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If you are thinking about delving into the world of off-road rec vehicles or considering adding to your growing fleet, you may find yourself deciding between an ATV and a side-by-side. There are certainly reasons to think about buying an ATV instead of a UTV. But U.S. News and World Report gives us five reasons to choose a side-by-side instead of an ATV.

a Yamaha wolverine side-by-side UTV in the desert navigating red and rocky terrain
Yamaha Wolverine | Yamaha

Buying an ATV

There are plenty of reasons for buying an ATV. For example, there are tons of brands and various models to choose from. In addition, U.S. News and World Report also notes that there are several available sizes, and that “youth and adult models are readily available.”

Pricing for a quad or ATV is typically cheaper than a side-by-side or UTV. If you are planning to predominantly ride solo, then buying an ATV is a great way to go. Most ATVs or four wheelers can double as both recreational vehicles as well as help out with chores. Plus, they are just so much fun. So why choose a UTV or side-by-side instead?

When a UTV is a better choice

There are some reasons to buy a side-by-side instead. In fact, U.S. News gives us five reasons to discern when buying a UTV instead of an ATV is a better choice. One notable difference that U.S. News points out is that ATV models tend to have more available features.

U.S. News writes that “features vary widely and increase as your budget increases. More expensive models tend to offer benefits such as heavy-duty cargo racks, performance or specialty suspension systems, and halogen or LED lighting.” There are options for UTVs as well, but U.S. News tells us that the quads generally have a few more extras available than a side-by-side.

several ATV riders traversing scenic sand dunes
People ride quad bikes on dunes | Lyu Tianran/Xinhua via Getty Images)

In addition, it may be more difficult to make simple modifications. U.S. News points out that the options for customization and mods are slim. If you loading up with add-ons is what you want, this is the second reason U.S. News gives us for choosing a side-by-side instead of an ATV.

ATV safety

If you’re considering buying a side-by-side instead of an ATV, another reason that may prove a wise choice is for safety. According to U.S. News, UTVs or side-by-sides are typically safer than the traditional ATV quad. There are more “safety measures built-in” on a UTV than on a four wheeler.

An ATV powering through deep mud with new tires
ATV in the mud |

The fourth reason that U.S. News gives for choosing a side-by-side instead of an ATV is that you can’t ride with a passenger side-by-side. In fact, not every ATV model even accommodates an extra person. This is definitely a major reason for buying a UTV instead of an ATV.

The fifth reason that U.S. News gives us for choosing a side-by-side over an ATV is that a UTV or side-by-side is better for more heavy duty work. If you plan to do a little more grunt work with your new ATV or UTV, a side-by-side tends to have more power, a higher payload and increased towing capacity. All of these reasons definitely make sense, and if you are thinking about buying an ATV this information may help you weigh your options.

A Can-Am Defender side-by-side UTV with a rear utility bed
Can-Am Defender | Can-Am

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