Side by Side (UTV)

The Side by Side is a small 2-6 person four-wheel drive off-road vehicle, also called UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) a ROV (Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle).[1] or a MOHUV (Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicle)

Kawasaki Mule

Differences between ATVs and UTVs

UTVs differ from all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in that UTVs typically have a side-by-side seating arrangement, many have seat belts and roll-over protection, and most have a cargo box at the rear of the vehicle. UTVs generally have a higher payload capability and are longer and wider than ATVs. While most ATVs can carry 125 to 200 lbs. of cargo in addition to the operator's weight, UTV payloads run from 800 to 1350 lbs. above the operator/passenger's weight. The payload on a UTV is usually carried below the top of the tires - as opposed to an ATV, which carries its load above the fenders. This lower load-positioning can drastically lower the vertical center of gravity, which increases stability. UTVs come in a number of different configurations. Some have four tires on the ground, some have six or more. How these differences affect the operation of the UTVs can be confusing. Most of the functions required of these units have at least two aspects in common: the machines need to work off-road and to carry equipment. Working off-road requires the unit to maneuver around obstacles and over rough terrain. Carrying equipment requires the strength to haul a load and the ability to stay on top of softer ground.


The majority of the side by sides come factory equipped with a ROPS, or roll over protection system. Many of the vehicles also come equipped with hard tops, windshields, and even cab enclosures.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) defines Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles (MOHUVs) as vehicles with: "(a) four or more wheels, (b) a steering wheel, (c) non-straddle seating, and (d) maximum speeds between 25 mph and 50 mph. In addition, MOHUVs have foot controls for throttle and braking, occupant restraints, and rollover protective structures." MOHUVs with maximum speeds in excess of 30 mph meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission definition of an ROV. Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles are subject to additional safety standards including "visual seat belt usage reminders; leg/foot barriers; shoulder/hip barriers; and arm/hand barriers to restrict occupant egress and excursion from the vehicle during a rollover event". Thse are voluntary standards under American National Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles, ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010, though the CPSC has proposed making them mandatory.

CPSC stated in 2009 that "The vehicles may exhibit inadequate lateral stability, undesirable steering characteristics, and inadequate occupant protection during a rollover crash". According to the CPSC between 2003 and August 2009 116 deaths occurred in ROV/UTV accidents.[2]


Notable manufacturers of UTV / Side by side vehicles:


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