The Differences Between ATVs and UTVs

You may be locked in on one of the other, but to some in the market for a new powersports four-wheel machine, the choice between an ATV or a UTV can be difficult. 

ATVs and UTVs differences

Both types of offroad 4-wheeler have their own merits, and understanding what each one brings to the table can help you make the best decision. Here are the differences between ATVs and UTVs (side-by-sides).

Buy offroad helmets

Buy an ATV-UTV winch

What Do ATV and UTV Stand For?

ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle, and it’s the four-wheeler probably more familiar to the general public. These machines are designed to optimally carry one rider, though you can fit two in tandem in the saddle (or by adding a passenger seat) on several models. 

UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle, and it accommodates at least two riders side-by-side, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as such instead of by the acronym.

Why Choose an ATV Over a UTV?

The ATV has several advantages, including better handling and a lower price point. Its short wheelbase makes the ATV more maneuverable than the UTV, and the lighter weight gives you a little more punch for every bit of horsepower the engine kicks out. This is why ATVs are popular as offroad racing machines. 

Why choose an ATV over a UTV

Additionally, modifications are generally a little less expensive than they would be for customizing a side-by-side. In the end, if a lower price tag and pure excitement are your thing, an ATV might be better for you.

Why Choose a UTV Over an ATV?

The size of a UTV could be considered a negative when it comes to handling, but a positive when it comes to safety. A larger footprint allows you to ride with other passengers in their own dedicated seats, and also allows for a roll cage enclosure over everyone on most models. 

Why choose a UTV over an ATV

These larger offroad machines often have cargo beds in the back for hauling, which can be a great space to pack gear. Also, there are plenty of options for customization: sound systems, light kits, wheels and suspension.

Should You Choose an ATV or a Side-by-Side?

So which one should you buy? Think about your ideal weekend with your new powersports machine. Does it mean ripping up a trail with higher levels of speed and performance? Are you planning on riding solo most of the time? Then an ATV is probably the better choice for you.

ATV vs UTV: Which to choose

On the other hand, if you plan on riding regularly with groups of friends, family or significant others as passengers, maybe on camping trips or long excursions, then a UTV will probably serve your needs better than an ATV.

Want to see a UTV in action with an ATV? Check out our Go Pro videos below, in which we take a Yamaha YFZ450R ATV and a Polaris 800 side-by-side out for a ride.



Why Partzilla?

Commercial Discounts

Special discounts for companies in the powersports industry


Government Sales

Discounts for federal and most state and municipal agencies