This past year has brought plenty of new off-road machines to the market, and we’ve had the chance to review all of them.
But which were the most influential of 2019? Let’s take a look back and see which one of the new machines we tested this year will stand the test of time and be regarded as an icon.
5. Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000
Kawasaki jumped into the sport side-by-side world in 2019 with the KRX, though the brand is no stranger to going fast off-road. With the KRX, Kawasaki now competes against the Polaris RZR, Can-Am Maverick X3, Honda Talon, Arctic Cat Wildcat XX and the Yamaha YXZ.
With just over 100 horsepower, the KRX uses naturally aspirated power to charge through the desert, the terrain where this machine feels most comfortable thanks to its large proportions and massive suspension travel numbers.
Yet another brand jumping into the heated sport SxS space is certainly noteworthy, and we’re sure the KRX will be around for years to come.
4. Sea-Doo Spark Trixx
The Sea-Doo Spark is not new for 2019, and neither is the hotter Trixx model. So how did it squeak onto this list? Well of all the PWCs to be released in 2019, the low-cost option from the Canadian brand still makes the biggest waves.
With a starting price of just over $5000 in the US, there is still nothing else out there that can compete on price. The Spark also drove Yamaha to introduce the low-cost EX series, which is relatively affordable, but still starts at about $1K more than the Sea-Doo.
Even Jet Ski introduced a new entry-level model in 2019, though starting at just under $10K it still does not compete on price.
There is no doubt that the Spark has had a big influence on the market around it.
3. HD Off-Roaders
At number three we have the rise of the heavy duty off-road trucks with the new GMC Sierra 2500 AT4 and the Ford Super Duty Tremor. The Ram Power Wagon is still the truck to beat in this world, and GM and Ford have finally stepped up to try.
The difference? Ram is still most committed to off-roading, as can be seen from the Power Wagon’s compromised towing and payload numbers. Ford and GM took a different tack, introducing off-road packages that don’t diminish the amount of hard work these trucks can do.
With the introduction of these new challengers, the heavy duty off-road space is now complete, with an offering from each brand.
2. Honda Talon
The Honda Talon, like the KRX, is a long time coming from a brand with a rich history in off-road. And Honda was ready to roll out an entire lineup.
In 2019 alone, Honda introduced the Talon 1000X and 1000R but didn’t stop there. Just months later, Honda rolled out the four seat Talon models, incorporating FOX live valve shocks into the package. And if the initial power isn’t enough, Honda will sell you a turbocharged model from an official aftermarket company. It was this preparedness that shows that Honda is clearly serious about competing in this world.
Another factor that Honda brings to the off-road world is all of its experience in automotive, which brings with it some unique equipment you can’t find in other side-by-sides. First of all, the dual-clutch transmission is something that no one else offers and it truly is special, firing off shifts that are nearly imperceptible.
That along with systems like hill hold and brake for distribution set the Talon apart in this space.
But still, the biggest deal is simply Honda jumping into the sport side-by-side world with both feet, preparing a full lineup of machines to roll out.
- Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
The return of the Jeep pickup truck to the midsize world was a big deal by itself, but specifically with the Rubicon model, Jeep has made a statement in the truck world.
Mid-size pickups are inherently good at off-roading thanks to their dimensions and weight, and that makes this one of the most competitive segments to play in. And when Jeep enters a new off-road segment, they do it well.
The Gladiator Rubicon takes the off-road recipe from the Wrangler, but it backs it up with real pickup truck credentials, like a 7,000-pound tow rating. Combined with a disconnecting sway bar up front and a hair over 11 inches of ground clearance.
Jeep’s new pickup truck was a safe bet from the start for the brand considering the popularity of both Jeep and trucks, but that didn’t mean that Jeep had to go all out. Thankfully for off-roaders, the brand took their heritage seriously and produced a truck that is incredibly capable for something leaving a dealership floor.