ATV vs UTV: Which One is Best for You?

ATV's vs UTV's

ATV vs UTV: Which Off-Road Vehicle Is Right For Your Needs?

If you’re in the market for a new off-road vehicle but aren’t sure which one is right for you, you’ve come to the right place! ATV’s vs UTV’s might both have four wheels, but they’re pretty different animals when you take a closer look at them.

So let’s take a little dive into the world of off-road vehicles and see what exactly is the difference between ATV’s vs UTV’s. And most importantly, deciding which is the correct vehicle for your needs.

What Makes an ATV vs a UTV?

All Terrain Vehicle

ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle. It is also sometimes called a “quad” or “four-wheeler”, of course referencing the wheels. The tires tend to be filled to a lower pressure than UTV’s or cars. With a little effort and money, you can make your ATV street-legal, but it is really designed to handle many different kinds of outdoor terrain.

Characteristic ATV Features


ATV’s are controlled by a set of handlebars, much like a motorcycle. Similarly, it is also straddled like a motorcycle. It has a smaller body than a UTV and is designed to handle more acutely in dicey situations.


Most ATV’s are designed for a single rider, although there are double-seaters as well. If you prefer to ride alone or to test your skills against other riders, the ATV might be the right choice for you.


All motor vehicles are made safer by following safety guidelines. This means wearing proper protective gear such as helmets and gloves. However, ATV’s are generally a little less safe than UTV’s. According to data published by the National Trauma Data Bank, ATV’s are more dangerous than dirtbikes and about as dangerous as motorcycles.

No matter what vehicle you choose, it is extremely important to get one with an engine and size that meets your physical size and handling abilities so as to ensure optimum safety.

rip it up on your ATV


ATV’s are mainly used for recreation, sport, and for getting through a tighter situation than a UTV can handle. Professional uses for ATV’s include farming, land surveying, emergency medical services and many more.

ATV vs UTV Advantages

The biggest factor for some people is money, and if that is your deciding factor, an ATV is probably right for you. Quads are generally cheaper than UTV’s, although this can vary, of course. Remember, when factoring out your costs you always need to think of additional costs, like safety gear and insurance.

What Makes a UTV vs an ATV?

Utility Task Vehicle

The acronym UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle. It is often called a “side by side”, and written as SXS for shorthand. UTV’s are the workhorse of the off-road vehicle world and are built to be tougher, sturdier, and more stable than an ATV.

Characteristic UTV Features


While an ATV is very much akin to a motorcycle, UTV’s are much more like a car. They are controlled by a steering wheel. They are not always made for the most extreme terrains but are fully capable of handling them, depending on how your UTV is set up.


Seating in UTV’s tend to be one of two styles. Most use either bench seats or bucket seats. UTV’s were designed with more than one rider in mind (hence side by side). SXS’s are usually 2 or 4 seaters, but there are also 6 seaters available, and they usually have some sort of storage compartment for additional belongings, tools, etc.


One of the best safety features on the UTV is the ROPS or Roll Over Protective System. In layman’s terms, it refers to the roll-cage overhead. Many of the reported injuries from ATV’s vs UTV’s are caused by rolling the vehicle over. This UTV roll cage provides the extra protection on top to keep you from being crushed or flung across the field like a rag doll.

Other safety features include seat belts, a windshield, and lights on the front and back of the vehicle. If you want to get an off-road vehicle to safely enjoy with your family, the UTV might be the right choice.

rip it up on your UTV... with friends aboard!


They don’t call it a utility vehicle for nothin’! One of the biggest differences between ATV’s vs UTV’s is that there is ample storage space. One of the main uses of UTV’s has always been agricultural. However, they are now more often popping up in different environments. It isn’t uncommon to see them at schools to transport athletic equipment or by landscapers to transport tools.

UTV vs ATV Advantages

There are a few deciding factors that might make the UTV a better option for what you need. It’s a better option for riding safely with friends and family on the same vehicle. The extra storage space also makes it superior for hauling and transporting. While it might be more expensive than an ATV (on average), it’s pretty well justified in the additional safety features and uses as a tool in your arsenal.

Deciding on the Best Utility Vehicle For You: ATV’s vs UTV’s

which is best? the ATV's vs UTV's?

While an ATV might be more geared towards fun than work, it can get some heavy-duty jobs done, too! Similarly, UTV’s are designed to be your workhorse, but they can also be used for fun. There are so many different modifications that can be made and activities that you can use both kinds of vehicles for.

Both ATV’s and UTV’s have their strengths and weaknesses, however. Hopefully, this outline of some of the bigger differences of an ATV’s vs UTV’s will help you choose which vehicle is right for you and your own needs.
If you want some additional information on ATV’s vs UTV’s, what they’re used for, and how they work, make sure to check out our blog for all sorts of interesting and informative articles!

adventure time  ATV's vs UTV's!

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