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11 Best Cheap UTV Models to Enjoy [Under $12,000]

When you consider buying a UTV for work or recreational purposes, the price is a crucial factor to consider. After all, a side-by-side equals and sometimes even surpasses the price of a new truck. On the other hand, you cannot go trailing and adventuring across deserts or mountaintops with just any vehicle. Moreover, when you have to accomplish hefty farm work, hunt, fish, or haul heavy payloads, the SXS is your go-to choice. Today, we have compiled a list of the best cheap UTV models to consider this year to make things easier for you.

For this guide's purpose, we split the UTV models into two categories: best side-by-side for the money under $10,000 and cheap UTV models ranging in price between $10,000 and $12,000.

How Did We Choose the Best Cheap UTV Models for this List?

To gather the products on this list, we checked the most affordable UTVs from the most prominent players in the side-by-side vehicle industry. Then, we listed the best cheap UTV models from the cheapest to the most expensive ones, so you can better understand the best side-by-side for the money depending on your budget and needs.

Before we begin, we would also like to clear some things regarding prices:

  • The values you see on this list are the ones recommended by the manufacturers for retail (the MSRP amount);
  • You can get different prices from your local retailers;
  • Always keep in mind that prices may vary because the dealer sets the actual destination charge;
  • You will often encounter amount variations with the manufacturer, so make sure you always check the source and make comparisons before you initiate the purchase;
  • Never forget to factor in other fees and taxes you might pay when you buy a UTV.

Now, without further ado, let's find together the best cheap UTV for your budget and needs!

Best Cheap UTV Models Under $10,000

In this section, you will find plenty of UTVs coming from reputable manufacturers. If you believe this list contains only past years' models, cheaper than newer ones by default, read the guide below! We managed to find a handful of affordable UTV models that will satisfy all your needs regarding hard work and excellent recreation opportunities!

1. Cub Cadet Challenger 400LX

cub cadet best cheap utv on the market

Image courtesy of Cub Cadet

The most affordable UTV on this list is the Cub Cadet Challenger 400LX. Designed and constructed in the United States of America, it has quite a remarkable reputation on the UTV market. The Cub Cadet SXS family contains plenty of powerful vehicles to meet the most sophisticated tastes and needs.

Let's see some compelling tech specs of the Cub Cadet Challenger 400LX for you to decide whether it is the best side-by-side for the money you were looking for this year:

  • MSRP: $6,599
  • Destination charge: depending on the dealer;
  • Warranty: 1-year limited powertrain and vehicle warranty;
  • Engine: 404 CC Subaru EX40, 19.9 ft.-lbs. @ 4,000 rpm, air cooled;
  • Exterior: hard roof, full windshield included;
  • Towing/payload: 350 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: Solid axle suspension with high angle articulation for increased traction; 2WD drive system; aluminum alloy wheels with off-road tires; 5.7 gallons tank capacity, up to 25 mph speed.

As you can see, you can get an all-terrain utilitarian and sports UTV at a very affordable price!

2. 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 XC FI

2020 kawasaki mule affordable utv

Image courtesy of Kawasaki

If the Kawasaki Mule rings a bell, you have seen this name before. It is on our list of the best new 2021 UTVs to buy this year. However, in that guide, we have discussed the 2021 Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXT, one of the best side-by-sides to use for work, farming, agriculture, etc.

We have on this list of best cheap UTV models: the 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX™ 4x4 XC FI. This one is a 2-passenger sporty UTV, built for versatility. In a couple of moments, you will get to see what the same model of 2021 offers.

But, for now, let's stick to what we have here: incredible tech specs for an excellent price.

  • MSRP: $8,399
  • Destination charge: $670;
  • Warranty: Kawasaki's Strong 3-year limited warranty;
  • Engine: 401 CC 4-stroke, single-cylinder, OHV, 21.4 lbs.-ft. @ 2400 rpm, air cooled;
  • Exterior: no roof or windshield;
  • Towing/payload: 1100 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: MacPherson Strut/3.1 in front suspension & Unit Swingarm/3.1 in rear suspension; 4.2 gallons tank capacity, fuel injection, Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), Selectable 2WD/4WD drive system, etc.

This particular Kawasaki Mule model is what experts would call a "recutility vehicle," meaning that you can use it for multiple purposes, from going fishing to accomplishing chores on your farm with no fuss!

