Car finance calculator

How to use our car finance calculator

Our car finance calculator is a simple way to find out how much you might be able to spend on a car. Our user-friendly tool only needs to know three pieces of information: 

  1. What your monthly budget is

If you know what you can afford each month, put this as your monthly budget. By putting down a deposit using a lump sum, you can pay less each month for your car finance repayments. 

  1. How long you’d like to repay the loan

If you choose to spread your car finance  over a longer period, it can  make your monthly repayments lower. However by opting for a longer repayment period, you’re total repayments will be more due to interest. Have a play with the slider on our  calculator and you’ll see how much you’re payments will be each month. 

  1. Your overall credit rating

Your credit rating can affect the rate you’re offered by a lender. An excellent rating can result in a lower rate being offered, while a bad credit score could mean you’re offered a high rate which will make your repayments higher. Our car finance calculator will factor this in when working out what you can afford. If you don’t know your credit score, you can find it out for free using various companies such as Experian or ClearScore.

What can I do next?

Now that you know how much you might be able to borrow, the next steps are up to you. You can:

  • Find out more about car finance – we have loads of information about the different car finance options, as well as details on the most popular types, including HP car finance and PCP finance. Using our finance calculator, car loans are made straightforward.
  • Improve your credit score – even if you have a low credit score, lenders are often still able to help you. Read our advice on how to improve your credit score – it can be as simple as registering on the electoral roll. We work with a number of lenders who offer bad credit car finance.
  • Search for a car to buy – we work with an approved list of trusted dealerships across the UK so you can search for over 30,000 vehicles in your MyZuto account area after you’ve applied. We’re also AutoTrader’s official car finance partner.
  • Talk to our team – we have a team dedicated to helping our customers, from finding the right car finance product for you to helping you pick a car. Call us on 01625 619 944 or use our contact form to request a call-back.

What length of loan is right for you?

How long your car finance agreement should last, and how much you’d like to repay each month, depends very much on your personal circumstances and what you can afford. It’s worth thinking forward to see if you think you’ll have other major costs during the loan period, such as a house purchase. 

Paying the loan off over a shorter period such as two years will mean larger monthly repayments, but will also reduce the total sum you pay back. Paying less each month over a longer period – like four years – may make your payments more affordable, but the total amount you pay (see our APR example at the top of the page) will increase. To summarise, longer loan lengths can help reduce monthly payments but will cost more overall due to interest. Shorter loan lengths will come with higher monthly repayments, but cost less overall. 

You can tweak the options in our car loan calculator to find a monthly cost that works for you.

What costs should I think about?

The most important thing when buying a car is to know what you can afford. When using our car finance calculator, it’s useful to think about ongoing costs that might impact what you can afford to pay every month. 

Insurance: Car insurance is a legal requirement. 

Road Tax: While some cars don’t incur tax, many do. 

Maintenance: Factor in MOT’s and running repairs

Ongoing running costs: Everything from petrol to windscreen washer fluid.

How much will the car cost to run?


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For many years, diesel was cheaper to buy than petrol and had a greater fuel economy, leading it to be the fuel of choice for anyone driving high mileages (such as taxi drivers or sales reps). However, in more recent years, petrol has been cheaper to buy and fuel efficiency has much improved.

Diesel has also had somewhat of a bad press recently as it’s not the most eco-friendly of fuels and there’s talk of diesel cars being banned from many major cities in years to come.

Miles per gallon (MPG)

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Regardless of whether you purchase a petrol or diesel car, (or indeed a hybrid), the most important consideration isn’t actually the cost of the fuel itself, but how many miles you get for each gallon of fuel that you purchase. In general, the smaller and more efficient the car, the higher the miles you will get to the gallon, thus spending less on fuel. This type of information is easy to research by looking at a car’s specifications online.

Servicing and maintenance

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No matter how good a car you buy, it will need repairing at some point. Whether you choose to use main dealer servicing and repairs or independents you may find that some makes of car are more expensive to repair and maintain than others.

If you are considering purchasing a particular brand of car and want to keep a tight rein over future repair costs, it is worth enquiring about how much regular services cost and how much typical repairs are. If you want to have an even tighter rein over future repair costs, then it may be worth enquiring about an extended warranty. These are available from the manufacturer or third party providers and, for one yearly cost, cover you for a range of potential repairs.


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Cars older than three years need an annual MOT. The cost of a car MOT is capped by the government at £54.85. 


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For used cars made before the end of March 2017, road tax can go from £0 to 535 per year. Newer cars produced after March 31 2017 can be taxed at rates from £0 to £2000, so it’s essential that you find out what exactly you will be paying and assess whether you can afford it. You can check car tax rates on the website.


