Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV) are deceivingly named. For years, these ATV-like vehicles with a bed and a bench seat were imagined only as work vehicles, put to use on the farm for hauling hay and whatever else could fit in the back. Today, however, UTV’s have morphed into the cool younger brother of ATV’s with models available ranging from the tame to the outrageous and everything in between.
Also known as Side by Sides, Multi-Use Vehicles (MUV) and Recreational Utility Vehicles (RUV), these ever evolving vehicles allow for comfortable outdoor exploration as well as the ability to safely transport two or more people and gear simultaneously.
Sport UTV’s are the newest introduction to the side by side market and are intended for use by individuals seeking to use their vehicles primarily for recreation. The sleek styling of sport models is available primarily from major manufacturers including Arctic Cat, Bennche, Can-Am, Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris and Yamaha. Weighing in at 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, sport UTV’s have a bed capacity of 300 to 600 pounds, meaning that you can haul quite a bit around in the back of these rides. Be it a cooler of drinks, camping equipment or landscaping materials, these side by sides can get you and your stuff to where you’re going with style and spunk.
Side by sides targeted for utility use are still a major market and come built for work. Although they may not be as flashy as their sport counterparts, these durable vehicles are put to use by landowners, farmers and even emergency first responders all over the world. Sport and utility models are available in configurations to carry upwards of 6 people, allowing for efficient rough country transport in a multitude of situations.
To quench the aftermarket thirst of motorsports enthusiasts, UTV manufacturers and accessory dealers have released a number of accessories and add-ons to beef up side by side vehicles. However, it is clear from a little online shopping that certain makes and models clearly have more aftermarket parts available than others. For instance, the Yamaha Rhino currently reigns as the “champion,” if you will, of aftermarket parts. To stay in the competition, new parts are designed and released on a regular basis for many models, so chances are that you won’t have to wait long if what you want isn’t out there yet.
I know that when it comes time for our family to purchase another off-highway vehicle that we’ll be in the market for a side by side. The advantages to having a miniature pick-up truck of sorts, while still being able to experience the exhilaration of taking on trails and getting some speed, make these work/play horses a delightful face to have on the forefront of the OHV market.