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UTVs vs ATVs

Powersports vehicles are versatile, durable and extremely useful for recreational and professional purposes alike. The two primary contenders in this category that are vying for your attention are UTVs and ATVs. While they have similar names and look similar to the untrained eye, there are several important differences that you’ll want to be aware of before you blindly invest in one over the other. After all, you’ll want to tailor your purchase to your needs and your intentions for the vehicle, rather than wasting money on a machine that won’t give you the kind of ride you’re after.

Here at Family Powersports San Angelo, we know a great deal about the differences and similarities between UTVs and ATVs, so we’ve created this guide to explain those qualities to you. When you’re ready to buy, check out our showroom to see our full inventory of ATVs and UTVs for sale!

What Is An ATV?

An all-terrain vehicle or ATV, also called a four-wheeler or quad, is generally a one-person vehicle ridden straddle-style like a motorcycle. ATVs are steered using handlebars with a throttle and lack any protection around the rider. They are able to carry cargo in some cases and larger models are even capable of towing equipment and trailers.

Most of the time, though, an ATV is purely a recreational machine, meant for off-roading through the woods, over fields and into mud puddles. Because they aren’t able to hold other passengers in most cases, everyone going off-roading will need his or her own ATV which can be pricey if you’re going as a family.

You should always wear a helmet and protective clothing on an ATV because of the high risk of falling off when you hit something. ATVs are much faster and more lithe than UTVs because they are smaller, and this makes them cheaper, too. If you’re after speed, then you’ll want to go with an ATV, which is much better for racing around the track, too.

What Is A UTV?

A utility terrain vehicle or UTV, frequently referred to as a side by side due to its bench seating, looks more like a typical passenger car than an ATV does. UTVs are also open to the air, but many have rollover protection cages that serve more to protect the vehicle in a rollover event than the rider. Some have windshields and even somewhat enclosed cabs with roofs for safety purposes, or to make riding in inclement weather more pleasant.

UTVs can be used for recreational riding if you want to take the whole family in one vehicle on an off-road adventure, since they can seat anywhere from two to six passengers on their bench seating. They operate with a steering wheel and brake/gas pedals like a car and often have seat belts, but owing to their open construction and off-road usage, you’ll still want to wear a helmet while operating or riding in one.

UTVs are slower and larger than ATVs, which means they aren’t as good at racing or going very fast along trails, but they are better equipped to haul heavy cargo and multiple passengers at once. Their larger size makes them more expensive, but this is worth it if you need a very sturdy vehicle capable of performing heavy duty tasks.

Still not sure whether to go with a UTV or an ATV for your first powersports vehicle purchase? Come down to our dealership in San Angelo so that our experienced staff can answer any questions you have about these vehicles and help you figure out which model is right for you. We carry a full inventory of both ATVs and UTVs in new and used styles, so you can peruse to your heart’s content to find the exact model you want. Family Powersports San Angelo serves the cities of Midland, Odessa, Big Springs and Abilene, Texas.

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