your 30-year-old monkey wrench that will probably last another 30—everything has its limit. The longer they last and the more abuse they put up with, the more reliable they are.
When you’re considering a new side-by-side, reliability is even more important. They’re tasked with doing what few other vehicles are capable of—going off-road. Once you’ve left the manicured path for unknown terrain, anything can happen.
Here’s our list of the most reliable UTVs of 2021. These vehicles are ready to face the unknown.
We’re listing the 5 most reliable UTVs of 2021. The following machines are standouts in terms of their overall quality from the factory. Durable parts are key, but a given manufacturer’s quality control makes a big difference too. So let’s get to it.
Honda may not make the most cutting edge vehicles when it comes to power and performance, but nobody can best them when it comes to quality. Go with a Honda Pioneer to get a vehicle that will keep on trucking no matter what.
They say the devil’s in the details and that’s what sets Honda apart from the rest. The quality of every part, from the engine and transmission to dash and seats, is a cut above the rest. If you keep up with your maintenance schedule, this is one vehicle you can count on for ages.
While the high-quality parts are the reason we put it on our list, its suspension is no slouch either. It boasts 12.7” of ground clearance and a 63” wide stance. A ground clearance like that will help it avoid taking unnecessary bumps and hits on your ride.
Kawasaki’s first foray into the sport UTV market came in the form of the 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000, and they came out swinging. The 2021 renditions carry the same traditions of high-quality OEM parts that verge on overkill.
The suspension gives you more clearance and more width than any other UTV in its price range. It packs in 31” tires on beadlock wheels too. More ground clearance means fewer bumps, and few bumps mean this thing will stand the test of time.
That’s an impressive setup to be sure, but it’s the construction of the whole suspension that has us impressed. The front A-arms and four-link trailing arms aren’t just impressive from a comfort and control standpoint, they’re also beefy. You don’t normally see such thick tubing in factory suspension parts.
That fact that everything is so big and beefy on the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is what makes it one of the most reliable UTVs in our book.
We’re keeping that Japanese manufacturing train a’rollin’ with the Yamaha RMAX2 1000. It’s positioned as a sport utility side-by-side to take on the Polaris RZR 1000 and the KRX 1000. While it doesn’t have the same bump-avoiding ground clearance as the KRX 1000, it certainly has enough. It’ll clear over any normal terrain without bottoming out. It also sports some beefy A-arms in the front and rear that can certainly take a beating.
But what really sets the Yamaha RMAX2 and RMAX4 apart is the transmission. Yamaha knows how to make a quality CVT and this one is probably the best. It features a warranty-backed ten-year belt life. And it performs great too. It grips well to provide smooth, predictable power, and the engine braking is excellent.
It’s a great machine overall, but if you want a reliable transmission, this is it.
We’re putting another Honda on our list: The Honda Talon 1000R and 1000X. With sport models, every part gets pushed, hit, shoved, and jumped harder. Luckily, the same things we love about the Pioneer are what we love about the Talon. Their detail-oriented quality means this is a sport model that can handle year after year of pushing the engine, transmission, and drivetrain to the limit.
In particular, the Honda Talon has advanced A-arm bushings designed to last as long as the arms themselves. And they’ve got some of the best axles we’ve seen from factory. It’s an impressive package to be sure.
The one thing that holds it back in our eyes is the ground clearance. The Talon 1000R sports 13” of clearance while the 1000X has just 12.7”. That’s OK for a utility-focused UTV, but on a sport model, we want more. (And you can have more with a little help from a lift kit.)
Reliability tends to become an issue when you reach the top of the horsepower spectrum. When your RPM is high enough to rattle windows, you know you’re beating your machine up. Not to mention, you’re hitting every bump, rock, and stick that much harder when you’re going 60, 70, or 80 MPH.
That’s why we have to reward the Polaris RZR PRO XP for its excellent chassis. They sacrifice some weight and top speed to make the bones of the PRO XP that much stronger. We’re confident that this machine will still be running true in ten years time. To top it all off, it has great ground clearance and excellent suspension so you shouldn’t be beating the heck out of your undercarriage every ride.
We do have one reservation recommending the RZR PRO XP because of the clutch issues they’ve had. Luckily, they’ve issued a recall that should have them all fixed.
It’s important to remember that every UTV on the market is more reliable than they were ten years ago. Differentials, transmissions, and wear parts have gotten much better over the years. But these are the standouts for 2021. Get one of these, and you’re bound to have fewer breakdowns.
Any machine, whether it’s on this list or not, can be made tougher, better, and more reliable with a few upgrades. SuperATV’s got you covered with awesome suspension, drivetrain, and other parts that can handle years of hard riding.