When navigating a large jobsite, a conventional truck may not always provide the best solution. Soft underfoot conditions, confined spaces or rough terrain may favor an alternative form of moving people and tools or supplies.
A utility vehicle (UTV) can serve as the optimal compact alternative, saving wear and tear on your pickup fleet. With a price tag around a third of a typical 1/4-ton pickup, the UTV offers low ground pressure and go-anywhere capability to haul people and materials safely and efficiently.
Payload capacities can range from as little as 500 lbs. to several thousand pounds. “Our diesel RTV900XT, RTV1140CPX and RTV1100 feature a 1/2-ton cargo carrying capacity,” notes Dan Muramoto, Kubota product manager. “The RTV400ci and RTV500 models feature 440 lbs. of cargo carrying capacity.”
John Deere and Cushman both offer payload capacities ranging from 800 to 1,600 lbs. In addition, some models provide hydraulic or electric lift for the dump bed to help handle these loads.
“Whatever the hauling or transport need on a jobsite, a UTV can be a great alternative to a pickup truck or other transporter,” asserts Kevin Lund, product marketing manager, utility vehicles, John Deere. The UTV can deliver excellent capability in rough terrain, while maintaining operator comfort and safety.
“There are often places that an operator doesn’t want to take a pickup truck due to the risk of damage to the vehicle or very difficult terrain,” Lund comments. “A UTV can also provide better fuel economy for short hauls and transport. And as a smaller vehicle, UTVs can often fit in places where a pickup truck won’t.”
Know What You’re Doing
According to Darryl Heffline, vice president, commercial for Cushman, several types of jobsites are well suited for UTVs:
•those with close quarters or limited access that require vehicles to navigate narrow paths or turn around in confined spaces;
•those with imposed CO2 limitations where electric or even gas-powered UTVs offer lower emissions than trucks;
•those with specific work needs such as mobile welding stations where the UTVs can be easily customized;
•pedestrian environments with narrow walkways and limited vehicle access.
“Customized vehicles provide a range of solutions for the specific needs of a jobsite, including mobile welding stations, integrated parts bins, and vehicles with ladder racks and specialized cargo management systems for materials such as lumber, pipes and conduit and rebar,” Heffline points out.
UTVs are also easy to use. “They are easy to get into and out of, and if the job is picking up trash, short hauling or just moving around, a UTV can be both more efficient and more convenient,” says Lund. “Once you bring a UTV on a jobsite, you will realize that it quickly becomes the most frequently used piece of equipment.”
But you need to understand your application to choose the correct UTV. “In general, a purchaser who hasn’t owned a vehicle before will have three to five things that really drive their consideration,” says Lund. “Based on terrain requirements, speed requirements and payload capability, the vehicle selection is generally not difficult for the limited uses that are driving the purchase.”
Before you make a purchase decision, consider the versatility you might need for future jobs. “Are there areas where you might use the vehicle that are difficult to traverse? Might you need to carry more people? Will there be times when you really want to have maximum payload capability?” Lund asks. “It’s generally less to get the vehicle you need the first time than to buy one and have to trade after a year because it doesn’t have the capability you need.”
Fuel efficiency is an important consideration. “The Kubota RTVs, with their economical, efficient Kubota diesel engines, are much more efficient than pickup trucks,” asserts Muramoto. “In fact, a state penitentiary which uses RTVs for perimeter patrol claims that the comparative fuel savings for one year pays for the RTV’s purchase price. Additionally, the RTVs are much easier for the operator to get in and out, so they are ideal for quick, repetitive transport requirements.”