People who use UTVs

So I have decision paralysis… So a question for those who use UTVs around the farm.

Does size matter?

I am trying to decide between the smaller cheaper more maneuverable or the bigger more powerful. It seems like the small one should do everything I need. The cost difference is substantial. I’m worried maneuverability will be an issue with the big one. I kind of feel that if I need the big one, I’m better of with the tractor or my truck. But I like the big one…

What size is your UTV? Do you wish is was bigger or smaller and what do you do with it?


The small one is manouvrable [sp?], can do all the work that you think you would use it for, is substantially cheaper than the bigger model so, IMO, the answer is obvious: you must buy the bigger one.


Our JD 4x4 gator with a dump bed is a plain one and does anything we want just fine.

Not sure what is bigger or smaller, links to the different ones would help.

small one is 500 cc 32 HP, large one is 1000 cc,
small holds 2 people, large holds 3

How big is your gator?

JD XUV 825i, like the first few in this page.
Ours has a bench seat, easier for dogs if you carry any than bucket seats, that are more comfortable:

Thanks, that one looks to be midway between the two I am look at.

I bought a Kawasaki Mule 4010 after a while comparison shopping at the various dealers in my area, because at the time it was similar bang for fewer bucks than comparable Polaris, Deere, Kubota, and Honda models. Deere was $3000 more expensive. I wanted a basic model, with windshield, roof, and a hydraulic dump bed.

After using it for a year now, things I did not think about but now appreciate include a bench seat. I can get in and out of both sides easily, and carry a third person in a pinch. Some I looked at had doors; I like the easy access of no doors. I also find the bed size to be good. I can dump a tractor loader bucket of dirt into the bed without spilling any over the sides. I had not considered that, and I lucked out that my tractor bucket fits the UTV bed nicely. The Mule bed holds 4 full loader buckets of topsoil, and can easily dump and spread it with the hydraulic lift. So in this case yes, size does matter.

I use mine for farm work. I don’t go off road, and I don’t drive on public roads. Public road use opens a can of worms. You may need insurance, horn, brake lights and DOT approved headlights, DOT approved road tires, turn signals, mud flaps, speedometer, license plate lighted bracket, windshield wipers and such depending, of course, on your local laws.

BTW, I used the money I “saved” and bought a tandem axle equipment trailer. I considered the trailer buy a necessity. Where I live it’s up to you to deliver your own UTV to the local Kawasaki, Kubota, and Polaris shops for service. Deere will pickup and return theirs but for a hefty fee added to the service charges. And I can now also transport my Deere tractor myself. I added a winch so in a situation where the Mule or tractor doesn’t run, I can still load it up. I wanted to free myself of the nuisance of borrowing or renting a trailer, or paying for flatbed wrecker service both ways like some folks locally do.

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Can I hijack with another UTV question? How hard is it to dump the bed if you have a load in it and DON’T have the hydraulic dump? I occasionally work at a farm where we use a 6 wheeled gator with hydraulic dump to clean stalls and I love it. I keep an eye out for good deals on used ones but they all seem to have the manual dump. I have four stalls to clean and don’t need one as big as the one I’m used to. I also can’t really justify buying one at all right now, but am hoping to talk myself into it at some point.

My experience with manual versus hydraulic dump beds is with two Mule 4010 UTVs. I bought one for a rider I was sponsoring a few years ago. It had a manual dump bed, which was a bear, requiring significant strength to dump the full bed. This is because the bed hinges right at its rear, so that access to the engine is possible. If you have 500 pounds loaded in the front of the bed, you need to start by bodily lifting the 500 pounds to get it sliding backwards to dump. You learn pretty quickly to load the bed from back to front to take advantage of second class leverage, and to dump it before the front gets too heavy to lift.

That is why when I bought myself the same UTV later, I had the hydraulic dump bed added. By the way, the hydraulic dump function can be added to the dump bed later, if you buy one without it and start wishing for it.

My dealer added the hydraulic cylinder plus all the relays and dashboard switch before delivery for $1000. The hydraulic cylinder simply is bolted to the bottom of the bed to push the front of it upwards, just like a real dump truck. Everything to add hydraulic dumping to a manual bed comes in a kit, which in Kawasaki’s case costs about $900. So for me it made sense to pay the dealer $100 at purchase for the labor, although I could have pretty easily added it myself later. I have no idea what the dealer labor charge would otherwise be to add the kit.

The dealer I spoke to last week claimed their bed was balanced to make it easy and also sloped to the rear. But he also admitted that the gas lift assist did nothing with a load in the bed and suggested loading with most of the weight in the rear, so for heavy stuff, I would spring for the hydraulics. LCDR has good points.

Thanks for the two informative posts. I am looking for exactly what you said, basic model, roof and WS and hydraulic bed.