3. 2021 Honda Pioneer 500

honda pioneer 500 best utv for the money

Image courtesy of Honda

The seasoned UTV owners know that the Honda Pioneer 1000 family hosts some of the most reliable side-by-sides currently on the market. However, the 2021 Honda Pioneer 500 is not only one of the best cheap UTV models you can find but one of the sturdiest and versatile.

Honda takes immense pride in the fact that its off-road vehicles can carry you to places you have never seen before simply because other means of transportation are incapable of taking you there. The 2021 Pioneer 500 features a width of 50 inches, seating for two, and room for cargo. In other words, at its price, you have both a utility vehicle and a sports one with Honda technology on top of everything. But let's take a closer look, shall we?

  • MSRP: $8,499
  • Destination charge: $660;
  • Warranty: Limited warranty and extended coverage available with the HondaCare Protection Plan;
  • Engine: 475 CC liquid-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder
  • Exterior: no roof or windshield;
  • Towing/payload: 1000 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: Electronic fuel injection (PGM-FI); 4.1 gallons tank capacity, five-speed automatic transmission with AT/MT modes with paddle shifting and reverse, selectable 2WD and 4WD drive systems, etc.

Users love the Honda Pioneer 500 so much that they invest in Honda Pioneer accessories to tune up this beautiful beast. However, rest assured, even in the lack of extra parts and fixtures, this bad boy will take you everywhere, just as Honda promises.

4. 2021 Kawasaki MULE SX 4x4 XC FI

2021 kawasaki multe cheap SXS

Image courtesy of Kawasaki

Sporting the same price as the 2021 Honda Pioneer 500 and just $100 more than its younger brother, the 2021 Kawasaki MULE SX™ 4x4 XC FI packs a big punch regarding performance. At first glance, you will not see many differences between the 2020 and the 2021 Mule SX, but we recommend you taking each one for a test drive to decide which model is a better fit for your comfort and driving needs.

Here are the 2021 Kawasaki MULE SX 4x4 XC FI most interesting tech specs and features:

  • MSRP: $8,499
  • Destination charge: $670;
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty;
  • Engine: 401 CC, 21.4 lbs.-ft. @ 2400 rpm, air-cooled 4-stroke, single-cylinder, OHV
  • Exterior: no roof or windshield;
  • Towing/payload: 1100 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), fuel injection, dual-mode rear differential with differential lock, selectable 2WD/4WD final drive, two-color choices, etc.

Getting last year's model or this year's model is a hot debate regarding UTVs in general, so our suggestions are to do your homework thoroughly. Other than that, we enjoy this Kawasaki Mule model for work and recreation!

If you still have some wiggle room in your budget, don't forget to have a look at some of the most popular Kawasaki accessories and parts to turn this vehicle into the machine that makes your dreams come true!

5. 2021 CF Moto ZForce 500 Trail

cf moto cheap utv

Image courtesy of CF Moto

As we get closer to the $10,000 threshold, the best cheap UTV models start showing off impressive features. It only demonstrates the fact that in the case of side-by-sides, the price frequently reflects the quality.

CF Moto is a manufacturer known to go the extra mile to achieve performance in full safety. Among the best cheap UTV models on this list, the 2021 CF Moto ZForce 500 Trail is a beast of sports UTV, waiting for adventurers and thrill-seekers to tame it. So let's see what this bad boy has to show for itself!

  • MSRP: $9,099
  • Destination charge: depending on the dealer;
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty;
  • Engine: 495 CC, 32 ft. lbs. @ 5800 RPM, single cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 4-valve SOHC
  • Exterior: ROPS certified cage, hardtop plastic roof;
  • Other tech specs: 38 HP, 14" cast aluminum alloy wheels, 6.5 gallons tank capacity, double A-arm independent suspension (front/rear), CVTech® Automatic P/R/N/H/L transmission, Bosch® Electronic Fuel Injection system, etc.

If horsepower, torque, safety, and high-end performance under $10,000 are your criteria for choosing the best cheap UTV on the market today, then look no further than this model! However, you should not abandon our journey today because we still have a few exciting SXS to show you!

6. 2021 Massimo T-Boss 550X GOLF

massimo utv cheap

Image courtesy of Massimo

The next affordable side-by-side UTV on this list comes from Massimo Motor, a Dallas/Fort Worth manufacturer that always puts its money where its mouth is. They have a compelling motto, "Good Price, Good Quality, and Good Service," and the 2021 Massimo T-Boss 550X GOLF delivers on this promise.

This model's only issue is finding one, as they sell like lemonade on a hot summer Texan day. If you set your heart on this affordable UTV, make sure you check with the manufacturer the stock availability!

