What ATV/UTV is Best For You

Published on Tue, 11/05/2019 - 1:37pm

 What ATV/UTV is Best For You

 Whether you’re riding fences, hauling supplies, checking the herd, or reseeding an open pasture spot an ATV is an ideal tool for the ranch and farm owner needing to reach remote areas. And just as the work on your operation can vary, so does the equipment needed to carry out those tasks. The same applies when choosing the right ATV.

In a broad sense, ATVs can be separated into two basic categories: traditional ATVs with saddle seating and UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles), which are commonly known as side-by-sides. When deciding whether an ATV or UTV is best the best fit for your operation you should consider your primary usage plans and the characteristic of the terrain the unit will need traverse.
Traditional ATVs are smaller than UTVs, making it possible to access tight places along narrow trails. In addition, their more compact size means they can be hauled in the back of a pickup truck; an important consideration if you need to transport your ATV regularly. However, ATVs do have limitations. Most can only carry a maximum of 200 lbs. of cargo in addition to the rider’s weight and many are not capable of carrying a passenger. Also important to note is the physical exertion of riding an ATV; on rough terrain the rider needs strength and stamina to maintain control.
Operating a UTV is basically the same as driving a pickup; a steering column is used, providing familiarity and ease of use.  A UTV can still traverse rough terrain and physical skill is still required, however they do provide a steering system with more familiarity. Most UTVs can accommodate anywhere from one to five passengers depending on model, and most are capable of hauling 800-1,350 lbs. of cargo, making them much better suited for heavier jobs like hauling a calf, feed or even a big round bale. However, UTVs can be quite large, and their size might preclude them from accessing areas where an ATV can go. Also a trailer for transporting your side-by-side will be a likely necessity, as most are too large to fit in the bed of a pickup truck.

Factors in Choosing an ATV
PROS: Lighter weight equals less turf impact, lower cost, good towing capacity, requires less real estate for storage
CONS: Usually single passenger, minimal cargo carrying capacity, straddle seating position, no rollover safety enclosure
If you mainly need a vehicle for recreational use along with some light work such as pulling a trailer and light snow plowing, consider a traditional ATV with an engine in the 200cc-500cc range. ATVs of this size usually range in price from around $5,000-$8,000 new, with features such as automatic transmissions and four-wheel-drive available in higher priced models. These ATVs can make excellent companions on hunting land and for general ranch work without breaking the bank or taking up too much space.
If heavier work such plowing, pulling implements and hauling bigger loads is your requirement, while still needing a vehicle that’s easy to transport or get into narrow places, a larger ATV with an engine of 500cc-1,000cc might be your best choice. Many ATVs of this size come standard with automatic transmissions and four-wheel-drive, some can haul passengers, and all can handle heavier tasks around the ranch; prices for these ATVs usually range from around $6,000 to over $10,000 depending on model and features.

Factors in Choosing a UTV
PROS: Passenger seating, dump bed with generous capacity, rollover safety enclosure with seat belts and side webbing, automotive-style seats with better legroom, receiver hitch for towing, ability to add sunshade and cab options
CONS: Higher cost, larger footprint and turning radius
If load and passenger-carrying capability is more important to you than size and maneuverability and you prefer a more car-like operating experience, a side-by-side UTV could be your best choice. Side-by-sides can vary greatly in load-carry capability and price depending on model, with smaller two-seat UTVs available for less than $8,000, and four and six-seat models approaching $15,000 to $20,000 and even higher.
Regardless if your decision is ATV, UTV or both please remember to choose a dealership that has experience in servicing these vehicles.  You will be investing a considerable amount of funds into your new equipment and choosing a dealer with good history and knowledge of service will help assure that investment will have a positive return.  Finally it’s always a good idea to visit with friends and neighbors who own an ATV or UTV to get their opinions regarding dealerships  
And remember it is okay to have a little fun on that new ATV or UTV!!  Enjoy the ride!!