Checking | Auto Loans | Mortgage | HELOC | Personal Loans | Credit Cards | Membership

How To Finance A UTV In 9 Easy Steps

Life in Southern California is all about enjoying the great outdoors, and adding some extra fun on four wheels is a great way to level up your recreation. If you've got your eye on a new Utility Terrain Vehicle, you're probably starting to think about the best way to finance a UTV.

For those wondering how to finance a side by side, we've got you covered in this simple guide to UTV financing. If you've ever financed a car or truck, you already understand most of the steps to financing a UTV since the process is quite similar.

But if this is your first time financing a vehicle of any kind, or you simply need a refresher course, we’ve got you covered!

In this guide, we'll break down what you need to know about credit scores (and how to improve them), UTV loans, and even budgeting.

Getting people into the vehicle of their dreams is what we do here at the Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal).

In addition to auto loans, we specialize in recreational vehicle loans that help our Members purchase their new UTV or ATV.

If you're ready to find out how to finance your next side-by-side, or want to know more about any of our other financial products, please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 to schedule an expert and obligation-free consultation.

Get Started on Your UTV Loan!

What Is A UTV Loan?

UTV loans fall under the wider umbrella of recreational vehicle loans. This type of loan covers boats, motor homes, ATVs, and UTVs.

Similar to a standard auto loan, UTV loans are taken out from a lender to purchase a vehicle. The borrower agrees to certain details, such as the interest rate and the loan term, and pays back the loan with monthly payments. The specifications of the loan will vary slightly from an auto loan, so keep reading to learn more about SXS financing.

How Much Will A UTV Loan Cost?

The total cost of a UTV loan will ultimately depend on several factors. First, you'll need to consider the price of the UTV you want to purchase (don't forget about sales tax when you find this number). Then, you'll need to know how much you'll be paying as a down payment. This is a percentage of the total price of the item that you'll pay in cash. What's left is the amount you’ll need to borrow.

Now that you know how much you need to borrow, you'll need to take into account the offered interest rate and the loan term. This will lead you to the toal cost of the UTV loan.

Don't worry – it's not as complicated as it sounds. To see for yourself, visit CU SoCal's vehicle loan calculator.


Since you're ready to learn about UTV loans, you might already know which vehicle you're looking to purchase. If you're just browsing, though, you might have come across both ATVs and UTVs and wondered what exactly the difference is.

The primary difference between a UTV, also known as a side-by-side (SXS), and an ATV is the number of riders. ATVs only hold one rider at a time, while UTVs can accommodate multiple riders. Additionally, because UTVs are larger by nature, they're also a bit more powerful, making them suitable for off-road work activities, like hauling trailers across rough terrain.

UTV / SXS Financing Guide

Finding the right lender and terms for your side-by-side loan can be challenging if you're not prepared.

At CU SoCal, we're putting the power in your hands so you can make the right choice for your UTV loan.

Here's everything you need to know about credit scores, preapproval, UTV financing rates, and more.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Increasing your credit score is one of the best methods for improving your loan terms. The higher your credit score, the more favorable your loan will end up being. Checking your credit score will give you a baseline of where you are so you know how much work is needed to improve it.

If you need some tips for how to improve your credit score, CU SoCal has you covered. If you need some extra help, check out our unique Credit Builder Loan for a new way to boost your credit score quickly.

2. Create A Budget

Creating a budget is a great way to start your UTV financing journey because it will give you a good idea of what you can afford.

Before you can create your budget, you need to know what you're working with. First, assess your current annual salary and how much you take in after taxes. Then, think about your current monthly expenses.

Next, address your current debt. How much you owe on other loans, like a mortgage or student loans, could affect how much you'll be able to borrow for a UTV.

In the end, you'll have a number goal in mind for how much you can afford to borrow to make your purchase. Don't forget to include the cost of ownership in your overall budget. Accessories, safety items, insurance, and fuel won't be covered in the loan, but they should be accounted for in your overall UTV budget.

3. Save For A Down Payment

Saving for a down payment should be done pretty early on in the side-by-side financing process. The reason for this is that saving can take time, and the more time you give yourself, the larger your down payment will be.

