What is a UTV?
UTV stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle. Some also call it a Utility Task Vehicle. More frequently, UTVs are being referred to as side-by-sides since the passenger sits on the side of the driver, rather than behind. UTVs are typically larger than ATVs, are operated by a steering wheel rather than handlebars, and have gas and brake pedals. Most UTVs also come equipped with a roll bar or cage.

For us long-time ATV enthusiasts, UTVs or side-by-sides are a relatively new phenomenon.  They are becoming more and more popular and new types are becoming more common.  With that in mind, I figured I should nail down what exactly classifies as a UTV.

What is a UTV? UTV stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle.  Some also call it a Utility Task Vehicle.  More frequently, UTVs are being referred to as side-by-sides since the passenger sits on the side of the driver, rather than behind.  UTVs are typically larger than ATVs, are operated by a steering wheel rather than handlebars, and have gas and brake pedals. Most UTVs also come equipped with a roll bar or cage. Find Polaris UTV Parts online

What Are the Differences Between an Atv and Utv?

ATVs are very similar-that’s why we dedicated this site to both ATVs and UTVs.  That being said, there are some pretty significant differences that differentiate a UTV or side by side from an ATV.  We are just going to hit them below in bullet points for convenience. UTVs are typically designed to carry more passengers.  While some larger ATVs can carry a passenger, most models are designed for a single person.  On the other hand, almost every UTV is designed to carry at least two people, and many models have rear seats to carry four people total.

UTVs typically offer more carrying space.  Many UTVs have a dedicated bed in the back to haul things, but other UTVs typically have at least some dedicated hauling space as opposed to an ATV which usually has little more than a small rack, unless you add rear cargo. UTVs are generally much more customizable than ATVs.  Add on wheels, suspensions, lights and so much more allow you to dump lots of moneys in customizing a UTV.  While you can customize an ATV, your options are pretty limited.

UTVs are controlled by a steering wheel as opposed to handlebars.  Because of this, they tend to be much easier to drive and don’t differ too much from driving a car or truck. UTVs have gas and brake pedals much like a car rather than the brake lever and throttle used by most quads.  This is another things that makes them easier to drive for a new user familiar with driving a car. UTVs are almost always equipped with a roll bar or cage to protect the inhabitants if the UTV rolls over. Most UTVs have seat belts whereas ATVs don’t really have a possibility to make that an option.

Who Should Buy a UTV Instead of an ATV?

There is a reason the popularity of side-by-sides is rapidly increasing.  For a lot of people, they simply make more sense. People for whom a UTV is going to be preferable to an ATV include the following:

Inexperienced riders who will be more comfortable with familiar operating controls like a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals.

Those not capable of the more physically-demanding style of riding required by an ATV. Riding quads can give your body a beating. They take more strength and balance to control and are also going to be a little more jarring on your body going over bumps.  For those that need a little softer ride, a side-by-side is an excellent option.

Those that need a more utilitarian work vehicle. UTVs tend to be, surprise, more utilitarian than ATVs.  In addition to higher payload capacities, UTVs usually have more storage room to haul around whatever equipment you may need.  Additionally, the more comfortable ride of a UTV can be helpful during a long day of work.

Those that want to carry passengers will have a greater capability with a UTV.  This is really exciting for families with younger children. In addition to kids not being able to keep up safely on rough trails if they are riding ATVs, buying four or five ATVs can get awfully expensive, whereas you can find a UTV to fit the whole family.