We pick the most affordable new vehicles for credit-challenged consumers from Kelley Blue Book’s inaugural Best Buy Awards.

Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards

Having dependable transportation is especially important to car buyers with bad credit. Since many of these consumers are on tight budgets with little wiggle room for car repairs, a reliable vehicle can often mean the difference between keeping and losing a job.

Not long ago, the Kelley Blue Book website kbb.com published its first list of Best Buy Awards that recognizes, according to Kelley, "the top new model year vehicle choices available in the U.S."

But while the kbb.com list covers the gamut of vehicles from small to large (and everything in-between), since credit- challenged buyers are especially price sensitive, we decided to concentrate on the most affordable category: small cars.

Finalist models were "chosen on a set of criteria that identify overall vehicle quality and value, based both on proprietary Kelley Blue Book metrics and the expert evaluations of the KBB.com editorial staff" and included an analysis of pricing, cost of ownership over five years, consumer reviews and ratings.

The Affordable New Cars for Poor Credit Buyers

The four finalists in the small cars category included both compact and subcompact cars, including sedans and hatchbacks, with the results looking like this:

Honda Civic

Winner: 2015 Honda Civic

Honda’s longest-running nameplate has earned its longevity by being fuel-efficient, reliable and affordable to maintain.

Honda Fit

Finalist: 2015 Honda Fit

The small-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside Fit is even more affordable and fuel efficient than the bigger Civic.

Volkswagen Golf

Finalist: 2015 Volkswagen Golf

The all-new VW Golf impresses with its road manners and its hatchback versatility.

Mazda Mazda3

Finalist: 2015 Mazda Mazda3

The latest Mazda3 is more than just "Zoom, Zoom" fun as its Skyactiv technology makes it one of the most fuel-efficient compacts (in either sedan or hatchback form) available.

The Bottom Line

Picking an affordable, reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle is particularly important for car buyers with less than stellar credit. We have to agree with Kelley Blue Book that choosing any one of these four vehicles would be "the absolute best-value choices for new-car shoppers."