Are you planning to get an ATV for yourself but you are also interested to learn what is a UTV? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because we are going to cover quite a lot concerning these vehicles and we will help you out choose your future vehicle.
If you are new to the quad world then it’s probably tricky for you to understand all of these new abbreviations and terms. But you shouldn’t worry, we will dissect everything in great detail that at the end of the article you will become a professional when it comes to these vehicles.
Since recently, these vehicles are gaining a lot of traction and it is a normal thing that people are asking themselves the question of what is a UTV? These vehicles serve a lot of purposes. One of them is the fun aspect which makes them quite an enjoyment to drive since they are really quick and can go over all kinds of terrains.
And the other aspect is the utilitarian aspect. These vehicles are made for a specific purpose and that is to go over terrains that other vehicles cannot reach and conquer the unconquerable. For this purpose, they are the best. But there is also so much to these vehicles that have to be covered
That’s why in this article, we are going to cover the history of ATVs first and learn more about them. What is an ATV and what are the benefits and downsides. After we cover the ATV aspect we will discuss what is a UTV and we will answer the same questions. Then we will give our list of the best UTVs out there. So, let’s get started.
History Of ATV – What Is A UTV?
Now before we dive into more complex topics, let’s first cover the history of these vehicles and learn more about them and their beginnings. Since everything revolves around the roots. Knowing the beginnings will make you more proficient when it comes to ATVs and UTVs.
The first quad ATV was built far in the 19th century by Royal Enfield, more precisely in 1893. If you don’t know, Royal Enfield was a great army supplier back in the day. They were producing almost everything when it came to the British Armed Forces. When they had spare time between the wars they were producing motorcycles and quads.
This early design was very basic and it implemented 4 motorcycle wheels and a seat. It couldn’t go uphill like modern quads but it was a good start.
In the beginning, these vehicles were used by the armies. But quickly they have gathered all the attention and a lot of people wanted to get one for themselves.
The first vehicles rolled from the production lines in 1965 and the Jiger was aimed to get the attention of the army and off-road enthusiasts. It quickly became a hit and sold well.
What was good about the Jiger is that it was an amphibious vehicle that could travel on land and as well on water. Making it very versatile.
The first body of the Jiger was constructed out of chicken wire and body filler. But these materials made it extra heavy and some engineering had to be done in order to make the Jiger lightweight and off-road friendly.
The whole thing was reengineered and the body of the new vehicle was made out of fiberglass. It was quite light and versatile.
The first vehicles were painted yellow, a color that became the trademark for the Jiger corporation. They also made an optional fiberglass roof that looked quite well on the Jiger.
The Jiger was equipped with a 148cc engine that delivered excellent performance on-road and off-road.
This vehicle was evaluated by both the US Army and the British Army. But no sales went through. In 1967 even NASA wanted to get some of these vehicles for its goal to get on the Moon. But unfortunately for Jiger, the Boeing company was awarded the contract of manufacturing the Moon Rover.
This bad luck resulted in the downfall of this company in 1968. But this didn’t mean that the idea died. In the next chapter, we will cover the rise of the popularity of ATVs. Then we will answer the question of what is a UTV.
Rise In Popularity Of UTVs And ATVs
Honda saw the potential in this market and with the Jiger out of the way, they decided to introduce a new product. And that was the ATC. The early name for an ATV and UTV was actually ATC which meant All-Terrain-Cycle.
This ATC was in fact a tri-cycle with extra thick tires that also made a role in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever, as well as participating in other TV shows. And it became an instant hit.
The US90 as it was called had 7 horsepower and it was selling for around $595. Which was a lot of money back then.
And this popularity kept growing in the ’70s and ’80s with more and more off-road enthusiasts purchasing these vehicles.
The first quad that resembles modern quads was made by Suzuki in 1982. This was the first 4 wheeled ATV. Named the QuadRunner 125.
This quad was an evolution in the design of these vehicles. It implemented 5 forward and reverse as well as an odometer. After this ATV a number of new models have followed with bigger engines and also 4 wheel drive.
And these ATVs sold well, with more than 370,000 of them sold only by Honda back in 1984. Which was an insane number for a product this new. And then we come to the present day where ATVs are still one of the most popular off-road vehicles around. But what is a UTV? More on that later, after we cover the ATV characteristics. And then we will compare these characteristics with the UTV’s characteristics. And learn which is which.
Characteristics Of Contemporary ATVs – What Is A UTV?
The most important thing when it comes to ATVs is the configuration. The configuration of an ATV is either three-wheeled or four-wheeled.