Nevertheless, before you make up your mind, let's see some tech specs and features, shall we?

  • MSRP: $9,495
  • Flat rate shipping: $300;
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty;
  • Engine: 493 CC, liquid-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder SOHC
  • Exterior: hardtop, windshield, net doors, side mirrors;
  • Towing/payload: 1100 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: 33 HP, speed up to 45 mph, Automatic CVT R/N/L/H transmission, on-demand 2WD/4WD drive system, electronic fuel injection (EFI), independent dual A-arm front & rear suspensions, 6.9 gallons tank capacity, etc.

With its foldable rear bench seat, front bumper, and a handful of other compelling features, you can consider the T-Boss 550X Golf probably the best side-by-side money can buy in this price range.

7. Polaris Ranger 500

cheap polaris ranger utv

Image courtesy of Polaris

We have talked about Polaris vehicles, accessories, mods, and models many times before; as you know, we are very fond of all the manufacturer's models.

However, whenever you ask yourself, "what is the best cheap UTV to buy under $10,000 for excellent performance," the Polaris Ranger 500 should come to mind. Built for hard work and sporting a compact design so you can store it in the back of many truck models, this Polaris UTV does not disappoint.

You should use it for tough jobs such as crossing challenging terrains, hauling logs, clearing brush, and tackling other demanding tasks, all the while you are enjoying a smooth and comfortable ride. But let's see what this engineering marvel has to offer:

  • MSRP: $9,499
  • Destination charge: depending on the dealer;
  • Warranty: 1-year factory warranty with unlimited miles;
  • Engine: 500 CC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke single cylinder ProStar Engine;
  • Exterior: hardtop, windshield, net doors;
  • Towing/payload: 1,500 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: 32 HP, on-demand AWD/2WD/VersaTrac Turf Mode drive system, automatic PVT H/L/N/R/P, Electronic Fuel Injection, Lock & Ride cargo system.

The sky is the limit with the Polaris Ranger 500, as you can turn it into precisely what you want this machine to be. Check out our comprehensive collection of Polaris Ranger parts & accessories and make this cheap but powerful UTV stand out from the crowd!

Now we have reached this guide's first part conclusion. Did you find what you were looking for yet? Have you set your eyes and wallet on one of the best cheap UTV models on the list? If you are willing to spend a bit more on your vehicle, let's help you find the best side-by-side for the money in the $10,000 - $12,000 price range!

Best Cheap UTV Models Priced $10,000 to $12,000

In this section, you will find five UTV models we considered worthy of this guide. Their value-price ratios are excellent. If you are serious about investing in a UTV, you should check out the models below!

1. 2021 Can-Am Defender

cheap cam am defender utv 2021

Image courtesy of Can-Am

The 2021 Can-Am Defender is one of the most dependable UTVs to get for very strenuous work on farms and ranches. You can also take it hunting or trailing on any terrain. The manufacturer promises a quieter and more comfortable ride no matter the terrain you travel. With its removable side panels, double the standard Defender's loading space, automatic climate control, and 6x6 traction, the new Can-Am Defender is a technological wonder.

Are you interested in more specs and features? Let's see what this affordable UTV has in store for you:

  • MSRP: $10,399
  • Destination charge, fees, and taxes: depending on the selection;
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty;
  • Engine: Rotax 427 CC single-cylinder liquid-cooled V-twin;
  • Exterior: hardtop, doors, integrated front steel bumper;
  • Towing/payload: 1,500 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: 38 HP, 6 gallons tank capacity, Selectable 2WD/4WD with MUD mode drive system, adjustable tilt steering wheel, disk brakes, arched double A-arm front suspension & arched TTA rear suspension, up to six seats, etc.

As you know, you can almost re-build your Can-Am with accessories and mods to improve safety and performance. If the budget allows, you can tweak and tune this fine machine to serve your needs to a tee.

2. 2021 Polaris RZR Trail 570

affordable utv polaris rzr trail

Image courtesy of Polaris

No matter the harsh conditions you encounter on your travels or daily chores, the Polaris RZR UTVs will be there to get you out of any situation. Unlocking the ideal balance of power and agility on all terrains, this cheap UTV delivers optimum horsepower, torque, and acceleration for trails as narrow as 50". The 2021 Polaris RZR Trail 570 is a force of cutting-edge technology, aiming to tame nature in your path.

Do you want to learn more about this beauty? Here we go!

