— By Joe Kosch —
I’m proud to say I’ve presented some of today’s best and most popular UTV concepts for the first time right here in my column. That’s right. My thoughts on factory-made four-seat sport machines, single-seat UTVs and machines with manual transmissions appeared here in UTV Action long before drivable versions of these vehicles reached dealers’ showrooms. I was hoping the companies that used my ideas would share the profits they made with me, but I really should have presented my great ideas to the U.S. Patent office before revealing them in the world’s most widely read UTV magazine. Even if I had, I think it’s possible that the designers at leading UTV companies were thinking along similar lines; maybe they didn’t feel like sharing their new-model secrets years before the companies they work for wanted them to.
While I was congratulating myself for getting great new ideas for UTVs out to the UTV-loving public, it hit me that I have an equally important responsibility to urge the UTV industry to avoid producing really bad UTVs. Just as it may have happened years ago with my columns that revealed killer concepts like four-seaters, single-seat UTVs and manual-transmission machines, I hope to reach the secret design departments deep inside the largest and most powerful UTV manufacturers through this column—not to ask for machines that don’t exist yet, but to ask that some machines that may be in the planning stages not be produced!
For now, I only have two bad UTV concepts I hope the manufacturers will abandon—the UTV motorhome and the multi-car UTV train. Like any good UTV concept, the UTV motorhome idea appears to improve on the great original UTV concept by adding something good. A UTV has seats, but it can become better in many ways with more seats. UTVs and motorhomes are both fun, but I guarantee you, the combination will be less fun than either of the originals.
The problem is, UTVs are by nature high-performance vehicles. Sport machines offer unbelievable performance, and even the most basic utility UTV performs impressively because of its relatively light weight, impressive power-to-weight ratio and amazing capabilities in rugged terrain. Unfortunately, motorhomes are the opposite of high-performance vehicles, and today’s luxury-obsessed motorhome customer will accept nothing less than every comfort and convenience technology can provide. Imagine how dismal the UTV motorhome’s tight trail handling and performance in whoops would be with the size and weight added by the motorhome section’s three bedrooms, three bathrooms, home theater, indoor bowling alley and olympic size swimming pool with high dive?
The multi-car UTV train concept sounds like it would take the utility UTV idea to a stratospheric new level of usefulness. Utility UTVs nearly do the impossible by carrying people and supplies into the most challenging terrain, so linking a manned, motorized 4WD “locomotive” UTV with a train of unmanned motorized 4WD “cars” sounds like a lot more of a good thing. In reality, it would be a train/UTV wreck. Imagine having rides delayed while long UTV trains cross popular trails. Who wants to be in line behind a 132-car UTV train at the gas station when all the cars’ gas tanks need filling? Suppose it breaks down and you have to take it to the dealer. Where do you get a trailer for this thing?
It may already be too late, but I hope I’ve prevented at least two awful UTV concepts from making it to production, only to take up space on trails and dunes that should be used for fun sport machines, versatile recreation utility models and useful utility UTVs. If we’re lucky, manufacturers aren’t considering other horrible UTV ideas I haven’t thought of yet.