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ATV vs UTV: How do you choose?

ATV vs UTV: How do you choose?

If you’ve been looking for that extra hand around the job site or maybe the family farm, then you’ve undoubtedly searched through the current offerings of off-road vehicles more commonly known as ATVs or UTVs. There are plenty of machines in both of these categories that are very capable of handling working duties and some more than others. Let’s not forget that they can be very fun to ride on your own adventure during the off days as well. However, when trying to find that specific tool that will fill the shop and be both profitable as well as fun to ride with family as the weekend comes, you must ask yourself some serious questions. Here are a few topics to really get your mind to work on finding that one budget-friendly machine so you don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse.

First, let’s take a look at the budget you might be setting aside for the purchase. You really need to look closely at what you have to spend and think about adding to that budget or saving it for the right machine. ATVs are the lessor when it comes to money spent and the UTV, although it’s a bit more spendy, can be purchased for not much more than the largest displacement ATV. Speaking of popular and reliable name brand machines only, ATVs will range from a modest $5,500 to almost $10,000 in cost. This range will yield you a quality working rig, but quality UTV options can also be bought into for just over the $10,000 mark and up. You owe it to yourself to study your budget and find that sweet spot that doesn’t hurt when you sign on the dotted line.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of both the ATV and UTV. Starting with the ATV, we know that it has a smaller footprint and is much easier to haul. Most will fit in the bed of a pick-up truck, and when it comes to the trails or getting around on a job site, this machine just seems to fit better. Power from an ATV engine is moderately limitless as some have an incredible 100 hp. You can haul a trailer with most ATVs and some even have stunning tow ratings, reaching an astonishing 1,500 lbs., or slightly over. They are impressive for sure.

Here’s some food for thought, though. The cons for the ATV are its limits for the larger scale working world. You have a specific cargo capacity for the front and rear racks, sometimes totaling a meager 225 lbs. However, carrying heavy loads on ATV racks can create uncomfortable driving conditions for someone who is not yet ready for how the machine will react during cornering as well as starting and stopping. Some may need additional skill training to become proficient when it comes to working loads with an ATV. Most ATVs only carry one rider with a limited selection of two-up machines in the market.

Looking at the world of the UTV, you see not only a decent price hike for a multi-passenger rig but with that you get so much more workability and free time enjoyment as most will carry two or more passengers. UTVs have several ups and downs respectively and some would consider price, size of the machine, the need of a trailer to haul the majority of these machines, as well as the overall larger footprint around the trail or job site to be just a few. These few issues are somewhat easily overcome, except for pricing, as the value that a UTV adds to completing the workload is immeasurable. You will need a good tow vehicle as well as a trailer but let’s look at the good side of this coin. You get vehicles that will haul from two to six occupants, tow up to an impressive 2,000 lbs., carry up to a full pallet of 1,000 lbs. in the steel cargo beds and just a very universal platform for a plethora of tasks. Not to mention only UTVs come in both gas or diesel engine platforms. All of these items come together to make a great case for themselves. Let’s be honest here, it’s a tough choice.

Tip: If you are unsure of which direction to go, and know of someone who has either type of machine, maybe take a ride, join friends or colleagues in their machines to experience both the ATV and UTV.

In closing, I just want to leave you with this little schedule of homework. It might help you decide, and whichever you choose, it will be a great adventure into off-road vehicles no matter which direction you go. Remember, just be honest with yourself and it will be the right choice. Answer these few questions and keep them with you while you walk through with your local dealer.

  • What is my budget?
  • Am I financially flexible for the right machine?
  • What is my honest skill level, in regard to these off-road machines?
  • What will I be using the machine for 75 percent or more of the time? Recreational or utility/work?
  • Am I comfortable navigating a loaded ATV or UTV?
  • Do I have hauling capabilities for the right machine?

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Categories: Agriculture,Construction,Dfa,Landscaping,Utility Vehicles