What Does UTV Stand for?

Last month, a little lad whose father had enrolled in riding with us once saw a CAT CUV85 parked in my old neighbor’s yard and asked me, “Is that a tractor?” I looked at his cute innocent eyes and said, “No, that, my friend, is a UTV.” In dismay, he looked at me and said, “What is a UTV; what does UTV stand for?” You see, merely telling him what the term stands for was not enough to clear the blank look on his face. That’s the more reason why we thought we must write this article for many a lad like him out there, or you.

So what does UTV stand for? Not to be confused with an ATV (which stands for All-Terrain Van) or SUV (which stands for Sports Utility Vehicle), a UTV is put, stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle or Utility Task Van or only Utility Van. UTV is an offroad van that can carry up to six persons for riding in very rough terrain. UTVs are four-wheel drives. Imagine a large golf cart with much larger tires is more broken parts.

UTVs are usually used to work on construction sites and farmlands and so, understandably, the young lad thinks that UTV in my neighbor’s yard was a tractor even though my neighbor only uses his own UTV to race the rough terrain with his family (he doesn’t also have any farm!) Well, although some people use UTV the same way other farmers use a tractor, they are different. So in this guide, we will look at several ways to identify a UTV and distinguish it from an ATV, SUV, and a tractor.

Features of a UTV

Utility Terrain Vehicles, UTVs are rugged and are trail rock bandits best for family rides, and they are built with lots of storage space. Loo at what makes a UTV a UTV.

#1 Wheels and Tires

Many people like UTVs on trails because they have a standard wheelbase (four wheels). I have found some modified UTVs with more than four wheels. And they are four-wheel drives, you see. They are very comfortable and easy to ride around trails.

#2 Steering

The UTV has a steering wheel, which makes it look like a car. Most tractors do too but (hey, no sneak peeks. We will do that in the next section).

#3 Passenger Capacity

UTVs are named side by side because two to four people (passengers) can sit in and watch the ride go on in the UTV safely. If they don’t call it to the side by side, they might as well call it SxS. Now that’s one funny nickname.

#4 Cabin

Most UTVs have a cabin like a pick-up van or a ute. While enclosed cabins are on most Utility Vans, the cabin on most UTVs are similar to the roof on a golf cart.

Comparisons: ATVs VS UTVs

ATV, as mentioned earlier, stands for All Terrain Van. An ATV, as opposed to a UTV, in the simplest terms I can maneuver for you to understand is a vehicle that is built for racing. Imagine a dirt bike that has three to four caterpillar tires for running around. What are the differences between the features of an ATV and those of a UTV?

utv atvs

#1 Speed and handling

Many older people who race enjoy riding UTVs, not just because of its safety but also because of the speed. UTVs are significantly faster and have more HorsePower than ATVs, and rugged guys love ATVs more because they are more nimble. Their max speed is generally between 25 mph and 50 mph while UTVs can have a maximum speed of 80 mph.

#2 Steering

While the UTV has more stable steering because it is a cycle, just like a car, the ATV uses handlebars just like dirt bikes. That is one of the most significant differences.

#3 Braking and acceleration

Both braking and acceleration on a UTV are controlled by foot pedals just like in cars and buses while many ATVs has a thumb throttle. Hand pressing the button controls the acceleration. However, many people have modified ATVs to use a twist throttle, which allows the operator to control the vehicle’s acceleration by twisting the ATV’s handle just like in a bike. But this can make the ATV more unpredictable to control. A person can lean forward and inadvertently accelerate. That would likely cause a fatal rollover.

Also, the ATV can use a brake handle or a foot pedal to brake depending on what type of ATV they are operating.

#4 Safety equipment

Ok, unlike the ATV, that has virtually no safety equipment, ATVs come with seatbelts. Many UTVs have windshields and roll bars. This makes UTVs safer than ATVs in cases of rollovers. Riders are unlikely to get thrown out on a UTV as they are on an ATV.

#5 Passenger Capacity

As opposed to UTVs, ATVs are made for one person. Sometimes, the rider can carry another passenger. But this is usually risky, and both of them must wear complete safety gear.

Comparisons: Tractors VS UTVs

A tractor is a vehicle built and designed specifically for working on farms because it delivers high power or torque at slow speeds. It is better at hauling and mechanizing other equipment. Even though some UTVs can do these things, the build of tractors shows that they are the machinery specially designed for this task.

#1. Steering

Both tractors and UTVs have the steering wheel for moving around. This gives easier use.

#2 Speed and handling

The UTVs are very fast, and since the tractors are not built to race, they can’t boast of high speeds.  The UTVs come with four big rugged tires. However, most tractors have two small tires, and the two big ones are at the back. 

#3 Safety equipment

Tractors have no more safety equipment than the seat belts although we don’t expect a race and so a tractor operator may not even need the roll bars that are available in the UTVs. But nowadays, I have seen tractors with enclosed cabs for more safety and comfort.

Comparisons: SUVs VS UTVs

SUVs are called Sports Utility Vans for a reason. These vehicles are like the UTVs, but they have distinguishing features of a minibus with offroad van features. This should remind you of Jeep, Chevrolet, and others, you see?

The safest of all Utility vehicles are the SUVs. They have all of the safety equipment that comes with cars. And they come in various models according to the company.


#1 Safety Equipment

The SUVs are built like a real car (because they are cars that have the features of an off-road van) and so they have all the eccentrics of an average vehicle. Airbags, seatbelts, roof, windshields, and side doors and glasses. You won’t fear to fall unless someone opens the door while you are at full speed.

#2 Speed and handling

Oh, please, let’s not do this. We should not compare the speed of an SUV to these. I mean, an SUV has the highest speed among all of them. Yes, SUVs are used in racing both on the road and off the road because of their tires.

Which Utility Vehicle Should You Buy?

Seriously? Okay. If you seriously want to find answers to this question, I will give them now in a few words. All you must know is that the one you buy depends much on what your needs are.

If you are a family man and are too old to ride a dirt bike yet you want your kids to have the euphoria of riding on top of a machine that boasts of several horsepowers, you should get your family a UTV, and each of them should reach the appropriate safety equipment. If you need help on what kind of safety equipment you have to get, click here to read our guide.

If you are a lover of the four wheels and you want to get on and off-road anytime, anywhere, everywhere you go, you should get an SUV. With that, you can carry yours and your friend’s family along to race or a picnic.

However, if you have a passion for the four wheels or you want to be safe while riding out wild and out (not all that safe), you should get an ATV. However, the debate on whether or not ATVs are more or less safer than dirt bikes are not a controversy I will stick my nose in with you. You could try both out and talk to us about your experience in the comments.

Overall, if you have a big farm that spreads out and about and need some reliable macho machine that can get your work done fast (with good speed and maybe less torque), buy a UTV. But if you require something that would help you gain efficiency and work well on your land, get your farmland a tractor and let old Freddy ride the UTV on the trail. I’m not kidding.

We got it all going on, now we have seen how different all these vehicles are and their features. I bet you are no longer confused. If you have more questions though, pop them in the comments and let’s build on them together. Keep on running, lovelies.