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Who doesn't love the experience of getting a new car? There's something exciting about sitting behind the wheel of your brand-new vehicle, testing out all the latest features and picturing all of the road trips and even short drives across town, while breathing in that classic new-car smell.
Why buy new? There are many reasons car-buyers opt for a new vehicle rather than buying a used model - or, as they call it now, a "pre-owned" car. One of the biggest reasons is the warranty: typically 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. With a pre-owned vehicle, you'll only get what's left on the original warranty, or maybe a 30-day policy from the dealer itself.
Thursday, January 28th
When shopping for a new car, you want the lowest possible price with the best shopping experience. You get all of that and more at TRUECar.
Using the website to buy a new car is easy. You can start either by choosing the brand you prefer, or by clicking on the "Shop New" orange button on the page. Once you've gotten to the make and model you want, you'll be able to see details about the vehicle - average gas mileage, trim options, available styles and incentives, and more - along with an estimated price.
Scrolling down a little farther, you'll find a handy graph to give you a visual idea of what your chosen vehicle has sold for in your area (or toggle to the national graph if you'd like a comparison across markets in the US). In order to get pricing even more specific to your location, click the "View Pricing on Local Inventory" button.
As with most car-buying websites, you'll need to enter your name and contact information in order to see the offers in your area; fortunately, unlike their competitors, TRUECar promises not to contact you unless you give your approval.
The next screen will show you the vehicles that closely match the criteria you've chosen, showing what percentage of your desired features each vehicle has. We were pleased to see that, for the make and model we entered, there were four vehicles available locally that matched our preferences by at least 60%. On that same screen, we also were given our "Guaranteed Savings Certificate" for each dealer. The certificates we got varied greatly depending on the dealer; one guaranteed us a price "no more than $17 above MSRP", while the other was "at least $184 off MSRP", so pay attention to that as you look through the available inventory with each dealer in your results.
If at any point you need help, check the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to see if a TRUECar representative is available via online chat. Or, you can call their toll-free number as well.
An additional feature of TRUECar that makes them stand out is their criteria for dealerships who want their certification. All of the 11,000+ TRUECar dealers - just under 20% of all franchised dealers in the US - commit to the values of transparency, truth, and fairness in their business practices. Similarly, TRUECar partners with AAA, American Express, USAA, and more; during the process of filling out your customer information, be sure to indicate if you are a customer of one of their partners to see if you qualify for additional discounts on your purchase.
And, if you enjoy reading about the automotive industry in general, you won't want to miss TRUECar's blogs. For example, their Insights blog discusses current trends in auto sales, shopping trends of Millennials compared with Baby Boomers, and much more. You'll find those links quietly tucked away at the bottom of the main TRUECar site.
TRUECar has everything you could want in a website for buying a new car: the best prices, with all available discounts and incentives, transparency that allows you to see exactly which dealerships have the vehicle you want, and a solid reputation as evidenced by their many partnerships with household-name companies and an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau.
TRUECar earns our highest rating and is our top choice for websites when it comes to your next new car purchase.
With a name like Cars, it's no surprise that they are a solid resource when looking to buy a new vehicle. Although they do not offer any guaranteed pricing or discounts when using their service, what we love about their website is the anonymity they give to people using their site.
Most websites that provide quotes on new car prices require you to enter your contact information in order to see detailed pricing at your local dealerships - and we all know that can lead to numerous phone calls and emails from hopeful salespeople who want to convince you not to miss out on a hot deal, "available today only!" On the other hand, to see what your local dealerships have to offer when using the Cars site, you only have to enter the make and model of the new car you want, along with a zip code and a desired search radius. That's it.
Your results page will then show you exactly what is in inventory within the distance you specified. You can sort by price, year, distance, photos, and date listed; also, you can filter by several parameters such as exterior color, trim, drivetrain, and more. From there, it's completely up to you: you can see a vehicle's details, including the VIN number and how many people have viewed that particular car in the last 30 days.
You can click on the price breakdown and see if the dealer has already included any markdowns or other discounts. And, if you decide you'd like to contact the dealer, click on the green "Check Availability" button and enter your name, email and ZIP code (phone number is optional) to be connected with the dealership.
Also, be sure to check out the News section at the top of the Cars website. There you can find the latest car news and reviews, get information about top auto shows, and even get help for first-time car buyers if you need it. We also like that Cars has a resource for Service & Repair that includes safety and recall notices, Car Maintenance 101, and links for finding a service center if your new car needs an oil change or other work.
