16 of the Best Cheap UTV Models for Recreation (Under $12,000)

There is nothing quite as freeing as hitting the trails on a chilly weekend morning with friends and the sun. In most of the more rural areas of the world, trails intertwine between power poles and cut forests to prevent fires. Some of us love to have the ability to hop on a side by side and go shooting down our driveways to get the mail, sparing us a mile walk one way.

Side by side, or UTVs, have become the go-to toy for those who don’t want to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a Jeep or truck to muddy up on a day off, most of the time the insurance on one of these is not awful as well.

UTVs have also found extreme popularity with farming communities everywhere. Instead of running your expensive tractor all around the farm, you can use your UTV. Saving yourself money while at the same time, making it way more fun to get around.  

With the prices of everything going up, finding some cheap fun is getting harder and harder. UTVs are a great way to get out there and have an adventure, without having to walk for miles.

Here are 16 of the Best Cheap UTV Models for Recreation currently on the market from multiple brands. Price, specs, and details included.

Related: What Is An UTV Vs ATV?

How These Models Were Chosen?

There are so many different models, brands, and variations of UTVs currently on the market. This is a very popular vertical in the automotive and outdoor recreation verticals. I try to stay away from the word cheap, so these are the most affordable ones.

The number one factor in choice is budget, all of these UTVs are around $12,000. The other factors that come into play are the capabilities of the UTVs and consumer reviews. Each vehicle comes with a plethora of accessories, to make your UTV your own.

Each of these UTV’s of course has multiple variations and trims. All prices are MSRP and do not include other fees such as transportation, taxes, and any other fees. Prices can vary depending on where you live and the ever-changing prices in the UTV market.

With all of that being said, here are the top 16 UTVs currently on the market, not in any particular order.

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16 of the Best Cheap UTV Models for Recreation Under and Around $12,000

The following section is 16 models currently on the market that you can purchase for under $12,000. I will not lie, there is one slightly over $12,000, but when it comes to a vehicle purchase, $300 will only change your monthly payment by $10 give or take. Through research and reading numerous reviews, I determined that these 16 are the best on the market right now. Some are more customizable than others but here are the 16.

1. Massimo Buck 250X Golf- 4-Seater 2WD

MSRP: $6,999

Destination charge: Depends on dealer, can be bought off Amazon and Tractor Supply

Warranty: 1-year warranty

Engine: Four Stroke Single Cylinder, 177CC, 8.7 horsepower

Exterior: Roof, Side Mirrors, Folding Windshield, Full Light Package

Towing: 0 pounds.

Just above entry level, the Massimo Buck 250X Golf is the perfect UTV for someone looking for their first ride. Perfect for the golf course, as the name suggests, it is also perfect for the trail. The Buck 250X does sit four, and the back can easily have a bed installed for tool and equipment hauling.

The ground clearance on the buck 250X is 5.5 inches and has a wheelbase of 69 inches. The size of the vehicle is 106 inches by 56 inches by 77 inches. These UTVs do not come in four-wheel drive, you would have to upgrade to the upper models to get away from the two-wheel drive. Both front and back wheels have hydraulic disk brakes.

The fuel tank is 3 gallons and the max miles per hour is 30. It is highly reviewed by consumers, with one small complaint being that the engine can be rather noisy, doesn’t sound like a problem to me!

2. Massimo T-Boss 410X Golf Crew 4-Seater 4WD 

MSRP: $9,299.99

Destination charge: Depends on location and dealers. Can be found on Amazon and from Lowes

Warranty: 1-year warranty  

Engine: Four stroke single cylinder SOHC, 352 CC, 25.5 HP

Exterior: LED headlights, Front A-Arm Guards, Side Mirrors, Rear Footrest, 25-inch tires, Winch

Towing: 1,200 pounds

The T-Boss 410X is the meaner big brother to the 250X. This is one of the most compact and versatile UTVs on the market, and one of the best made by Massimo. This engine cranks out 25.5 horsepower and can reach up to 36 mile per hour. Don’t let the word golf in the name fool you, this bad boy craves the woods and trails.

