A utility vehicle (UTV) just might be the most productive and versatile vehicle you ever own. To choose the best UTV for your work, it’s important to evaluate the machine’s comfort, ease of use, safety and overall capabilities.
Consider the tasks you perform most often, the gear and gadgets you carry, and the passengers who join you throughout the day. If you need a UTV to easily transport multiple passengers, haul jobsite materials or tow heavy trailers and equipment on your acreage, Bobcat utility vehicles might be a great option for you.
To help you find the best UTV for your specific needs, we took a look at what to consider when test driving utility vehicles.
Inspect the UTV Entry and Exit
Enter and exit the utility vehicle several times to get a feel for how easy it is to get in and out. Do you have enough foot space and legroom, particularly if your work boots are covered with mud or snow? Also, check the height of the entry step to make sure it’s easy to reach.
Test the UTV Seats and Steering Wheel
Sit in the driver’s seat and get comfortable. Place your hands on the steering wheel and adjust the tilt steering if the utility vehicle has it. Ensure you can reach all of the controls and storage compartments.
Next, check out the seat belt system. Models with a three-point shoulder harness provide additional restraint compared to lap belts. Some seat belts have a suspension mount for comfort.
Inspect the Visibility
As you sit behind the wheel of the UTV, take a 360-degree view of your surroundings. Be sure you have a clear view of the front and rear working areas and the cargo box. For nighttime operation, assess the light output and lighting accessories for various models. Check for front headlights, brake lights, taillights and turn signals.
Consider Gas or Diesel Fuel Options
When selecting the best UTV for you, it’s important to consider which fuel option makes the most sense for your needs. Try to find a utility vehicle that requires the same type of fuel you already have on hand.
For those who prefer using gas, the UV34 and UV34XL gas machines deliver reliable performance and productivity with gas-engine convenience. However, if you use diesel for the other machines in your fleet, a UV34 or UV34XL diesel utility vehicle could be the best option for you.
Check UTV Occupant and Storage Capacity
Utility vehicles are frequently used to transport crews around large construction sites or carry family members to remote areas of an acreage. If that’s what you’re looking for, consider an option with six forward-facing seats so passengers can ride in comfort, while you enjoy the same versatility and cargo capabilities as two-seater utility vehicles.
Check to see if the utility vehicle has adequate storage space for gloves, tools, flashlights and other objects you might need to carry with you. Be sure to look for 12-volt plug-ins to charge your phone and other electronic devices. And, if you leave the house with coffee, soda or water in hand, be sure to consider the placement of cup holders for yourself as well as passengers.
Review Interior UTV Cab Features
From the driver’s seat, get a feel for the interior, especially the dash. Is it operator-friendly? The speedometer, hour meter, engine rpm, warning lights and other indicator lights as well as the information display should be conveniently located and easy to read
Evaluate Overall Operation and Noise Levels
Utility vehicles are typically easy to operate, with familiar automotive-style controls that include a steering wheel, foot accelerator (or travel control pedal) and foot brake. Most utility vehicles have straightforward drive options – simply shift and go. Make sure to also evaluate the UTV’s noise level during operation. Noise should be minimized by the muffler and engine layout.
Ask About the UTV Suspension Systems
Be sure to understand the suspension systems on different utility vehicles. With four-wheel independent suspension, each wheel moves independently to smooth out the bumps, improve your comfort and keep wheels in contact with the ground for maximum traction.
Other suspension systems include swing-arm, semi-independent suspension and independent front and rear suspension with a rear sway bar. If you tow or haul heavy loads, the independent front and rear suspension with a rear sway bar is ideal for helping you efficiently complete challenging jobs without sacrificing ride quality.
Inspect UTV Safety Features
Many utility vehicles have seat belts and a standard roll over protective structure (ROPS). Both are important safety considerations. A parking brake protects against accidental movement, and some models feature an override system that limits engine rpm if the parking brake is set.
Additional UTV Options and Accessories
Beyond the standard features, there are options to customize your utility vehicle with accessories that protect the vehicle, provide additional operator comfort and help you accomplish more tasks. Common accessories include:
- Modular or steel cab
- Doors and windows
- Accessory systems
- Running boards
- Turf, mud and all-terrain tires
- Factory-installed packages with a brush guard, powered lift, stylish rims and other popular choices
- Worksite accessories including lighting options, turn signals and backup alarms
With these considerations in mind, you can find the best UTV for your work. Browse our full line of utility vehicles to get started.