What Is A UTV? Know It Here

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Life comes with a series of important decisions - where to live, what career to choose, picking the names to give to your children, and whether to invest in a UTV or an ATV.

Whereas you might have an easy time with some of these decisions, the last one might prove to be something of a conundrum. In the guide below, we will answer your "what is a UTV?" question as best we can:

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What Is A UTV?


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At its most basic, UTV is an abbreviation for Utility Terrain Vehicle or Utility Task Vehicle. At times, you can also refer to it as a Recreational Off-highway Vehicle or ROV.

Most people who ask "what is a UTV?" tend to do so because they don't want to confuse it with an ATV (an All-Terrain Vehicle). Although these two classes of vehicles are quite similar, a UTV tends to be larger. It also comes with a steering wheel (instead of handlebars) as well as pedals for gas and breaking.

Most UTVs have seatbelts, rollover protection, as well as offering expanded payloads. Further, two people should be able to sit side by side on a UTV similar to how they would inside a car.

You might also want to learn that UTVs come with seats for the drive, for a passenger, and – at times - extra seating for two more people at the back.

However, not every UTV offers side by side seating. Some types look like an ATV - with only one passenger on board. However, they are still considered to be UTVs on account of the rollover protection and the steering wheel.

In most cases, you will find UTVs on golf courses. That said, farmers and hunters also use them widely while some racers have taken to the vehicle.

Main Parts Of A UTV


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The best way to answer your "what is a UTV?" question would be by learning how to identify and understand one. Offering side by side seating, as we've mentioned earlier, UTVs can seat anywhere between 2 and 6 people.

These vehicles are typically designed for off-road adventures, which is why most of them come with the four-wheel drive mechanism. The common characteristics include:

  • Large rear cargo hold for such items as mulch
  • Truck-like cabs and seats to allow for upright seating with buck seats and benches

People who choose UTVs tend to do so because of their ability to go through rough terrain. Some of these vehicles also come with combustion engines while the more modern versions offer electric engines.

The features, of course, vary depending on the year and the model. Still, you should look forward to seeing some or all of the following parts:

  • Accessory mount
  • Complete audio console
  • Dome lights
  • Drink holder
  • Gasoline engine
  • Grab handles
  • Hard or soft top
  • Harness (with sternum strap) for safety
  • LED maps
  • Light bar
  • Rear cargo area
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Roll cages
  • Seat belts
  • Seat warmer kit
  • Side by side seating
  • Side mirrors
  • Spotlight
  • Universal spare tire
  • Weatherproof overhead speaker system
  • Windshield, for enhanced visibility

What Are UTVs Used For?


You can also get further answers to the "what is a UTV?" question by improving your understanding of the primary applications of this type of vehicle. These uses include, but are not limited to:

1. Hauling Large Loads

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Apart from providing comfortable sitting for any traveling companions you might have, a UTV will also come with a large rear cargo hold. This hold will give you enough room - certainly more than you can ever hope to haul with an ATV.

Further, because they tend to allow for upright seating and have truck-like cabs, most UTVs are also more comfortable especially if you plan on bringing older riders with you. In fact, these types of vehicles shine when you need to cover many miles in relative comfort.

Concerning storage, your UTV should have a rear platform that is large enough to bring chainsaws with you while going to a woodlot and coming out with a load of logs.

2. Performing Specialized Work

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Most of the accessories that you'd typically find on a UTV will allow you to design the machine according to your particular needs. In fact, these types of vehicles tend to be quite sporty, especially given the fact that some of the models have been designed for superior performance.

Focused on recreation, UTVs can also prove to be quite capable of working. For instance, you can even get one that offers 1400-pound towing capacity and 16 cubic foot cargo space.

3. Showing Off

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Like with most of the other vehicle classes out there, some UTVs seem to be ideal if you wish to show off. In fact, as the owner of one, you will have tons of opportunity to customize your UTV according to your specific needs, tastes, and interests.

Whereas some add cab kits, others opt for specialty LED and HID lighting. You can also add in-cab heaters, stereo systems, and more. Alternatively, you have the option of upgrading the tires and wheels, as well as enhancing the performance of your UTV.

Differences Between UTVs And ATVs


Differences between UTVs and ATVs

UTV, Dual sport bike and ATV (from left to right)


That said, there are many differences between UTVs and ATVs - differences that will further shed light to the "what is a UTV?" question. While both vehicle classes are similar in certain aspects - they are 4-wheeled, you ride them in the great outdoors, and they tend to come from the same manufacturers - they are also different. Consider the following differences:

  • Size - Although ATVs are also all-terrain vehicles, they tend to be smaller than UTVs.
  • Capacity - ATVs are designed for 1 or 2 riders, while UTV can carry up to 6 people.
  • Use - ATVs tend to be recreational. As such, they are used for sports and racing because they handle well and are nimble. UTVs, on the other hand, are best used on rough terrain for work-horse activities such as hauling.

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Concluding Thoughts

Over and above everything else, the best way to answer the "what is a UTV?" question would be by understanding how they look like, work, and are designed for. While the particular model and make will depend on your tastes and preferences, you can expect to be able to do much more with a UTV than you would manage with an ATV.

I hope you enjoyed this article, please leave us your feedback in the comment box below. Share it with your fellow biker friends if you think it’s helpful.

    Peter Hanson

    Nothing can compare to the feeling of riding a motorcycle. The freedom on the ride is the greatest thing I have ever had in my life. As they said, I'd rather be a biker for a minute than a spectator for a lifetime. If you are also a biker, then we are friends. Let's talk about our motorcycles and rides.

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