Side by side vehicles, also known as utility task vehicles (UTVs), are a popular type of off-road vehicle used for recreation and work. Side by sides come in many different models from a variety of manufacturers, and they can have a wide range of features and capabilities. One common question asked by side by side shoppers is whether any side by sides come with heat, as this can be an important feature when using a side by side in colder weather.
The quick answer is yes, some side by side models do come equipped with heating systems to provide warmth and defrost capabilities. However, heat is still considered an optional extra feature on most base model side by sides. The level of heating offered can also vary significantly between different makes and models.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at which popular side by side models offer heating options, the different types of heating systems available, and some pros and cons of choosing a side by side with heat. We’ll also provide some guidance on how to choose a side by side with the right heating features for your needs and budget.
Side by Side Models with Heating Options
Many major side by side manufacturers offer at least some models with optional heating packages. Here is an overview of some popular models that can be purchased with heat:
– Several RZR models, including the RZR Pro XP, RZR Turbo S, and RZR XP 4 1000, offer heating as an available option.
– Polaris offers both grip and thumb warmer heating elements in their cabin heat packages.
– Heated seat options are also available.
– The Can-Am Maverick X3, Maverick Sport, and Maverick Trail models can be purchased with Can-Am’s “Comfort Package” that includes both heated seats and heated grips.
– The Maverick X3 also offers an upgraded “X Package” with heated seats, grips, steering wheel, and floorboards.
Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
– The Yamaha YXZ1000R SS (Sport Shift) side by side has an available Comfort package that includes heated seats.
– Heated grips can be added optionally.
– The Talon 1000X Fox Live Valve and Talon 1000R models offer optional heated grip packages.
– The Talon 1000X Fox Live Valve also has the option of adding heated seats.
Kawasaki Teryx KRX1000
– Heated grips and heated seats are available as optional upgrades on the Teryx KRX1000 side by side.
So in summary, most major side by side brands offer certain models with optional heat, typically in the form of grip warmers and heated seats. Heating is more commonly found on higher-end, more premium models in a manufacturer’s lineup.
Types of Heating Systems for Side by Sides
Side by sides use several different heating technologies to provide warmth to the driver and passengers:
Heated Grips – Heated handles that warm the rider’s hands. Controlled through buttons on the dash.
Heated Thumb Warmers – Small heating pads located near the thumb controls. Also dash controlled.
Heated Seats – Electric heating elements in the seat cushions and seat backs that warm from below. Multiple heat settings.
Heated Steering Wheels – Built-in heating elements in the steering wheel itself, keeping the wheel warm to the touch.
Forced Air Systems – Blowers directed at the rider’s feet and upper body, sometimes with ducts throughout the cabin.
Defrost Fans – Fans specifically directed at the windshield to aid with defogging and frost removal.
So in addition to basic grip and seat warmers, higher-end side by sides may also have more extensive heating systems including heated steering wheels, floorboards, and forced air systems. The most elaborate setups essentially create a full climate controlled cabin.
Benefits of Side by Side Heating Features
Here are some of the major benefits that heating systems provide on side by sides:
– Comfort – Heated seats, grips, and air keep the driver and passengers comfortable in cold weather.
– Warmer Cabin – Forced air fan systems help heat the entire cabin interior.
– Defogging – Quick windshield defogging means better visibility.
– Hand Warming – Heated grips allow riders to comfortably operate controls with gloves.
– No need for layers – Occupants stay warm without bulky jackets/gloves.
– Reduced fatigue – Being cold can accelerate fatigue on long rides.
– Healthier – Warmth reduces the risk of illness from prolonged cold exposure.
So in cold climates, having side by side heating allows driving in comfort and helps maintain good visibility through the windshield. The opportunity to shed layers also improves freedom of movement.
Potential Drawbacks of Side by Side Heating
While heating systems provide obvious benefits in cool weather, there are some potential downsides to consider as well:
– Added cost – Heating packages increase purchase expense, sometimes substantially.
– Complexity – More parts mean more things to potentially fail.
– Power draw – Heating uses extra electrical power, slightly decreasing range.
