Trail riding in the mountains, through the woods, or over rolling hills is one of the best parts about owning a power sports machine. But with all the options to choose from, where do you even begin?

If you’re struggling to decide between an ATV or a side by side, you’ll need to better understand the capabilities of both machines and what tasks they’re meant to fulfill. Both categories of sports vehicles provide adventure, but there are some key differences between them, and you no doubt have several questions about which is right for you.

Let’s compare ATVs vs. side by sides!

Why Should You Own an ATV?

An ATV,  short for “all-terrain vehicle,” has a saddle seat riding position and handlebar steering, making the machine extra nimble. Seats are typically only designated for one person. However, some machines can seat two people, one in front of the other.

If you’re wondering if an ATV is right for you, consider these factors.

Agile Performance

Best suited for making quick turns, ATVs can operate well in wooded, or tight, secluded areas. Though side by sides are known for being the “utility work” machines, ATVs can also handle agile work, such as livestock herding or hunting.

Hauling Capacity

An ATV can haul a large amount of weight depending on the machine’s towing capacity. So, if you need to move materials around or want to get work done around the yard, an ATV might be best for you.

Sporty Options

ATVs can come in different sizes. Typically because ATVs are more agile than side by sides, they are used in off-road sports, such as racing.

That said, CFMOTO’s ZFORCE side by sides have been known to dominate the racing track as well!

What About Side by Sides?

Side by Sides, otherwise known as utility task vehicles (UTVs), are ridden similarly to a golf cart. Riders sit next to each other in a seated position, can be strapped in by seatbelts, and use gas and brake pedals, as well as power steering, to maneuver the machine.

The following are optimal reasons you would want to purchase a side by side.

Cargo Space

Though some ATVs can have cargo racks installed, CFMOTO USA’s side by sides come with large-capacity cargo boxes with dumping capabilities. This means much more room to carry and transport any necessary cargo.

So, while an ATV works great if you need to tow heavy things, UTVs provide more storage.

Heavy Work

Don’t have the space to store a tractor? No problem. A well-equipped side by side has the capabilities to do the work of a small, compact tractor.

Accessories for your side by side can be purchased and added, including cultivators, disc plows, box scrapers, loaders, mowers, wood splitters, and augers.


You’ll never have to ride alone again! Bring along your family and friends to experience the thrill of riding your side by sides.

The two-seater or four-seater options are perfect for when you just want to ride around the field or back roads for fun.

Room for Riders

Whether it’s your family or you have employees working on your property, don’t waste valuable working hours making them walk from one location to another. No matter if you choose to purchase a two-seater or four-seater, a side by side is perfect for transporting people between various locations.

This makes it great for practical purposes, especially if you have kids.

Your CFMOTO USA Dealer Can Help You Decide!

In reality, you can use both ATVs and Side by Sides for similar tasks, however, the main difference between the vehicles is how they’re built and ridden. While both ATVs and side by sides are designed to perform specialized tasks, you can sometimes use both for similar things including racing, hauling, and playing.

If you’re still not sure which machine is best for your lifestyle, we recommend you narrow down your decision by taking a test drive at your nearest CFMOTO dealer. If you’re interested in owning a CFMOTO machine of your own, check out our brand new lineup of ATVs and Side by Sides!