Side-by-side UTVs that provide seating for at least two and a load behind the driver and passengers continue to make ground in terms of popularity compared with quad bikes.
According figures compiled by AEA, the machinery industry body, farmers and others bought 6,750 ATVs, up 4% on the year before, while their arguably more practical “buggy” counterparts gained 6% to 5,600 units.
Little wonder, then, that this is a hotly contested market, with a number of less well-known makes vying from sales from more familiar manufacturers.
See what some of the latest updates entail and download the buyer’s guide to compare specs and prices.
Such is the challenge of gaining a foothold, however, that Bobcat and Farr (importer of Linhai side-by-side UTVs) are no longer players, and JCB Agriculture has withdrawn its China-sourced Workmax vehicles.
Polaris has dropped the Brutus multi-tasking utility vehicle from its range but owners can still expand the versatility of their machines with bespoke front and rear hydraulic linkage kits from accessories supplier UTV Products.
See also: The low-down on buying a second-hand ATV
These are designed for use with lightweight attachments such as a blade, front brush, yard scraper or pallet tines.
Newcomers on the scene since Farmers Weekly’s most recent round-up of side-by-side utility vehicles include the Kawasaki Mule Pro DX.
Fitted with a three-cylinder 993cc diesel engine developing 24hp, this replacement for the popular and long-established Mule 4010 Diesel is a little portlier but no less capable than its predecessor, with towing capacity increased to 907kg.
With a top speed of 50kph, disc brakes at the front and rear axles are a good thing, and power steering with variable assistance is a standard feature to reduce the heft required at the wheel.
Other newcomers are in the petrol-engined camp, with Polaris adding the six-seat Crew 1000 EPS to its Ranger series, complete with electronic power steering, and rolling out the all-new 1,000cc General with no less than 100hp at the driver’s disposal.
Needless to say, it has more sporting and working intent, although the General claims a 498kg payload and reportedly best-in-class 272kg dump box for carrying salt licks, tools and fencing supplies.
The Can-Am utility range from Bombardier Recreational Vehicles (BRP) is being expanded with a six-seat variant of the Defender.
The Max version is available with a choice of two Rotax vee-twin engines – the HD8 with 50hp and the HD10 with a more generous 72hp.
Lightweight cast-aluminium wheels and Maxxis Big Horn tyres are part of the standard package, along with shaped bench seats for passengers and a 454kg capacity load box that can be fitted with dividers to help secure small items.
The Quadzilla utility range has been expanded with the 495cc, 38hp Tracker 550 joining the 800cc, 63hp 800 and both have a startling top speed of 84kph.
Electronic power steering and road legal spec are standard, and a full cab option can be added to keep the elements at bay.
Honda is set to join the fray next year with the Pioneer, a sporting/recreation biased side-by-side that will also fulfill hill farm needs for personal transport plus the ability to carry essential tools and equipment.
Available in two- and four-seat guise, the vehicle is powered by a 675cc engine developing 36hp. It has selectable two- and four-wheel drive from an auto transmission that runs out to 68kph where the terrain allows.
A payload capacity of 582kg leaves 386kg for the load deck and there is decent towing capability at 680kg. However, it is purely an off-roader; at present there is no road legal option.
John Deere has been busy expanding its Gator line up beyond the familiar diesel-engined HPX and XUV models to include the XUV 560, 590i and 825i.
The 590i sports a 586cc, 32hp engine for sprightly performance up to 73kph with low levels of noise and vibration claimed for the powertrain thanks to isolation mounts and generous noise-damping.