– Maintenance – Elements and blowers eventually wear out.
– Weather sealing – Ductwork must be properly sealed from water/mud intrusion.
– Excess heat – Can make the cabin uncomfortably hot in warmer weather.
– Limited coverage – Grips and seats alone may not keep entirely warm.
– No cooling – Heating only helps in cold, does nothing for summer heat.
So the main drawbacks are increased cost, complexity, power usage, and potential repair bills down the road. Heating systems also don’t necessarily solve overheating issues in hot climates.
Key Considerations for Choosing Heating Features
If you’re shopping for a side by side and deciding whether heating is worth the additional investment, here are some useful factors to consider:
– Climate – Assess average temperatures in the area where you’ll operate the vehicle. If winters are mild, basic heated seats may suffice. In very cold regions, opt for maximum heating capability.
– Type of use – Frequent long-distance trail riding calls for more complete heating. For shorter recreational trips, grip and seat warmers may be adequate.
– Available power – Models with larger generators and batteries can more easily run heating without draining reserves.
– Added electrical load – Heating draws extra current, so also consider upgrading the alternator if adding heat.
– Rider count – More heating coverage is beneficial on 3+ passenger vehicles.
– Accessories – Roof, windshields, and enclosure accessories help retain interior warmth.
– Budget – Heating adds cost, so factor affordability into the decision. But don’t sacrifice too much comfort to save money either.
Prioritizing your heating needs and matching the heating system capabilities to your specific side by side model and budget is key to making the right choice. Test driving vehicles with different heating setups can also help decide what level is right for you.
Heating Packages and Pricing
Here is an overview of typical pricing for side by side heating packages from major manufacturers:
|Manufacturer||Model||Heating Package||Package Price|
|Polaris||RZR Pro XP||Heated Grips & Thumb Warmers||$199|
|Polaris||RZR Turbo S||Combo Heating Package (Grips, Seats, Steering Wheel)||$849|
|Can-Am||Maverick X3||Comfort Package (Heated Grips & Seats)||$649|
|Yamaha||YXZ1000R SS||Comfort Package (Heated Seats)||$399|
|Honda||Talon 1000R||Heated Grips||$229|
|Kawasaki||Teryx KRX1000||Heated Grips & Seats Package||$699|
As shown, pricing can range from around $200 up to $800+ for more complete heating packages. The cost varies depending on the number of elements included and the level of the vehicle. Entry-level base models tend to have little or no heating available, while high-performance flagship models offer the most heating capabilities.
Carefully factor in the price of heating packages against your budget and needs. In some cases, you may be able to offset the upfront cost by purchasing grip or seat heater kits from aftermarket manufacturers and having them installed later on. This can allow you to test out basic heating for less money initially.
Installing Aftermarket Heating Kits
If you already own a side by side without heat, or are looking for more affordable heating solutions, you can often add grip, seat, and floorboard heating aftermarket via third party kits. For example:
– Kolpin Stronghold – Offers heated grips, steering wheels, seats, and more for side by sides. Prices from around $150.
– TracTuff – Sells grip, seat, and thumb warmer kits for side by side models. Packages start under $200.
– Wolverine – Provides heavy duty heated grips made specifically for UTV applications. Retail for $150 per pair.
Professional installation is recommended for aftermarket kits, as proper electrical hookup and mounting is crucial. But going the aftermarket route can allow you to inexpensively trial side by side heating before you commit to a full factory system. Just make sure to choose good quality components designed for UTV use.
While not always standard, heating and climate control features are definitely available on a wide variety of popular side by side models. The level of heating ranges from basic grip and seat warmers on base models, up to forced air systems and fully enclosed cabins on premium side by sides.
Adding heat certainly increases cost, complexity, and electrical load. But for cold weather operation, the benefits of having heat likely outweigh the drawbacks for most owners. Carefully choose the right heating features for your specific conditions and needs. And if buying used or adding heat aftermarket, make sure to research component quality and have professional installation. With the right heating setup, you can drive your side by side in comfort even on cold days.