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Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation

2018 Can-Am Maverick Trail Lineup


Table of Contents

Each year we all look forward to seeing what new UTVs will come from the manufacturers. They never fail to impress and each model year brings us a few surprises along with some expected changes. What really gets us going, and you too, we’re sure, are the all-new models that fill a need we didn’t quite know we had, but now are sure we need. Let’s take a look at what we want to spend our money on for 2018.


There may not be a company that shocked us more for 2018 than Yamaha did with the introduction of the all-new Wolverine X4. This all-new recreational machine boasts seating for four and an 847cc twin-cylinder engine that runs so quiet you’ll forget it’s on. Adding to the mix is Yamaha’s superb power steering and locking differential. Yamaha also created a self-leveling rear suspension system that adjusts on the fly for the added weight of rear passengers or cargo. This keeps the Wolverine X4 with the proper ride height, and suspension action.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
Yamaha Wolverine X4

Yamaha set the sport world on fire with the YXZ1000R. It boasts a 998cc three-cylinder power plant and a sequential shifting manual transmission. You can opt for a manual or an automatic clutch, too. With massive FOX 2.5 Podium shocks and plenty of attitude, the YXZ1000R is an awesome ride.

Yamaha returns the Wolverine 2-seat version with the 708cc single-cylinder engine. You can pick up a Wolverine in several trim options, including the R-SPEC versions with updated suspension. If work is more in the plan, the Yamaha Viking utility side-by-side returns with its 686cc single cylinder engine. You can get it in the standard three-seat configuration, or the Viking VI that seats six comfortably.

Can-Am Off-Road

Can-Am has been very busy, too. The Maverick Trail, available with either an 800 or 1000-class Rotax twin-cylinder engine, made headlines for being an extremely capable and fun to drive machine in the 50-inch class. It comes with or without their dynamic power steering system. Can-Am waited for a while to come out with a 50-inch machine and if you’re in the market for a trail-legal machine, this is one to strongly consider.

And, of course, we have to discuss the Maverick X3 line. The newest is the X3 900 HO, a lower-priced option for those looking to get into the X3 machine. It comes with a 90 horsepower, 900cc High Output triple and 18-inches of suspension travel front and rear for a couple thousand less than the regular X3. Speaking of the X3s, there are still the standard three versions of the machine along with the MAX four-seat versions.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
Can-Am Maverick X3 X MR Turbo

What really gets us going, however, are the two new special edition X3 machines. The X3 X RC Turbo and Turbo R are a rocks crawlers dream, with Can-Am’s new Smart-Lok differential. It is a fully lockable on-the-fly front differential with electronically-controlled automatic modes. You can also press a button to access preset, intelligent calibrations for your type of riding. It comes with 20-inches of travel and 30-inch tires. Want to ride the mud instead? For you mud lovers, they have added X MR and X MR Turbo R platforms, with It takes the Smart-Lok dif and adds special oversized air intakes mounted about the roll cage to let the machine breath in the heavy, nasty goo. You also get 30-inch ITP Cryptid mud tires.

On the Defender side, the popular HD5, HD8, and HD10 packages return in both standard, DPS and XT packages, along with the MAX six-seat models. The HD10 XT-P package is new for 2018 with Fox shocks, skids plates, sport bumpers and sleek styling, making it more trail capable. The Defender Max Lone Star edition gets some cool Texas-inspired styling with custom seats, an extended front bumper and full hard roof. And for those mud lovers, the Defender X MR package includes ITP Cryptid tires, high-mounted air snorkels, a special front bumper and high-mounted winch and the Smark-Lok locking differential.

The versatile Commander and Commander MAX machines return with the biggest news being the addition of a new 92-horsepower 976cc engine in the Commander 1000R machines.

Polaris Industries

Polaris never fails to impress. Their number one selling machine is the Ranger lineup and with 14 models to choose from, it’s easy to see why there are so many sold. The biggest news from the Minnesota company this year was the all-new Ranger XP 1000. Starting with an 82-horsepower ProStar engine, the new Ranger is new from the ground up, making it the most capable Ranger yet. The biggest news is the increase in bed capacity, up to 1,500 pounds, and the towing increases to 2,500 pounds.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
Polaris Ranger XP 1000

On the RZR side, the biggest news is the new Dynamix edition Turbo. Dynamix refers to the new intelligent active suspension system Polaris created that adjusts each shock individually on the fly. You can get this system in both a 2-seat and RZR-4 four seat version. The standard RZR Turbo line has been reengineered, too, pumping out a sweet 168 horsepower. And for 2018, fans of the Ride Command system can now find it in the RZR XP-4 1000 model.

The popular General returns for 2018 with new limited-edition models, along with the General-4, Hunting edition and Ride Command model. If single-seat fun is your thing, the ACE might be to your liking. The ACE 500 and 900XC return along with a new ACE 570 with a 45-horsepower ProStar engine. The popular ACE 150 gets a new special race-inspired edition with a front bumper and number plates to make your kids feel like racing superstars.


Honda returns the awesome Pioneer lineup for 2018 with the 500, 700 and 1000 models. The 700-4 got a bit of an overhaul last year and looks to offer a great value again for 2018. The 1000 and 1000-5 are back with the capable 999cc engine and DCT transmissions. The Pioneer 1000 LE and 1000-5 LE are bound to be favorites with the new i-4WD intelligent four-wheel drive system, and FOX QS-3 shocks to name a few of the highlights.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
Honda Pioneer 1000-5 LE

Textron Off Road

When Textron brought Arctic Cat into the company fold, we all wondered what was going to happen with the two companies. Each had UTVs that fit different segments of the market, and we knew of plans from both companies on the horizon. Now we know. The biggest news is the new Havoc X, a 100-horsepower, King Shocks suspended beast that has caused a ton of buzz. We’ve been assured that at some point in 2018, we’re also going to see the elusive Wildcat XX that we keep getting teased with, too.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
Textron Off Road Havoc X

There are several versions of the popular new Stampede and the Wildcats are still in the stable, as well. The Prowler lineup changed some, with several models going away, and new electric machines coming on board. Expect to hear more from Textron in 2018, too.

CFMoto Canada

One of the favorites around the office, the CFMoto Z-Force machines pack a lot of value and fun into several machines for 2018. Of course, we’re rather drawn to the 62.6-horsepower 800EX that comes loaded with options like a 3,000-pound winch and a 5-year warranty. The standard Z-Force 800 EPS packs the EX features in a narrower model that fits in the back of most full-sized trucks. The sporty 37.5-horsepower Z-Force 500 offers up cheap thrills with a price point starting under $10,000. The U-Force 800 and 500 utility machines are loaded for work and play with a list of standard features other OEMS don’t offer and a 5-year warranty. And don’t worry, there are BIG things coming from CFMoto in 2018. Keep an eye out for something new soon.

Why 2018 Is The Best Year Yet For UTV Innovation
CFMOTO Z-Force 800 EPS


Kawasaki’s awesome Teryx lineup returns with our favorites being the LE models with sweet styling. These 783cc V-twin powered beasts have legendary capability and widely known as go anywhere-do anything machines.

Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXR

Needing something more work oriented? The MULE PRO FX and FXT lineup are just about at the top of the list for those looking for extremely capable workhorse machines. New for 2018 is the MULE PRO FXR. This takes the capability of the MULE Pro FX and adds sportier styling with a redesigned front end and aggressive front bumper. The biggest news with this machine, however, is the reduction of the overall wheelbase to make the machine a little more trail friendly.