What’s the Difference Between an ATV and a UTV?

My grandparents used to own five ATVs and as a kid and it was so fun to drive around the mountains with them. Recently I have noticed a lot of people purchasing ATVs instead of UTVs so I did some research into seeing what the differences between them were.

What’s the Difference Between an ATV and a UTV?ATVs and UTVs are both off-road vehicles, but have significant differences.  A UTV has a metal roll cage above it to protect the rider and is driven with a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals; ATVs are driven by turning the handlebars like a bike with the throttle controlled by a thumb switch.

There is a lot more to both ATVs and UTVs that meets the eye. As you keep reading you will come to understand each of these differences better just as I did and ultimately be able to make the choice for yourself of which vehicle is better.

What is Better: ATVs or UTVs?

ATV vs. UTV: Size and seating capacity

ATVs are for the most part designed to seat 1 to 2 people and they are seated straddled on top of the vehicle. This was one of the reasons that my grandpa chose to purchase five of them. We have a large family and my grandpa enjoyed the times that we all went out of the ATVs together.

For those who are fine with not having as much space on the vehicle ATVs are a fine choice. ATVs also have some extra space on the back end for putting things.

Many say bigger is better. UTVs look more like a car in the sense that people are covered by a top section with windows and sit on the inside of it. They also sit more than an ATV does seating 2 to sometimes up to even 6 people! This can be not only convenient for those with larger families, but the extra space also comes in handy when hauling things around.

ATV vs. UTV: Terrain

ATV stands for “All Terrain Vehicle”. This means that it was made to go wherever you need it to be. They are known for their speed and strength. They have thick tires make it very effective in all sorts of terrains such as mountains, snow and ice, sand, and forests. In some countries, ATVs are even street legal and one could even take it to the grocery store.

UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle. Generally, UTVs are more off-roading vehicles. They are perfect for any terrain no matter how rugged. My grandpa has used one for snow removal for years.

They also excel in terrains like mountainous and sandy regions just like the ATV. Many companies also make UTVs that are street legal.

Looking from the terrain side of things both vehicles excel in just about any place and many companies are producing more and more ATVs and UTVs that are street legal every year.

ATV vs. UTV: Weather

This is where UTVs could have a bit of an advantage. As mentioned previously, UTVs have a cover on them that can shield the operators from the weather outside. For states that often have more harsh climates, this is a huge help.

The windows, top cover, and doors become very usefully when it is raining or snowing. ATVs are not provided with a cover and those who drive them have to take extra precautions when they drive to shield themselves from bad weather.

Certain accessories can be purchased for both vehicles that can help in extreme weather circumstances. Many people buy warmers that help in the colder climates. On the market covers for ATVs can be sold separately to help with those snowy and rainy days.

There are tons of pros to both ATVs and UTVS. It mainly just comes with personal preference on which a person should buy!

Check out our ATV/UTV Page to Learn More!

How Do ATVs and UTVs Compare in Price?

Prices of New and Used ATVs

The cost of purchasing a brand new ATV is on average $7,000 with the more expensive ones being around $10,000. This seems like a lot, but there are definitely some pros to doing this. If you spend this much you will be buying a top-notch vehicle that is full of all the bells and whistles you could dream of.

Another perk is that if you purchase a new one you won’t have to worry about any mechanical issues. A new ATV will last you a long time and won’t break down easily.

Not everyone has $10,000 to spend outright so most people purchase their ATVs used. This could save you thousands. Depending on the make and model you could buy a used ATV from anywhere around $2,000-$5,000.

Through proper research it wouldn’t be that difficult to find an ATV that fits any prices range, and if you’re lucky you could find one even cheaper that the prices listed above.

Prices of New and Used UTVs

Similar to the price of a new ATV, a new UTV costs around $9,000-9,500. Many of the newer top ranked models cost around $11,000-14,000.As mentioned before, this is a lot of money. However, keep in mind that this would be a brand new, top of the line vehicle.

New UTVs are known to last years and be very efficient. I even saw some models online that went up to $17,000 which came with even more bells and whistles.

Used UTVs vary in price just like used ATVs do. Depending on the year, make, and model one could spend anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000.

Comparing the prices of ATVs and UTVs

ATV and UTV prices are pretty comparable. You could buy a new or used one for about the same prices. From my research, I was able to find that UTVs can also become even more expensive than ATVs.

On average though, pricing is very comparable and shouldn’t be the main thing that determines whether one chooses to purchase an ATV over a UTV or vice versa.

Is a UTV or ATV Better for Hauling?

There is no doubt that UTVs are better for hauling. Due to their larger size, greater payload, and greater towing capacity UTVs are great for working on farms, ranches, and a number of other outdoor jobs. You can even purchase a large dump cargo boxes and winches to use with your UTV.

Side by Side Comparison of ATV and UTV

Table Comparing an ATV and UTV.

What are the best ATVs and/or UTVs to buy?

In 2022 many ATVs were tested and ranked as the best. Below is a list of the top 5:

  1. Yamaha Raptor 700R SE
  2. Polaris Sportsman XP 1000
  3. Honda FourTrax Rincon
  4. Cam-Am Outlander
  5. Polaris Sportsman 450

A 2022 report ranked the top 5 UTVs on the market, here is the list of what I researched.

  1. CAN-AM Commander
  2. CAN-AM Defender
  3. Yamaha RMAX
  4. Polaris Ranger RV
  5. Polaris RZR Pro XP

These top 5 ATV and UTVs are great and will last for a long time. Not only that but they will get the job done, whatever that job may be. They come with all sorts of bells and whistles, and when it comes down to it each of them looks fantastic.

If none of these specific vehicles catch your eye don’t worry! I did some research on the companies that always produce the best ATVs and UTVs. For ATVs it is always safe to stick with ones that come from Honda Motor Company, Polaris Industries, and Yamaha Motor Company. Honda Motor Company also makes great UTVs and two other reliable ones are Kasawaski Industries and Artic Cat.

Fun Accessories for ATVs and UTVs

atv vs. utv
what is the difference between atv and utv

What are some other uses for ATVs and UTVs?There are many different things that one can do with their ATV or UTV. Both are very common for towing and plowing snow. Many people also take them to carry loads on hunting trips. Sometimes people can even use them for mowing.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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