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ATV vs UTV: Which is Right For You?

ATV vs UTV: Which is Right For You?

Off-roading is a sport or activity that involves driving a vehicle on rough terrains or tracks. It can be beaches, riverbeds, mountainside, mud, snow, or boulders. It’s either off-roaders love the scenery or they love the challenge others would not dare to try – or it could be both. If you are on the adventurous side and driving through natural terrains gives you thrill and excitement, you might question what is the best motor vehicle for it. There are lots of off-road vehicles available in the market today, even some of the larger SUVs are now equipped with off-road capabilities. If you want a full off-road experience, you can opt for the heavy-duty ATV vs UTV. They’re not just fun to drive, they are also capable of doing heavy-duty tasks like plowing, hauling, and towing. While they both can work on all types of terrain, the ATV and UTV have quite a number of distinctions. Let’s go through each of them one by one that can help you decide which one is right for you.

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ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle. It is also commonly referred to as Quad or Four-Wheelers. As its name implies, it can be used on all kinds of terrains. May it be snow, mud puddles, rocks, and uneven surfaces, the ATV drives like a pro. 



  • ATVs are more affordable than the UTVs. If you are buying an off-road vehicle on a budget. ATV will be the best choice. 
  • It is lightweight and smaller which makes it efficient to move around. You can easily tow it if you want to bring it to your camping trips or escapades. 
  • It is great for trails that have tight spaces and sharp turns. It is agile and can handle quick maneuvers. Sports ATVs can also take on jumps. 
  • It is ideal for racing and trail riding as some types of ATVs have been designed for high-performance riding. 
  • ATVs can also be used for utility work. Some ATVs are made for tasks such as towing heavy loads, plowing snow, and winching.
  • ATVs are also being used in agriculture and forestry since they can easily access and navigate unpaved terrains. You might also see some law enforcements or some search and rescue operators in remote areas using ATVs.  



  •  ATVs are more physically demanding to ride as you have to straddle the seat and maintain its balance since it is ridden like a motorcycle with its handlebar steering. 
  • ATVs do not have safety equipment like the UTV does. If you want to ensure your safety, you will have to wear some protective gear like a helmet, boots, and gloves.
  • If you love being with a company and you usually ride with passengers, then ATV won’t be the right one for you. It is designed for single-rider use but there are also other types of ATVs that can accommodate up to two people. 



The UTV or Utility Task Vehicle is a larger motor vehicle that is made for specialized work than recreational purposes. It is also commonly known as a side by side or SxS. It is ridden like a car with steering wheels and pedals for the brakes and gas unlike the ATVs’ handlebars. 



  • UTVs can accommodate more people. The front seats can make room for 2 to 3 passengers. There are also UTVs that have second-row seats that make room for more passengers. It is ideal for family or friends’ gatherings and adventures. 
  • It comes with safety equipment such as seatbelts, a roll cage, and side webbing. A UTV also has comfortable seats compared to an ATV.  
  • Easy to use steering. 
  • Most UTVs offer a storage space where you can pack your gear and other stuff. Some also have optional beds for loading cargos.
  • It has a larger size that makes it ideal for specialized work. UTVs are mostly used in farming and construction. It can be used to haul equipment, transport large cargo, and tow trailers and other vehicles that need to be towed.
  • UTVs can handle rough, unpredictable terrains and nonexistent tracks effortlessly. 
  • Lots of available customizations. 



  • UTV is more expensive than an ATV. 
  • It is not capable of quick and sharp turns like the ATV. It is bigger in size so it has a bigger turning radius as well making it harder to maneuver than the ATV.  
  • Because of its larger size, UTVs can’t go to as many locations as the ATV. 
  • The UTV’s roll cage might feel cramped for taller passengers. 


Other than recreational purposes, the ATV and UTV are also being used in a lot of areas or situations. Some of the examples have been mentioned above. There are other uses and specializations the ATVs and UTVs do, but which one does it best?  


ATV vs UTV for Farming

For larger farms, accessing every corner of it will be easier if you have the right vehicle. Farm vehicles need to be reliable, efficient and practical. Now, if you are asking which is better for farming, ATV or UTV? The answer really depends on how you intend to use it. 



  • ATVs do not take much space in your barn because of its smaller size. It is easy to drive and has a low fuel consumption. It is versatile and compact. You can easily look after your estate or farm with it, driving on every corner to inspect it. It can be used for spraying, towing, feeding, and more. One of its disadvantages is that it can’t really protect you from the weather. Its minimal cargo capacity doesn't help much either. It also has to be driven safely since it can tip over and does not have any safety features and equipment. 
  • UTVs on the other hand are generally larger than the ATVs. It can make room for up to six people and it also has a generous load-carrying capacity. UTV can protect you from the weather with its ability to add sunshade and an optional cab. With its automotive-style seats, you will be more comfortable driving around your property. Its seatbelts, rollover cage, and side webbing also ensures your safety. Its disadvantages include higher costs than the ATV. It also has a larger footprint and a turning radius. 



