Definition of a SSV

Side by Side Vehicle (SSV) is a general term for a motorised off-road vehicle designed to travel on three, four or more wheels, and intended by the manufacturer for use by one or more persons.

In North America, the largest market for SSVs in the world, they are also known as:

  • Multipurpose off-highway utility vehicles (MOHUV)
  • Recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV)
  • Light Utility Vehicles (UTV)

In Australia FCAI SSV members only import SSVs that are built to one of the following international standards:

  • OPEI B71.9-2016 (MOHUV)
  • ANSI/ROHVA 1-2016 (ROV)
  • SAE J2258-2016 (UTV)

Vehicles built to these standards have specific requirements including the following common characteristics:

  • Intended to carry a person(s) and/or cargo
  • a steering wheel for steering control
  • non- straddle seating
  • seat belts and a rollover protective structure
  • minimum speed requirements
  • maximum overall width requirements
  • maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings

The build and safety requirements of these standards are regularly reviewed; the standards address the design, configuration and performance aspects of ROVs, including, among other items:

  • requirements for accelerator, clutch and gearshift controls;
  • lighting;
  • tires;
  • service and parking brake/parking mechanism performance;
  • lateral and pitch stability; occupant handholds;
  • Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS); Occupant Retention System (ORS); and
  • requirements for labels and owner’s manuals.

(See ANSI/ROHVA; ANSI/OPEI; SAE J2258 standards for full details)

‘Other’ SSV brands imported into Australia don’t necessarily meet these standards and therefore may not be built to the high specification of the ANSI/ROHVA, OPEI and SAE requirements.

History of SSVs, ROHVA standard, reasons for move from ATV to SSV

North America is the largest SSV market in the world. SSVs sold in the USA and Canada are predominantly for recreation use, with a smaller proportion sold as utility vehicles for farms and other workplaces.

In Australia SSVs are predominantly used in the farming sector, and FCAI member brands have sold over 60,000 units since 2005.

Recent increases in SSV sales have coincided with changes to Australian All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) regulations that require the fitment of a Crush Protective Device (CPD). As international research and real world experience do not support the fitment of CPDs on ATVs; and as the major ATV manufacturers see no improved safety benefit with the new standard, they have chosen to leave the Australian market and concentrate on SSVs.

No other country in the world requires the fitment of CPDs to ATVs.

Helpful links for SSV information:

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA):

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI):

Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV):

All Terrain Vehicle Industry European Association (ATVEA):

Australasian Off Road Vehicle Association (AORV):