UTVs vs Golf Carts

golf carts

UTVs and golf carts are both useful tools for transporting people and equipment. If you’re looking at purchasing one of these vehicles, you’re probably wondering which is best, a UTV or a golf cart.

The answer is that it depends on your needs. 

UTVs are faster, have stronger engines and their suspension and tires are able to handle off-road driving. Golf carts often is electric powered they are quieter, they don’t mess up a lawn with their fine tires and golf carts are generally cheaper to both buy and own. Gas and diesel powered vehicles have longer range than electric ones.

Although similar, golf carts and UTVs are designed to do very different things. In this guide, we’ll talk you through the main differences between the two vehicles. In the end, you’ll be able to determine which one is the right choice for you. 

Towing and Hauling 

One of the biggest reasons that people purchase golf carts and UTVs is so they can move things from one place to another. This can include moving people, recreational equipment, work equipment, and other things. 

Golf carts are built primarily for golf, as the name suggests. Typical golf carts are made to haul one to four passengers and their golf equipment. That means that the average golf cart isn’t designed to haul heavy loads. 

What’s more, most golf carts don’t come with a tow hitch. If you need to hook a trailer to the back of your vehicle and move equipment from one place to the next, standard golf carts aren’t going to be able to help you. 

However, with recent trends in golf cart customization, it is possible to find golf carts that are built to tow and bear more weight. These designs do end up being significantly more expensive than their standard counterparts, so keep that in mind while shopping. 

A UTV on the other hand is built for towing equipment and hauling heavy loads. This makes them a great choice for people who work on farms, operate large facilities, or manage a large amount of acreage. 

A utility terrain vehicle is a great tool for hauling or towing heavy equipment, bags of feed, bales of hay, and other large items. Most UTVs come with a tow hitch, so you don’t have to worry about adding one on. 

If you only need your vehicle to haul a few passengers and some light equipment, a golf cart is a great choice. If you need your vehicle to move large items and heavy loads, a UTV is better. 


Speed is primarily affected by three things: what powers your vehicle, the modifications that have been made to it, and how much weight you’re hauling. 

Both golf carts and UTVs come in electric and gas-powered models. There are pros and cons to each. 

Electric golf carts and UTVs are slower than their gasoline counterparts. But they do help owners save money and are better for the environment. Rather than having to constantly pay to refuel your vehicle, you can simply plug it in and wait for it to charge. 

Gas-powered golf carts and UTVs can both be quite fast, but UTVs will typically win in a race between the two. Although some custom golf carts can give UTVs a run for their money. 

Another thing that will affect speed is how much weight you’re hauling. Obviously, a heavier vehicle will go slower than a lighter one. So if you’re towing over a ton on your UTV, don’t expect it to break 30 mph. 


Another thing that electric vs gas affects is how noisy your vehicle is. Whether it’s a golf cart or a UTV, a gas-powered vehicle is going to run louder than an electric one. 

Golf carts are generally quieter than UTVs because manufacturers take steps to ensure their vehicles aren’t distracting and noisy on the golf course. 

UTVs on the other hand tend to prioritize power and function. Although riding around in a noisy UTV all day can grate on your nerves, ensuring that the vehicle can make it up that steep, rugged hill is more important than making sure it’s quiet. 

However, several UTV manufacturers have taken noise into account in their newer models. While electric UTVs are almost always going to be quieter than gasoline ones, there are several quiet gas-powered models that are great choices if you have to spend all day in the vehicle. 


Golf carts and UTVs can be great tools to take out camping. They let you move quickly around the campsite and haul equipment from one place to another. 

However, many campsites do not permit gasoline vehicles because of the associated noise. This is something to take into account when deciding what kind of vehicle to purchase. 

If you’re a camping enthusiast, check the rules, regulations, and etiquette of the campsites that you frequent. Find out whether they allow golf carts and UTVs and what kinds are permitted. Then, you’ll be able to make an educated choice about what vehicle is right for you. 

Road Use

If you plan on driving your UTV or golf cart on public roadways, you should also check your state and county laws.

Many states allow neither golf carts nor UTVs on public roads. Some allow one but not the other. Some let individual counties decide what is and isn’t street legal. 

Familiarizing yourself with these regulations will help you understand what you can and can’t use your vehicle for. It will also help you pick which one is right for your personal needs. 


One of the biggest UTV and golf cart differences is that UTVs are built to tackle offroading while golf carts are typically not.

Trails can have extremely rough terrain. You have to contend with large roots, rocks, streams, and other roadblocks. UTVs are designed to tackle these obstacles in a way that is both fun and safe. 

There are custom lifted golf cart models that can get up and down easy trails. However, lifted golf carts are less stable. That makes it easier to get into a roll-over situation that can be dangerous and even deadly. 

What’s more, UTVs are built to withstand rough terrains and environments. Off-road golf carts tend to experience issues with materials cracking and breaking over time. 

If you want to take your vehicle offroad, a UTV is the smarter choice. It is significantly safer, more durable, and more fun to trail ride in than a golf cart. You can tackle some extremely fun trails in a UTV and fly over roots and rocks knowing that you and your passengers will be safe and protected. 

Price and Value

When it comes to price, standard golf carts are significantly cheaper than standard UTVs. However, once you start adding custom features to a golf cart, they can easily jump up into the price range of UTVs. 

But it’s unfair to compare these vehicles based on cost alone. It’s smarter to compare them based on value. 

If you wanted to have the coolest ride at your favorite campground, which doesn’t allow UTVs, you would value a golf cart much more than you would value a UTV. 

On the other hand, if you wanted to have the fastest vehicle at the local UTV park, you would value a UTV much higher than a golf cart. 

The value of each vehicle varies based on your needs. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one final question. 

What Will You Be Using It For? 

This is the question that will help you determine which is best: a UTV or a golf cart. 

If you operate a farm or manage a large amount of acreage, you need to haul or tow heavy equipment including tools, food, and supplies on a regular basis. UTVs are perfect for transporting heavy loads with ease. 

If you manage a large facility and are primarily transporting a few passengers, an electric golf cart is a great choice. These vehicles are quiet, easy to charge, and affordable. 

However, let’s say you manage that same facility but find yourself often transporting heavy equipment and four or more passengers. An electric UTV will provide you the extra power that you need to get around. 

Local and state laws also help you determine which vehicle is right for you. If you want to drive your vehicle on public roads and your county allows golf carts but not UTVs, a golf cart is the better choice. If your favorite campgrounds only allow electric vehicles, it’s essential to choose one of those over a gas-powered model. 

Finally, if you are planning to take your vehicle trail riding, a UTV is the safer choice all around. It is crucial to protect yourself and your passengers so that you can maximize your enjoyment of offroading. 

UTVs vs Golf Carts 

In the battle of UTVs vs golf carts, you ultimately get to decide who the winner will be. It all depends on which vehicle is right for you and your needs. 

Golf carts are great for moving a few passengers and light equipment across easy terrain. UTVs are ideal for towing heavy loads over difficult terrain and offroading adventures. 

At the end of the day, you’re the one who gets to decide which vehicle is right for your lifestyle. 

If you’re ready to get out there and hit the trail, check out our guide to the best UTV brands of 2021.