The ground clearance is almost 10 inches with a 72-inch wheelbase. The vehicle size is 105.5 inches by 54 inches by 74 inches. It also comes with an on demand two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive transmission. The 410X also comes with front and rear hydraulic disk brakes.

Cosmetically, it is one of the better looking rides on the market, with aluminum alloy wheels and an ABS hardtop. This UTV is out of the box ready to throw some mud and cover some ground.

3. Polaris Ranger SP 570

Polaris Ranger SP 570

MSRP: $11,699

Destination charge: Price varies from location to location; Polaris website can give you the most accurate price for your area. Kawasaki does have a price of $700 for a destination and an additional $300 for freight, but the dealer decides the final price

Warranty: 1 year factory with unlimited miles

Engine: 4 stroke single cylinder engine, 567 CC, 44 horsepower

Exterior: LED lights, winch, all terrain tires with black wheels

Towing: 1,500 pounds

Polaris has carried itself to the top of the UTV world, becoming the go to household name for those looking for a farm or trail UTV. The Ranger is the most versatile, customizable, and wallet friendly UTV made by Polaris.

At only 56 inches wide, it is perfect for not only dipping in between trees, but small farm fences as well. The turn radius is unparalleled compared to most other UTVs on the market as well. While it is only a two-seater, it is very spacious with a bed perfect for hunting, fishing, or farm equipment. The SP 570 only comes in Sagebrush green. If you wanted to spring a couple more grand, the Premium model can come in a sleek blue and silver.

You can find one for yourself on Polaris dealer locator on their website.

4. Kawasaki Mule SX 

Kawasaki Mule SX 

MSRP: $7,799

Destination charge: Destination charges vary from location to location, Kawasaki has a great dealer network, so locating a Mule of any range should not be hard. Kawasaki does have a price of $700 for a destination and an additional $300 for freight, but the dealer decides the final price

Warranty: 36 months with other options available

Engine: 401 CC 4-stroke engine

Exterior: 22-inch Duro tires, Halogen headlights, comes in either green or red

Towing: 1,100 pounds

Like its name implies, the mule is absolutely perfect for farm work, and it is heavy advertised to do so. It can tow a significant amount at 1,100 pounds for a price of under $8,000. The SX sadly, only comes in two-wheel drive. Kawasaki also has a pretty great warranty as compared to some competitors in the industry.

The Mule SX also comes in two other packages, the Adventure packed and the Open Range Package. The Open Range package comes with a fixed windshield, plastic roof, front light bar and harness kit, cargo box and additional accessory mounts. Bang for your buck is the Open Range package, you get more for only about $900. If you purchase the package after your purchase the Mule, which you can do through their site, you get an additional warranty for those upgrades. 

The Mule comes with so much for so little and is a great entry level UTV.

5. Kawasaki Mule SX 4×4 FI

Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 FI

MSRP: $9,099

Destination charge: Destination charges vary from location to location, Kawasaki has a great dealer network, so locating a Mule of any range should not be hard. Kawasaki does have a price of $700 for a destination and an additional $300 for freight, but the dealer decides the final price

Warranty: 36 months with other options available

Engine: Fuel injected 401 CC 4-stroke engine

Exterior: 22-inch Duro tires, Halogen headlights, comes in either green or red

Towing: 1,100 pounds of towing

The Mule SX 4×4 FI is the step up from the Mule SX, and its big factor is in the two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive. The FI also comes with a dual mode rear differential with differential lock. You really can’t beat that Kawasaki price for the utility you get out of it.

This upgrade Mule is also significantly better on the train because of its four-wheel drive and 22-inch all terrain tires. Th FI also comes in the two packages alongside the base, that being the Open Range and Adventure Package. The real big difference between the two packages is the light bar and mount, alongside the two additional mounts. I am personally a massive fan of the brush guard that comes with both of these packages.

