ATV vs UTV vs RTV – Which One is Best for Off Roading?

Do you want to buy an off-road vehicle but don’t know which one to choose? Well, I have got you back.

ATVs, UTVs, and RTVs are the most common off-road vehicles that are mainly designed to access trails and other areas easier, which are impossible to access using ordinary on-road vehicles.

But here the question arises which off-road vehicle is best for you among all of these three? To help you through this, in this article, I have briefly explained everything you need to know about these vehicles so you can make a better choice for yourself.

What is an ATV? 


ATV, or ‘All-Terrain-Vehicle’, is an off-road motor vehicle that is suitable for both gravel and paved lands. ATVs were first designed to provide accommodation to the operator only, but that’s not the case now as you can easily find ATVs that don’t only accommodate just one person but others too. 

In simpler terms, ATVs are also known as simple quad or quad bikes, which are used for farming, recreation, hunting, and occasional hauling jobs.

                                     Features of ATVs

Number of Seats: 

ATVs were first introduced as single-ride cars, but in the latest version, you can find some extra seats too for passengers. 

Number of Wheels: 

The latest models of ATVs come with 4 wheels, and many countries have even banned the 3-wheeled ATVs.

Steering Technique: 

To steer, most ATVs use handlebars for accelerating or decelerating the vehicle.


In the four-wheeled ATVs, we usually get to see open-topped cabins, but there are also some models that have cab enclosures cabins.

Speed Limit: 

The average speed limit to drive ATVs can reach up to 65 mph, but if you’re going for a much more powerful and upgraded version, then it can also go up to 80 mph or more. 

But when you’re riding on rough surfaces, I would highly recommend you to keep a hold on the speed to prevent yourself from any accidents. 

Safety Precautions:

As we all know, riding an off-road vehicle comes with a greater risk so as ATVs; therefore, it is necessary to wear all safety equipment before your ride, including protective clothes, boots, and a helmet, to prevent yourself from getting injured in case of accidents.

Pros of ATVs

  • Cheaper than UTVs and RTVs
  • Ideal for trail rides
  • Easy to operate 
  • Rides smoothly on tight surfaces

Cons of ATVs

  • Not for you if you’re looking for something to ride with your friends/family because of its compact size.

What is UTV?


UTV stands for Utility Terrain/Task Vehicle, which is also an off-road vehicle that is designed to be used on all terrain. UTVs are also known as side-by-side (SxS) because of their capability to accommodate passengers.


These off-road vehicles have enough space to accommodate 1-6 persons, unlike ATVs, and these are ideal to be used for recreational activities. Other than that, these are also used for the transportation of workers and equipment, which are inaccessible using standard trucks.

Features of UTVs

Number of Seats:

Generally, UTV comes with several seats, which are obviously more than one. Furthermore, the latest models of UTVs, including the Polaris Ranger Crew series, can offer the seating of up to six persons.

Numbers of Wheels: 

UTV is a four-wheeled vehicle, and there are also some models that come with some additional wheels.

Steering Technique:

In UTVs, ordinary steering wheels are used to steer the vehicles just like other typical vehicles. Furthermore, for acceleration and deceleration, you’ll find the steering wheels fitted with a foot pedal.


UTVs have a different cabin design than typical ATVs, which mostly come with open-topped cabins. Whereas in UTVs, cabins are kept enclosed for the occupant’s safety and to provide shade.

Speed Limit:

When it comes to UTVs, their speed limit varies for each model; however, the average speed limit you can go with the UTV is up to 85 mph.

Safety Precautions:

Here is an advantage for the UTVs users as these come with some added safety features, such as windshield, overhead cabin and seat belts, to prevent the passengers from severe injury in case of an accident. 

But that doesn’t mean there is no need to wear protective clothing as it is a crucial component for your protection. 

Pros of UTVs

  • Have enough space to carry your family or friends when going on tours
  • Much safer
  • Offers a variety of customization options

Cons of UTVs

  • Slower in speed as of ATVs
  • Expensive 

What is RTV?


Lastly, we have RTVs, so What is RTV Vehicle? RTV, or Rough Terrain Vehicle, is another off-road vehicle that is mainly designed to ride on more rough and tough terrains, unlike other motor vehicles. 

If you are looking for something that can help you pass over a rugged landscape smoothly, then nothing can help you more if not this. Also, it works best in other ranges of setups too, such as in farms, construction sites, parks, and much more.


So now it comes to RTV vs ATV, and I would say RTVs are at an advantage here because these are not only safer than ATVs but also leads in terms of comfortability. 

Furthermore, RTV is loved by riders because of its smooth off-road performance and is also known for its versatility because it moves with ease on both off-road and off-road rides. 

Features of RTVs

Number of Seats:

RTVs are typically designed to accommodate 2-4 persons, but again it may vary for its different models. Here I want to add one more thing its ergonomic design is a great idea to maximize the comfort of its users.

Number of Wheels:

The four wheels are integrated into RTVs to make them exceptional for traction and to provide optimum hill control regardless of the number of seats included in it.

Steering Technique:

The steering wheels of RTVs are placed in the same manner, just as other motor vehicles, such as an ordinary steering wheel fitted with a foot pedal. The thought behind this is to make the rides comfortable and smooth while driving on almost all terrains. 

Cabin design:

Just like UTVs, RTVs are also designed within an enclosed cabin for your safety and to protect you from any misfortunes. Additionally, there is an outer frame that adds up the ruggedness and enables you to ride it under any circumstances. 

Speed Limit:

With its speed limit of up to 85 mph, you can do all kinds of tough tasks with ease, whether it is patrolling the farm or even transporting construction equipment.

Safety Precautions:

Now, if you’ve decided to go with RTVs, then I would definitely recommend you take safety considerations such as wearing your protective clothing or sturdy footwear for your protection. 

Pros of RTVs

  • Allows side-by-side riding
  • Ideal choices in terms of safety 
  • Additional space for your equipment storage
  • Feature of customization options

Cons of RTVs

  • Higher prices than ATVs

Which Off-road Vehicle is Best For You?

For all your needs, from taking things on granny trails to hauling materials and supplying construction equipment to construction sites, these off-road vehicles, including ATVs, UTVs, and RTVs, should be your go-to choices. 

Why? Because all of them are specifically designed to deal with the toughest and roughest terrains and to provide amazing performance.

Why Should One Go with the UTVs and RTVs But Not ATVs?

But now let’s talk about which one is best for you, so if you’re looking for something with the carrying capacity to take your family members or your friends with you, then I would recommend you to go with the UTV or RTV.

As these have enough towing capacity, and not only that but both of them are also great choices when it comes to safety.

Why Should One Go with ATVs But Not UTVs and RTVs?

Other than that, ATVs are a much better choice for you if you’re a farm manager who often has to go for livestock inspection and irrigation field crops inspections. 

It is also an ideal choice for anyone who is in search of something to carry things around and also for those who enjoy solo riding.

Final Verdicts:

Until now, you must have got an idea that whether it is about ATV vs UTV or RTV vs ATV, it all depends on some basic factors such as your budget estimation, your usage, and your ideal space. 

But the only thing that matters the most is all of these three variations are good at what they do both for work and recreation purposes.

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