21 Best Cars To Own If You Have Great Credit

Like so many other businesses, the auto industry has been decimated by the coronavirus epidemic. Sales in March and April fell to levels more than 50% below those seen in the summer of 2019. As a result, automakers have been forced to pivot. Online sales, video walk-throughs and contactless delivery have helped to turn the tide, with sales increasing in May and June. However, this could still be a great time to look into scoring a deal on a new car, particularly if you have good credit. 

Your credit score can play a big role in the total price you’ll pay for your new car. With very good credit, you might get an auto loan rate of about 5%, but if you have great credit, that rate could drop to 3.5% or even lower.

To help highlight the importance of good credit — and to find affordable cars — GOBankingRates looked for vehicles that you could get for a monthly payment of less than $300 after making a 20% down payment. Using data from U.S. News & World Report and CarMax, GOBankingRates then used the Cars.com car loan calculator to find vehicles with payments that came in under $300 for one of the two credit levels. Results were ranked in decreasing payment order.

The list of 21 cars shows that there are plenty of great vehicles you can finance for less than $300 per month with good credit, and in some cases you can even pay less than $200 per month. In addition to having top-tier credit, understanding the tricks of the trade can also help you snag a great deal on a new car.

Last updated: July 27, 2020

22. 2020 Hyundai Kona

  • Starting MSRP: $20,300
  • Down payment: $4,060
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $306
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $295

Editor’s note: In order to have a monthly payment below $300 for this vehicle, you would need an excellent credit score.

21. 2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

  • Starting MSRP: $20,290
  • Down payment: $4,058
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $306
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $295

Editor’s note: In order to have a monthly payment below $300 for this vehicle, you would need an excellent credit score.

20. 2020 Ford EcoSport

  • Starting MSRP: $19,995
  • Down payment: $3,999
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $304
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $293

Editor’s note: In order to have a monthly payment below $300 for this vehicle, you would need an excellent credit score.

19. 2021 Toyota Corolla

  • Starting MSRP: $19,825
  • Down payment: $3,965
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $299
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $289

Read: Best Ways To Sell Your Car During the Coronavirus Crisis

18. 2020 Nissan Sentra

  • Starting MSRP: $19,310
  • Down payment: $3,862
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $292
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $281

17. 2020 Hyundai Elantra

  • Starting MSRP: $19,300
  • Down payment: $3,860
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $291
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $281

16. 2019 Nissan Frontier

  • Starting MSRP: $19,290
  • Down payment: $3,858
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $291
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $281

15. 2020 Nissan Kicks

  • Starting MSRP: $19,070
  • Down payment: $3,814
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $288
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $278

14. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta

  • Starting MSRP: $18,895
  • Down payment: $3,779
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $285
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $275

13. 2020 Subaru Impreza

  • Starting MSRP: $18,695
  • Down payment: $3,739
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $282
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $272

12. 2020 Kia Forte

  • Starting MSRP: $17,890
  • Down payment: $3,578
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $270
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $260

11. 2020 Kia Soul

  • Starting MSRP: $17,490
  • Down payment: $3,498
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $264
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $255

10. 2020 Hyundai Venue

  • Starting MSRP: $17,350
  • Down payment: $3,470
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $262
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $253

9. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic

  • Starting MSRP: $16,720
  • Down payment: $3,344
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $252
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $243

8. 2020 Honda Fit

  • Starting MSRP: $16,190
  • Down payment: $3,238
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $244
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $236

7. 2020 Kia Rio

  • Starting MSRP: $15,850
  • Down payment: $3,170
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $239
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $231

6. 2020 Toyota Yaris

  • Starting MSRP: $15,650
  • Down payment: $3,130
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $236
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $228

5. 2020 Hyundai Accent

  • Starting MSRP: $15,295
  • Down payment: $3,059
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $231
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $223

Also See: 25 Freebies To Ask For When Buying a New Car

4. 2020 Nissan Versa

  • Starting MSRP: $14,830
  • Down payment: $2,966
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $224
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $216

3. 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Starting MSRP: $13,995
  • Down payment: $2,799
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $211
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $204

2. 2020 Chevrolet Spark

  • Starting MSRP: $13,400
  • Down payment: $2,680
  • Monthly payment if you have very good credit (5% APR): $202
  • Monthly payment if you have excellent credit (3.5% APR): $195

 

1. Improving Your Credit Score

This study highlights just how much money you can save by improving your credit score. If your credit is currently below “very good,” you might be surprised to see how high your auto loan rates may be. 

The good news is that you can take concrete steps to increase your credit score and lower your potential auto loan rate. According to industry-leading credit score provider FICO, here are the five components of a credit score, along with the percentage weight carried by each:

  • Payment history, 35%
  • Amounts owed, 30%
  • Length of credit history, 15%
  • New credit, 10%
  • Credit mix, 10%

Clearly, the most important components of your credit score are your payment history and your amounts owed. If you can continue to make all of your payments on time and reduce your outstanding debt, your score should show improvement. Limiting new credit accounts can help with about 25% of your score overall, as you’ll both lengthen your credit history and avoid dings from new credit inquiries. 

Overall, the efforts you make to get your debt under control can make a big difference in your pocketbook if you’re planning to finance a new car. Over the course of a 60-month loan, a pristine credit history can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best cars to own if you have great credit by first assuming the following constants: monthly payments under $300, a five-year (60-month) loan term, a 20% down payment and a 5% APR for “very good” credit (740-799) and 3.5% for “excellent” credit (800+). GOBankingRates then referenced U.S. News & World Report’s “25 Best Cars Under $25,000 for 2020” and “20 Best New Cars for Under $20,000” to find car models to analyze. Using the Cars.com car loan calculator, GOBankingRates found the monthly payments for someone with very good and excellent credit for each vehicle. Only those vehicles with payments that came in under $300 for one of the two credit levels were included in the final ranking. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 17, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 21 Best Cars To Own If You Have Great Credit

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