UTV vs ATV: Which One Is Best For You


UTV vs ATV. What is the difference? Which will suit your needs? Are UTVs or ATVs safe? What is the cost difference? These questions are still hot gossip in the market. With no consensus, this debate is perpetual even today. Both come with merits and demerits. What really matters is what purpose you want to use this machine for. In this article, we are going to analyze them both and draw a comparative analysis. After reading this guide, you will surely be able to decide which suits best to your requirements. Let’s begin with defining both; ATV and UTV.



ATV is a short form for an all-terrain vehicle. It is a machine that features handlebar steering, straddle seating position, and the ability to maneuver through harsh and tough terrains. Although various modifications and customizations are available, all ATVs come with these specs.



ATV Characteristics

Below are the main characteristics of an ATV.

  • Seating Capacity: ATVs are for single riders only.
  • Wheels: These machines accompany four legs. The US government has banned the sale of three-wheeled ATVs since 1988.
  • Steering: operators use handlebars to steer and a twist throttle or thumb to decelerate and accelerate.
  • Speed: ATVs can touch the highest speed of 85 mph.
  • Cabin: Four-wheeler ATVs are usually open-topped vehicles. However, cab enclosures are also available.



The full name of this vehicle is Utility Terrain Vehicles. Mostly, people use them for work, and adventurous use is seldom. They are also built for this purpose as well. Compared to an ATV, a UTV is more powerful and can accommodate passengers side by side. Moreover, they also have a lot of storage space. They are exclusively used to transport things where the challenging terrain makes commuting difficult for other vehicles.



UTV Characteristics

Following is the list of its characteristics:

  • Seating Capacity: Unlike ATVs, utility task vehicles has space for more than one person. Typically, it has the capacity for up to 4 persons. 
  • Steering: Driving a UTV resembles driving a car. It features foot pedals and a steering wheel to accelerate and decelerate. 
  • Cabin: These vehicles are equipped with bars and a cabin, further adding protection. 
  • Wheels: Like ATVs, UTVs also come with four wheels. However, they have more than four wheels for specific purposes. 
  • Speed: Although a UTV can touch the speed of 85 mph, it is slower than an ATV. 

Let’s now differentiate between a UTV and ATV.

UTV vs ATV: The Difference


Some of the most common parts where UTVs differ from ATVs are:

Operational Use

What purpose do you want to use these machines primarily differentiates between the two? ATVs can accommodate only one person. While UTVs have the capacity for up to 4 persons. Furthermore, the former is lighters and smaller than the latter, which makes them convenient to maneuver. On the other hand, utility vehicles can haul and handle a weight of up to 3000 pounds.

Fuel Power

What type of oil they drink also differs. UTVs use an electric or diesel engine. On the other hand, a maneuverable vehicle uses a traditional gasoline engine. Although gasoline engines are inexpensive to repair and maintain, they are also less efficient. On the other hand, it does not cost you much to repair and maintain a diesel and electric engine. Further, their efficiency is also better than that of gasoline engines.


The tools that come with these machines create a difference between them. ATVs usually are equipped with a plow, storage box, and a winch. On the other hand, UTVs come with a windshield, winch, and roll cage.

Difference Of Suspension

The way ATVs and UTVs are suspended also makes a difference between them. The suspension system of all-terrain vehicles is designed for one person only. In comparison, utility vehicles feature a system that is suitable for more than one person. Besides that, the agility of former machines comes from their shorter wheelbase. When it comes to UTVs, they are stable because of the longer wheelbase.

Determining Factors While Choosing Between A UTV vs ATV

Whether you should purchase a utility vehicle or an all-terrain, consider the following factors before making your decision.

  • Your operational use
  • Your skill level
  • Budget
  • Solo ride or a group ride
  • Condition of the trail

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Concluding Remarks

Both ATVs and UTVs come with positive and negative points. Your preferences and needs determine which one is best for you. You should base your purchasing decision on your requirements. Let your primary plan to use them and comfort level in operating them be deciding factors for your purchase.

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