Utility Vehicle

Why is UTV so expensive?

Many people wonder why UTVs are so expensive. Is it worth it to spend $30,000 or more on an entirely recreational vehicle? In this article, we explore this question and provide some answers. Read on to learn more.

The price for a UTV, also known as a side by side, or simply an SxS, can range from a few thousand dollars to just under 30,000$ USD. The different makes, models and years of the SxS will influence its price. Many people find it ridiculous to pay the same price as a Jeep for what is essentially a toy, as some consider the sport UTVs. Nevertheless, people keep buying a side by sides, without any real regard for the cost. For a detailed list of UTV costs, I have written an article, especially for you!

For us, long-time ATV enthusiasts, UTVs or side-by-sides are a relatively new phenomenon. They are becoming more and more popular, and new types are becoming more common. With that in mind, I figured I should nail down what exactly classifies as a UTV.

What is a UTV? UTV stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle. Some also call it a Utility Task Vehicle. More frequently, UTVs are being referred to as side-by-sides since the passenger sits on the side of the driver, rather than behind. UTVs are typically larger than ATVs, are operated by a steering wheel rather than handlebars, and have gas and brake pedals. Most UTVs also comes equipped with a roll bar or cage.

Whether you are looking for a truck utility vehicle service body and any upgrade, or just want to add a UTE tray, Ridgeback Truck Bodies offers a complete end-to-end solution for vehicle fit-outs.

Why Are Side by Sides So Expensive?

There are several reasons for the UTV side by sides being so expensive, but the main ones are listed above. We will look into detail a bit more and cover the demand, performance, and accessories that all play a role in why are side by sides so expensive.

Utility Vehicle

Why Is There Such A High Demand For Side By Sides?

There are three types of side by sides. Each type has a different kind of use, which means each type has its client base. As a result, UTVs have an already broad audience. The uses are as follows:

  • Utility UTVs: This type of side by side is perfect for towing and hauling large items. You will often see them on job sites and farms. These UTVs are usually relatively basic. They will have doors and roofs as a default but will not have any performance modifications. 

As they are the perfect vehicle for farm work, it is easy to understand why the demand is consistent, if not rising. As they are necessary, manufacturers can increase the prices, knowing good full farms will continue to purchase them no matter the cost.

  • Sport UTVs: This type of UTV is the one that has seen a spike in popularity in recent years. These side by sides are made to withstand any obstacle in their path with almost no difficulty—all while speeding down the track. They do not serve a practical purpose and are just for fun.
  • Generally, sport side by sides will be the most expensive due to their performance. Skip to the following subhead for more on performance. 
  • Sport Utility UTVs: This type is a mix of the first two to be both practical and fun. Sport Utility UTVs share a similar purpose with ATVs, but, since they can carry more than one person, they are popular with families. By seating between 2 and 6 people, the UTV market has allowed its audience to expand to these families, which would otherwise remain home.
  • The added doors and roof increases this audience further as people with safety concerns for ATVs are more inclined to feel safe in a side by side. Most UTVs will automatically come with a windshield that offers an extra layer of protection. 
  • Being able to perform off-road while letting you feel safe goes a long way in convincing people that UTVs are worth the cost.

To put it in perspective, compare top-performing passenger cars to top-performing race cars. The cost of a passenger car and the cost of a race car can be hundreds of thousands of dollars apart. The reason for this is a race car is a far higher-performing vehicle.

When comparing passenger cars and UTVs, the performances fairly similar and so is the price tag.

Understand The Market

Another factor that influences the price of UTVs is a simple fact that people are willing to pay the price. As long as that holds, the companies that make these vehicles will continue to charge the prices they can get.

Understand The Improvements!

To begin to understand the practical reasons why UTVs are so expensive, it’s important to realize that a great many improvements have been made since they first hit the scene in 2009.

In terms of horsepower, suspension travel and more, these vehicles have a great deal more power, maneuverability and versatility than they once had.

Since the early part of this century, UTVs’ horsepower potential has increased fourfold. Many of these vehicles now use 32-inch tires with suspension allowing 25 inches in wheel travel. This is one of the factors that has caused the price of sports side by sides (SxS) to double in the past few years.