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Insurance can vary significantly, depending on the car you choose, your driving history, where you live, and how you’ll use your car. Car insurance companies now work to a 50 mark system, rather than the previous 20 level system. Group 1 is the cheapest group and 50 is the most expensive.

Knowing that the number of categories have changed is really important to remember – you don’t want to be caught out thinking that a car in the Group 15 category is in the bottom third of insurance groups rather than the top quarter. Generally speaking, smaller, less powerful cars are in the lower insurance groups with high powered, sporty, and exclusive cars being in the higher groups.

Useful information and guides

  • cms-tick

    How to get car finance with bad credit

    If you have a low credit score, you may still be able to get car finance with one of our lenders - find out more with our bad credit finance guide.

    Bad credit car finance
  • cms-tick

    Applying for finance on a used car

    Car finance can make getting a second-hand car more affordable. Read our guide to find out how to apply for used car finance.

    Used car finance
  • cms-tick

    Considering the switch to electric?

    If you're thinking of making the switch to electric, read our guide which explains the ins and outs of electric car finance.

    Electric car finance

Car finance calculator FAQs

How much can I borrow with Zuto?

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When applying for finance through Zuto, we’ll perform a soft credit check which analyses your incomings and affordability rating, which will determine how much you can borrow. Typically, our lenders will offer anything from £2,000 to £50,000, but feel free to get in touch over the phone if you would like to borrow more and we’ll see how we could help.

One thing to consider is the vehicle you choose to finance; depending on the age and condition of the vehicle, you may be required to put a deposit down, which means you’ll borrow less against the vehicle. If this is the case, our team will explain everything to you and discuss your options in detail.

How much does car finance cost?

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Your car finance payments will depend on the value of the vehicle you’re hoping to drive, as well as factors such as your credit rating and how long you want the repayment period to be. However, the interest rates vary from as low as 9% APR to 19%+ depending on your credit history.

Which type of car finance should I choose?

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When applying for car finance, you’ll have three main options:

  • Hire Purchase finance: this involves making regular monthly payments, while the finance is secured against the vehicle. Our car HP calculator above will give you an indication of the type of car you could be eligible for. One of the benefits of this type of finance is that you’ll know your monthly payments in advance, and there is no ‘balloon’ fee at the end. 
  • Personal Contract Purchase: this involves regular monthly payments and the finance is secured against the vehicle but you only pay off the depreciation. You can hand the keys back at the end of the contract period, or make a balloon payment to keep it. 
  • Personal Loan: this involves regular monthly payments, but the loan isn’t secured against the vehicle.

What happens next when I apply?

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We follow a straightforward process when determining car finance options. When you apply, we’ll conduct an initial soft credit check on your profile (which won’t impact your score) to make a preliminary decision on your eligibility.

We’ll then compare the finance opportunities offered by our panel of lenders, to find you the most favourable deal. Your car expert will then get in touch to talk through your quote, how much you can borrow, and what kind of car you want to drive.

How much is average car finance?

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While the average cost of car finance can vary from person to person, affected by things such as the size of deposits, your credit score and the car’s actual value, this is an illustration of the typical average finance for different vehicle types.

Small car: Volkswagen Polo £223 per month. Based on the borrowing amount of £7398. Total cost of credit £10,830.

Large car: Volkswagen Tiguan £344 per month. Based on the borrowing amount of £11,532. Total cost of credit £16,821.

SUV: Nissan Qashqai £241 per month. Based on the borrowing amount of £7,986. Total cost of credit £11,573.

Hybrid car: Toyota Yaris £204 per month. Based on the borrowing amount of £6,910. Total cost of credit £10,123.

The above monthly payment examples reflect the average monthly payments across each of these vehicles which were financed via Zuto between January 2023 and May 2023. Any monthly payment amounts you may be offered will be subject to your individual circumstances and the vehicle specifics.

Zuto is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 9.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances. Representative Example: Borrowing £7,500 over 48 months with a representative APR of 21.4% the amount payable would be £226 a month, with a total cost of credit of £3,369 and a total amount payable of £10,869.

How do you decide the APR?

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When applying for car finance, your payment will vary not just depending on the car’s value and the repayment period, but also the Annual Percentage Rate or APR. The APR you’ll pay is based on your personal circumstances and how you’ve handled credit in the past.You’ll generally pay a lower APR - less interest - the better your credit score is. Those with bad credit scores will usually pay higher interest rates, although that doesn’t mean they’re excluded from car finance.

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