For recreational vehicles, the normal down payment is around 10-20%. On a UTV that costs anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000, you could end up needing between $500 to $5,000 for the down payment.

4. Comparison Shop Different UTVs

You might already have your eyes fixed on a specific UTV that's just calling your name. But even if you've already got an idea of what you want, doing some comparison shopping is still a great idea.

Having a look around and comparing specs and prices will ensure that you get the best deal on the right vehicle.

When shopping around, don't be afraid to ask questions at the dealership: the staff will be more than happy to point you in the direction of the UTV that best suits your needs.

5. Shop Different Lenders

In addition to comparison shopping vehicles, you should also comparison shop different lenders.

We'll discuss what types of instuatitions offer UTV loans later on in this article, but for now, it’s a good idea to check in with your bank, the dealership, or your credit union to see what kind of loan terms and UTV financing rates they offer. Make sure you look at interest rates and fees to get an accurate picture of the loan.

6. Get Preapproved

Preapproval is an important step in getting the loan you need to make your next big purchase. To get preapproved, you will need to provide your chosen lender with your current financial information, including income, debt, pay stubs, and credit score. The lender will analyze your situation and determine how substantial of a loan you qualify for.

Getting the best terms largely depends on a good credit score, so if yours needs a boost, check out our suggestions for how to improve your credit score.

7. Calculate Your Payments

When you are preapproved for a loan, the lender will let you know how much you can borrow. From there, you can calculate your estimated monthly payments. Simply plug in your financing information, including down payment, loan amount, and interest rate into CU SoCal's loan calculator to calculate your monthly payment.

8. Get The Right UTV For Your Needs

Whether you've got a specific model in mind or you're just browsing, you probably already have an idea of the type of vehicle you need. You're likely looking for a UTV instead of an ATV because you know you'll have multiple riders, but have you thought about your other needs?

UTVs are large, so they're a great option to help with hauling equipment to locations that are hard to reach with a standard truck. How much you'll be hauling and the type of terrain you'll be going over will be factors to think about when selecting your perfect UTV.  

9. Make The Purchase!

By now, you've checked out your credit score, made any necessary improvements, gotten preapproved, and selected your UTV. All you have to do now is make your purchase! Though these items won't be included in your loan amount, don't forget to consider startup and ownership costs like insurance, safety gear, and accessories.

Where Can I Get A UTV Loan?

When it comes time to look for a lender for your SXS financing, you'll soon see that you have many options. Like standard auto loans, the terms of recreational vehicle loans will vary depending on a number of factors.

To make your selection easier, we've gathered a list of the most common lending institutions and what you can expect from each.


One of the most popular lending institutions, banks are often the first stop for those looking for financing. Here are some of the advantages of financing through a bank:
  • Competitive interest rates
  • You're probably already a bank Member
  • Online banking is easy; access all your accounts in one place
There are also a few drawbacks to borrowing from a bank for your side-by-side financing.
  • They require a higher credit score for approval
  • Higher application and other fees

Credit Unions

Credit unions are non-profit institutions that are owned by their Members. This detail makes using a credit union a great choice for the following reasons:
  • Generally lower interest rates
  • More attentive and personalized service
  • Low or no fees
As with any lender, you  might encounter some disadvantages to choosing a credit union:
  • You usually have to be a Member to apply
  • Fewer brick-and-mortar locations
  • Might be less developed than banks with online services
Don't let those items deter you from choosing a credit union for your loan, though.
At CU SoCal, joining is easy, and our mobile app and website are fully secure, functional, and easy-to-use.

