Side by Side (UTV)

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The side-by-side (often written as SxS) is a small 2- to 6-person four-wheel drive off-road vehicle, also called UTV (utility vehicle or utility task vehicle), a ROV (recreational off-highway vehicle),[1] or a MOHUV (multipurpose off-highway utility vehicle).[2]


The majority of the side-by-sides come factory-equipped with a ROPS, or roll-over protection system. Many of the vehicles also come equipped with hard tops, windshields, and even cab enclosures.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) defines multipurpose off-highway utility vehicles (MOHUVs) as vehicles with: "(a) four or more wheels, (b) a steering wheel, (c) non-straddle seating, and (d) maximum speeds between 25 mph and 50 mph. In addition, MOHUVs have foot controls for throttle and braking, occupant restraints, and rollover protective structures." MOHUVs with maximum speeds in excess of 30 mph meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission definition of an ROV. Recreational off-highway vehicles are subject to additional safety standards including "visual seat belt usage reminders; leg/foot barriers; shoulder/hip barriers; and arm/hand barriers to restrict occupant egress and excursion from the vehicle during a rollover event". These are voluntary standards under American National Standard for recreational off-highway vehicles, ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010, though the CPSC has proposed making them mandatory.

CPSC stated in 2009 that "The vehicles may exhibit inadequate lateral stability, undesirable steering characteristics, and inadequate occupant protection during a rollover crash". According to the CPSC between 2003 and August 2009 116 deaths occurred in ROV/UTV accidents.[3]


For the 2017 Dakar Rally the SSV category was introduced as a separate class, which is defined as four-wheel side-by-side vehicles with 1000 cc maximum displacement.[4] Previously, they were classified in the T3.3 subclass.

Other off-road racing series include side-by-side classes, such as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, TORC: The Off-Road Championship, SCORE International, Best in the Desert, and Grand National Cross Country. The Monster Jam arena tours include an event where monster truck drivers race Polaris RZRs across an obstacle course.


Notable manufacturers of UTV/side-by-side vehicles:


  1. ^ "Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 4 May 2011.
  2. ^ "OPEI Announces First-Ever Standard for Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles". OPEI. Retrieved 2018-01-19.[page needed][dead link]
  3. ^ Melanie Trottman (9 October 2009). "CPSC Staff Calls for Mandatory ROV Standards". Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "2017 Stage 1 Live Feed". The Dakar. Retrieved 7 January 2017.[dead link]