17 cars you can own for under $300 a month

By Andrew DePietro/GOBankingRates

In some ways, buying a car is easier than ever. You can search car dealers' prices online, sift through various models, compare features and read customer reviews. But in other ways, buying a vehicle today can be more complex -- and expensive.

"There are different types of transmissions, engines and accessories to consider as well as how much these features cost," said Chris Kochis of the Ardmore Nissan car dealership in Pennsylvania.

To help you save money, time and effort, GOBankingRates compiled a list of the best vehicles you can own for $300 a month or less. Keep in mind, however, that your credit score will often impact the interest rate on your car loan and your monthly car payment. In general, the higher your credit score, the less you'll have to pay each month.

So if you want to find a good deal on a car, click through to see some of the best vehicles you can own for less than $300 a month.

This article was originally published by GOBankingRates.

​17. 2015 Jeep Patriot

  • Starting MSRP: $16,895
  • Down payment: $3,379
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $243

This SUV has a consumer rating of 8.1 out of 10 on KBB.com. Similar to the 2015 Jeep Compass, KBB recommends this car if you have a tight budget but still want to be a Jeep owner.

​16. 2016 Nissan Sentra

  • Starting MSRP: $16,780
  • Down payment: $3,356
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $299
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $241

This is the first car on this list that you can drive for less than $300 if you have good credit. Whether driving in the city or on the open road, the 2016 Nissan Sentra puts up strong gas mileage numbers: 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

​15. 2016 Kia Forte

  • Starting MSRP: $15,990
  • Down payment: $3,198
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $285
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $230

Although its gas mileage in the city isn't as high as other cars on this list, the 2016 Kia Forte gets an impressive 39 mpg on the highway. Plus, heated leather seats are available.

​14. 2016 Kia Soul

  • Starting MSRP: $15,900
  • Down payment: $3,180
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $283
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $229

The 2016 KIA Soul gets 31 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city, and the base model offers SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth technology and more.

​13. 2016 Honda Fit

  • Starting MSRP: $15,890
  • Down payment: $3,178
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $283
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $228

The 2016 Honda Fit gets 37 mpg on the highway, and it can help you save the environment with its Eco Assist feature that allows you to gauge how efficient you're driving.

​12. 2016 Kia Rio 5-Door

  • Starting MSRP: $15,495
  • Down payment: $3,099
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $276
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $223

The 2016 KIA Rio 5-Door provides 37 mpg on the highway. According to Car and Driver, this car is "perky, well-equipped and fuel-efficient."

​11. 2016 Toyota Yaris

  • Starting MSRP: $14,895
  • Down payment: $2,979
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $296
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $265
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $214

Believe it or not, you can drive the 2016 Toyota Yaris for under $300 if you have fair credit. Plus, it offers 37 mpg on the highway.

​10. 2016 Hyundai Accent

  • Starting MSRP: $14,745
  • Down payment: $2,949
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $293
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $262
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $212

Getting 38 highway mpg, the 2016 Hyundai Accent can be good for your wallet. For tech-savvy drivers, this car boasts a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, controls on the steering wheel and more.

​9. 2016 Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe

  • Starting MSRP: $14,650
  • Down payment: $2,930
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $291
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $261
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $211

Whether you go with a manual or twinamic transmission, you'll still get 39 mpg on the highway with the 2016 Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe.

​8. 2016 Chevrolet Sonic

  • Starting MSRP: $14,345
  • Down payment: $2,869
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $285
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $255
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $206

The safe 2016 Chevy Sonic gets 40 mpg on the highway and has 10 standard airbags.

​7. 2016 Nissan Versa Note

  • Starting MSRP: $14,230
  • Down payment: $2,846
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $283
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $253
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $205

Boasting 36 mpg on the highway, the 2016 Nissan Versa Note also has a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and 60/40-split fold-down rear seats.

​6. 2016 Kia Rio

  • Starting MSRP: $14,165
  • Down payment: $2,833
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $282
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $252
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $204

The 2016 Kia Rio is a subcompact car that gets 37 highway mpg and has hill start assist control, rear child-safety door locks and other features.

​5. 2016 Ford Fiesta

  • Starting MSRP: $14,090
  • Down payment: $2,818
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $280
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $251
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $203

The 2016 Ford Fiesta gets 36 miles to the gallon on the highway. And according to KBB, this car is efficient, tech-savvy -- and it looks good.

​4. 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

  • Starting MSRP: $13,995
  • Down payment: $2,799
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $278
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $249
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $201

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 cracks the top five vehicles to own for under $300 a month thanks to its availability for various credit types. Plus, it offers an impressive 42 mpg on the highway.

​3. 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

  • Starting MSRP: $12,995
  • Down payment: $2,599
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $258
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $231
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $187

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage can definitely help your wallet -- it's the first car in this ranking that you can own for less than $200. And with 37 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, the Mirage can help you save money on gas, too.

​2. 2016 Chevrolet Spark

  • Starting MSRP: $12,660
  • Down payment: $2,532
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $252
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $225
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $182

The 2016 Chevy Spark is another fuel-efficient car. It gets you an estimated 41 mpg on the highway, and it's also considered a good car for navigating narrow streets and fitting in tight parking spots.

​1. 2016 Nissan Versa Sedan

  • Starting MSRP: $11,990
  • Down payment: $2,398
  • Monthly car payment for fair credit: $238
  • Monthly car payment for good credit: $213
  • Monthly car payment for excellent credit: $172

The 2016 Nissan Versa Sedan tops the list of the best vehicles to own for under $300 a month. Featuring relatively cheap monthly car payments, an affordable MSRP and 40 highway mpg, the 2016 Nissan Versa is ideal for people who are fuel-efficient-minded and want a very dependable car at a low price.

Click here for a look at even more cars you can own for under $300.

Methodology

GOBankingRates surveyed the MSRP from popular car manufacturer's websites for brands popular with American drivers and identified car makes and models that can be financed for $300 or less per month. Payments were determined taking the MSRP of vehicles and applying the following assumptions: (1) 5-year auto loan term; (2) 20 percent down payment; (3) monthly payments based on a 3.00 percent APR for excellent credit, 12.00 percent APR for good credit and 17.00 percent APR for fair credit, based on a calculator from CarMax (sourced June 15, 2016).

MSRP amounts were sourced on June 15, 2016. Vehicles missing prices for fair credit or good credit are those that cost more than $300 per month to maintain.

Details, accessories and other features about each car mentioned in the article might only be available for specific models. All mpg figures are estimates according to the manufacturers' websites.