Difference Between UTV and ATV

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While most people are familiar with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), many have yet to hear of their brawnier cousin, the utility terrain vehicle (UTV). They both share many similarities, but a UTV opens up even greater off-road capacities while making it easier for larger groups to travel together with everything they need.

Both can take you far into the wilderness or quickly traverse a large expanse of ungroomed terrain. So, what is the difference between an ATV and a UTV? And what are the pros and cons of using UTV vs. ATV for recreation? Read on for an expert’s opinion straight from the crew at ATV Tours Colorado.

UTV vs ATV: Understanding the Differences

Most broadly, UTVs are bigger and more durable than ATVs. This makes them heavier, but it gives more seating and hauling capacity. Both UTVs and ATVs are off-road versions of a “low-speed vehicle” (LSV), and like full-size vehicles, larger and bulkier types are going to be stronger yet less maneuverable.

As for rideability, the wider turning radius of a UTV means the ATV has much greater agility. UTVs are also a bit slower in an all-out speed test. If that’s not a significant drawback, consider these other differences between an ATV and UTV.

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Benefits of UTVs vs ATVs 

Depending on your crew’s needs, choosing the right off-road LSV can dramatically boost your riding experience. ATVs certainly offer more sporty performance, with greater top speeds. They’re also better suited to solo riders, but it’s possible to seat two comfortably, especially for children. Compared to an ATV, our small fleet of tour UTVs will have:

  • More storage
  • Stronger suspension
  • Seating for four
  • Options for six (four adults + two children)
  • Enclosed doors and potentially greater warmth
  • More space for personal belongings and safety gear

We also provide DOT-approved safety helmets for all our UTV and ATV riders.

Another benefit of UTVs for us at ATV Tours Colorado headquarters is the ability to apply mechanized grit to various labors (hauling, towing, and carrying equipment). That may not matter much to our guests, but you never know when we might need to haul a fallen tree trunk out of our way!

Many patrons of our historic mining trail tours have also asked, “Is a side-by-side an ATV or UTV?” Generally, “side-by-side” (SxS) is synonymous with UTV but with room for interpretation. Some side-by-sides are closer to ATVs, with a smaller form factor, roll cage, and other sport-performance enhancements.

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Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Adventure

Choosing between a UTV vs ATV tour comes down to your purposes for an off-road LSV. Generally, the decision comes down to one of two things:

  1. If it’s the open thrill of skimming across the land, go with the ATV (just remember to optimize your packs and bring plenty of water).
  2. If, instead, you need greater utility on your trip (space, cargo, thermos holders, etc.), it’s all about the UTV.

For those considering a UTV or ATV for their own private life estate, we can advise that there’s a broad spectrum of designs, and many UTVs and ATVs offer OEM or aftermarket modifications to get the best of both worlds. When considering UTV vs. ATV for any given purpose, the main factors to consider are:

  • Terrain
  • Group size
  • Riding experience
  • Your goals

The best way to feel the difference in handling and power is to ride an ATV and UTV free from any obligation. Denver-area thrill seekers and nature lovers can get their hands on a choice ATV and UTV for a day at ATV Tours Colorado and know forever which they prefer when either is put to the test.

It’s the perfect way to clear your head and really pare down where you land on the UTV vs ATV debate. Our mountain tours, just 30 miles west of Denver, take you and your loved ones into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. There, our experienced tour guides lead you through a motorized exploration of the sights, sounds, and alpine scents that make Colorado one of the luckiest states in the country.

As for your choice in off-road LSVs, it’s fairly certain you’ll firmly know which you prefer once you’ve relied on them to traverse the great outdoors safely.

Experience the Thrill and Adventure of UTV and ATV tours in Colorado

We love being the Dumont, Colorado, area’s veritable “friend with a UTV!” Of course, it’s not exactly work we cater to with our UTV tour cars — we take our role as tour guides, instructors, and local historians much more to heart.

For a safe, fun, and eye-opening outdoor journey, contact us or sign up for a UTV tour in the Colorado wilderness. You’ll get to experience the pros and cons of going UTV vs ATV, just a few mountains away from Denver city limits and in the best of company.


Featured Image: HowDee1978/Shutterstock

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