Mini Trucks Vs. Side By Side (UTVs): 7 Important Facts

Are you considering whether you should invest in a mini truck or a UTV? There sure are good grounds for going both ways.

Let’s start with a quick comparison of mini trucks and UTV top models.

Data on popular mini trucks:

Mini Trucks Max. Speed Tow Capacity Load Capacity
Daihatsu Hijet 81 mph 1323 lb 1102 lb
Mahindra Supro 59 mph 1620 lb 1874 lb
Tata Ace Mega 50 mph 1433 lb 1323 lb
Suzuki Carry 75 mph 1933 lb 1631 lb
Subaru Sambar 87 mph 1616 lb 199 lb

Data on popular UTVs:

Model Max. Speed Tow Capacity Load Capacity
Yamaha Rhino 660 40 mph 1212 lb 400 lb
Kubota X-1100C 25 mph 1299 lb 925 lb
John Deere Gator CX 40 mph 899 lb 800 lb
Kawasaki Mule 4010 30 mph 800 lb 1200 lb
Arctic Cat Prowler 700 XT EPS 35 mph 680 lb 1500 lb

Now, let’s get into some details.

Mini Trucks Vs. Side By Side (UTV)

A mini truck is a basically a light-weight truck. They are usually available in both 4WD and 2WD.

  • Mini trucks can be placed in the same category as 1000cc engine vehicles. They are commonly used in deliveries within towns and for carrying low capacity loads like farm produce, customer service deliveries, and for traveling short distances.
  • A Utility Task Vehicle, otherwise known as Side by Side, is a small-sized vehicle large enough to carry as much as 2 to 4 passengers. It is usually preferred for recreational purposes. UTV owners root for the vehicle’s ability to maneuver the rigors of bushy and woody hunting terrain.

Aside from recreation, the UTV is also used for multi-purpose off-highway driving.

For the purpose of safety, The UTV includes factory fitted Roll Over Protection System (ROPS), which is designed to prevent an absolute collapse of the vehicle in case of a rollover. Some UTVs also come with factory-made windshields, hardtops, and enclosures for the vehicle.

Wondering if UTVs are better than mini trucks? Let’s dive right in and find out.

Comparing Mini Trucks And Side By Sides

1. Gas Mileage

The rate of gas per mileage of the UTV ranges from 12 to 25 mpg whereas a mini truck range in gas mileage is between 40 to 55 mpg.

Buyers who seek to purchase either a mini or a UTV know that the gas mileage of the vehicle is essential if one plans to save money over time.

Running on a similar engine capacity of 550cc to 800cc along with a 35 to 55 horsepower, the mini-truck costs less in terms of maintenance and cost of repairs due to its strong construction.

2. Off-Road/ On-Road (legal issues)

For off-road driving and maneuvering through uneven terrain, the UTV is often more advantageous due to its “open cab” design. As much as a side by side has the capacity to maneuver uneven terraces, mini trucks are not off the grid, as they can still do what a UTV can.

The mini truck is not designed to also tackle the difficulties experienced during an off-road drive.

While mini trucks may have been categorized and licensed under off-road vehicles throughout the states of America, about 21 of the states permit them to be driven on some parts of the public road. While some states of the US have restrictions on the use of the mini trucks.

We have an article here with rules per state for driving your mini truck on public roads.

Unlike mini trucks, UTVs can be used both off- and on-roads.

UTVs are not legally restricted like mini trucks.

3. All-Weather Comfort

The mini truck is a better-suited cab choice than the UTV, with every possible instrument you need including an enclosure. These trucks often come with factory fitted air conditioners, wipers, radio, heater.

Both mini trucks and UTVs and created to function in all weather.

One of the advantages of both vehicles is that they were created to be used for transporting loads (even through bad roads). Mini trucks, however, will typically carry more loads than a UTV with a trailer.

I should also add that if the mini truck is your preference, brace up for the right-hand side steering wheel of the truck (except Chinese models which are designed with a left-hand side steering wheel).

4. Cargo Capacity and Hauling

Mini trucks are specially designed for hauling only lighter vehicles. With a cargo capacity ranging close to 2,000 pounds and a bed specification of 6.5 ft long and 4.5 ft wide, mini trucks serve better.

It makes it easy to move farm produce or any other cargo you can think of.

The case is not the same for a UTV.

Most UTVs are not designed with cargo capacity and the amount of stuff you can bring totally depends on the trailer. But some newer models have been built with beds specifications comparable to that of mini trucks but at a higher price.

5. Vehicle Speed

UTVs, like the Arctic cat, are monsters when it comes to speed. But you won’t get the comfort you get inside a mini truck.

Mini trucks, depending on the year and manufacturers also operate at pretty high top speeds.

Both UTVs and mini trucks are good vehicles. Both are dependable, efficient, and operate at a high performance. But sometimes, you just have to make a choice.

The mini truck is more efficient with a lower cost of maintenance.

Are Mini Trucks Stronger Than UTV?

Mini trucks will typically tow better than your average UTV. But then you have the Arctic Cat model and similar beasts. So, there’s definitely not a clear-cut answer here.

While the mini truck is better used for heavy haulage and through bad weather conditions.

You also get to close your mini-truck doors and either switch on the air conditioner or heater depending on the weather. Furthermore, mini truck parts can be easily and readily replaced.

Well, it all depends on where, how, and for what purpose you want to use.

Are Mini Trucks Or Side By Sides Best For Towing?

Mini trucks are better at towing. Due to the size and weight of a mini truck, it sure does tow better than a side by side vehicle.

For example, the Suzuki carry mini truck has a towing capacity of almost 2000 Ibs while UTVs typically have a towing capacity of 1500- 2000 Ibs.

What’s The Cheapest Option?

Depending on the model and make, the base price of a new UTV will obviously vary. But keep a general price range of $10,000 to $15,000 in mind. However, customization may cost you more – about $20,000.

Used UTVs in great shape will cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

However, good-condition used UTVs are hard to find. Who knows what kind of heavy road pressure they might have been subjected to.

As far as mini trucks go, you can get a new one within the range of $15,000 to $23,000. However, since they’re popularly known for their rugged durability, most people usually opt for used versions.

Used mini trucks are way less pricey and still rugged.

The ones in great condition should range between $3,000 and $11,000. Unlike good-condition UTVs, used mini trucks in great condition are surprisingly easy to find. It’s no surprise since they’re well made in the first place.

As a matter of fact, thousands of mini trucks that are well over 25 years old are still in service in the US.

Do Mini Trucks Last Longer Than Side By Sides?

UTVs cannot be compared to mini trucks in terms of durability.

Mini trucks stand out with a recorded history of running way over 150,000 miles. You can hardly find a UTV that can run over 50,000 miles.

Apart from that, mini trucks tend to hold their value better than UTVs.

If perhaps you’re feeling mini truck-ish, there’s a bunch of articles here on the subject.

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