Gator Guide: How to Find the Best UTV for Your Needs

posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 in How To

Gator Guide

There are many reasons to buy a utility vehicle. You may need a reliable farmhand, a hunting companion, or just some convenient transportation around your property. While a new Gator™ UTV doesn’t run you as much as a new compact tractor or pickup, it’s still a big investment. And you want to get the best UTV for your money.

So before you go out and buy a new side-by-side, take some time to sort out which model is the right fit for your needs. 

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Utility Vehicle 

The world of UTVs and ATVs is bigger than ever. You have your choice of size, speed, horsepower, cargo and towing capacity, and a variety of other features. Finding exactly what you need in one machine can be difficult. 

The John Deere Gator family has models at every size and price point. You can easily get into the weeds of specific features and options you absolutely must have in your side-by-side, but most of those things can be added onto any Gator UTV. To make the best decision for your needs, you need to focus on five important factors.

1. Drive System

All John Deere Gator utility vehicles are designed for off-road conditions and able to handle a variety of terrains. Some are optimized to give you more power and performance in rougher terrain. Where and how you plan to use your side-by-side should dictate which drive system you choose: 2-wheel-drive, 4-wheel-drive, or 6x4.

A 2WD utility vehicle works well with light usage in mild conditions. Even though it’s not equipped with 4-wheel-drive, it can still handle the mud. But a 4WD UTV is still a better option for harsher conditions, heavy mud, and sand. For hauling a heavy load on the farm or the construction site, a John Deere Gator 6x4 UTV offers more power and stability.

2. Hauling Capacity

No matter how you use a John Deere UTV, you have the ability to take things with you. Every Gator side-by-side has a standard cargo box. Even the high-performance recreational utility vehicles can haul up to 400 pounds.

The more work you plan to do, the more you need to consider three things: cargo capacity, payload capacity, and towing capacity. Work Series UTVs can do it all, but full-size Gator XUVs can do even more. They’re designed more like a pickup truck to handle heavier hauls.

In addition to capacity, think about the size and shape of what you intend to transport. For things that won’t fit nicely inside a cargo box, you’ll want to look for a Gator vehicle with a flatbed. Or you may instead want a cargo box that lifts, tilts, and dumps your payload.

3. Speed

In farm applications and work tasks, speed probably isn’t important. John Deere Work Series UTVs travel up to 25 miles per hour — plenty fast for these uses. For getting around an acreage in a short time, speed might be a bigger consideration. Crossover UTVs move a little faster — up to 40 miles per hour — without sacrificing much power.

But if you’re looking for a high-performance recreational vehicle, speed matters. And High-Performance Gator UTVs top out at 60 miles per hour. You can take your UTV out for some fun on the trails or just around your own property.

4. Number of Passengers

They call them side-by-sides because there’s always room for two. Some John Deere side-by-sides can fit three or four people. So if you plan to primarily use your Gator for carrying people instead of cargo, then you want to opt for the additional seating.

John Deere Gator XUVs have options for two, three, and four passengers. A 3-Passenger Gator has a wide cockpit where three people can fit. A 4-Passenger UTV has a second row of seats to fit everyone comfortably. No matter how much room you need for passengers, you won’t lose speed or hauling capabilities.

5. Application

The other four factors should whittle down your list, but you may still end up choosing between two different types of Gator utility vehicles. Your needs and tasks are different from your neighbor’s. But, in general, you can make a decision based on what type of application the Gator UTV is best suited for:

  • Traditional Gator UTVs – These are the run-of-the-mill models perfect for everyday use and low-key tasks like farm chores, yard work, property maintenance, landscaping, and other general upkeep
  • Gator XUVs – Crossover utility vehicles offer the most versatility. They offer higher performance than traditional models for harder work and heavier hauling. They also have the speed, suspension, and drive system for camping, fishing, hunting, and other recreational activities.
  • High-Performance Gator UTVs – Built for speed over the toughest off-road conditions, high-performance Gators are designed specifically with recreation in mind.

When to Consider a Used UTV

Cost is a factor in any equipment purchase. If money’s an issue, you can find great value on like-new and pre-owned utility vehicles — if you look to the right source.

By the nature of their use, UTVs undergo a lot of wear-and-tear. Gator UTVs are as durable a machine as you’d expect from John Deere, but it’s always a good idea to go to a trusted used equipment dealer.

TriGreen Equipment makes sure it’s used equipment inventory is up to the standards of the John Deere name. You may not be able to recapture that brand-new look and performance on a rugged side-by-side. But you can come close at a price point you feel more comfortable with. 

And once you’ve gone through the list of considerations to find out what UTV you should buy, you can work with a TriGreen representative to find the right Gator, whether it’s sitting on our lot in Tennessee or at another John Deere dealership across the country.

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