Online Lenders

Online lenders have become a popular choice for people looking to finance a large purchase. Here are some other benefits to online lenders:
  • Websites and apps are streamlined and easy-to-use
  • Comparing online lenders is easy when all the information is online
  • Having several options means competitive rates
 Disadvantages to using an online lender include:
  • Not ideal for users who struggle with using or reading websites
  • Getting a quote often requires giving an email address, which can lead to spam
  • Can be difficult to reach a person for assistance


To encourage customers to choose their shop, dealerships will occasionally offer a loan or credit card system to help customers finance their purchases. Benefits include:  
  • Bad credit may not be a problem
  • It's convenient to finance the purchase from the same place you bought it from
  • Dealerships have access to discounts
Whether getting a loan from the dealership is a good idea for your situation really depends on the dealership and the UTV financing rates they offer. If you're considering this option, make sure to ask about fees, interest rates, loan term, and whether the vehicle is considered collateral.


Similar to dealerships, manufacturers can also offer loans by partnering up with financial institutions. There are no real set pros and cons to manufacturer loans because they will vary based on the customer's needs and other factors. But together with the institution, manufacturers create exclusive incentives like 0% financing for a set time. To see what offers you can take part in, you'll need to do some research into your manufacturer of choice.

Additional UTV Financing Options

With as many lending institutions to choose from, there are just as many loan types when it comes to SXS financing. These range from recreational vehicle loans to more general personal loans and even non-loan options. Below are the most common UTV financing options.

Personal Loans

A personal loan is a very straightforward financing option. Personal loans are generally used for large purchases or consolidating debt, and can be obtained from a variety of different banks, credit unions, online lenders, etc.
Personal loans have better terms if you have good credit, so making sure your score is up to scratch will help you get the best deal. And since the payments are fixed, you know exactly how much you have to pay every month – no surprises.
If your score is low, however, you could run into less favorable rates. Need some extra help getting your credit score where it needs to be? Take advantage of the CU SoCal Credit Builder Loan today.  

RV Loans

Recreational vehicle loans are designed to help customers purchase their new ATV, UTV, boat, or motorcycle. Like an auto loan, an RV loan can be borrowed from a bank, online lender, or credit union like CU SoCal. This type of loan is a good option because of the reduced APR that is commonly offered. Some lenders even offer a limited time of zero payments.

However, as with other loan types, there are some drawbacks. Qualifying for an RV loan can be tricky, so make sure your credit score is in good shape. Also, an RV loan is usually secured by your purchase as collateral, which means the lender can repossess your side-by-side if you stop making your monthly payments. Additionally, this type of loan usually has much higher interest rates than other types.

Credit Cards

Making a big purchase on a credit card is an option that a lot of UTV-buyers choose. The good thing is that you probably already have a credit card or two, so there's no need to fill in applications or create new accounts. Lots of credit card companies have special offers for signing up, so getting a new card could mean you pay zero interest for the first year or so, depending on the offer. This will make your UTV purchase price lower than if you were to take out a loan.

On the downside, you need to be vigilant in keeping up with your monthly payments. Credit card companies don't enforce payment outside of the monthly minimum, so if you aren't careful, it could take you much longer to pay off your UTV.

Retailer Financing

Retailer financing is not the most common financing option, but it does offer several advantages to the discerning customer. Basically, this is the type of financing you'll get if you choose the dealership or manufacturer as your lender. The best part is that you get to take advantage of special manufacturer discounts and subsidized loans. And the convenience of financing at the point of sale cannot be overstated.

Keep in mind, though, that the discounts and offers you'll see, like 0% APR, only last for a limited amount of time, usually six months or a year. After that, the interest rate could jump higher than what you'd receive with a different type of loan. As with RV loans, retailer financing holds the vehicle as collateral, so you could lose your UTV if you can't make payments.

CU SoCal UTV Loans

Finding the right UTV loan for your needs can be a daunting task, but with our 9-step guide to financing your new vehicle, you've got the knowledge to make it happen. At CU SoCal, we know how important it is to get the best loan option so you can get outside and start having adventures. Choosing a loan from CU SoCal means you get a fixed interest rate, flexible terms, and up to 100% financing. What's more, we don't require our Members to pay any application fees.

Apply For UTV Loan At CU SoCal Today!

Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our vehicle loan representatives.

Get Started on Your UTV Loan!

Help + Support


Co-Browsing Code

Building Better Lives

Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


562.698.8326 | 866 CU SoCal Se Habla Español