December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 59

Today's UTVs: A 9-Step Buyer's Guide
By Betty Sosnin

U

tility vehicle manufacturers are responding to the changing needs of the
park and recreation industry with durable, powerful and versatile UTVs
designed to do the work of pickup trucks. It's important to do your due
diligence, however, as there can be big differences in performance, reliability and financing among various manufacturers and models.
Maximize Your ROI
with These 9 Steps
1. Shop for durability. Club Car's
Commercial Marketing Manager
Kurt Meyer suggests looking for vehicles that are built as utility vehicles
from the ground up, rather than buying converted golf carts. " Though inexpensive, these vehicles don't have
the suspension or chassis strength
you need. And getting parts can be a
nightmare, " he says.
Get a strong bed box that won't rust
and is lined with a hard-wearing material, and check the towing capacity,
payload capacity and suspension system to be sure the vehicle is appropriate for your site.
2. Choose the right powertrain. Most
park and recreation professionals
prefer gasoline-driven vehicles, and
the best of these have engines with
electronic fuel injection (EFI).
" EFI vehicles are game-changers. They're more powerful and
fuel-efficient, easier to maintain
and automatically adjust to altitude without jets. Since there is
no choke or carburetor, they start
right up, even in cold weather, "
Meyer says.
Meyer notes, however, that the
performance of EFI engines varies,
depending on their components
and tuning. Also, make sure the
vehicle has spark arrestors certified
to National Forestry Standards if
applicable to your location.

	

3. Shop for versatility. Buy vehicles
that can perform a range of tasks
and consider the availability of accessories up front.
Also, consider cabs, enclosures,
heaters and fans that can turn your
vehicles into year-round assets.
" Look for cabs with doors and windshields that sit flush with the frame
to keep wind and rain out. Many are
simply bolted on, " Meyer says.
4. Don't toy around. Though often
sold as work vehicles, recreational
vehicles may reach 50-60 mph, so
their suspension systems are built
for speed, not payload. " When loaded, the rear suspension tends to sag,
reducing ground clearance and unbalancing the vehicle's weight distribution. They also tend to have short
warranties, " Meyer says.
5. Think safety. Make an inventory of
the safety equipment you'll need and
make sure the vendor offers it.
Certain areas, particularly municipal park and recreation departments,
now require Roll Over Protection
Structures (ROPS) and seat belts. In
Canada, all federal park and recreation departments require ROPS.
If you buy a 4x2 with a manufacturer's ROPS, make sure it can be retrofitted with canopies, windshields,
enclosures or cabs. Many cannot.
6. Consider seating. Multi-seating
UTVs are growing in popularity and
are an especially good option for
the narrow trails in parks. However,

adding a rear-facing, two-passenger
seat may eat into your bed space.
" Vehicles with four forward-facing
seats and an extended bed have
room for two crews and their gear, "
Meyer says.
7. Look for 4x2s with limited slip
differentials. " Many 4x4s are sold
due to perception, not need. Well-designed two-wheel-drive systems are
sufficient for many applications, especially if the vehicle has a limited
slip differential (LSD), " Meyer says.
Here's why. When vehicles with
open differentials get stuck, the
power is transferred to the tire
with the least traction, so the tires
keep spinning. Vehicles with LSDs
deliver true on-demand traction
whether you're driving in a straight
line or navigating curves.
8. Think ease of use when buying
4x4s. A 4x4 can be a smart choice
for construction, climbing hills,
covering rough terrain or driving in
snow, or mud.
Meyer also suggests you choose
an all-wheel drive system that automatically shifts as needed. " If you
don't, you'll have to train crews to
pull the right levers, push the right
buttons, and lock and unlock the
differentials. Yet they can be getting stuck before they even know
it, " he says.
9. Add value with a strong warranty. Look for the longest, most inclusive warranty you can find. This
indicates that a manufacturer has
confidence in its products and will
stand behind them. 
Betty Sosnin is Club Car's Marketing and
Public Relations Specialist (bettysosnin@
knology.net).

W W W. N R PA . O R G | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 |

Parks & Recreation

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December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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