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The best in auto loans for 2022

The Bankrate Awards

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You deserve the best auto loan

Even after you've picked the perfect car, finding a good auto loan is key to driving away from the lot satisfied. Term lengths, loan amounts and fees can all affect your monthly payment amount, so it's critical to compare lenders before heading to a dealership. Bankrate handled the heavy lifting and ranked top auto loan lenders using an in-depth scoring process to determine the best options for new car purchases, used car purchases and auto loan refinancing.
 
These are the winners of the 2022 Bankrate Awards for Best Auto Loans.
How we picked these lenders:
  • Bankrate ranked 12 different lenders based on three categories: availability, affordability and customer experience.
  • Every lender was evaluated based on factors like fees, online availability, APR, repayment options and loan types.
  • Winners for each category feature a top-notch user experience, as well as perks unique to each type of auto loan.

Best from a bank

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PNC Bank

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Good user experience Low rates Autopay discount

PNC Bank boasts many benefits for drivers who prefer to receive financing directly from a bank. Drivers across the country can apply for a loan with PNC Bank, and those in one of the 28 states where PNC does business can benefit from in-person service. PNC offers financing for dealer purchases, private purchases and lease buyouts, as well as refinancing. In some cases, borrowers can receive funding overnight. And if you were to run into any issues throughout the application process, PNC Bank offers customer support seven days a week.

  • Low starting rates
  • Overnight funding for some loans
  • Customer service seven days a week

The best auto loan from a bank was chosen based on the APRs offered and the number of available loan types: new, used and refinancing. Bankrate also considered customer support options and branch footprint.

Best online lender

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LightStream

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Fast funding timeline No additional fees Unsecured loan

LightStream offers new car financing, used car financing and refinancing with an entirely online platform. The application is straightforward, and you could potentially receive funding the day that you apply. Even though LightStream's auto loans are unsecured loans, meaning they don't use your car as collateral, the lender's rates are still among the lowest in the online auto loan business. Plus, in many cases you can choose a repayment term anywhere from 36 to 84 months.

  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Competitive APRs
  • Same-day funding available
The best online lender was chosen based on the lowest APR ranges and the number of financing options available. The ease of the online application and the funding timeline were also major factors in Bankrate's scoring.

Best for auto refinance

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LightStream

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Range of repayment options Fast funding No fees

LightStream caters to drivers who want to refinance their car loans quickly by offering same-day financing directly to the borrower's bank account. No fees means that you don't have to worry about origination fees eating into your savings. Along with this, LightStream lets you refinance anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, an extremely wide range.

  • High maximum loan amount
  • Five repayment term options, with terms of up to 84 months
  • Quick application process
The best lender for refinancing was selected based on the lowest rate ranges and the highest number of repayment terms available. Bankrate scoring also considered the funding timeline and the range of refinance loan amounts.

Best for used car purchase

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U.S. Bank

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights 0.5 percent autopay discount Low rates Wide range of loan amounts

If you're not sure exactly which used vehicle you'd like to purchase, you can still get preapproved through U.S. Bank, which is convenient if you're still shopping around. U.S. Bank also has more term options than many other lenders, with terms ranging from 12 to 72 months. Drivers looking for a used vehicle can finance anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, and borrowers who already have a U.S. Bank personal checking account are eligible for a substantial discount on their interest rate.

  • Six repayment term options
  • Competitive pricing for used vehicle purchases
  • Prequalification doesn't require vehicle details
The best lender for used car purchases needed to score highly across the Bankrate methodology and offer low rates and a range of repayment options.

Best for new car purchase (tie)

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Navy Federal Credit Union

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Educational resources Many choices for term length Car Buying Service

In order to get a car loan from Navy Federal, you must be a current or former member of the armed forces, be an immediate family member of someone who is or work for the Department of Defense. If this applies to you, Navy Federal offers some of the best rates for new car purchases and has a high financing maximum. Along with this, Navy Federal partners with TrueCar to offer a Car Buying Service, which helps you compare local inventory and, in some cases, have the car delivered to you.

  • Financing of up to $500,000 available
  • APRs starting below 2 percent
  • Repayment terms of up to 96 months
The best new car financing was evaluated based on the lowest APR ranges and the highest financing amounts. Bankrate also considered the range of term lengths to ensure that borrowers could find an affordable monthly payment. Because eligibility restrictions apply to Navy Federal, LightStream is a good alternative for those who are not affiliated with the military.

Best for new car purchase (tie)

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LightStream

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Paperless loan process Five term options Unsecured loan

LightStream is available to borrowers nationwide and offers unsecured loans for new car purchases — either through a dealer or through a private party. With a 0.5 percent autopay discount, LightStream's rates are extremely competitive, and borrowers can complete the application process entirely online.

  • Loan amounts up to $100,000
  • Low minimum APR for new auto loans
  • Terms from 36 to 84 months
The best new car financing was evaluated based on the lowest APR ranges and the highest financing amounts. Bankrate also considered the range of term lengths to ensure that borrowers could find an affordable monthly payment. LightStream was chosen as a more widely available alternative to Navy Federal Credit Union, which limits membership to people who meet its qualifications.
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