Utility Terrain Vehicle in mountrains full of grass

Examining the Distinguishing Differences of Utility Terrain Vehicles

Utility Terrain Vehicles combine the off-road capabilities of single-person all-terrain vehicles and the capacity and power of a street vehicle. Some differences set this class of vehicles apart that factor into how they are driven.

Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) have unique driving requirements that set them aside from other vehicles. These vehicles are designed to travel off the beaten path while carrying multiple freight and passengers; when driven carefully, they provide a significantly more comfortable ride than single-rider all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Outdoor enthusiasts and professionals appreciate the freight capacity and comfort offered by UTVs. Its high carrying capacity can help them accommodate a larger volume of utilities alongside their excursions. The durable frames of most UTVs can weather through the extremes of climate in the wilderness. A few brands, such as the Argo, even have amphibious models that can plow through shallow water.

One thing that first-timers should learn off-the-bat is that driving an Argo extreme UTV is nothing like driving a car off-road. It is tantamount to personal safety to understand what sets the UTV apart from other vehicles to drive them safely.

Not Quite Like a Car

Much like cars, UTVs can be customized to a broad degree. Many outdoor enthusiasts derive enjoyment from displaying the many utilitarian and aesthetic modifications they had made to their UTVs. Some enthusiasts can even make sufficient adjustments to a UTV to make it street legal, allowing them to use it for road travel.

For the most part, UTVs eschew speed for freight capacity and can be used to haul a massive amount of, which make them excellent vehicles for professionals and hobbyists alike who spend a great deal of time in the wilderness, among them anglers, hunters, and lumberjacks. To match the capacity of a UTV, an ATV would often need a trailer.

Unlike cars, which are meant to be driven on level pavement, UTVs are designed to travel on uneven surfaces.  The flexible suspensions, high ground clearance, and denser driveline components respond differently to driver input in ways that many first-time drivers would not expect. Indeed, to stay safe, uninitiated drivers should take the time to gradually get accustomed to the vehicle’s unique driver feedback and avoid responding haphazardly.

UTVs vs.  ATVs

couple driving an ATV in the mountain

Neither are UTVs completely analogous to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Although both vehicles are designed for off-road transportation in rough terrain and follow similar principles of safety, there are key differences in the way they are driven. Built mainly for entertainment, ATVs are nimble machines capable of quick turns and, in some models, high speeds. They are maneuverable yet require a considerable balance to adequately control the vehicle, which incidentally makes them both more physically demanding to drive. They cannot haul as many loads even at their most utilitarian but can make short work of hauling small loads due to their speed.

Meanwhile, UTVs are not as agile. Much like cars, the driver is strapped in with minimal leeway for movement. They are not built for quick turns and should be driven carefully. The speed they can safely travel matters. MA UTV may be driven faster to escape muddy terrain whereas snow and dust require less speed on the pedal.

Staying Safe

Besides getting accustomed to the controls, there are several steps to take that can help UTV drivers to stay safe while off the road. They and their passengers should wear the appropriate safety equipment (helmets and safety goggles) and buckle themselves up when riding.

Drivers of UTVs should drive carefully to avoid an accident, especially through adverse weather events. In addition, multiple travelers should use the buddy system to ensure the safety of their companions while in the wilderness.

As with all vehicles, drivers of UTVs should avoid operating the machines when intoxicated to reduce the likelihood of accidents.