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ATV Utility Vehicles - Workhorse or Off Road Adventure Machine?In the past, many utilities vehicles were little more than golf carts with a few modifications. Times have changed. There is now a large number of different models that are available and many of them are not like the older utility vehicles that they replace! Some of these utility vehicles have extreme off road capabilities that can compete with some of the best ATV's out there. No longer must one choose between a workhorse or off road fun. With the right choice, it is possible to get both jobsite work capabilities and also off road recreational fun all in one exciting package deal! Most of these come with automatic CVT transmissions so the driver can focus on the task at hand. This is the same type of transmission that is found on most snowmobiles and an increasing number of ATVs. With this type of transmission, you just give it the throttle and the CVT is constantly varying the ratio to match the conditions. Engine sizes on these machines can range from small 421cc engines all the way up to 976cc engines. Towing capacities on some of these new generation machines can exceed 1200lbs.
Yamaha Rhino Utility Vehicle
Operating one of these utility vehicles is like driving a small pickup truck, but they are much more maneuverable in tight spaces and much more off road capable. In many places where a regular pickup truck would get stuck, these utility vehicles can go
through without a problem.
One of the reasons why they are not as likely to get stuck is because they
are lighter than a full size truck. Well, that's obvious! There is less weight pressing down on the ground relative
to the contact area of the tires. In other words, there is
less weight to be distributed over each tire (less pounds per square inch
of tire contact area) and this means that it's less likely for the tires
to dig down and bury these vehicles in places where a full size truck
would be stuck up to it's axles in mud, sand, or snow. There are many different models of
utility vehicles available. Once these machines became popular, many
manufacturers rushed to enter the market with their own model.
Because of this, there
are many great choices out there right now.
Can Am Commander Utility Vehicle
Some models come equipped with 4WD and differential lock capabilities which can give some of these machines incredible off road traction. Powerful engines in some utility vehicles allow them to haul heavy loads with ease and to fly along the trails and dunes at high speeds. Advanced suspensions also allow some of these machines to easily soak up the bumps on the jobsite or off road trails.
Kawasaki Mule Utility Vehicle
Some of these vehicles are better suited as a farm, ranch, or jobsite utility vehicle. Others have much more off road capability. Some are proficient at both! It all depends on what the user needs, how much money they want to spend, and personal preference as to which model would be the best choice. Thankfully, there are now several companies that manufacture ATV utility vehicles and the number of good choices is growing. At the time that this is being written, Kawasaki has the Mule and Teryx series of utility vehicles. Yamaha has the well known Rhino machines. Honda has the Big Red as their entry into the utility vehicle market. There is the Arctic Cat Prowler and the Can Am Commander. John Deere has different models of their Gator series utility vehicles. Kubota has their RTV line of machines. As you can see, there are MANY different utility vehicles to choose from! There are so many choices and so much competition that it is good for the consumer, as these different companies compete with one another. The end result is that the customer has many more models of utility vehicles to choose from with many great features that have been developed as manufacturers try to outdo each another. Most of these utility vehicles come with gasoline engines, but some models are offered with diesel engines for situations where diesel may be a more common fuel in a work setting such as where heavy earthmoving equipment is being used, or on a farm where. The Kubota RTV comes with a diesel engine, as well as certain versions of the Kawasaki Mule and Polaris Ranger.
Below is a video of a very unique utility vehicle known as the Alstor 8x8. This 8 wheel drive utility vehicle is designed for working in extreme conditions where many conventional utility vehicles would be unable to operate. Obviously, this type of utility vehicle is not going to be best suited to recreational driving such as at the dunes, but it does fill a niche by providing extreme rough terrain capabilities for those that need it.