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How Much Horsepower Do You Need in Your SXS?

When it comes down to it, how much horsepower is enough in a side-by-side?

With so many options and advancements in the SXS market, it’s tough to find out the baseline for things like high speed, handling, and horsepower. Every brand is going to claim their specs are in the sweet spot, but how can you be sure?

Horsepower represents a lot of things to a SXS owner, and a wide range available from one brand or manufacturer is definitely a good thing, but it makes the decision a little tougher.

Polaris is a good example of a company generating high-quality side-by-sides with the power diversity we just mentioned. But really, how to you zoom in on the right number of horses without paying for more than you need?

Ask the right questions

It breaks down like this: Will you be needing an off-road vehicle capable of getting you from A to B efficiently, with enough power to take on basic tasks? Then something in the 40-50 hp range makes the most sense. Heck, the RZR 570 has 45 horses, deemed plenty by the Polaris team of designers and builders.

Will you be doing more heavy duty work with your SXS (like hauling), and do you anticipate steep, rough terrain? Then you’re probably going to want to up the ante to something with 60 hp or above.

Kick it up a notch

There’s still a higher number to bring up, and anything over 80 hp is undoubtedly going to be able to handle what you can throw at it. What’s important is that you understand what you’re paying for, and making sure you use what you end up with to its fullest potential.

Take the new Polaris RZR XP® 1000, for example. It has 110 horses, with High Performance True On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and electronic power steering.

Where’s that leave you?

Generally speaking, the 40-60 hp range is a good number to zoom in on. Adjust accordingly based on your needs and wants, and you should be good to go.

Above all else, be sure to check the selection from Polaris while shopping around, you’ll likely find just the right fit, in terms of horsepower and more.

NEXT: THE BEST SXS FOR THE ADRENALINE JUNKIE IN ALL OF US