This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.


What is an ATV?

For the beginners out there, an ATV is an all-terrain vehicle (this is where the abbreviation comes from). It offers motorcycle-style seating and it usually accommodates only one person, with a few models being able to hold up to two people. Apart from operating them with the handlebar, you also operate them by tilting your body’s weight in the direction you want to steer.

Also known as quads or four-wheelers, ATVs are generally easier to transport than UTVs because many of them can fit inside standard utility trailers or other heavy cargo transit vehicles. They’re an excellent choice to use in tight off-road spaces because they are narrower than UTVs. 

There are also models known as utility ATVs that can carry more cargo than standard builds. On those models, you can even haul trailers to compensate for the lack of cargo space.


What is a UTV?

A utility task vehicle looks somewhat like those old Jeep models used in World War II. Many competitors prefer using them in off-road rallies because they are generally safer to ride than an ATV. For a start, they feature a roof over the driver and passengers so that none will fall off no matter how steep a curve is.

These side-by-side vehicles can accommodate up to six people along with the driver, but you can also search for narrower models as well. UTVs tackle many off-road scenarios with ease, including heavily rugged terrain, which makes them popular among farmers, off-road enthusiasts, and ranchers. 

A UTV also has a bigger engine than an ATV, and, consequently, a higher towing capacity along with much bigger cargo space. If you want to go off-road along with some friends, a UTV accommodates several people, while ATVs can accommodate a maximum of two people.


What if I want to maneuver difficult off-road trails?

Many people ask this question when venturing into nature. This will depend on your skill and preference, but usually, we would recommend ATVs since they can maneuver through tighter spaces, such as the woods. With a UTV, your chances of hitting trees and damaging the vehicle are much higher than with an ATV. 

But with that said, ATV can also be a little harder to drive since you’ll also be using your body weight, not just steering. That’s why we recommend taking driving classes before pursuing a wild goose chase on an ATV. 


What if you’re on a tight budget?

This is a tricky question because both vehicles present cost-saving opportunities depending on your needs. If you like to travel alone or with friends that already have their own vehicle, an ATV is usually cheaper than a UTV and it will even consume less fuel.

On the other hand, if you have a family that wants to go off-road with you and they don’t want to drive, getting a UTV makes more sense. It’s cheaper than getting an ATV for all family members, after all, even if they would like to drive. If another family member insists on driving, you could always just let them take the wheel of your UTV while you relax and enjoy the ride.


Enough fun. What about working?

Many people use UTVs for farm work or for hauling large cargos, which makes sense given their bigger engine. ATVs don’t have any particular working capabilities unless you somehow figure out how to fit them with a bigger engine and more robust wheels. 

You can mount your UTV, on the other hand, with front loaders and sprayers for farming. And they’re also good as vehicles for work crews. 

However, if you insist on buying an ATV, there are certain workarounds to making it useful in a field or on a farm. You can opt for aftermarket accessories like an ATV dry material spreader that helps you spread seeds and fertilizer on your farm, or throw salt on snow and ice when winter comes.

Aftermarket accessories are a good way of making your ATV much more useful than it would be otherwise. But the thing is that aftermarket parts are usually unlicensed, so you have to risk certain things. For instance, you might not receive a warranty, or it might be hard to fit on a particular model.

Finding a good mechanic who knows how to modify ATVs is also a pretty arduous task, as most mechanics are used to repairing ATVs instead of modifying them. Nevertheless, if you’re the adventurous type and you have money to spare, go ahead. If it works, then good for you.


Hunting and trail riding

A UTV opens up far more possibilities if you’re serious about hunting game. For starters, you have much more cargo space and towing capabilities, so you’ll be able to carry camping gear, several rifles, as well as a change of clothes, and you’ll also be able to transport your hunting dog more easily if you have one.

Of course, we need to remind you that UTVs are bulkier and might be harder to maneuver through forests. But if you’re patient and like taking your time, this little sacrifice will be worth it because a UTV will increase your overall hunting efficiency. 


What if I just want to show off?

Well, this is yet again one of those tricky questions that potential customers ask. There’s no right or wrong answer to this, as it all falls on each individual’s personal preference. The thing is both vehicles look good in the eyes of someone who loves offroading. 

They’re both highly customizable when it comes to paints, stickers, headlights, etc.

Both ATVs and UTVs can be used to show off your skills in off-road racing, and both of them will make a good impression if you want to show off gadgets and other nifty tricks.

However, ATVs have a slight advantage when it comes to showing off simply because you can do cooler tricks when racing. Since you’re maneuvering with your body weight, you can try showing off how fast you can steer around trees and even do wheelies if you’re overconfident and overly skilled.


I want adrenaline. Give me adrenaline!

In this case, go for an ATV. When it comes to this aspect, there’s no comparison. You’ll feel as if you’re riding a four-wheeled motorcycle but with the ruggedness of off-road vehicles. You’ll feel the air touch your skin and the open design of the vehicle will make you feel more connected with mother nature. 

Yet, on the other hand, if you want a different type of adrenaline, you should go on a safari with a UTV. Since UTVs are more resistant to taking damage and because they offer exterior protection, you’ll be able to admire animals in all their splendor. And if a chase occurs, you’ll most likely be able to run away from them as well. 

Most UTV models can go up to speeds of 80 mph, which might not seem like much, but it’s usually enough to get away from a lion as long as you know how to maneuver the vehicle properly. Disclaimer: We do not condone doing such things and we don’t encourage you to go on a safari by yourself. It’s just a tip if you want more adrenaline. 

So if you get in trouble, it’s not on us.


Final thoughts

At the end of the day, it all depends on your preference. Both of these vehicles have attractive advantages and significant disadvantages. It’s up to you to figure out what your main goal when riding off-road is and how you want to approach the issues. Take notes of all the pros and cons and balance everything out to make the proper decision.

In any case, we hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that you’ve found the information useful. Good luck in choosing your next UTV or ATV and have fun riding it!



A passionate admirer of all-leather Harley merchandise, Irina can help readers better understand the world of motorcycles. From the latest fashion trends to trip ideas for your next bike vacay, you will find everything you need to know about your two-wheel passion on this website.

Leave a comment

0 Comments Protection Status