The Mules also have the perfect customizability for winches, plows, etc. 

6. Kawasaki Mule SX 4×4 XC LE FI

Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 XC LE FI

MSRP: $10,399

Destination charge: Destination charges vary from location to location, Kawasaki has a great dealer network, so locating a Mule of any range should not be hard. Kawasaki does have a price of $700 for a destination and an additional $300 for freight, but the dealer decides the final price.

Warranty: 36 months with other options available

Engine: 401 CC single-cylinder 4-stroke engine

Exterior: Four high intensity LED headlights, sun top and special decals specific to the model, 12-inch cast aluminum wheels with 26-inch Duro tires.

Towing: 1,100 pounds

This is where the rubber meets the road, for lack of a better term. This is the top-of-the-line package that Kawasaki offers on the Mule platform and at a cost of just $10,399, it’s the perfect offroad vehicle that can light up a trail and get work done around the homestead.

The big difference from the XC LE FI and its lower trims is the metallic onyx black, upgraded front with front bumper, plastic top, and lime green decals. The wheels on the other hand, are totally different from the other mules, that being the aluminum wheels and 26-inch all terrain tires.

The XC LE FI also has the two packages in the Open Range and Adventure, but this one also offers the utility package. The Utility Package comes with side mirrors, trailer hitch and chrome hitch ball.

7. Cub Cadet Challenger M 550 Black

MSRP: $11,499

Destination charge: There is a listed freight charge of $750, but Cub Cadet dealers ultimately decide the final prices

Warranty: 1-year power train and vehicle warranty

Engine: 546 CC Hisun EFI OHV engine

Exterior: Solid black exterior, 26-inch tires with 8-9-inches of travel

Towing: 1,100 pounds

Cub Cadet is renowned for their lawnmower and riding mowers, considered the Rolls-Royce of lawnmowers, makes one impeccable UTV. Built on a heavy-duty steel tube chassis, the Challenger M 550 Black is one of the best UTVs on the market. The suspension also comes with three-way adjustable shocks and are comfortable for off-road rough use. The M 550 also comes with a digital display, which is uncommon on the market.

Cub Cadet knocks it out of the park with everything they make, and the UTV M 550 is no exception to that reputation.

8. Hisun Motors Strike 250R

MSRP: $5,599

Destination charge: Destination charges are not included in the price and vary in price from dealer to dealer.

Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Engine: 229 CC 4-stroke single cylinder OHC, electronic fuel injected, and liquid cooled

Exterior: High and low beam headlights, two-piece windshield, with roof

Towing: Not applicable

The Hisun Motors Strike 250 is one of the best bang for your buck UTVs on the market currently, with all of the features of a Polaris and not the Polaris price. For example, the Strike comes with half doors, aluminum wheels and a winch included, not included with a Polaris. The Polaris winch itself will run you about $500.

On the other hand, the Strike 250R does not come in four-wheel drive, only two-wheel drive. It is perfect for youth drivers and a great entry level vehicle for those looking to get into the side by side lifestyle.

9. Hisun Motors Strike 550R

MSRP: $10,999

Destination charge: Destination charges are not included in the price and vary in price from dealer to dealer.

Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Engine: 546 CC 4-stroke single cylinder OHC, electronic fuel injected, and liquid-cooled

Exterior: Comes in four colors, aluminum rims, roof, windshield, and winch.

Towing: 1,200 pounds

The Strike 550R is a bargain UTV, the price starts at $10,999, including all of the accessories that would come extra with a brand like Polaris. Included in the price is a windshield, roof, aluminum rims, and winch.

Unlike the 250R, the 550R can tow up to 1,200 pounds and comes in both two-wheel and four-wheel drives. When it comes to the instrument cluster, the speedometer and tachometer are both digital, very unique. The winch can pull up to 3,500 pounds. When it comes to the colors, I am a big fan of voodoo blue.  

10. Honda Pioneer 700

MSRP: $11,799

Destination charge: Honda has listed on their site that the destination charge is $785 with a freight charge of $400, the final price is up to the dealer.

