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What’s the Difference Between an ATV and a SXS/UTV?

What’s the Difference Between an ATV and a SXS/UTV?

There are two popular off-road vehicles for off-road adventure seekers: all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side/utility terrain vehicles (SXS/UTVs). But what’s the difference between an ATV and a SXS/UTV? We’ll compare these two vehicles and help you make an informed decision.

Size and Capacity

You’ll first notice that ATVs are designed for a single rider, are smaller, and are more narrow than SXS/UTVs. They are designed for one or (in some cases) two people and have a narrower profile, making them better suited for tight trails and terrain that requires maneuverability. SXS/UTVs, on the other hand, can seat two or more people, have more cargo space, and tackle more challenging terrain, such as rocks and hills.

SXSs are designed for longer rides with larger fuel capacity and storage to keep you comfortable for an entire day of riding. UTVs and SXS vehicles have controls similar to a passenger vehicle with a steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal. ATVs have handlebars like motorcycles, and controls are usually located on the bars.


When it comes to suspension, SXS/UTVs have an advantage. They typically have independent suspension on all four wheels, large coilover shocks, and sometimes electronic valving that provides a smoother ride, better handling, and improved stability in rough terrain. ATVs have independent front suspension and a swing arm-style rear suspension configuration. This makes for a less compliant ride that requires more input from the driver. Riding an ATV is a more active experience where weight placement is a part of controlling the vehicle. Both vehicles are very capable but provide very different riding experiences.


Because ATVs are smaller, they offer less protection for the rider in the event of an accident. SXS/UTVs, on the other hand, have a roll cage structure that protects the occupants in the case of a rollover or collision. In addition to roll cages, SXSs have doors, off-road safety harnesses, and seats designed for off-road. This added safety feature is one of the reasons people often use SXS/UTVs for work purposes and recreation.


ATVs are generally less expensive than SXS/UTVs. This is because they are smaller and have fewer features. SXS/UTVs are more expensive but offer more comfort, durability, and versatility. Remember that accessories and upgrades can add to the overall cost of both types of vehicles.


Ultimately, your choice will depend on what you plan to use the vehicle for. If you’re looking for a vehicle primarily for recreational use and want something lightweight and maneuverable, an ATV might be the right choice. However, if you need a smooth ride, plan on taking longer trips, or want to bring the family, a SXS/UTV might be the better option.

Now that you know the difference between ATVs and SXS/UTVs, you can determine which best meets your needs. An ATV might be better for you if you’re looking for something small and agile for recreational use. If you need a more versatile, high-speed, and durable vehicle for off-road trips, a SXS/UTV might be a better choice. Whatever you decide, be sure to check out DRT Motorsports’ selection of RZR Pro R performance parts to elevate your vehicle. We provide high-quality aftermarket parts that take your UTV experience to the next level.