WHAT IS A SIDE-BY-SIDE VEHICLE (SXS) OR UTV?
A side-by-side vehicle (SxS) or utility task vehicle (UTV) is a four- to six-wheeled off-road vehicle with side-by-side bucket seats—hence their name—and a steering wheel much like you’d see in a car. They also pack many features you’ll see in a car like seatbelts, foot gas and brake pedals, and roll bars or cages. Their rough-and-tumble capabilities make them popular as recreational off-road vehicles, but they’ve become more and more useful as work vehicles to those living in rural areas or on farms, where hauling and towing are a daily job. Basically, with a variety of models and options, it’s possible to find a SxS that’ll do almost whatever you throw at it.
WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER A SXS OR UTV?
SxSs sit in a sweet spot between a traditional ATV and a full-sized vehicle like a truck. While being just as quick and nimble as an ATV, a SxS can carry more, have more power, and is far more durable than a conventional truck. They can handle tough days with no scratched paint, broken glass or dented panels to lose sleep over. With a lower centre of gravity, these vehicles have unrivalled manoeuvrability in challenging off-road settings.
SIDE-BY-SIDE OR ATV? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
An all-terrain vehicle (ATV), also known as four-wheeler or quad, is an off-road vehicle with straddle seating and handlebar steering much like a motorcycle. Many comfortable two-person ATV models are out there, but most work best for a single rider. On the other hand, SxSs or UTVs are designed to carry more people—at least two passengers and up to six—and are controlled by a steering wheel and gas and brake pedals as opposed to handlebars. SxSs have a bigger payload capacity than ATVs, meaning they can tow larger loads for those wanting to tow equipment around the ranch or farm.
For more information, take a look at our ATV vs SxS/UTV guide that details the differences and benefits of each of these types of vehicle.
WHAT TYPE OF SXS OR UTV IS BEST FOR ME?
The best place to start is to decide what your needs are. When deciding between an ATV, SxS or UTV, keep in mind that one isn’t necessarily better than the other, and when it comes to different riding conditions, activities and job-site requirements, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A SxS or UTV will be best for you if you’re a less experienced rider who will be more comfortable with familiar car-like operating controls, prefer a less physically demanding style of riding required by an ATV, want to carry passengers, or for whom safety is a top priority and would like seatbelts and a roll cage. Due to their design and lower centre of gravity, SxSs are also more stable and easier to control than a typical ATV.