Warranty: 1 year limited and transferable warranty

Engine: 675 CC liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder four-stroke engine

Exterior: Available in five colors, LCD instrument display, tilt bed

Towing: 1,500 pounds

Honda is beyond well known for their motorcycles, cars, and lawnmowers. Honda also not so secretly produces high quality UTVs, and the Honda Pioneer 700 is the entry level model for their UTV vertical. It is also one of the most customizable UTVs on the market as well.

The Pioneer is renowned for its durability and capability. Great for the trail and the work yard, the Pioneer is perfect for all situations. This is just the base model, lower-level Pioneer, it comes in a plethora of trims and does come as a four-seater as well.

11. CF Moto ZForce 800 Trail

MSRP: $11,399

Destination charge: Freight charges and destination charges depend on the dealer, you can find all dealer information on CF Moto’s website  

Warranty: 1 year warranty

Engine: V-Twin, 8-valve, SOHC, 4-stroke engine, 800 CC, fuel injected.

Exterior: Half doors, 11-inch ground clearance, 14-inch alloy wheels

Towing: Not applicable

The ZForce 800 Trail is made for just that, the trails. Unlike most of the UTVs on this list, the 800 trail is built to go fast and eat up trails, not so much for hauling tools and farm equipment around. It currently comes in three colors, orange, blue and white, all able to really show some dirt.

The 800 Trail comes standard with a 3000-pound winch, 3-point seatbelts, electronic power steering, high intensity headlights, this thing will get you through hell and high water without complaining even a little. It also comes with a factory roof, to keep you out of the sun on a long trail day.

12. CF Moto UForce 800

MSRP: $11,399 for black and silver, $11,849 for camo

Destination charge: Freight charges and destination charges depend on the dealer, you can find all dealer information on CF Moto’s website  

Warranty: 1-year warranty

Engine: V-Twin, 8-valve, SOHC, 4-stroke engine, 800 CC, fuel injected.

Exterior: LED headlights, 14-inch alloy wheels, knee high safety doors, dumping cargo bed

Towing: 1250 pounds

Much more civilized than its off the rails cousin in the 800 Trail, the UForce 800 is more built for everyday use and not blazing through the forest. While having the same engine, the UForce 800 is built more for around the homestead or farm.

The UForce 800 comes standard with a high performance CVtech clutch and drive, 1250 pounds of towing, power steering 3500-pound winch, and LED lights. The cabin of the UForce 800 was also designed to be ergonomic for all day use. The bed is also designed to hold up to 600 pounds.

13. CF Moto ZForce 500 Trail

MSRP: $9,499

Destination charge: Freight charges and destination charges depend on the dealer, you can find all dealer information on CF Moto’s website  

Warranty: 1 year warranty

Engine: Single cylinder, 4-valve, SOHC, 4-stroke engine, 495 CC

Exterior: Cargo and side nets, front and rear stainless-steel bumpers, certified roll cage, 14-inch alloy wheels

Towing: Not applicable

Similar to the ZForce 800 Trail, the ZForce 500 is built for speed on the trails. Much more budget friendly. The engine is smaller in comparison at just 495 CC, but it is plenty of engine to get you where you are and over whatever is in your way with its 11-inches of ground clearance.

The ZForce 500 comes standard with front and rear stainless-steel bumpers, a 3000-pound winch, perfect for removing yourself from deep mud, front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, and multiple places for storage. You will be able to carry and tow everything to build a house, but you can carry lunch and beverages for the trails comfortably.

14. Can-Am Defender

MSRP: $12,399, the price is lower for 2022 model overages and rebates

Destination charge: There is a commodity charge of $400, but dealers chose the final prices.

Warranty: 2-year manufacture limited warranty

Engine: 650 CC single cylinder Rotax engine

Exterior: Standard cargo net doors, two-wheel and four-wheel drive, 14-inch stainless steel wheels

Towing: 2,500

Can-Am is a household name in the off-road recreation industry, made popular by dirt bike and ATV racing in the early 2000’s. The value addition Can-Am Defender is the entry level edition for Can-Am as other models can become a bit pricey.

