Dune buggies are typically used for recreational purposes - from racing to exploration - to drive over beaches, dunes or deserts. To ensure they have the ability to drive effectively over sand, dune buggies have light, sometimes-open bodies, large wheels and wide tyres.
Dune buggies are also used on military patrols, enabling the armed forced to cross difficult, sandy terrain at speed. The US military boasts Fast Attack Vehicles and Desert Patrol Vehicles, both of which are based on the technology of dune buggies.
Often, dune buggies are created through the modification of an existing vehicle, although they can be bought through dedicated manufacturers. Rear-mounted engines are the preferred platform for dune buggies because the added weight at the back of the vehicle provides extra traction on sandy surfaces.
One vehicle platform that is ideal for dune buggy modification is the original Volkswagen Beetle. With a rear-mounted engine and the bodywork removed, there remains a light yet solid base for dune buggy sport. In fact, the Volkswagen Beetle is the vehicle that gave its name to the dune buggy. The car's nickname is the "Bug".