We sift through the latest Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winners to pick the new small cars among them best suited for consumers with bad credit.

Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards

Dependable transportation is probably the number one concern for most car buyers with less than perfect credit. Since many of these consumers find themselves on tight budgets that have little wiggle room for car repairs, reliable transportation can often mean the difference between keeping and losing a job.

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

The kbb.com list covers the gamut of vehicles from small compacts to large luxury SUVs. But since most credit-challenged borrowers tend to be price sensitive, we naturally found ourselves gravitating to 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 that included an analysis of pricing, cost of ownership over five years, consumer reviews and ratings.

kbb.com Best Buy Awards: Small Cars Category

The four finalists in the small car category came from the compact segment and, this year, also included the overall winner from all categories, with the results looking like this:

2016 Honda CivicOverall winner and winner in the small car category: 2016 Honda CivicThis marks the Civic's second year in a row winning the title of Kelley Blue Book Best Buy among small cars. That outgoing model was and is a winner; the all-new Civic shines even brighter. In addition to taking the top spot for this year's Best Buy among small cars, this all-new Civic was also named this year's Overall Winner among all 2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Buys.
2016 Hyundai ElantraFinalist: 2016 Hyundai Elantra
The 2016 Hyundai Elantra Value Edition plays like it was made to be one of our Best Buy finalists. Based on the Elantra SE sedan (which starts at around $18,000 and stands quite nicely equipped), the Value Edition adds goods like a power/tilt sunroof, push-button start, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. All for a sticker price of just $20,650.
2016 Scion iMFinalist: 2016 Scion iM
This five-door hatchback stands out for its array of standard features that include dual-zone climate control, backup camera, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 17-inch alloy wheels. Even more impressive is the fact you get all that in a car that starts under $20,000. Opt for a manual transmission instead of the CVT automatic, and that price decreases to just over $19,000.
2016 Subaru ImprezaFinalist: 2016 Subaru Impreza
Assume what you will, think what you like, but never, ever forget: Any car that comes with standard all-wheel drive is worth paying attention to… the 2016 Subaru Impreza 5-door offers superb cargo space under the rear hatch, as well as firm, comfortable seats over long distances and a very livable interior… Pricing for the Subaru Impreza starts just a nudge over $19,000, but at that price you'll be shifting your own gear with a manual transmission. A continuously variable automatic transmission is available.

The Bottom Line

Here's a tip: For car buyers with less than stellar credit, choosing an affordable, reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle is particularly important. We agree with Kelley Blue Book that choosing any one of these four small cars amounts to "the absolute best-value choice for new-car shoppers."

Here's another tip if your credit is damaged and you think a small car will work for you: Auto Credit Express specializes in placing credit-challenged applicants with dealers that can give them their best chances at getting approved for a car loan.

So if you're ready to take that first step, you can begin now by filling out our secure online auto loan application.