In the military world, UTV means “utility tactical vehicle” and it can be an important little “buggy” for bringing in supplies to tough-to-get-to locations and other off-road duties. In the civilian world, UTV may stand for “utility task vehicle” (or sometimes, “utility terrain vehicle”), but minus the combat aspect, it’s basically the same.
In a word, UTVs are tough. If we had to use a second descriptor for them, it would be useful. A UTV is like an ATV, but “on steroids.” Specifically, it’s a small, highly maneuverable, 4WD vehicle that seats two to six people side-by-side, and is capable of hauling around twice the payload of the average ATV.
Around two-thirds of US UTVs are used for commercial purposes. They are “work horses” used on farms, forest preserves, camp sites, at logging operations, or even on construction sites located in rough, remote terrain. The remainder, however, are recreational vehicles fit for trailblazing on hunting trips or just going on off-road “joy rides.”
Here are 5 key tips to follow if you should opt to shop for your next UTV online:
1. Hone in on your desired features.
There are a multitude of different UTV brands and models out there these days, and you can probably find any configuration you want if you do the research and are willing to “get picky” in finding your ideal vehicle.
Sports-focused UTV models will usually be wider, heftier, more powerful, and a bit more pricey than work-oriented UTVs. With the former, you’re probably looking for power, style, and comfort, while with the latter, hauling capacity, bed dimensions, and number of seats may be of paramount importance.
2. Consider the terrain where you’ll use the UTV.
Whether destined for work or play, you have to have a vehicle that works well on the terrain you plan to drive it on.
If driven consistently on flat terrain, even a 2WD model can suffice. But off-roading will require the typical 4WD that UTVs are known for. The rougher the terrain, the more powerful an engine and the stronger suspension you’re going to need.
Plus, be sure you get a model 50 inches or less wide if you’re planning to use it on US Forestry Service roads or you’ll be restricted from using it in some areas.
3. Be careful if you buy a preowned UTV.
Work UTVs are often kept by their first owner till they practically wear out, but it’s much easier to find used sport UTVs for sale that are relatively new and in good condition. Why? Because the original owner simply wanted to buy the latest model and resell the old one to help pay for it.
Be especially careful about private sellers. You will want to test drive the UTV and have it inspected for engine, battery, exhaust, steering, suspension, and other potential problems before buying – even if you find the vehicle online.
You can make the trip to test drive it yourself or have someone else do it for you. And you still may want to have the UTV shipped back home rather than hauling it.
4. Get a service history before buying used.
You should stay on the safe side and insist on a verifiable service history and mileage record before seriously considering buying a used UTV online.
Before you even get into test driving or inspecting the vehicle, you need to know it’s not been neglected nor been in a debilitating accident that could permanently affect its performance.
5. Check out your financing options.
You can get preapproved for a UTV loan through a specialty lender and gain loan flexibility and buyer bargaining power.
Or, you could find a very low interest side-by-side loan through a lot of dealerships out there, along with valuable warranties and the ability to include all parts and accessories in the loan. Be sure to explore your best financing options on top of just looking for the best UTV.
Follow these 5 guidelines, and your online search for your next UTV will be safer and more likely to land you a vehicle you’ll be completely satisfied with.