Family Friendly UTV: What to Look for When Buying a Vehicle
Off-roading provides unparalleled options for family togetherness and outdoor fun. It’s exciting, involving, and relationship-enriching. If you’re looking to bring your partner, child, or entire family ATVing, this post will help you navigate the potentially daunting variety of choices and find a family friendly UTV that’s right for you.
UTV or 2-person ATV?
The very first thing to mention is that you should never bring an additional person on a typical, one-person ATV. ATVs rely on weight and balance to maneuver and stay upright. When you bring someone along with you on an ATV with only one seat, you are risking the ATV tipping over.
If you want to bring a partner, friend, or child with you, you’ll need to purchase or rent a 2-person ATV or a UTV, a.k.a. side-by-side.
2-person ATVs are designed for the weight of two people and to maintain balance with this weight distribution. Hand grips will be included beside the passenger seat for safety. Otherwise, these ATVs are just like any other ATV, boasting the same features.
UTVs allow 1-6 people, depending on the machine’s size, to ride in the same vehicle. They also provide additional features for safety and comfort such as roll cages and bucket seats, and the ability to add roofs, windshields, doors, and heaters and air conditioners. UTVs use a steering wheel and foot pedals to control the machine. These machines usually have higher load and towing capacities than ATVs. This is why they are called UTVs, which stands for utility task vehicles. This means UTVs can upgrade your work and play options with your four-wheeler whether you are bringing family or riding solo.
Your choice between these two options depends on how many people you want to include on a single vehicle, safety and comfort features you would like, and the activities you will be using the vehicle for.
Choosing The Best Side-by-side UTV for Family
Calculate how much your family and the belongings will likely weigh to determine what the load capacity of your machine needs to be. Make sure the storage of your potential new family UTV can accommodate everything you need to bring or plan to add on needed storage.
You will need to consider the power output of the machines you’re browsing. Jot down the activities you intend to use your machine for. If you will be mudding, climbing hills, hauling, or towing, you will need more power than if you just want to take a ride on the trail or head to a campsite.
Choose a quad with a limited slip differential (LSD) to get the best traction for most off-roading adventures. This will help you keep your family safe. If you’ve got a more daredevil family and you’ll be tackling tougher terrain, choose a locking differential.
Electric Power Steering (EPS) makes it much easier to control your machine. If this is important to you, look for the term in the specifications on four-wheelers you intend to purchase.
Make sure a quad offers good suspension so your family enjoys their ride. You don’t want to turn them off off-roading with an unnecessarily bumpy ride.
Four-wheelers require a significant amount of maintenance to perform reliably for years to come. Some machines are notorious for certain issues. You should research the model of any quad you consider purchasing so you can be prepared for potential issues and determine if the benefits of the machine outweigh the risks. The need for maintenance can be greatly reduced by purchasing an electric UTV.
Seat belts are a basic safety feature we are used to in cars and in most UTVs. They do not come on 2-person ATVs and some UTVs. If having seat belts is important to you, you can make sure the UTV comes with seat belts or add aftermarket seat belts onto your family UTV after purchase.
Most UTVs come with a roll cage. UTVs are heavy, and these devices are intended to keep the UTV from landing on occupants should it roll over. They can also provide some protection from other hazards and allow you to add roofs, doors, and heaters to your UTV.
Consider both the features your ATV or UTV comes with as well as aftermarket offerings supplied by the manufacturer. You will probably want to upgrade your quad. Most people do. You can get aftermarket upgrades without buying ones made by your manufacturer, but it’s much easier to guarantee you’re buying something that works for your machine when it is made by the same people who made it.
When choosing one of the best side by sides for families, you have to consider your must haves and nice to haves and be aware of what you just don’t need. There is a lot of variety in quad models. The best family UTV for the money will be the one that provides the capabilities, safety features, and comfort you need without wasting money on a lot of things you don’t need.