When looking for a new piece of gear to add to your collection of off-road vehicles, it’s always worth knowing exactly what your options are. For example, one of the most common questions that people ask when gearing up (whether for recreational or agricultural purposes) is: “what’s the difference between ATVs and UTVs?” Is one distinctly better than the other? What are they typically used for? And which is the safest vehicle of the two?
In this article, we’re going to put the two against one another and clearly outline their pros, cons, and what makes them unique. Let’s get stuck into it!
ATV Vs. UTV
What does ATV mean?
So, what does ATV actually mean? ATV stands for “all-terrain vehicle”. An ATV is also commonly referred to as a “quad”, “quadbike”, and a “four-wheeler”. These vehicles are designated for single riders, although a single passenger can sit behind the driver.
What does UTV mean?
And what about UTV? What does it mean? UTV stands for “utility task vehicle”. These vehicles are designed to accommodate side-by-side riding, with a driver and a passenger (aka SXS driving).
What Is an ATV used for?
So, what are ATVs used for? You may be surprised to learn that ATVs actually have a very wide range of uses. They’re quite often used for recreational uses, utilised for off-road and dirt road applications, however, they are also used by farmers for getting around from one field to another with relative speed and ease. Other surprising uses include:
- Snow ploughing: snow plough attachments can be fitted to the front.
- Weed killing: weed killer dispensers can be attached to the rear of the ATV.
- Hauling camping gear: if you’d rather not carry all of your camping gear into the great unknown, an ATV can be highly useful.
- Towing: some ATVs can be accessorised with winches which are perfect for towing heavy equipment and pulling other ATVs out of the dirt when they’re stuck.
- Hunting: some professional hunters have been known to utilise ATVs with trailers for hauling back big game.
- Ploughing fields: while you’re likely always better off with a tractor, ATVs can be used for ploughing smaller spaces, such as gardens.
- Mowing lawns: you can even get lawn mower attachments for your ATVs.
- ATV tours: ATV off-road tours are very common and an excellent way to earn from tourists.
As you can see, ATVs can be used in a wide variety of different ways. The various extensions and attachments are practically endless!
ATVs, while more physically demanding to ride than a UTV, are smaller and much more appropriate for tight spaces and quick turns. This is why they are often used for racing. In any case, they’re perfect for quick solo jobs when off-roading is likely.
What is a UTV used For?
And what about UTVs? What are they commonly used for? UTVs can be utilised to carry out many similar duties to ATVs, however, their size and ‘side-by-side’ riding make them more appropriate for different tasks as well. Here are some examples:
- Feeding livestock: going around a large farm and feeding the various livestock is a time-consuming task and something best not handled on foot. UTVs allow quick and easy transportation, carrying heavy loads of feed and dispersing it at the various feeding stations quickly.
- Ploughing fields
- Spreading seeds and fertiliser: spreader attachments can be added to a UTV to sow seeds and spread fertiliser.
- Cleaning: UTVs can be used to gather all sorts of garbage and debris and then disposed of them with great speed.
- Snow ploughing
Transporting passengers: UTVs are safe and comfortable for multiple passengers, making them excellent for transporting people from A to B. If you have a lot of land which is otherwise difficult to navigate, having a UTV is a godsend.
Clearly, UTVs and ATVs have a great deal of overlap, however, UTVs are less-strenuous to handle. Not only that, but their bulkier frame makes them more appropriate for hauling than their ATV counterparts.
ATV vs UTV: Which is safer?
When it comes to safety, ultimately, the UTV is the safest. This is because they’re larger, they allow multiple passengers, and tend to be more comfortable with either a bench seat or bucket seats. They’re also fitted with a roll-cage which means that if in the event of an accident, you’ll be far less likely to injure yourself.
ATVs on the other hand, are not quite as safe as a UTV. Then again, they do allow more control, so long as you are familiar with the handling and are physically strong enough to use it will. Both vehicles are safe when driven with the necessary care. Additionally, as they’re most often off-road and on private land, there’s no risk of colliding with traffic, etc.
Which is easier to transport? An ATV or a UTV?
As for transporting your vehicle, which one is the easiest to move? Ultimately, it all depends on the type of ramp that you have and the vehicle that you will be loading it onto. With a quality ramp and a decent flatbed, both an ATV and a UTV are similarly easy to transport. However, ATVs are arguably a little bit easier to ride up a ramp. If you would like to be able to easily transport an ATV, you’ll be much better off buying some dedicated Australian-made ATV ramps by SureWeld. These should easily accommodate both an ATV and a UTV without much difficulty – so long as you follow the instructions and take the necessary safety precautions during the loading process.
Overall, ATVs and UTVs are very evenly matched! The only real distinctions between the two are:
- Handling and flexibility
- Number of passengers
- Towing capacity
Both have their own pros and cons, but if you ask us, you just as well go all out and buy yourself one of each. You can never have too many toys!