Three Different Types Of UTVs Have Different Price Tags

Utility UTVs Are Work Horses

They are good for hauling and towing and are often used on farms and around job sites. These are basic vehicles that are not intended for recreation.

These basic models will have roofs and doors but do not have performance modifications. This work machinery is in constant demand, and you can expect the price tag to remain consistent.

Sports UTVs

Sport UTVs are becoming more and more popular by the day. This type of SxS is specially designed to be rugged and tough to make their way over all sorts of obstacles with little or no trouble.

They are intended to be used for recreation at high speeds, and they are not a practical vehicle by any means. Ironically, this is why they carry an extremely high price tag.

Sports/Utility UTVs Hybrid

Sport/Utility UTVs combine the best of both recreational and practical UTVs. This type of vehicle can carry up to six people, so it’s quite popular for families. A sport/utility UTV has a roof and doors for greater safety yet still offers the mobility and excitement of off-road fun.

What are the differences between an ATV and UTV?

ATVs are very similar, that’s why we dedicated this site to both ATVs and UTVs. That being said, some pretty significant differences differentiate a UTV or side by side from an ATV. We are just going to hit them below in bullet points for convenience.

  • UTVs are typically designed to carry more passengers. While some larger ATVs can carry a passenger, most models are designed for a single person. On the other hand, almost every UTV is designed to carry at least two people, and many models have rear seats to carry four people total.
  • UTVs typically offer more carrying space. Many UTVs have a dedicated bed in the back to haul things, but other UTVs typically have at least some dedicated hauling space as opposed to an ATV which usually has little more than a small rack, unless you add rear cargo.
  • UTVs are generally much more customizable than ATVs. Add on wheels, suspensions, lights and so much more allow you to dump lots of money in customizing a UTV. While you can customize an ATV, your options are pretty limited.
  • A steering wheel controls uTVs as opposed to handlebars. Because of this, they tend to be much easier to drive and don’t differ too much from driving a car or truck.
  • UTVs have gas and brake pedals much like a car rather than the brake lever and throttle used by most quads. This is another thing that makes it easier to drive for a new user familiar with driving a car.
  • UTVs are almost always equipped with a roll bar or cage to protect the inhabitants if the UTV rolls over.
  • Most UTVs have seat belts whereas ATVs can’t make that an option.
  • UTVs usually have a bigger payload capacity than ATVs, meaning they can tow more for those wanting to tow equipment around the ranch or farm. Most ATVs can carry 125 to 400 lbs. of cargo in addition to the operator’s weight, whereas UTV payloads usually run from 800 to 1350 lbs.

Who should buy a UTV instead of an ATV?

There is a reason the popularity of side-by-sides is rapidly increasing. For a lot of people, they simply make more sense. People for whom a UTV is going to be preferable to an ATV include the following:

  • Inexperienced riders who will be more comfortable with familiar operating controls like a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals.
  • Those not capable of the more physically-demanding style of riding required by an ATV. Riding quads can give your body a beating. They take more strength and balance to control and are also going to be a little more jarring on your body, going over bumps. For those that need a little softer ride, a side-by-side is an excellent option.
  • Those that need a more utilitarian work vehicle. UTVs tend to be, surprise, more utilitarian than ATVs. In addition to higher payload capacities, UTVs usually have more storage room to haul around whatever equipment you may need. Additionally, the more comfortable ride of a UTV can be helpful during a long day of work.
  • Those that want to carry passengers will have a greater capability with a UTV. This is exciting for families with younger children. In addition to kids not being able to keep up safely on rough trails if they are riding ATVs, buying four or five ATVs can get expensive, whereas you can find a UTV to fit the whole family.
  • Riders that want to customize their ride will have many more options with a UTV. UTV’s are a lot more customizable than ATVs. You can add lift kits, new suspensions, lighting systems, cabin heaters, stereo systems and much more.
  • Those more concerned about safety will likely be more comfortable in a UTV. Due to their design, UTVs are more stable and easier to control. They also have additional safety measures not found on ATVs, such as seat belts and roll cages.
  • What are the Popular UTV models?
  • UTVs can typically be separated into two categories: the traditional utilitarian side by sides; and the newer high-performance models.

