If you want to know what is an UTV vs ATV, the most distinct difference is that UTVs all have a roll cage, seat belts, and little half doors. You will never see an ATV with a roof or bars over the driver.
The other major difference is that UTVs can seat two or even four passengers and whereas an ATV seats one. Other than those obvious differences, both ATVs and UTVs are purpose-built all-terrain vehicles.
The UTV has more utility and more use cases, but they also cost more money.
UTV: The Swiss Army Knife of Vehicles
UTV stands for utility task vehicle or utility terrain vehicle, but people refer to them by many names: side-by-side, Razor, Zoom Zoom, the Can Am, Buggy, Mini Trophy, Fun Machine, Money Pit, or Expensive Piece of S**t. Just like people refer to their jet ski as “Sea Doo.”
There are more ways to use a UTV than you might think. You can simply haul two to four people off-road at up to 85 miles per hour, or you can opt to have a mini truck bed on the back of your UTV and have a little farm truck.
In some places, you can even install a windshield, turn signals, and a license plate on your UTV and drive it on the road. A UTV can pull a small trailer if needed.
The UTV is most commonly used by farmers and hunters, though hunters may prefer an ATV due to its smaller size as you can fit one in the bed of a truck.
ATV: All-Terrain Vehicle
ATV also known as a quad or four-wheeler is used just like a dirt bike only it has four wheels and takes up more space in the bed of your truck or trailer.
ATVs steer and drive similar to a dirt bike as well as having the same handlebars. It’s primarily used as an off-road recreational vehicle.
They used to even make a three-wheeler, but those were outlawed for being complete death traps. ATVs like UTV can be used as just a fun off-road vehicle for one person, or they do have some utility.
ATVs can be fitted with a rack on the back or front, so you can tie down a gear or a dead animal. You can still pull a small motorcycle or lawn mower trailer behind an ATV.
They can also reach speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, however, ATVs have no safety features so better make sure you have health insurance before taking off on one.
Also Read: Different Types of ATV Storage Ideas
What Is An UTV Vs ATV: The Differences Explained
ATVs are not quite as safe as UTVs.
On an ATV there are no seatbelts, no doors, and no roll cage. It’s recommended that you wear a motorcycle helmet and gloves on an ATV or if you are racing in a UTV.
Both vehicles are prone to roll over in a crash, but ATVs are much more dangerous in a roll-over crash as they are likely to roll on top of the rider.
ATVs are even more dangerous than dirt bikes for this reason. If a dirt bike rolls over you, you’re likely to get a bruise. If an ATV rolls on top of you, you are looking at broken bones or worse.
UTVs are typically more expensive than stock ATVs, but this makes sense when you consider all the extra features like two, four, maybe even six seats, roll-cage, seat belts, windshield as well as the many customizations like four-wheel independent suspensions, power-steering, lightbars or spotlights.
Although both the ATV and the UTV can be modified for performance, those UTV modifications are usually more expensive.
You should include safety gear and accessories such as helmets, protective clothing, gloves, riding boots, and loading ramps when budgeting for your off-road vehicle.
If this necessary safety equipment puts you over budget, you should wait and save up before making your purchase.
Everyone knows about Motocross and dirt bike racing, but you may not realize UTV racing is the off-road proving grounds for amateur racers hoping to one-day race trophy trucks or Baja 1000.
Even if you never make it to the big leagues, UTV racing is a growing worldwide sport that doesn’t require as much money as say trophy trucks.
Choosing Between A UTV and ATV
There are advantages and disadvantages to both vehicles.
If you are not short on money and safety features and functionality are important to you the UTV is going to be your best option. On the other hand, if you are young, dumb, and full of fun an ATV is a solid option.