2015 Best Cars for Bad Credit: Small, Midsize, and Large Cars

So you have bad credit and want to know the best car to buy? We can help.

Putting together a list of the best cars for bad credit is a challenge. For one, we seem to be in the glory days of engineering, when even the worst cars outperform those from just 20 years ago. Add to that the fact that consumers with bad credit have different wants, needs, and income levels. What works for one person might not work at all for another.

This year, we’re listing cars by type to help you find what might work best for you. This blog features cars only, while future posts will include trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and such.

What makes a car good for bad credit? We chose a few criteria to narrow the field:

Must be affordable
Must be reliable
Must have reasonably low cost of ownership

So we gathered some data from U.S. News & World Report and Edmunds.com, and here are the results for the Small, Mid-Size, and Large Car categories.

Small Cars

2012 Honda Civic
2012 Honda Civic
By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Honda long ago earned a reputation for quality and reliability, so it’s no surprise they come in at the top of this list. The 2012 Civic has an average price of $15,589 and received high praise for its full redesign this model year, as well as the highest reliability scores in its class.

2012 Toyota Prius c
2012 Toyota Prius c
By Mr.choppers (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Prius is slightly more expensive on average than the Civic at an average cost of $15,997 but it also has one of the lower costs of ownership in its class. This hybrid’s fuel economy is outstanding, contributing to a generally lower cost of ownership, although it comes at the sacrifice of power and performance. Still, it remains one of the safest and most reliable cars in its class.

 

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Midsize Cars

2012 Chevrolet Malibu

By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

While non-domestics seem to dominate the small car class, it’s the Chevrolet Malibu that tops the midsize group. A solid performer in all categories, buyers of the Malibu benefit from the greater depreciation that comes with domestic brands, based on an old paradigm of lower quality that no longer holds true. Average price is $15,286.

2012 Honda Accord
2012 Honda Accord
By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Honda makes another appearance in our Best Cars for Bad Credit list with the 2012 Accord. Long known for quality, the Accord continues its tradition with excellent reliability ratings and a perfect 10 safety rating, even better than the Malibu. Depreciation comes more slowly with Honda – the 2012 Accord comes in at an average price of $18,178.

 

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Large Cars

2010 Buick LaCrosse
2010 Buick LaCrosse
By resedabear [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

GM’s Buick division wins top honors in the large car class with the 2011 LaCrosse. While it remains one of the pricier cars we reviewed, the average $17,505 price tag is balanced by the lowest cost of ownership, coming in much lower than the 2011 Ford Taurus.

2010 Toyota Avalon
2010 Toyota Avalon
By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota flagship large sedan has taken some criticism for less-exciting styling but it’s hard to complain about how well it holds its value. Still, at $16,695, the purchase price comes in just a bit cheaper than the Buick LaCrosse, while the cost of ownership is slightly higher. Overall ratings were very similar for both autos, with Buick slightly edging out Toyota.

In the next segment of 2015 Best Cars for Bad Credit, we’ll take on the best trucks and SUVs.

 

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