Choosing between an ATV (all-terrain vehicle or “quad”) and a UTV (utility vehicle) can be quite the challenge for someone inexperienced in buying either. To help you arrive at a decision, here are some questions you should answer.
What will you use it for?
It’s already a foregone conclusion that you will be using this off-road, but where and what for, exactly? What kind of off-road conditions will you be driving on? Mud and snow, rocks, maybe even swamps? If water is part of the equation, an ATV is not cut out for the job. A UTV — particularly an amphibious hunting vehicle — is. It makes sense to consider not only the usual off-road conditions but the extremes in those conditions.
Which do you prefer, cargo space or speed?
A follow-up to this question would be: How old are you? Because the forward-leaning driving position of the ATV is less appealing to older drivers. A UTV has a cabin for the driver and a passenger (maybe your hunting buddy or your dog). For longer drives, this is usually more comfortable. Although there are UTVs built with performance in mind, an ATV is simply quicker and easier to maneuver if you don’t mind the motorcycle-like ride. If you prioritize cargo space for hauling wood or chainsaws or hunting rifles, the UTV is the better choice.
Do you need protection from the weather?
An ATV is best for quick rides when the weather is fine, or if you don’t mind wearing a raincoat and a heavy jacket. ATVs don’t have a protected cabin space. There are UTVs, however, that come equipped with a heated cabin. You may also be able to buy a cabin attachment to your UTV. Many hunters prefer the UTV, as they don’t only have enough cargo space for carrying their gear and killed game, but they also have a cabin to protect them from the elements particularly when they set out for the hunt before sunrise.
Using this guide, you can determine whether you should buy a UTV or an ATV. Plan for the riding you’ll be doing most of the time, and you’ll know which ride is better for your needs.