If you’re looking for a top quality service body then give our experienced team a call to see how Ridgeback Service Bodies can make your business, fleet or recreational service bodies make your life on the road easier and safer.

Utilitarian UTVs

Honda Pioneer

This is the ultimate in entry-level utility. It is small at just 50 inches wide and only has a 475 cc engine. It also doesn’t sport a ton of cargo space. What it is good for, besides just hauling two passengers around, is towing. Despite its small size and small engine, the Pioneer can tow 1,000 pounds.

Kawasaki Mule

As the name would suggest, this is a hauling machine–passengers, cargo or towing load. This thing can tow 2,000 pounds or carry up to six people.

Textron Stampede

A powerful engine in a utilitarian body. Lots of cargo space and towing capability at a reasonable price.

Can-Am Defender

The Defender is the utility model from Can-Am, and nobody will confuse it for the Maverick. The Defender is loaded with storage space, making it popular for hunters.

John Deere Gator

The John Deere Gator is probably the most well-known utility side-by-side. There are a bunch of different Gators, most of which would look out of place off the farm or ranch, but they have added some sportier models with the XUV series.

Polaris Ranger

The Ranger is the no-frills pure utility offering from Polaris. With lots of storage, four-wheel drive, durability and a dumping cargo box, the Ranger is going to handle all your work for a budget price.

Textron Prowler

Arctic Cat built a strong line of utilitarian side-by-sides with the popular Prowler line before Arctic Cat became Textron.

The Ute Tray Service Body has many optional accessories available allowing you to create the safest, most functional and best-looking work vehicle around.

Most Affordable UTVs On The Market

Like I said above, if you are not happy about UTV prices, then buying new is not an option. There are some exceptions to this, though. You can also buy one of these UTVs, which can be had for quite cheap, especially when compared with some more mainstream options. Buying these rides with a good rebate or deal going on will further ensure that you save your hard-earned cash. Anyways, here are the most affordable UTVs.

CFMOTO ZForce 500

CFMOTO is a Chinese company that has been quietly selling UTVs and ATVs for years in the United States. And they are one of the few companies that will sell you a proper sports UTV for under 8000 grand. Many people think that this company makes weak products that break apart over the course of a few months, but that has not been the case with the CFMOTO UTVs that I have seen. They handle very well, and they feel very sturdy. The ZForce 500 is a UTV that you should check out if you want a Sport UTV that is on the cheap side.

Textron Prowler

Arctic Cat has been providing products that provide a lot of value for the price recently, And the Prowler is no exception. For under nine grand you can get a UTV that is very versatile and capable, not only offroad but in work situations too. The Prowler is also a great UTV for bigger folks, with a lot of legroom and cabin room. anyways, if you are looking for a versatile ride that can do anything while still being under ten grand, then take a look at this side by side

Kubota RTV

While this isn’t exactly a great choice for anybody looking for a sports model when it comes to utility and farm work, the Kubota RTV is a stud. One of the most lauded aspects of this Kubota is that it has a great resale value. Many people consider this brand to have one of the best resale values in the industry, which means more money saved over the long term. It’s also super cheap at under eight grand for a new model. Anyways, if you need a UTV to work, then looking at the Kubota RTV might be warranted!

John Deere Gator RSX

John Deere has always been synonymous with utility and farm work. That’s why when they introduced the RSX years ago, many enthusiasts were surprised. Anyways, this is one of the most affordable Sports UTVs on the market. It’s also a great offroader, and in short, it’s a great option if you want a sports side by side but is on a budget.

The bottom line is that people will pay what they want to for toys and a side by side is a toy for you to play with, a very expensive toy for some. When it comes down to spending a lot of money for your toys, you want to make sure that your toys are protected, and the best way to do that is to make sure you use an all-weather cover to keep your UTV out of the elements, or store it in a building or garage.

In the past, side by sides was used almost exclusively as utility vehicles. People would purchase them and spend thousands of dollars, transforming them into luxury sport vehicles. By going directly to building them as sports vehicles, manufacturers have made it easier for people to get just what they want without much more than making the payment.

Ultimately, UTV manufacturers have made it hassle-free and increased performance to never before seen levels. The price is the parts, the performance, the easy and the luxury of it all.

Scroll to Top