5 Most Reliable Side By Sides For 2024

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If you’re going to be forking over a good amount of money for a side-by-side, there are probably a number of boxes you want that vehicle to check.

Reliability is usually one of those boxes, especially for those who will be using their side-by-side for working tasks or who don’t want to risk being stranded in the middle of a long trail ride.

For those of you with that line of thinking, here are the five most reliable side-by-sides your hard-earned money can buy in 2024, including:

  • Three best utility side-by-sides
  • Two best sport side-by-sides

As you can imagine, many of the options below also land on the list of best side-by-sides for the money.

Honda Pioneer

When it comes to reliability as a whole, the line of Honda Pioneers are as good as it gets in the side-by-side industry for a number of reasons.

You can read a review of any of the four main models below:

What Makes Them So Reliable

High-Quality, Heavy-Duty Components:  Honda engines are famous for their reliability and will continue to start right up year after year.

You can be sure that if you service it regularly, you’ll almost never wind up with your Pioneer in the shop for mechanical reasons.

But the rest of these models’ parts and components are known to be of a high quality as well, and are able to withstand the abuses of off-road riding.

The parts most prone to failing under the stress of rough riding such as the suspension system, axles and CV boots are all heavy-duty and known to have a long life-span.

Unique Transmission With No Drive Belt:  The transmissions in Honda’s Pioneers and other off-road vehicles are unique in that they’re an automotive-style transmission that uses metal gears instead of a drive belt like most other side-by-sides.

This cuts out the need for maintenance and the issues with drive belts slipping and being damaged under heavy loads.

Best Overall Model:  The Honda Pioneer 1000 is the most well-rounded of this line, offering the best blend of utility and recreational appeal as one of the fastest utility side-by-sides.

Kawasaki Mule

Kawasaki is known for producing some of the best overall vehicles you can find, and a review of Kawasaki Mules shows why these models live up to that reputation so well.

They’re your classic utility models – they won’t blow you away with their physical appearance, but they’re built as tough as they come.

That said, throwing on some of the best Kawasaki Mule Pro FXT accessories to the best models in the line will have your Mule looking just as good as any vehicle out there.

What Makes Them So Reliable

Engines:  Kawasaki engines are as durable and dependable as you’ll find, and if you follow the recommended maintenance schedule, they’ll run for decades with minimal issues.

You’ll find that Kawasaki Mules are some of the slowest side-by-sides in the industry as their engines aren’t built for speed, which helps to preserve them.

High Quality Parts & Components:  Like Honda, Kawasaki assembles their off-road vehicles with some of the most high-quality parts and components you can find.

These high quality parts include the following in most models:

  • Heavy duty suspension system including shocks, springs, and axles
  • Full-length steel skid plate on the underside
  • Steel cargo beds

Even Kawasaki Mule windshields are known for being some of the best in the biz.

Best Overall Model:  The Kawasaki Mule Pro MX is one of the newest Mule models, built just as tough as the rest but also providing more recreational appeal.

Yamaha Viking

The Yamaha Viking gets overshadowed by some of the flashier models, but almost any Viking owner will tell you what a beast these vehicles are in multiple ways.

These models are similar to Kawasaki Mules with their workhorse-like utility, but are a little more well-rounded in offering more recreational appeal.

And they’re known for having one of the fewest rates of breakdowns in the industry.

What Makes Them So Reliable

Yamaha Engines:  Similar to the Pioneer and Mules, Yamaha makes an engine that is well-known to be just about bulletproof.

You keep up with the maintenance on the Viking, and you’ll rarely run into mechanical issues stemming from the engine or really anywhere else for that matter.

Best Transmission In The Game:  Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT transmissions are the best in the business, hands down.

It provides constant tension on the belt so you’ll never experience free spooling and then the jerking of the belt from a slackened position, which is the main cause of belt damage.

It’s rare to encounter any need for belt maintenance with this model, and Yamaha also offers a 10-year warranty on their belts as a sign of their confidence.

A gated shift lever also helps to minimize hard shifting and grinding gears which occurs in so many other models.

High Quality Parts & Components

  • Steel skid plate
  • Steel cargo box
  • Scratch-resistant plastics

Kawasaki Teryx

A review of the Kawasaki Teryx highlights the good and bad with all four models available for this year, but you’ll see the good far outweighs the bad like with most Kawasaki vehicles.

What Makes Them So Reliable

Kawasaki Engines: As mentioned above with the Mules, the Kawasaki engines in these vehicles are as legit and long-lasting as they come.

They’re not turbo-charged and don’t offer the same speed and overall performance of the Polaris RZRs and Can Am Mavericks of the world, but that helps preserve them for the long haul.

They still offer excellent low-end power, acceleration and speed for cutting loose, but you’ll rarely run into an issue with these engines.

Heavy Duty Parts & Components:  These models are assembled with some of the strongest and longest-lasting parts and components, including:

  • Shocks, springs, axles, boots
  • Steel skid plates protect wheel wells and underside
  • Engine and transmission protected by thick housings

Honda Talon

The Honda Talon isn’t going to impress you with its build style, features, accessories or any of the like.

But these models’ bare-bones build and lack of every little doohickey you’ll find on the flashier models is the reason they continue to be some of the most reliable sport side-by-sides year after year.

What Makes Them So Reliable

Honda Engines:  There are some amazing engines out there as we’ve highlighted already, but none of them can top Honda’s reputation for reliability.

And while the Honda engine doesn’t provide the same performance level as Polaris and Can Am, the Talons’ engines are tuned to be sportier and working together with the dual-clutch transmission, they offer plenty of git-up.

Even so, you’ll rarely find your Talon in the shop due to an engine problem.

Dual Clutch Transmission:  The dual-clutch, automotive style transmission in these models helps to minimize power loss and provide immediate power delivery/throttle response thanks to the lack of a drive belt.

This can make slower trail riding a little more challenging, but completely cuts out drive belt slippage and the need for belt maintenance you’ll find in other models.

Final Word

There are many other models that just missed out on this list.

A review of the Can Am Defender models shows them to be very reliable.  And a review of the Polaris Ranger 570 reveals the same.

Similarly, the Polaris RZR and Can Am Maverick models just missed out on this list.

These days, most of your big-name side-by-sides are as reliable as they’ve ever been, but the five models on this list offer the best combination of durability, dependability, and longevity among the industry today.