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Top Picks: Best Side-by-Side Vehicles for Trail Riding in 2024

Side-by-sides (aka UTVs) are becoming increasingly popular, with new models hitting the market every year. These models come with improved power, utility, comfort, and capability, all of which we’ll be discussing in this article.

If you've been thinking about trading in your old UTV for a new model, now is an excellent time to do so. Major brands have been busy updating their products and have introduced a variety of new models coming out in 2024 that feature new technology, better comfort, and more!

If you feel like it’s time to get a new UTV in 2024 (and perhaps update some of your add-ons and accessories), you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

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What to Look For When Choosing a Side-by-Side Vehicle for Trail Riding


Before we start talking about our top 2024 side-by-side vehicle picks, let’s discuss some of the features you should keep an eye out for while choosing yours. It’s always a good idea to know exactly what you’re looking for; that way, you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck.


Safety Accessories


Safety extras (e.g., lights, roofs, windshields, and roll-cage improvements) are super important. Most UTVs allow for a lot of customization, so you’ll be able to add accessories that match your style as well as your budget. Keeping these safety features in mind while shopping for UTVS will certainly make your off-road experience a lot better!




It goes without saying that getting the right tires is very important. This is particularly true if you plan on using your UTV for off-roading. If you’re looking to get new tires, Thumper Fab's Braven Bloodaxe R/T UTV tires are an excellent choice! These tires are gritty but also quite road-friendly and will make your off-road adventures safer, especially on rough terrains.




You’ll also want to take a good look at how much space there is under a SXS/UTV before you buy it. More space (i.e., higher ground clearance) is always better. It’ll help you move through deep ruts, rocky areas, and uneven terrains more easily. Choosing a side-by-side with higher ground clearance means you’ll be able to handle any obstacles you happen to encounter during your off-road trips.




When it comes to picking out a side-by-side, especially for trail-riding, size definitely matters. Smaller UTVs are easier to handle on narrow trails, and those less than 50 inches wide are great for getting through tight trails usually meant for ATVs. Remember, you can always purchase add-ons from Thumper Fab if you want to be able to carry super heavy loads!




Think about all of the extras you’ll want to add to your UTV, like built-in cameras, winches, and audio roofs. Thumper Fab's Can-am Defender (MAX) Level 3 Audio Roof is a great choice if you want to enjoy music while cruising the trails. This audio roof even comes with LED lights, which means you can light up the trail while riding at night!


Why Use a Side-by-Side Vehicle for Trail Riding?


While ATVs tend to be a bit more nimble than side-by-side vehicles, SXS vehicles allow you to bring your friends along for the ride, which is always a plus! Sure, your friend could always drive an ATV next to yours, but it’s just not the same. UTVs are great for group off-roading experiences. Not only that, but they come with more storage space. You could potentially bring your camping gear along and make an overnight trip out of your UTV experience if you like!

Basically, a UTV will provide you with a more car-like experience. In general, UTVs will be more durable, and will hold up better when riding over rough terrain. You can also get an audio top from Thumper Fab to install on your side-by-side. There’s nothing quite like cruising down a narrow path and bumping your favorite music with your pals!


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The Best Side-by-Side Vehicles for Trail Riding in 2024


Now that we’ve covered features you should look for in a UTV, let’s talk about our top 2024 side-by-side vehicle picks. If you decide to purchase any of the side-by-side vehicles mentioned here, remember to head on over to Thumper Fab for all of your UTV accessory-related needs!


Polaris Ranger XD 1500


Polaris is one of the top players in the side-by-side market. They've added to their well-known Ranger series with the introduction of the Ranger XD 1500. For those craving more horsepower, the new 1500cc 3-cylinder engine is quite impressive, churning out a robust 110 hp.

The larger engine naturally provides up to 30% more power and 50% more torque. You'll definitely notice this improved performance, and it’ll certainly make towing heavy loads easier!


Wolverine RMAX2 1000


If you’ve been looking for a dependable, versatile, and cost-effective option, you’ll definitely want to check out the recently launched Wolverine X2 1000 models that come in both two-seat and four-seat versions.

