Rhino or Ranger: Which One Is Best?

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I am 55 years old and want to buy a side-x-side. My son who owns a Rhino says there’s no other side-x-side like it.

I have property to work and I like to go off road and hunt in the BC interior. I’ve been looking at the Polaris Browning Special Edition, but my son says his Rhino will out climb any Polaris.

He says claims his Rhino can go into complete 4×4 when he wants, but says the Ranger can’t. Is this true and can this get me into trouble in the bush?

Please help. I’ll await your reply before I buy.




Hi Randy,

Thanks for your question and for trusting us with the answer. We take questions like this very seriously from our viewers.

I’ve read your e-mail over a couple times and taken all the information you’ve given me into account and here’s what I’ve come up with.

First, a Polaris DOES spin all 4 wheels… True 4X4 when you select 4X4. It doesn’t have a traditional “diff lock” like a Rhino but it has locking clutches inside the wheel hubs that, when in 4X4, lock solid when a 5mph difference is detected between the front and rear wheels. Basically, when you select 4X4 and the rear wheels spin, BOTH front wheels lock solid.

It doesn’t happen when you push the button like it does on a Rhino, but it does happen and in all our testing we’ve NEVER felt like the polaris lacks any traction or that this system is in any way inferior to any other system.

If you’re considering a polaris you’d be looking at a Ranger, which is a FANTASTIC utility ATV – especially the HD model.

The downside to these vehicles is that they are more focused on the utility side of the market. They are good on the trail, but a Rhino is better. With that said, a Ranger is a better utility vehicle than a Rhino.

Other options include Kawaski Teryx. Its a HUGE vehicle, but more sporty than a ranger although similar size. Bigger than a rhyno but similar in sport/utility style.

Then there’s an Arctic Cat Prowler. It does covers both sport and utility and offers unique features like a flat deck version or the 1000cc Baja version. They are super tall and feel more tippy than the others so that’s something that needs to be considered.

As far as climbing, there are few things that effect a side-x-sides ability to climb.

First, center of gravity. The polaris Ranger has the lowest CG of any side by side. Basically the weight is carried lower so when you climb a hill it doesn’t feel like its going to tip over. Its also much wider so it doesn’t feel like it will tip over sideways as easily. I’ve tested this theory on many occasions.

The last thing to consider is your local dealer. If you have a Yamaha dealer close by it might be better to go with a Rhino. If your polaris dealer is closer, or a better dealer then go that route. Honestly, with what you plan to do you’d be fine with either.

I hope this helps. Please let me know what you end up choosing. I always like to hear how my answers have helped our viewers.

Luke Lester
DirtTrax Television

Luke is the Host of DirtTrax Television and can be seen weekly on OLN in Canada and Outdoor Channel across the United States.

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