Quad vs. ATV vs. Four wheeler – what is the main difference

The main difference between Quad and ATV is in the number of wheels. Quad typically refers to the off-road vehicles or motorbikes that have four wheels. On the contrary, ATV can have more than two wheels and typically up to six wheels. Although both these terms are almost the same, there is some distinguishing difference between Quad and ATV.

Quad vs. ATV vs. Four wheeler

Quad vs. ATV

All the Quads falls under the category of ATV, but all the ATVs are not Quads. That’s how you can refer to these two terms in a simple sentence. ATVs are better than quads in terms of off-road activities. Except for Quad, jeeps and tanks are such vehicles that fall under the term of ATVs.

Let’s distinguish the differences between Quad and ATV by creating a table.





Quad is a type of ATV that comes with four wheels and is mostly used for recreational activities on off-roads.

ATV is a small motor vehicle designed for rough roads with more than two wheels with low-pressure tires, a seat straddled by the operator and handlebars for the steering.

Number of wheels

As the name refers Quad has four wheels, but some Quads nowadays also come with three wheels.

ATV can contain more than two wheels and up to six wheels, typically.

Purpose of use 

It is mainly used in off-roads for recreational purposes.

This type of vehicle has many uses like in farming, sports events, battles in rough fields, etc.

Vehicle style 

Quads are mainly motorbike types.

Tank and Jeeps are included in ATVs.

Off-road performance 

Normal performance for recreational activities.

ATVs are capable of providing rough and tough off-road performances.

Quad meaning

Quad means a small motorbike or cycle that contains four large wheels, which are used for recreational purposes on off-roads. These vehicles are mainly used in private areas to carry goods from one place to another. However, you have a road license to ride the Quad on the road, you can do so.

There are typically two types of Quads depending on the number of seats it has. In one type, there is only one seat behind the driver’s one and in the second type, there is one seat beside the driver’s other two seats behind these front seats. Quads are capable of carrying passengers as well, but it needs to have enough seats, green light from the manufacturer and the on-road driving license as well.

ATV meaning


The word ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicles. So, all the vehicles that are used in the rougher conditions fall under this category. Specifically, ATV is a small low-pressure tire vehicle that has three to six wheels, a seat straddled by the operator and for operating, there are handlebars connected to the steering.

There are various sizes of ATVs and all of them are not perfect for users of every age. Before choosing an ATV, one needs to check out the age recommendation imposed by the manufacturer. ATV can also carry passengers, but only one. Two types are depending on this, where the first one only comes with a seat for the driver and the second one comes with a seat behind the driver to carry one passenger.

UTV meaning

UTV is a side by side passenger carrying or cargo-carrying off-road vehicle that has four or more wheels, which is controlled by the steering wheel and pedal. This type of vehicle comes with a non-straddle seat. The word UTV refers to Utility Terrain Vehicles or Utility Task Vehicle.

This is a type of ATV, but different from those as it can carry passengers by sitting side by side and that is why this vehicle is also known as side by side vehicles. It can carry two to four passengers. They are commonly used for agricultural purposes and are also commonly seen to be used for carrying educational institution goods. The speed of these vehicles ranges from 25 to 50 mph. Unlike ATVs, there is a roof designed on the UTVs.

Pros and cons of ATV & UTV

Before going to the pros and cons of ATV and UTC, you need to decide for which purpose, you are going to buy an off-road vehicle. If you need better control and a bit safer ride with more persons, UTV is the right option. However, if you want a small, single riding vehicle then look for an ATV.

ATV pros

  • ATV is designed for single riders and compact storage after use.
  • ATVs are more affordable than UTVs as they come in a small size.
  • In comparison to UTVs, ATVs can produce some extra speed as well.
  • Many ATV parts and accessories are siimilar to UTV

ATV cons

  • In the case of safety, ATV is not going to be a good option.
  • ATV is not capable of carrying more than one passenger at a time and most of them are made only for a single ride.
  • For carrying goods, you shouldn’t choose ATV over UTV.

UTV pros

  • UTV can carry two to four-person side by side which makes it a great off-road vehicle for family time.
  • It is capable of carrying heavy loads like cargo goods.
  • There is a roof like a windshield designed over the vehicle to ensure the safety of the goods and passengers.

UTV cons

  • The greatest con of UTV is the price as you have to spend far more dollars to buy a UTV compared to an ATV.
  • It is a bigger vehicle that needs larger space in the garage.
  • UTV is difficult to move around than ATV.

ATV vs. UTV : Which is safer

atv vs. utv

Of course, UTV is a safer ride in comparison to UTV. There are some built-in features in a UTV that ensure safety.

  • Windshield: UTV comes with a windshield that works as a roof on the vehicle to ensure the safety of the passengers riding on the vehicle. But ATVs don’t come with such covers that make them less safe.
  • Seat belts: Like a conventional car plying on the roads, UTVs come with built-in seat belts. The driver can tie up the seat belts to reduce the chances of unwanted accidents.
  • Doors: Some UTV does have doors and after loading the vehicle with cargo or passenger, you can close the door for a safer ride.

Quad vs. ATV vs. Four wheeler

Both Quad and four-wheelers fall in the category of ATVs. However, they have some differences as well. Every four-wheeler is quads, but not all quads are four-wheelers. Again, every Quad is an ATV, but not every ATV is a quad. Let's make it a bit clearer now.

  • Definition: Quad is a four-wheeled vehicle that is used for recreational events on off-roads. And so as the four-wheelers, but they are used for harsher purposes. Again, ATV has also used roads but comes with more than two wheels.
  • The number of wheels: Both quads and four-wheelers have four wheels, though some quads come with three wheels. But ATVs can have three to six wheels.
  • Types: Quads can be motorbikes or bicycles types. But four-wheelers are more likely the ATVs, but not exactly ATVs. ATVs are better than these two for producing powerful ride.

Concluding words

So I think, you are now clear about the differences between Quad and ATV. Now you need to decide which type of off-road vehicle you want.

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