Approximately 43 percent of Americans have what auto-loan lenders categorize as "bad" credit.
That means there’s a significant portion of people who might need a new car, but have a significant amount of trepidation when it comes to figuring out what they can afford.
Worse, many customers in such a predicament focus on the purchase price. But if they're not careful, their new cars could cause them additional financial strain. When it comes to maintenance, insurance, fees and registration, purchase cost, depreciation and fuel, the costs can vary widely from vehicle to vehicle.
CarFinance.com has calculated the actual cost of ownership over five years for several different vehicles. Assuming a 10 percent downpayment and a 60-month loan, here’s a look at the five best car purchases for people with bad credit:
5. Ford FusionSticker Price: $21,900 - $32,500
Invoice Price: $20,422 - $29,981
Fuel economy: 22 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The Fusion’s $21,298 purchase price for the study is less than half of its five-year costs. Assuming a driver puts 15,000 miles per year on the odometer, CarFinance.com estimates the fuel costs to be $9,965.
The Fusion has come along way. Once simple and dull, the new Fusion wins a lot of customers for its good looks. A good mid-size sedan, it could be a terrific family car for those who need a little extra room. CarFinance.com says the five-year cost of ownership is $48,180.
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4. Honda Accord
Sticker Price: $21,680 - $33,430
Invoice Price: $19,849 - $30,567
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
The Accord is one of our favorite sedans, and it’s hard to argue with its decades-long track record of consistent reliability. The latest Accord is also more fun to drive and fuel efficient than previous iterations.
CarFinance.com says the five-year ownership cost for an Accord is $48,081. It wins points for the cheap cost of insurance and should hold its value more than the other cars on the list.
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3. Nissan Altima
Sticker Price: $21,760 - $30,560
Invoice Price: $20,356 - $27,929
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway
There’s a reason the Altima is one of the best-selling vehicles in America. Currently, there’s no mainstream sedan that’s going to give drivers better gas mileage.
Fresh off a redesign last year, it’s a nice-looking car that provides comfort and space for occupants. And with five-year ownership costs at $47,054, according to CarFinance.com, it is another worthwhile option for families seeking space and value.
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2. Honda Civic
Sticker Price: $17,965 - $26,465
Invoice Price: $16,707 - $25,095
Fuel Economy: 28 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway
Much like its bigger sibling, the Accord, the Honda Civic has been well known for its reliability over many decades. A redesign strayed too far from the car’s roots two years ago, but the automaker has been quick to rectify that and reclaim the Civic’s position as one of the best-selling compact cars.
CarFinance.com says the five-year ownership costs are $43,714. The Civic’s five-year fuel costs of $9,030 work out to be the lowest of any car on the list, and its maintenance bill of $1,713 is second-lowest among the final five.
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1. Toyota Corolla
Sticker price: $16,230 - $20,550
Invoice: $15,338 - $19,045
Fuel economy: 27 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
As it happens, the least-expensive car on this list is also the best buy over a five-year term. CarFinance.com calculates the five-year ownership costs as $41,261, making it the best value by nearly $2,500. That’s a lot of savings.
The Corolla is an economical car that may lack a few of the frills that other cars possess, but it’s still a comfortable ride and it has the lowest maintenance and repair costs of the bunch.
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