These are built for around the farm and homestead, and some limited trail use. The 27-inch tires do make for some good clearance in rough weather and are perfect for getting around quickly. The regular Defender isn’t recommended for hunting use, if that’s what you are looking for, spring for the Defender Ops.

15. John Deere Gator XUV560E Utility

MSRP: $11,849

Destination charge: John Deere doesn’t have any prices listed on their website for destination charges, John Deere dealerships dot the country, and you can surely find one. Dealers determine final prices.

Warranty: 1 year or 1000 hours

Engine: 4-cycle, 2-cylindaer, V-twin, dynamically tuned carb, OHV, 570 CC engine

Exterior: Classic John Deere green paint with yellow painted wheels, handled tailgate and tilt cargo box, glove box, four-wheel independent suspension

Towing: 1,500 pounds

Much like Polaris and Can-Am, this list of great UTVs wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from John Deere. I wanted so bad to include Bobcat, but the prices were not within the scope of acceptable for this list. John Deere, like Honda and Cub Cadet before it, are well known for their riding mowers and tractors. While they don’t hold a massive stake in the UTV market, they do make a great UTV.

The word I want to use for the XUV560E Utility might be overkill, just because of its four-wheel independent suspension. This is a work UTV, built to rip, pull, tug and haul. This UTV would feel at home on a large ranch or property, with plenty of storage space for whatever you need to get through your day. What is nice about this John Deere is the electronic switch for four-wheel and two-wheel drive.

16. Massimo Buck 450 2WD/4WD

MSRP: $9,399

Destination charge: There are no destination charges listed, the price varies from dealership to dealership, vehicle is not eligible to be shipped to California

Warranty: 1 year manufacturer warranty

Engine: Four stroke single cylinder 352 CC, 52 horsepower

Exterior: Standard features of roof, side mirrors, 3000-pound winch, 2-inche hitch receiver, digital display and instruments, high and low beam headlights, turn signals

Towing: 1000 pounds

If you are looking for the ultimate UTV on a budget, look no further. The Massimo Buck 450 has everything to be the perfect UTV. The Buck 450 comes standard with a roof, side mirrors, a windshield, and a 3000-pound winch. These standard editions have to be bought separately from most other manufacturers. It also comes standard with net doors.

It comes in five distinct colors, but personally, I am a massive fan of blue. It has a crisp and bold pop as compared to the dark colors of the chassis and parts.

The 352 CC, electric fuel injected engine is absolutely per blazing down trials and keeps you ahead of the next task on your to-do list for the day. The drivetrain systems also allows for on demand switching from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive, with all the Texas built durability.

The Buck 450 also comes with a plethora of accessories and add-ons. This includes coolers, soft enclosures, snowplows, and blowers. There is plenty of room for light bars and mounts.

When it comes to a great UTV, the Buck 450 has every single checkbox checked.

Conclusion and Wrap Up

There are plenty of great UTVs out there on the market, both exceeding and coming below the $12,000 threshold. One big thing to consider when buying a UTV is the use case when it comes to your ownership. There are a few UTVs on here, perfect for both trails and farm use.

If you are looking for something to tow and do general homestead work, maybe the ZForce 800 wouldn’t be the right UTV for you, but it would be perfect for racing or tearing through the mud.

I would like to gently remind you that MSRP isn’t the final price of a UTV, you have taxes, dealer fees and delivery fees as well that add into the final price. If you are looking to save a little money and go with a second hand UTV, that is totally fine and a great idea, just know that there might not be much of a warranty left. What is nice about UTVs is that they are generally easier to work on than a car, so at home repair, while tedious, may not be impossible. 

There are so many things to consider when making any large purchase, just make sure you do your homework and make sure you are buying the right UTV for your use case and the right UTV for your budget!