With an "A+" rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, helpful resources for car buyers, and a no-contact-required way of browsing vehicles available nearby, Cars easily earns a high rating. We recommend that you check out what Cars has to offer when you're ready to buy a new car.
Automotive's website proudly states that "buying smart starts here", and the amount of information they provide to car shoppers definitely backs that up. From the very first page, you can start your car research with news, reviews, and buying guides.
To begin the process of finding your new car, enter the make, model, and year in the boxes on the right-hand side of the page. From there, you'll be taken to a screen that gives you an impressive amount of information, from pricing to safety and more, along with basic stats like MPG and MSRP. To get pricing, click on the red button that says "Get a Dealer Quote" and enter your ZIP code.
Although you won't be able to see any pricing immediately - you have to enter your contact information and wait for a call or email from one of Automotive's preferred local dealers - you can see the dealers in your area and choose which ones you'd like to include. This is much more helpful than some of their competitors' sites, that don't allow customers to include or exclude specific dealerships.
We also like that Automotive gives car shoppers a wide variety of tools to choose from. In the navigation at the top of the page, be sure to check out the Features & Advice section, along with Tools and Tips. There you'll find help with auto financing, tips for insurance, Editor's Picks and car comparisons, and much more.
Automotive earns good marks for providing useful information and a good resource for connecting with local dealers for your new car purchase.
If you're looking for a slick website with lots of images and flashy features, Autotrader may not fit the bill. On the other hand, if you'd like to be able to see prices at your local car dealerships without having to give away your private information, Autotrader delivers that and more.
To start your new car purchasing process, select the make, model, and price range right on the main Autotrader page. (Helpful tip: if you only want to see new vehicles, you'll need to click by the magnifying glass where it says "More search options" and then click on the box that says "new" under the Condition heading.) Your results page will show you all of the special offers available at your local dealerships, along with all of the vehicles that match your search criteria. You can further sort your results by price, distance, and year, and the left-hand boxes allow you to select exterior colors, trim, and more.
Once you select a vehicle, you can see in-depth information such as the VIN, an extensive list of features, warranty details and so forth. On the left-hand side of the page, you'll see the contact information for the dealership: phone number, address, website, and, for some dealers, a link to their online chat. You can also email the seller directly and ask any questions you may have or request contact. We love that shoppers can get as much information they want before reaching out to the dealership; most new car websites tend to require customers to provide their contact details in order to find out what prices are available.
If you're still in the research part of the car-buying process, don't miss the links at the top of the Autotrader site. Not only will you find resources for loans and insurance, but the Car Research & Reviews drop-down will help you compare vehicles, see the latest articles and expert reviews, and even calculate what you can afford.
Another plus for Autotrader is their reputation. At the time of our review, they maintained an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with an accreditation spanning more than 16 years. Customer reviews describe a high level of satisfaction with the prices and customer service they received after using the Autotrader site.
We give Autotrader good marks and feel that they are an excellent choice for those who prefer not to be contacted by local dealerships but still want to see current pricing for the new car they hope to buy.
If you're a car fanatic, you'll definitely enjoy the Web2Carz site. Styled primarily as an online automotive magazine, you can read up on all of the latest trends in the industry, from limited-edition vehicles to reviews of the most "green" cars on the market.
Web2Carz is also one of the only sites in our review that can connect you with services beyond buying a new car. Using the navigation at the top of the page, when you hover over "Car Shopping" you'll see a list on the right side of the drop-down. That list includes:
Using the Web2Carz site to find your new car is relatively basic. Either from the top navigation bar or the area on the left-hand side of the main page, click on the tab that says "New Cars" and choose the make, model, and trim (if you have a preference; otherwise, select "not sure"), then enter your ZIP code.
Be aware that, in order to get the pricing on the car you're looking for, you'll then have to enter your first and last name, street address, email, and phone number. Once you've provided those details, however, you won't have to wait for a confirmation email or anything else - you'll be taken directly to the page with matching vehicles in your area.
However, instead of letting you know where those vehicles can be found, you will need to click on the "contact seller" button; Web2Carz then passes your information along to the corresponding dealerships. We would definitely prefer more transparency at this stage of the process; for example, if you had a negative experience with a particular dealership, the last thing you would want is for that business to contact you and try to sell you a vehicle.
We do like that Web2Carz maintained an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review, as an accredited business since 2009.
Overall, we give Web2Carz a respectable rating. We feel that car fans will definitely enjoy the articles and videos on the site, and their reputation with the BBB speaks for itself. That rating would definitely improve with providing more information and control to the customer as they shop for a new car.
