We take a close look at U.S. News' best family cars to come up with those most suited for borrowers with tarnished credit

Stretching those dollars

best cars, auto finance, car loans

For borrowers with credit issues, it's always important to make those dollars go further, no matter what they're buying. But when purchasing a new vehicle, choosing the right one can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your pocket. It's especially important if it's financed with a high-risk car loan. That's why the latest "Best" vehicle list from US News seems so timely.

In compiling their latest list, U.S. News took a look at 259 vehicles taking into account "professional automotive reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume and the availability of family-friendly features", coming up with a winner in each of 19 categories ranging from compact cars to large luxury sport utility vehicles.

We narrowed those 19 categories down to the two most affordable segments, compacts and hatchbacks, listing the two winners as well as 5 of the 6 finalists.

U.S. News 2015 Best Cars for Families

Compact Cars

Winner: 2015 Volkswagen Golf, MSRP: $19,295 - $39,090

According to U.S. News, "The redesigned 2015 Volkswagen Golf wows the automotive press with agile handling, exceptional cargo space and remarkable interior quality."

Finalist: 2015 Kia Soul, MSRP: $15,190 - $35,700
Finalist: 2015 Mazda Mazda3, MSRP: $16,945 - $26,595


Winner: 2015 Kia Soul, MSRP: $15,190 - $35,700

U.S. News had this to say, "The 2015 Kia Soul impresses reviewers with upscale cabin materials and an abundance of standard and optional features."

Finalist: 2015 Mazda Mazda3, MSRP: $16,945 - $26,595

Note: the 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid was also listed as a finalist in the "Hatchbacks" category, but a starting MSRP of $24,995 puts it beyond the budgets of most borrowers with blemished credit.

The Bottom Line

Not only is each of these vehicles among the best buys in their respective segments representing a good value for your vehicle dollar, all have a starting MSRP of under $20,000 – making them particularly appealing to credit-challenged borrowers. In addition, according to U.S. News, any one of them would be a good choice for a new vehicle.