In the past, three-wheelers were quite popular. But in recent years four-wheelers are quite more appealing to buyers since they are quite safer options in comparison to three-wheeled ATVs.
The ATV’s steering isn’t a wheel just like we have on other four-wheeled vehicles but the ATV is steered by using handlebars.
The drive is seated in a straddle position. Most of the ATVs out there are built for only one passenger. But some of them can also accommodate one more person except the driver. Yeah, but what is a UTV? More on that a bit later after we finish all of the characteristics of the ATV.
1. Braking And Acceleration
The ATV throttle is controlled by the driver’s thumb. The driver presses the throttle button and the ATV accelerates. Some ATVs also use twist throttle. But in most cases, these were modified by their owners. Twist throttle as we know is very common on motorcycles.
But this type of throttle makes driving an ATV dangerous, that’s why ATVs do not come from the factory with twist throttle. This is the case because ATVs drive on uneven terrain with many bumps that could cause you to twist the throttle by accident and hurt yourself.
For the braking, there is the brake handle or on some ATVs, there is a foot pedal. Depending much on what type of ATV you are using. But what is a UTV? More on that in a bit.
2. Cabin And Safety
Safety equipment on ATVs is almost nonexistent. Even though there are some ATVs equipped with roll bars that protect the driver.
Considering that there is almost no proper safety equipment on the ATVs. You should always consider wearing protective equipment. By protective equipment, we mean a racing suit that has padding on the back, in case that you fall on your back. Also, this material will help you avoid scratches.
But it’s not perfect, and you can still break a bone or two, or even more in some instances. That’s why driving an ATV with caution is key to avoiding getting yourself hurt and suffering permanent consequences.
Other safety equipments include special boots, gloves, and helmet. The helmet is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to safety. And not to forget to wear special glasses, since mud or rocks can hurt your eyes as well.
When it comes to cabins, it is worth noting that ATVs do not have cabins even the more optioned ones. When it comes to this you are relying on good luck and hope that it doesn’t rain. And if it rains or the wind blows, you have to deal with the elements.
3. ATV Purpose And Costs
The ATV is quite a popular means of transportation to places that are far from human activity. Let’s say in the forest or on a mountain. They are a valuable tool when it comes to this and there is hardly something that can deliver a similar performance.
SUVs are also capable, but they are not capable to deal with extremely narrow trails where there is only limited space to pass through.
ATVs are also used quite often for racing. Many rallies like the Paris to Dakar rally have a special category for ATVs besides the motorbike category. Not to mention other events where these ATVs shine with their performances.
Also, another aspect where the ATV shines is the costs. Compared to UTVs, the ATVs are quite more budget-friendly and they will not cost a fortune to purchase. They are more expensive than motorcycles. But they are still affordable and easy to purchase for the average people. But what is a UTV? That we are going to cover in the next chapter.
Characteristics of a UTV? – What Is A UTV
Before we learn the characteristics of a UTV, we first need to understand what does UTV stands for? The UTV stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle.
This means that this vehicle is purposefully built for work rather than for recreational purposes. Even though there are a number of UTVs that are created for recreational purposes in mind.
What is good about UTVs is that they can seat up a few passengers and also offer lots and lots of storage space. With a UTV, you can carry a lot of equipment with you and never worry that you will be left without space. Because every time if you don’t have enough space.
You can simply strap on things from the sides with no issues whatsoever. Making the UTV the perfect vehicle for practical purposes.
1. Cabin And Safety
Depending on the UTV it can incorporate a cabin with front glass and doors. But this isn’t always the case since a lot of these UTVs are just a skeleton of piping.
And then comes the important aspect which is safety. When it comes to UTVs, safety is one of the most important aspects. These vehicles have proper seats in some cases even racing seats with a dash in front of the driver.
Then there are seat belts that hug the driver and don’t allow the body to move left and right whenever you climb over some uneven surfaces. Making it perfect for off-roading.
Having proper seatbelts also guarantees that the driver’s safety is not put in danger and the driver all of the time is secured.
Not to mention that some of the UTVs include a roll bar. This bar that goes above the driver and the passenger’s heads makes sure that in case of a rollover the driver and passenger do not get hurt. Not all UTVs offer this level of safety but most of them do. It is up to you to get properly informed about the safety of the model that you intend to buy.
Also, some of the UTVs also includes a fully built exoskeleton with piping and all that good stuff. These are the UTVs used for extreme off-roading and could easily survive if they are rolled over.
We answered the question of what is a UTV, now let’s see what tires and suspension it is using since this is a crucial aspect.
