It’s worth taking a close look at how a UTV stacks up against its versatile cousin the ATV to help you understand the off-roader best suited to your needs.
The major difference between ATV and SxS/UTV setups has to do with the steering and seating designs. A UTV has a steering wheel; an ATV has motorcycle-style handlebars. You sit on an ATV by straddling it to ride it like a motorcycle; you sit in a SxS to drive it like a full-size truck, while wearing a seatbelt. A typical SxS also has a roll bar or roll cage for increased safety, and may also have a windshield and even doors.
A SxS is typically larger than an ATV and can tote more passengers and cargo. Polaris UTVs include two-seater, four-seater, and six-seater models. We also have a single-seater if you feel like riding solo. If you want to bring friends or family (or four-legged buddies) along for the ride, or give folks a tour of a property, a UTV is definitely recommended above the single-seater ATV.
While you can offset an ATV’s lack of bed payload by hauling a trailer, there’s no question the UTV is the best choice if you’re planning on regularly transporting a lot of gear, feed, or other bulky cargo.
The narrower width of an ATV means you can access more restricted trails—though some SxS/UTVs are narrow enough for ATV routes—and its smaller size makes it generally more maneuverable. An ATV will typically fit in the back of a full-size pickup; transporting UTVs will likely require a trailer.
Another thing to consider is the relative physicality and comfort of driving an ATV versus a UTV. The straddle seating and handling of an ATV mean a bit more physically demanding ride compared to the car-like driving of a UTV. The cab seating of the UTV makes for a more comfortable drive, especially across many miles and many hours, and relatively easy to enter and exit.
Finally, there’s a wide range of price tags associated with both ATVs and SxS/UTVs. Depending on what you’re planning on using your off-road vehicle for, or how many people you’d like to bring along on your adventure, prices will vary. To be the most satisfied with your decision, consider the features you’d like to have that will align with your intended use.