How to make the most of your UTVs

October 11, 2021 -  By

What’s your favorite accessory to get the most from your utility terrain vehicle (UTV)? Locking toolboxes? Salt spreaders? High-powered lights?

Turns out, the typical answer is a bit more basic — a roof.

“It’s really a great addition,” says Dennis Klein, director of grounds for the Texas Rangers. He has dump beds and other features on his Kubota RTV-X1140 UTVs, but that roof is critical.

“We go back and forth, and the shade you get is really important,” Klein says.

Experts say simple aftermarket items like a roof on UTVs boost productivity. (Photo: Bobcat)

Experts say simple aftermarket items like a roof on UTVs boost productivity. (Photo: Bobcat)

James Crouch, senior product manager for UTVs at Bobcat, says a massive and growing aftermarket industry makes outfitting a utility vehicle simple.

“Just look at work trucks. Pretty much any feature you can add to a truck these days, you can get that on a UTV,” Crouch says.

And while users can order custom light kits, spraying equipment or winches, the biggest productivity boosters are much simpler. A roof and windshield, Crouch says, gives users the ability to maneuver around job sites in extremely hot or rainy conditions. They’re basic features, but very effective.

“The weather doesn’t wait on anyone, so that little bit of protection makes you more productive,” Crouch says.

Cargo space is key

Klein says the most common job for his UTV is moving dirt. So, other than lighting and the roof, he avoids adding too many accessories because he doesn’t want to fill the bed with storage boxes or dividers that could make dirt hauling harder.

Maureen McCormack, market manager for John Deere Gator Utility Vehicles, says Klein’s experience is pretty typical. While some customers will add lots of features, most need a box or a bed — anything that reduces storage capacity isn’t welcome.

“The versatility of a UTV is its greatest value,” McCormack says. So, the company isn’t likely to offer products that limit cargo space or hinder ground clearance (sorry low-rider fans).

Popular options on Gators include locking toolboxes, cargo-box lift kits and cargo box side extensions that allow operators to haul landscape timbers and other bulky items.

Comfort crucial

At Bobcat, Crouch says flexibility is king for UTVs, but comfort is a close second.

“Now, what’s really getting a lot more popular is a cab — full doors, roll-down windows, tip-up front glass. They’re really turning these things into a pickup truck,” Crouch says, adding that about 30 percent of Bobcats sold recently have full cabs, and many of those buyers also opted for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. “It’s just like a tractor or an excavator. Once you’ve gone to a full cab with HVAC, you’re never going to want to go back.”

It can be a pricy option. Curtis Industries HVAC systems for UTVs cost about $3,400, although smaller, less expensive options are available.

Crouch says manufacturers offer many options for UTV users, but he adds that a lot of the interesting accessories are coming from aftermarket providers who have adapted features developed for pickups.

“(Manufacturers) are just trying to provide a good base machine and let the aftermarket go nuts,” Crouch says. “Integrated cameras to be able to see in front of you and behind you — those are popular now. You can very easily find a converter in the aftermarket to plug just about anything into a UTV.”

This article is tagged with and posted in From the Magazine, Mowing+Maintenance, October 2021
Robert Schoenberger

About the Author:

Robert Schoenberger is Landscape Management's former senior editor. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Houston. He has worked in magazines and newspapers since the late 1990s.

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