Compared: ATV vs Side-by-Side – Which is The Better Choice For You?

Which machine is better: side-by-side or ATV? 

That’s a trick question. There is no answer to which is better, but there is certainly an answer to the question: which machine will better suit your needs?

Choosing between an ATV and a side-by-side can be tricky as each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s all about what you plan to do with it.


Now it may seem painfully obvious, but it’s one of the biggest distinguishing factors here: side-by-sides are bigger than ATVs. On the positive side, that means you can haul more cargo, heavier cargo and multiple passengers. On the down side, side-by-sides can be tricky to fit down tight trails and take up way more storage space, so be sure to double check that your enclosed trailer or storage space is large enough.


This one is fairly obvious as well: ATVs are cheaper (generally) than side-by-sides. The cheapest ATV on the market today sells for just under $5,000 while the cheapest side-by-sides go for just under $10,000.

The Ride

This is one of the biggest difference between the two machines: how they ride. I always like to tell people that you “drive” a side-by-side while you “ride” and ATV. The difference is that while driving the side-by-side, you are stationary and movement of the machine is totally dependent on input from the controls. On an ATV, the rider is much more engaged thanks to the seating position, smaller size, handlebar controls and most importantly, the fact that the rider’s body weight plays a big roll in how the machine handles. Being able to stand up and lean into corners or up hills helps to shift the machines center of gravity of the fly, allowing you to ride aggressively.

What are the other major differences? You’ll have to watch the video above to find out.