Reliable Cars for Credit Challenged Buyers

Consumer Reports comes to the rescue for buyers with credit issues and we take a look at their best and worst small cars

Choosing New Cars

To help offset the higher interest rates common to subprime auto loans, we suggest borrowers with bad credit consider financing an affordable small car – particularly if they’re financing something new. In addition to saving on interest expenses, these vehicles can also save their owners money on fuel expenses and possibly even auto insurance.

With that in mind, last week Consumer Reports (CR) published their latest findings on the “most and least reliable small cars” with these results:

Most Reliable Small Cars

Scion xB1. Scion xB
Base MSRP range: $16,970 – $20,420

According to CR, the xB qualifies as “a distinctive box on wheels that has [a] solid track record of dependability” with upsides that include easy entry, lots of space, a smooth ride and quiet (at least for its size) interior. But all is not perfect as the xB has “an annoying dash design” and “mediocre fuel economy (23 mpg overall).”

Those negatives, however, are offset by a “predicted reliability that is 81-percent better than the average car today.”

Toyota Yaris2. Toyota Yaris
Base MSRP range: $14,845 – $17,620

Even though CR doesn’t “recommend” the Yaris because of its low overall score in their testing, it did prove to be their second-most reliable small car. Consumer Reports does note that its 2015 refresh includes a new grille and new soft- touch interior surfaces.

Honda Civic3. Honda Civic
Base MSRP range: $18,290 – $27,435

Consumer Reports states that “the Civic shines for predicted reliability” with a “roomy, comfortable ride, generous standard equipment, and outstanding fuel economy.” Tradeoffs include only average handling and interior noise levels as well as a frustrating infotainment system, but CR states that “there is a clear reward for accepting those trade-offs.”

Least Reliable Small Cars

2014 Hyundai Accent GS1. Fiat 500L
Base MSRP range: $19,195 – $24,395

CR’s least reliable new car is “an eye-opening 219 percent worse than the average for all cars.”

Ford Fiesta2. Ford Fiesta
Base MSRP range: $14,355 – $21,435

Consumer Reports states that the Fiesta “is the lowest-ranked of the subcompact cars, with reliability predicted to be 162-percent worse than the average car even though it’s “otherwise a desirable runabout with impressive ride and handling and excellent fuel economy.”

Chevrolet Cruze3. Chevrolet Cruze
Base MSRP range: $17,745 – $24,270

CR notes that “the turbocharged 1.4-liter version was notably worse than average -143- percent worse, to be specific.” Both the 1.4-liter and 1.8-liter engines deliver “an unimpressive 26 mpg” and offset the fact that the Cruze has “a well- finished cabin, solid overall feel, and comfortable ride.”

For more information, buyers can check out the latest information on CR’s web site (a subscription is required for access to some information) at

The Bottom Line

Before choosing a small car, credit-challenged borrowers might want to check out the latest “best and worst” list from Consumer Reports.

One more tip: Auto Credit Express matches consumers with damaged credit to dealers that can offer them their best opportunities for car loan approvals. So if you’re ready to reestablish your credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.

Posted on December 11, 2014 by in New Cars
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