ATV vs UTV for Hunting

Hunters and gamekeepers have already been using the ATVs and UTVs for hunting purposes. While there are unlimited possibilities in using these types of vehicles, choosing one that fits for you is a tough call. 


  • Modern ATVs have increased power, capacity, and maneuverability that are capable of providing your hunting needs. Most ATVs today have rear racks that can hold around 200 pounds of cargo. It’s good for carrying your gear and tools. The ATV’s smaller size is also an advantage as you can fit it in the bed of your truck or load them on trailers. ATVs have widths of under 50 inches making it easier to fit and drive through on some areas that the UTV cannot. You can easily maneuver it and travel the trails with ease. If you are a lone hunter, then an ATV will be a good choice. 
  • UTVs are known to be tough machines that can take you and a decent amount of gear and tools with you anywhere. You can bring the party with you as it can accommodate more riders. You can bring along your hunting buddies. UTVs are wide, large, and heavy so make sure that a winch is readily available as you will need it when you get stuck somewhere. 


ATV vs UTV for Plowing Snow

Time flies and winter will be here before you know it. As early as now, one has to decide which is better in snow plowing between the ATV and the UTV. Although both works just fine, the determining factors in choosing the best vehicle for you will be the size of the place, the amount of power you will need, and how long you will spend plowing. You can purchase snow plows that you can attach to your ATV or UTV, depending on what you choose. 


ATV will be the best choice when 

  • you have a limited budget. 
  • you are not anticipating much snow or live in a place that experiences just mild winters. It is also great for dry, light, and fluffy snow. It won’t matter how deep the fluffy snow is, the ATV can handle it well. But when it comes to those wet and heavy ones, the ATV can only handle a couple of inches of that type of snow. 
  • you are plowing areas that will need you to drive through tight spots and around corners. ATVs work best with small plowing tasks on places like sidewalks, small driveways and camping trails. 
  • you have a limited space for parking. 


UTV will be the best choice when

  • you need to plow for a long period of time. If plowing is your business, UTV will be the best option for you. The enclosed and heated cab of the UTV and its comfortable seats also works well when plowing for a certain period. It can protect you from the elements while you’re working. 
  • you are expecting heavy snowfall in your area. Heavy plowing and lifting requires much power from your vehicle. UTV has a bigger engine which means it can give more power and traction which is essential in plowing steep terrains and longer driveways or parking lots. 
  • you need to tug something heavy to transport snow such as a dump trailer. The extra cargo space of the UTV can also provide a lot of room for your extra gears and tools. You can also attach lights to it  when you’re working on night shifts.


Are ATVs and UTVs Safe?

While UTV are usually safer than the ATV with its seatbelts and roll cage, that doesn’t mean that you can totally forget all the safety precautions and practices. The ATV and the UTV have a strong appeal to both the old and the young since recreational activities or adventures are quite popular today. As fun as driving these vehicles are, there are some factors that make it dangerous especially for the kids. Adults have been warned to not let the children drive these powerful vehicles or allow them to ride one without adult supervision. You can check your state’s laws to know the minimum age requirement to drive an ATV or UTV. Always make sure that you are wearing safety gears when you go for a drive or ride, even when driving UTVs. It is already given that driving on extreme terrains is a dangerous sport, but driving these off-road vehicles on cement, asphalt, and other paved surfaces is not safe too. They are prone to tipping over and their tires sometimes don’t grip onto paved surfaces properly. They also lack other features for safety driving like proper lighting and turn signals. It is best to know the limits or restrictions of your ATV or UTV vehicle. When using an ATV, do not let a passenger ride with you if your ATV is only built for a single-rider. If you do, it’ll be harder for you to control and shift your weight when driving. You can also learn the ATV hand signals to help you communicate with other riders on the trail. In driving UTVs, always keep in mind that UTV doesn’t work like an ATV. It is larger than an ATV and it does not have the same smooth maneuvering. During the ride, make sure that you keep your hands, legs and head inside the UTV. Also, do not overload it with passengers. If the UTV has available seats for six people, then it should only have six people. No passengers should sit in the cargo space.


ATVs and UTVs are fun to have if used in a right way. It could help us with our lives’ adventures and sweet escapes. It can also help us with our utility tasks. Always remember to do some research, learn how to use these off-road vehicles first by taking some hands-on safety training course before embarking on an off-road adventure.