2. Tires And Suspension
The UTV similarly to the ATV has 4 wheels. But these wheels are far beefier than on the ATV. They are bigger with a lot of thread and also with increased thickness. This guarantees that the tire will grip onto the surface and will deliver a good performance.
Not to forget the suspension that is far more complex than the one found on the ATVs. Some advanced UTVs even incorporate coilover shocks which is pretty insane and this allows them to handle at great speeds with zero driver effort. And also keep you safe on the road as well in the process.
Unlike ATV which is controlled like a regular motorcycle. The UTVs are far more complex. They are using regular wheels. These wheels are smaller than a regular car’s wheel but still drive quite the same.
This makes them quite better than ATVs when it comes to handling. Because with the standard wheel they can pull out quite more maneuvers than your regular car.
4. UTV Cost
UTV is quite more expensive than an ATV. This is owed to the complexity involved in these vehicles. When you add up everything. The costs go up pretty quickly.
The base UTV will cost you $10,000 and as you go up with the options the prices add up and you will end up spending more than $20,000 for a UTV. But you get what you pay for.
Which Is The Top UTV On The Market?
We have answered the question of what is a UTV and we learned the characteristics of a UTV. In the following chapters, we are going to cover a few of the best UTVs on the market that is available for purchase. So, let’s begin.
1. Polaris Ranger 570
This UTV is powered by a 44hp engine that could tow up to 1,500lbs with ease and it can handle a lot of weight as well. More precisely 500lbs of cargo at its rear. Perfect for hauling stuff that you need.
It also offers quite a good suspension that allows you to ride smoothly and enjoy the road. It also has increased ground clearance, perfect for your off-roading adventures. Not to forget the skid plate that will guarantee that your undercarriage stays safe at any cost.
This UTV is also quite compact and could fit any tight spaces without any problems. And the price is also quite affordable. Starting at $10,999. It will be one of the best deals that you made for your farm.
2. Honda Pioneer 500 UTV
Here is one even more affordable UTV by Honda. We present you the Pioneer 500. This UTV delivers quite a lot for what you pay. As we mentioned, it is quite more affordable and it is one of the cheapest on the market when it comes to quality UTVs.
Not on the same level as the Ranger that we discussed above. But still an excellent deal for your farm. This UTV has a 1000 lbs towing capacity and you could switch between 2WD and 4WD anytime you want.
The Pioneer implements an independent rear suspension that guarantees a comfortable trip. As well as going uphill with the 4WD mode. This model starts at $8,600. One of the best deals out there for sure.
3. Yamaha Viking
We answered what is a UTV, now let’s discuss the Yamaha Viking. The Yamaha Viking is another UTV that offers a near-perfect performance. Especially if you love to go on adventures in the woods. Hunting or fishing enthusiasts are going to love this product.
The Viking includes a powerful 686cc 4 stroke engine that delivers quite a good performance on the road and off-road. This is because of the high compression ratio of 10.0:1. It has a computer fuel injection which means that it will never let you down.
2WD and 4WD are at your disposal at any time and any place. All this is possible by the independent front and rear suspension that delivers quite a good performance.
When it comes to towing, this UTV can tow around 1,500 lbs and can carry 600lbs. Which is quite respectable for a vehicle of this size. Overall, excellent product. The prices on the Viking start at $13,899.
4. Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo
Now it’s time to review something really insane. And that is the Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo. This UTV is one of the hottest UTVs out there that you can purchase.
This UTV is packing a lot of power. More precisely 200hp is at your disposal at any time. All this is possible by the Rotax ACE Turbo RR engine.
When it comes to suspension, this model implements a double A-Arm. In addition to this, the Can-Am X3 implements FOX racing shocks that are specifically designed for the Maverick. This allows the Maverick to drive over anything out there. Making it the perfect UTV for those who want an excellent performance on-road and off-road.
The Maverick can also seat 4 passengers, which means that not only you. But you and three of your friends can enjoy these off-road adventures. In addition to this, racing harnesses are included for the safety of yourself and your occupants. Prices on the Maverick start at $19,999.
Conclusion – What Is A UTV?
In this article, we covered a lot about UTVs and also ATVs. First, we learned the history of these vehicles and how everything has begun.
Then we have covered the characteristics of the ATV as well as the characteristics of the UTV and then we compared them in terms of driving, comfort, purpose, and cost. We concluded that UTVs are basically like small cars that can be used to perform a lot of duties.
Lastly, we have covered four UTVs, some of the most popular UTV offerings that you can get on the market. And also for a good price. We included two UTVs for work and two UTVs for off-road and other adventures. Overall, a UTV is a good purchase because it offers great versatility.