  • MSRP: $10,599
  • Destination charge, fees, and taxes: depending on the dealer & selection;
  • Warranty: six-month factory warranty with unlimited miles;
  • Engine: 567 CC 4-stroke DOHC liquid-cooled single-cylinder;
  • Exterior: side net doors;
  • Towing/payload: 740 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: 45 HP, 10.5" ground clearance, 25" tires, Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H transmission, on-demand AWD/2WD drive, Electronic Fuel Injection, park in-transmission parking break, etc.

As per usual, you can fine-tune your Polaris with some of the best Polaris RZR accessories on the market to improve comfort, safety, and performance.

3. 2021 Honda Pioneer 700

cheap honda pioneer side by side 2021

Image courtesy of Honda

Built for tough jobs and exhilarating adventures, the 2021 Honda Pioneer 700 is at the Pioneer lineup center. It is not too big, not too small, but perfect in every way. Do you want it for recreation? You got it! Do you consider it for hard work, hauling, all-terrain travels, and safe comfort? Then look no further!

The tilt bed capable of carrying 1,000 pounds of cargo makes your work faster, easier, and smarter. Built with an Occupant Protection Structure for safety and the contoured bench seat for your passengers, the Pioneer 700 is where luxury meets utility.

But let's see other tech specs and understand better why we considered this vehicle to be among the best cheap UTV models out there!

  • MSRP: $10,999
  • Destination charge: $760;
  • Warranty: up to 4 years with the HondaCare Protection Plan;
  • Engine: 675 CC liquid-cooled 4-stroke liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder engine;
  • Exterior: net sides;
  • Towing/payload: 1,500 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: Automatic transmission with hydraulic torque converter, 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD with a differential lock drive system, independent double-wishbone front & rear suspensions, 7.9 gallons fuel tank capacity, etc.

You can ride this impressive vehicle on dirt, mud, turf, gravel, and anything in between. Other than that, you have Honda engineering to rely on regardless of the purpose of your travels. The Pioneer available accessories are plentiful, allowing you to build the perfect vehicle for your needs.

4. 2021 Can-Am Maverick Trail

can am maverick best cheap utv

Image courtesy of Can-Am

Designed to perform on all new trails and long rides, the 2021 Can-Am Maverick Trail is only 50 inches wide. Can-Am did not make any compromise on safety, comfort, or performance, however. If the saying that strong essences come in small bottles is true, this UTV is the perfect embodiment of this message. As its name suggests, the Maverick Trail is for you to go where no one has gone before.

Less for work but more for recreation, this UTV may be small, but it does pack a powerful punch. Let's see some of its most compelling specs and features!

  • MSRP: $11,399
  • Destination charge, taxes, and fees: depending on the dealer & selection;
  • Warranty: 6-months limited warranty;
  • Engine: 800 CC liquid-cooled 800: Rotax V-twin;
  • Exterior: ROPS approved profiled cage, net sides, integrated front steel bumper;
  • Towing/payload: 1,500 lbs.;
  • Other tech specs: 51 HP, selectable 2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok† auto-locking front differential, Electronic Hill Descent Control SPORT/ECO™ modes, adjustable tilt steering, twin-tube gas-charged front & rear shocks, etc.

As we have discussed on previous occasions, you can boost the Can-Am Maverick lineup's performance, comfort, and safety with a host of accessories and parts. They will make your ride more enjoyable tenfold.

The Maverick was the last entry on our list of best cheap UTV models to consider in the $10,000 - $12,000 price range.

However, if you want to push things even further, we recommend you the 2020 Yamaha Viking, with an MSRP starting from $11,999. It is Yamaha, so no words are necessary to describe it.

2021 yamaha viking cheap utv

Image courtesy of Yamaha

Bottom Line

We mentioned this before, but we feel we have to emphasize this: the MSRP value is just your starting point. In reality, these best cheap UTV models are more expensive, as you have to calculate charges, fees, takes, and licenses. Moreover, if you want to build your UTV for extended performance, you have to factor in the price of safety accessories, among other parts and mods.

Nevertheless, now you have a clearer picture regarding affordable UTVs you can enjoy this year. Always perform a price/specs comparison when you check a newer brand model against the older ones already on the market. And, if you wonder whether you should buy a brand-new vehicle or a used one, our suggestion is to go for the new one. While second-hand UTVs may come cheaper, you will have to worry about warranty, maintenance costs, and repairs' prices.

What is your favorite best cheap UTV on this list? Do you already own one of these models? What is the best side-by-side for the money, in your opinion? We would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!