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Best Used Cars on Tight Budgets

Looking over the current list from Consumer Reports of the most dependable used cars we come up with those that could make for an affordable auto loan for borrowers with problem credit
Best Used Cars on Tight Budgets the 2009 Pontiac Vibe
Checking the list

Since we believe it’s important that consumers with damaged credit choose a reliable vehicle for an auto loan, we’ve taken the latest findings from Consumer Reports to come up with a list of used cars that are both reliable and affordable.

We’ve done this because here Auto Credit Express for the past two decades we’ve been helping car buyers with bad credit that have been hunting for online car loans discover those dealers that can offer them their best opportunities for car loan approvals.

Picking out a car

To help offset the higher interest rates associated with high-risk car loans borrowers should be considering something along the lines of an affordable subcompact, compact or entry-level midsize car. In most cases financing these types of vehicles can result in savings on interest, insurance and fuel expenses. Picking out a used car from one of those categories is even better because, according to Consumer Reports, the average new car “loses up to 47 percent of its value in the first three years.”

CR best and worst

Speaking of Consumer Reports (CR), back in March they published the results of their latest Annual Auto Survey, which is based on subscriber survey responses covering over a million vehicles. CR’s findings include both the “best used cars” as well as the “worst used cars” in terms of reliability.

Sorting through the results we came up with what we feel are the most affordable used cars in the two most affordable categories for car buyers with less than perfect credit:

The Best

Used cars less than $10,000

Small cars
Pontiac Vibe 2009

According to CR, “This sensible wagon’s 2009 redesign brought standard ESC and stronger, more fuel-efficient engines. A twin of the Toyota Matrix, it has a flat load floor. Pontiac’s 2011 demise means that you can find the Vibe at a cheap price, and parts and service remain available.”

Sedans
Hyundai Sonata (4cyl.) 2008

Consumer Reports states that “The economical and efficient Sonata has a decent ride, secure handling, and a responsive four-cylinder engine that returned 23 mpg overall.”

Used cars $10,000-$15,000

Small cars
2011 Honda Fit and 2011 Mazda3

Consumer Reports remarks that “The Fit is an excellent choice among hatchbacks. It has amazing space utilization; responsive, agile handling; and a super-efficient four-cylinder engine that returns 30 mpg overall with an automatic transmission. For a bit more refinement, look for a Mazda3 hatchback or sedan.”

Sedans
2006-07 Honda Accord (V6)

Consumer Reports felt that “The Accord is an excellent choice among used cars. Its smooth V6 engine is economical and strong, the ride is comfortable and compliant, and reliability is excellent. The four-cylinder version is nice but didn’t get ESC until 2008.”

Small SUVs
2006-08 Toyota RAV4 (4-cyl.) and 2005-07 Honda CR-V

Consumer Reports believes that “The 2006 RAV4 gained more interior room, a V6, and an optional third-row seat. The four-cylinder’s nimble handling, very good 23 mpg overall, and versatile cabin propelled it to the top of our small-SUV Ratings. The CR-V is a sportier, if somewhat noisier, alternative.”

Our own take is that both of these vehicles would be fine, although many buyers with credit imperfections might find both either at or near the upper end of their budget.

The worst

Since poor reliability usually translates to more out of pocket expenses for owners, we suggest that borrowers with credit issues, especially those on a tight budget, would be better off picking something else.

To quote Consumer Reports, “Steer clear. These 2003 through 2012 models, listed alphabetically, have had multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability, according to our Annual Auto Survey. That’s based on at least three years of data for each model listed.”

The vehicles on this list include that problem credit buyers might see include the Chevrolet Uplander, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan and Saturn Relay.

As we see it

Choosing used cars with poor reliability could end up costing borrowers if they find themselves paying for costly repairs in addition to their monthly car payment.

Another problem these buyers face is finding a dealer that’s willing to work with them. That’s why Auto Credit Express we specialize in matching consumers with damaged car credit to dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you’re ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.

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