RTV Vehicle – RTV vs UTV vs Side-by-Side

As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

What the heck is an RTV? First of all, RTV stands for Rugged Terrain Vehicle. Second is that an RTV is “technically” the same thing as a UTV or a side-by-side.

The biggest difference between an RTV and a side-by-side or UTV is that an RTV is a term used specifically for Kubota’s line of utility-oriented side-by-sides.

Kubota RTV is a brand of utility vehicle produced by Kubota Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer of tractors and heavy machinery.

What is special about an RTV Vehicle?

Kubota RTV vehicles are designed for use in a variety of applications, including agriculture, construction, and landscape maintenance.

The Kubota RTV is a work-oriented side-by-side.

Kubota markets its Rugged Terrain Vehicles (RTVs) as …

“…work machines with the styling, operator comfort, and durability their hard-working users expect.

These vehicles are known for their durability, versatility, and reliability.

They are available in a range of sizes and configurations, including gas and diesel models, and can be equipped with a variety of attachments and accessories to suit the needs of the user.

These machines are not designed for recreational or sporting use. They are meant for work.

Sure, you could use them for trail riding, hunting, or maybe light mudding. But if that is what you plan to do you should probably explore other side-by-side options.

RTV vs UTV vs Side-by-Side.


  • RTV = Rugged Terrain Vehicle
  • UTV = Utility Terrain Vehicle
  • ATV = All Terrain Vehicle
  • SxS or Side-by-Side = an ATV you sit “side-by-side” in.

Yes, there is more to a side-by-side than simply sitting “side-by-side”, but for this discussion that is all that is relevant.

To learn more you can check out our Ultimate Side-by-Side Guide.

An RTV can be considered a side-by-side or even a UTV but only a side-by-side made by Kubota can be called an RTV.

Make sense?


An RTV is a workhorse, plain and simple. They are a tool that you use to get the job done.

They are typically slower than recreational side-by-side. They come in gasoline and diesel-powered models.

They have decent towing and hauling capacity. There is even a factory direct spray-in bed liner option.

Did we mention these are designed for work?


A UTV is a side-by-side ATV that is work, farm, or ranch oriented. Think Polaris Ranger or John Deere Gator.

Yes, the Ranger is probably more recreational-oriented than a John Deere Gator but both of them are considered utility oriented.


As discussed, depending on what side-by-side ATV you are comparing, it could be very similar if not the same as an RTV.

Side-by-side is just a generic term that applies to a broad category of off-road vehicles.

In the end, RTVs are side-by-side ATVs. RTV is just a branding that Kubota applies to its line of side-by-sides.

UTVs are also side-by-side ATVs unless they are single-seaters, and yes they still exist.

Again, if you want to know much more about side-by-side ATVs and UTVs you can check out our Ultimate Guide to Side-by-Sides.

Why buy an RTV Vehicle?

  1. You have a farm, ranch, job site, or large piece of property you need to manage.
  2. You want something smaller and less expensive than a full-size truck.
  3. You are not planning on much recreational use.
  4. You don’t need the speed offered by some of the other UTVs and side-by-sides.
  5. Typically, RTVs are less expensive than their UTV counterparts similarly equipped.

RTV Vehicle in Action