ATV OR SIDE-BY-SIDE?
Another good question. A side-by-side or utility task vehicle (UTV) is larger than a quad, and typically accommodates three occupants on a single-bench seat (some models can take up to six people, but these are usually employed on commercial rather than farming enterprises). Here’s a breakdown of why many believe UTVs are better than ATVs:
• Because they’re larger and more complicated, side-by-sides are more expensive than the average 4x4 ATV. But they can do a lot more. They have a large ute-type tray in the back so they can carry bigger loads. Some will take a full-size pallet. They also have more occasional storage space
• UTVs are more carlike in their controls. They have a foot brake, an accelerator, and a steering wheel, so those who would be intimidated by a large ATV will feel more confident in a side-by-side
• Side-by-sides have an integral rollbar, known as a rollover protection structure (ROPS), which makes the UTV safer in an accident. You’re not as prone in a UTV as you are on an ATV.
All the new models have seat belts as well
• Because of the rollbar, a UTV can be fitted with doors, a roof, and a windscreen. In other words, it can be weatherproofed, and that could be crucial if you live and work in a place like Tasmania where whatever you touch is either cold or getting colder
• For those who live in a hot climate (everywhere but Tasmania), a roof protects them from the sun.
The roof can also be used as a mounting point for a radio, speakers and communication equipment
• You can’t put two people on a single-seater quad.
Well, you can if you’re stupid, but you can easily fit three people in most UTVs, while some are built to take four or five passengers
• Dealers tell us there’s been a noticeable swing away from ATVs and towards UTVs for all the above reasons.
Side-by-sides are more practical than normal single-seater ATVs and can do a lot more. The only thing they can’t do is squeeze through tight spaces. But they’re safer when things go wrong way up.