The Wolverine RMAX2 1000 and X2 models have a two-seat framework with a hydraulic piston-assist dump bed, making them perfect for farmwork, hunting, and trail-riding with friends. If you need more cargo room and can accommodate four passengers, you’ll probably want to consider getting the larger RMAX4 1000 and Wolverine X4 models.


Mule Pro 1000


Kawasaki has been making strides in improving its Mule side-by-sides and is introducing the all-new Mule Pro 1000 series in 2024, which includes single- and two-row models that elevate power, comfort, and versatility. What could be better than that? The Mule Pro 1000 models aren’t just great for trail-riding, they’re super helpful when it comes to doing farmwork, too!

The latest models are equipped with a Kawasaki 999cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke engine that not only provides more power and torque but also boosts top-end speed. The addition of a sizable 8L silencer helps make operation of your side-by-side quieter, too, making it a great choice for those who spend a lot of time working around livestock!


Polaris General XP 1000 Premium


Polaris has an update this year for its popular recreational utility vehicle, the General. The General XP 1000 Premium is designed to fill the space between the Sport and Ultimate trims, meaning that buyers won't have to decide between two very different side-by-sides with drastically different price tags.

The General XP 1000 Premium comes with 14-inch wheels, 27-inch Coronado tires, Fox Podium QS3 shocks, and three-way shock adjustment. It’s great for trail-riding, since it can handle a lot of different types of terrain! Experienced trail-riders know there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a ditch or caught on a rock. With the General XP 1000 Premium, you won’t have to worry!


2024 Cam-Am Maverick


Packed with a ton of turbocharged horsepower, over 2 feet of suspension travel, a groundbreaking dual-clutch gearbox, and a top speed nearly reaching triple digits, this side-by-side is not for those who are seeking a mild trail-riding experience. In fact, if you’re a thrill-seeker, we’d absolutely recommend this side-by-side model!

The 2024 Cam-Am Maverick boasts a powerful 240 hp from its 999cc turbocharged three-cylinder Rotax engine, making it the most powerful side-by-side to date with rapid acceleration and great wheel spin, too. You certainly can’t go wrong with this one for an awesome adventure!


Frequently Asked Questions


What's the Best Side-by-Side for 2024 Trail Riding?


The top side-by-side for trail riding in 2024 depends on factors like your preferences, budget, and specific trail needs. Popular choices include the Polaris Ranger XD 1500, the Polaris General XP 1000 Premium, and the 2024 Cam-Am Maverick. It’s always a good idea to test out different models; that way, you’ll know for sure whether you’ve found the right one for you.


How Do I Choose a Suitable Side-by-Side for Trail Riding?


When choosing a side-by-side for trail riding, you’ll want to think about things like engine power, suspension, and agility. Choose a model that maneuvers well on narrow trails, has good suspension for different types of terrain, as well as enough horsepower. Make sure to pay special attention to features like four-wheel drive (4WD), ground clearance, and cargo space.


What Features Make a Good Trail Riding Side-by-Side?


A good side-by-side for trail riding should have enough power, responsive handling, and durable suspension for riding on different terrains. Features like 4WD improve traction on uneven trails, and ground clearance help a lot when it comes to overcoming obstacles. Comfortable seating, sufficient storage space, and easy-to-use controls are also important.


What Safety Measures Should I Think About When Choosing a Side-by-Side for Trail Riding?


Safety is the most important thing when it comes to choosing a side-by-side for trail riding. You should definitely check if the vehicle has safety features (e.g., roll cages, seat belts, and a secure cabin structure). You’ll want to make sure the model you’re considering meets safety standards and regulations as well and think about adding extra safety gear to your side-by-side, which you can find over at Thumper Fab!


Explore Add-Ons for Your Side-by-Side Vehicle With Thumper Fab


If you’re ready to light up your trail-riding adventure, you’ll definitely want to check out our selection of audio tops. Whether you’re looking for a simple audio top with Bluetooth and speakers or one that comes with LED lights, we’ve got it all! Your friends are sure to be impressed, and your new audio roof will do a fantastic job of keeping you safe from the elements, too!

Don’t forget, you can also purchase other add-ons and accessories from Thumper Fab, like winches, bumpers, tires, and more. Adventure is out there, and with a side-by-side, you’ll be able to take your friends along for the ride. Customize your side-by-side with Thumper Fab and enjoy the trail-riding experience of a lifetime!

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