When making weighty life decisions, it’s important to be aware of all of your options, and adding a new toy to your arsenal of off-road vehicles is no exception. A common question people have when looking for a new off-road toy is “ what’s the difference between an ATV and a UTV? ” While both have their benefits, there are a few distinctions that may sway your opinion when you decide to purchase.
An ATV (all-terrain vehicle) is also known as “quad” or “four wheeler” and is meant for single-riders. A UTV (utility task vehicle) tends to be beefier and allows for “side-by-side” riding, which is why some simply call it a “side by side” or “SXS” for short.
The ATV is smaller than the UTV, and is often better for tight spaces and quick turns (thus why these machines are used for racing). ATVs tend to be more physically demanding to ride, as you need to straddle the seat and maintain balance for optimum control. But if you prefer to ride solo, they are also a lot of adrenaline-pumping fun!
On the other hand, if you prefer to ride with others and if you have safety in the forefront of your mind, the UTV would be your best bet. Since UTVs are larger, they allow you to ride with multiple passengers and tend to be more comfortable due to their automobile-style bench or bucket seats and roll-cage-like enclosure. The UTV’s larger physique is also beneficial because it is designed to haul, and most UTVs come with storage space which offers a reasonable way to pack your gear.
When it comes to cost, a stock ATV is typically less expensive than a UTV, but this makes sense when you consider the added safety features (i.e., roll-cage, seat belts, windscreen) not to mention the many modifications that can be made. While both the ATV and the UTV can be modified for performance, popular UTV modifications (e.g., four-wheel independent suspension, power-steering, specialty lighting) tend to carry a heavier price tag.
When budgeting for your off-road vehicle, make sure to factor in safety gear and accessories like helmets, protective clothing, gloves, heavy-duty boots and loading ramps for ease of transportation. If these necessary safety equipment puts you over budget, you should wait and save up before making your purchase.
Ultimately, the vehicle you choose has to be right for you. If you prefer to ride alone, want to save some money, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of riding a vehicle capable of high speeds and nimble maneuvers, the ATV is right up your alley.
However, if you need a vehicle with more functionality, the ability to safely haul more people as well as more gear, and if you like the idea of being able to customize your ride’s wheels, light kit, and suspension, then the UTV will suit you just fine.
Regardless of which type of off road vehicle you choose, you’re sure to have a blast whizzing down trails, ripping over dunes and adventuring in the outdoors! Have fun and be safe!