What initially began as a newsstand publication in the 1960s has grown to be a trusted name for all things automotive: Edmunds. Although at first glance their site may appear to only be a resource for those looking to buy an Acura, Lexus, or Toyota, rest assured that Edmunds can help you locate the new vehicle you want.
Start by selecting the make, model, and year from the dropdown boxes at the top of the site. From there, you'll be taken to a results page that shows you your estimated savings in comparison with the MSRP of the vehicle, along with several options and packages that you can compare at local dealers. On that same page, you'll also be able to select from tabs that take you to photos, reviews, features & specs, inventory, and more.
Unfortunately, that was as far as we were able to go. When we went to enter our name, email address, and phone number to see nearby dealer prices, we were told that we needed to enter a valid email address. We tried several accounts (such as Yahoo and Gmail) but had the same issue each time. We were able to see the names of several local dealerships and their ratings, but we couldn't get to the page that would show us the available vehicles at those locations.
That was hugely disappointing, especially since Edmunds offers several resources that other new car sites lack. We like their Price Promise that locks in best pricing in their network of dealers; according to Edmunds, customers save an average of almost $3,500 off MSRP when purchasing a new car through their network. We also love their True Cost to Own calculator, which can be found under the headings for both New and Used Cars. This gives you an estimate for what to expect over five years with respect to depreciation, taxes/fees, financing charges, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs.
Edmunds also has a fantastic wealth of additional resources, from Tips and Advice to Car Videos and Forums for true aficionados. All of those can be found in the Car Research section in the upper right-hand corner of the site.
We're hopeful that, in the near future, the glitches we experienced will be resolved and we'll be able to move them much higher in our rankings, because of their great site features and good reputation in the automotive industry.
CarsDirect can help you find the new car you're looking for. From their main page, you can choose a make and model, body style, or price. Once you've made your selection, you'll be taken to an information page that shows you not only the basic pricing information for that particular vehicle, but also a list of all available incentives and rebates - we didn't find that on any of the other new car sites in our review.
You can also click across the tabs to get more details about technical specifications, photos, reviews, and safety ratings. When you're ready, click on the green "Get Your Price" button. As with most sites, you will be asked to enter your name, email, phone number, and address.
Although it says you'll get your results in just 30 seconds, what you actually get is a confirmation that you'll be contacted by a representative of a given dealership. Until you speak with the salesperson, the only pricing you're given is the MSRP, the invoice price, and the target price (a "typical negotiated price generally found in your area") from the previous screen. We definitely prefer sites that allow shoppers to not only see the actual pricing currently available, but that also give them the ability to select which dealerships they prefer. It's possible that shoppers have already had a less-than-satisfying interaction with a given dealer and would rather not have to field phone calls and/or emails from that business once more.
CarsDirect is also a mixed bag when it comes to reputation, in our opinion. Their site states that they've been rated as the #1 site for buying new cars online by PC World, Time, and Forbes, among others, which is encouraging. We also found a good number of customer reviews praising the pricing insights and other information offered on the CarsDirect site, which helped them to get the best price when they went into their local dealer.
On the other hand, their parent company (Internet Brands, Inc.) did not have a rating or an accreditation with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review. While this doesn't mean that CarsDirect has a bad reputation, it does take them down somewhat from other sites we considered that had both a good rating and an accreditation with the BBB.
On a more positive note, the research information mentioned in those customer reviews is very thorough. One of the most-referenced tools is the ability to compare cars, to determine which vehicle provides the most value for the money with respect to features, safety ratings, and other characteristics. Especially if you're not exactly sure which new car you plan to purchase, this may help you make the most informed decision possible.
Of course, you could always spend a sizeable amount on an extra warranty to cover the vehicle. But besides the warranty, new cars also tend to have special offers: factory rebates, dealer incentives, even "Black Friday" pricing around the holidays! You may decide that you want to take advantage of a great deal that finally puts the car you've always wanted within the reach of your budget.
Buying a new car lets you get the features that matter to you. Maybe you've moved from Florida to Maine and you're thinking that all-wheel drive could be a lifesaver when the roads are covered with snow. Or, you'd love to have a car with included Wi-fi so that the kids can stream their favorite videos during the daily carpool to school. No matter what bells and whistles you want, buying your car new is the only way to make sure you get them!
Most websites for buying new cars are relatively similar: enter the type of car you're looking for, along with your ZIP code, and get quotes from dealers in your area that may have your vehicle in stock. So, what factors should you consider to choose the best new cars website? Consider these three criteria:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best New Car websites available today. We hope these reviews get you on the road to finding your next vehicle at a terrific price!
Select any 2 New Car Buying Sites to compare them head to head
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