Consumer Comeback Blog

Shopping for Cars? Your Credit Score Matters

Aside from purchasing a home, buying a car is one of the most significant purchases consumers make. Safety, reliability, fuel efficiency, and of course, price – consumers in the market for a new vehicle have a number of considerations to ponder before they purchase their next car.

In theory, car shopping in the digital age should be easier because consumers unparalleled access to vehicle ratings. Still, word of mouth can be powerfully influential, and even cars held in the highest esteem can steer you wrong. Consumer Reports advises car buyers to ignore the hype about five of the most popular cars.

Honda Civic Traditionally praised for its fuel efficiency and reliability, Consumer Reports says the latest Civic falls short of its previous models. CR cites a “choppy ride, noisy cabin, vague steering and mediocre interior” as reasons to look for a comparable vehicle.

Jeep Liberty Jeep lovers are a dedicated breed of car buyers, but CR says the Liberty may be good for off-road, but sacrifices the ride, handling and general driving experience, as well as limited interior space and subpar interior finishing.

Toyota Prius C The Prius has practically become a status symbol for the environmentally conscious crowd, but the Prius’ new less expensive younger sibling has a ways to go before it compares to the original. Sure, the Prius C gets 37 mpg in the city and 43 mpg overall, but CR says it has a ”stiff ride, noisy cabin, slow acceleration, and cheap-looking interior.”

Dodge Grand Caravan A best seller among minivans, the Dodge Grand Caravan loses points in CR’s annual reliability survey. Problems cited include squaks, rattles, loose interior trim, power-equipment and sliding door issues, sloppy handling, and poor gas mileage of 17 mpg.

Ford Edge V6 CR gives the Ford Edge praise for its overall look and design, but warns consumers that beauty is only skin deep in this Crossover. CR cited a “jittery ride, pronounced road noise, distracting controls, and much-worse-than-average reliability.”

Even as you shop for the perfect car, many car buyers forget that car dealers see you as investment as well. Unless you plan to pay for the full price of your next car in cash, you will probably need to look into financing an auto loan.

Auto loans are one of the primary ways that people, particularly young people, begin to establish credit and a major motivation to keep your credit score in good shape. When applying for a car loan, your credit score matters. Your credit score essentially illustrates to lenders how likely you are to pay back a loan.

To get an excellent interest rate (3.2%), CarsDirect.com, says the optimal credit score range is between 850-740, an average credit score, between 739 and 680 would fect an average of 4.5% interest rate, whereas consumers with credit scores 680 and below could expect to pay 6.5-12.9% interest on an auto loan.

If your credit score is low, and your current vehicle still has a few more miles, you may consider paying down some debt and improving your credit score before financing your next car.

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