I have been flip flopping on the seat issue. Friend had a Kubota and you always felt like you were sliding around, not very secure. The big one I’m looking at is made for 3 though. I full load from my tractor would not fit in any bed I’ve seen, but I have a big tractor. I’ve heard good things about the mule, but they aren’t common in these parts…

Won’t be driving on road, this is for farm work

We have a really nice equipment trailer already, so that’s no issue.

Darn, just looked the the specs on the mule you have and I see the clearance is only 7 inches. Given the need to get into unplowed areas, I need the higher clearance of some of the other models… Also looks bigger than the small one I was looking at, but much smaller than the 1000cc model. Hmmmm decisions decisions…

Personally I would buy the smaller.

Quads are the biggest killers of farmers. That is above being killed by cattle, horses and machinery.

I have a smaller one and I did roll it going extremely slowly in an area I knew, but the grass was waist high and I went a little off the path. Once it starts tipping the centre of gravity takes over and you can not stop it from rolling. We went down about a foot and fuel started coming out immediately. As it is smaller. I just hopped up and righted the quad and continued on my way.

The one I saw on the TV Show “I Should Not Be Alive”. He was going along a trail on a mountain. He took his hand off to flick something off his face and when he went to put it back on he must have hit something. The same for him. Once it started to tip there was no stopping it, but he was on a mountain. He was flung free and they were both bouncing and rolling down the mountain, him in front of the quad.

The quad landed on him and there was no way in the World that he could lift it off himself. He had a whistle that set dogs off in a nearby house barking, but the owners just came out and told them to shut up and went back inside without hearing him.

He had a piece of rope and a rag that he threw into a nearby puddle to suck water from. He beat the tyre cap with pieces if wood to keep wolves/ coyotes from coming nearer when they approached.

He could not get the quad off himself with trying to lift or trying levers.

He closed his eyes to die after being there for days after days and was too weak from lack of food.

A dog walker who went a different way to normal with no idea why, found him and he survived.

Buy the smaller one.

What is the likelihood that the OP can lift a smaller one off herself either? I weigh 115lbs. I doubt I could lift even the smallest UTV available.

It’s a scary story, but somehow I can’t imagine this really being an issue that will change a purchase decision. Not to mention, a UTV for farm work isn’t necessarily the same kind of vehicle as a quad for use on a mountain trail.

I’m reading these threads with interest because I’m considering a UTV as well. @foggybok what are the kinds of chores you are considering? I would possibly look at different models if my main goal was snowplowing versus hauling/dumping manure or soil. If I get one I absolutely need the bed to be hydraulic. I have a cart I can pull behind my garden tractor with a manual dump - there is nothing more frustrating than having to empty that by hand because it’s too heavy. Like…swear words I didn’t even know I knew come out of my mouth.

But, maneuverability might be a big issue if you’re thinking about driving it down a barn aisle. I personally would never need this because my barn is only 3 stalls and has Dutch Doors. That’s not something I’ve considered at all.

We use ours for all kind of chores, including almost every day to train roping horses.
There are days they don’t even use live cattle, much of the specific training of the horse and rider is more exact on a dummy, where you can just practice the same little detail without needing to run your cattle any more than necessary

Regarding ground clearance, the lowest point of the UTV, where this is measured, is where the axle joins the wheel. The rest of the body is above that point.

I have looked into having my Mule lowered. I use it daily for picking up the manure piles in my pastures, and I am climbing in and out around 100 times a day. At seven decades old plus some, my body would appreciate the floorboard being a bit closer to the ground.

I would imagine the differential/pig is the lowest point. Unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re describing.

Clearance can be a problem. I had a Mule and pastures I needed to get to across a creek. When the weather was below 32degs the clutch on the Mule froze.

I can see that, it’s getting harder and harder to get into my big Dodge!

But, I absolutely need clearance because otherwise I will not make it in the pastures in the winter. I’m not sure I will anyway as it tends to drift here, but the more clearance the better the chance of getting through.

yeah, I’m not lifting 1000+ lbs up in any case…

Mostly it will be used for spreading hay in the pasture, pulling a drag, pulling seeder or fertilizer, cleaning barn/dumping manure, fixing fence. Maneuverability is not the biggest issue, my truck can drive down my barn aisle (and I have dutch doors), but if it’s that big, there is no advantage to having it over the truck or tractor…

We have two Kawasaki mules, a 1999 and a 2018, I think it is? Both have roomy beds and 4wd. We use the heck out of them for clearing trails, moving firewood and stuff, feeding horses out of, etc. I would not have something that had a tiny bed or bucket seats. I want a big bed and a bench seat. Also, I want a windshield and a roof. Our old one didn’t have one and I’m over getting rained on lol. I have never wished these to be smaller.

ETA: If you want to clean stalls and dump the bed, get a hydraulic bed. You can’t do it with a manual bed, it’ll be waaaaay too heavy.

Also, you aren’t going to flip a Mule unless you’re doing something pretty stupid. No comparison between a ATV and a UTV.

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