Investing in an off-road vehicle is a big step, so you want to be sure you’re getting the right machine. Let’s look at the differences between an ATV vs. UTV and see which vehicle you might prefer!
These two machines often get tossed into the same “off-road vehicle” category, but there are still some defining differences between them.
So what are the main characteristics of an ATV vs. UTV?
If you want to know more about these machines, check out our in-depth look at what defines a side-by-side.
These beasts are ideal for solo journeys across sand, over rocks, or through the trails. Here, we lay out some of the best and worst parts of owning an ATV.
Whether you’re chasing thrills on the trails or getting work done around the farm, a side-by-side is a solid investment. Check out what we think are the top pros and cons of owning one of these machines.
Due to their smaller size, ATVs can maneuver through tighter spaces. This makes it easy to go off path for rougher riding. Their small build makes them more popular in racing because they’re better suited for jumps and tight cornering. Four wheelers are also more physically demanding—you have to straddle the seat, utilize hand controls, and keep your balance all at once. Depending on the person, that type of challenge might be a good thing.
UTVs, on the other hand, are larger machines. You won’t be able to squeeze through the same tight spaces that you could in a quad, but a larger vehicle means more comfort. SxS vehicles are also more easily customizable. You’ve got plenty of options for upgrading with aftermarket parts and accessories. And if you’re looking at sport models, UTVs tend to have higher top speeds than most ATVs.
By design, UTVs offer more protection than four wheelers. You’re surrounded by a roll cage and, in some instances, doors and windshields. You also have seatbelts to keep you from being ejected in case of a wreck.
ATVs, on the other hand, offer little protection outside of any safety gear you’re wearing. That’s not all bad, though—the open design means you can jump off if things start to go south.
No matter which vehicle you choose—UTV vs. ATV—you can up the safety factor by wearing the right gear and riding responsibly. Check out this article for more tips on safe riding.
By now, you’ve probably realized the main draw of off-road vehicles—they’re pretty dang fun. But did you know there are countless other benefits to having one of these machines in your garage?
Keep in mind, these are only some of the most common uses for an ATV or UTV. Basically, if it’s an activity that takes place outdoors, there’s a way for your quad or side-by-side to make it better.
There are a lot of characteristics of each vehicle that we can’t really deem positives or negatives, because it truly comes down to your personal preference and what you intend to use the vehicle for. Here are some of those factors.
Whether you go for a smaller or larger vehicle is really up to you. If you ride where quick turns are prevalent, an ATV would be a good choice. But if you want to haul more (be it cargo or people), UTVs might be for you.
Where you live can play a role in what kind of machine you should get. If all of your buddies have ATVs and you want to join in their off-road shenanigans, you may as well get the same type of vehicle. On the other hand, if side-by-sides are common in your area, it would make sense to shop for one of those.
Each machine offers a totally unique feeling. ATVs are more open, so you’ll feel full airflow and more connected with the outdoors no matter where you ride. UTVs still let you experience the outdoors, and a good amount of airflow (especially if you’re driving without a windshield, roof, or doors), but you’ll feel more protected and closed in.
As you can see, a lot of thought should go into your decision to purchase an ATV vs. UTV. Some of the main things to consider are what you’ll use it for, where you’ll ride, and what kind of experience you’re after.
If answering these questions doesn’t help you come to a conclusion, try them both out for yourself and see what you’re more comfortable in. And heck, if you still can’t decide, just buy one of each! Your wallet might not appreciate it, but we guarantee you will.