Instead to finance, which didn't work out well for you previously, I would recommend saving up about $3000-$4000 to purchase an inexpensive used car. Whatever you buy, have about another $1000 set aside for minor repairs which are likely to occur on a car of that value. Then continue to save what you would have paid to upgrade that car every 12-18 month. In about 3 years, you'll own a pretty nice car.
Now unfortunately you're probably not going to do that. You'll probably rationalize why you have to borrow money to buy a car. In that case, yes, getting your credit score up will reduce the interest rate you get charged. If you must finance, finance as little as possible, and save up so you can pay the loan off early. Make sure the loan you get provides that option without penalty AND that early payoff reduces your interest.
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