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CarGurus Review

Wednesday, August 17th

2022 New Car Buying Site Reviews

CarGurus Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Over five million vehicle listings
  • All cars rated with respect to value, from "overpriced" to "great deal"
  • Good for researching cars: test drive reviews, price trends, buying tips and more

If you've ever used TripAdvisor to plan a vacation and loved the service, you should take a look at CarGurus: the sites share a co-founder. In operation since 2006, CarGurus gets the most visits out of any online automotive marketplace in the US. The site uses in-depth analytics to give you insights into a new car's value, ranking it from "overpriced" to "great deal" and everywhere in between.

Excellent research tools

You could use CarGurus for the information alone. Go to the Research tab and you'll find Test Drive Reviews, Price Trends, Tips & Advice, and General Information on topics like deciding between certified pre-owned and new vehicles or what's covered by a new car warranty.

Filters come later

You'll want to have an idea of what you're looking for when you visit the CarGurus site, because it only lets you search by make and model (or by showing you ALL of the vehicles in your zip code): there's no filter to include certain features or price ranges on the first step of the search process. You'll find those once you've entered a make or at least your zip code: narrow down the options by color, desired features, dealer rating, or, our personal favorite, NHTSA Overall Safety Rating (safety first!).

Plenty of vehicles to choose from

CarGurus returned many more matching vehicles than most of their rivals. In our sample search for a new Toyota Highlander, we got results for nearly 100 cars within a 50 mile radius. Expanding that search to nationwide, there were over 4500 available. In a time when cars are selling faster than ever, it's critical to have lots of options, and CarGurus absolutely delivers in that regard.

Best New Car Sites

Helpful and informative

In both the short results list and the individual vehicle listings, CarGurus doesn't bury the lead. You'll know exactly which dealership is selling the car, how long it's been listed on CarGurus and how many people have saved it as a favorite, whether or not there have been any price changes, and a price analysis to tell you if you're getting a good deal compared with similarly-equipped vehicles. And yes, you can also see lots of photos, look up the VIN, check out the features, and even get a preview on available financing.

Ready to connect?

So, you've found the new car of your dreams on CarGurus. What's next? You can use their fill-in-the-blank form on the right side of the page to send a message to the dealership. We think it's pretty novel compared with some car-buying sites' forms: you can choose several options in the dropdown boxes, like "I'd like to know your best price" or "I'd like to test drive this" . We also found options for connecting directly with the dealer via online chat (right above the Get a Quote form), and you're given all of the direct contact information for the dealer right underneath the photos. We love that CarGurus doesn't play any games or force you to use their method of contact so that they get the credit for it.

Just a few things to watch out for

You shouldn't have any concerns with CarGurus itself. The company is accredited and "A+" rated by the BBB, and barely over a dozen complaints were noted there in the 12 months leading up to this review. Looking at consumer commentary elsewhere, we found some issues when people used the CarGurus site to sell their vehicles but buyers almost always seem to come away happy with their experience here. That being said, be aware that your buying process will ultimately depend on the dealership itself. CarGurus does a good job of showing you detailed ratings and reviews (when available) on each dealer, but we read a handful of comments that said some dealers refused to honor the CarGurus price quote or hadn't provided accurate vehicle information for the CarGurus' listing.

Excellent way to buy a new car

CarGurus puts a lot of power in your hands when shopping for new cars. You'll find more listings here than on many other platforms, and it's easy to see where they're located and how to get in touch with the dealerships. Plus, the pricing insights can let you know what kind of wiggle room you have to negotiate - and how many other people might have the same idea. CarGurus gets one of our highest recommendations among services for buying a new car.

What’s the Best Way to Buy a New Car?

Gone are the days of heading blindly over to the nearest dealership, hoping to find something you'll like and being largely at the mercy of the salesperson who greets you at the door. Now, most people do extensive research online before ever setting foot on the lot - and that's assuming they're not having the vehicle delivered directly to their home, sight unseen. Today's new car-buying experience is vastly different from what it was even ten years ago.

So, what are the ways you can put online car-buying platforms to good use? Your first step is to gather information. What makes and models do you prefer? Which cars have a stellar track record for quality and safety? How much should you expect to spend to get your must-have features? The best sites will give you all of that knowledge and then some.

The Best New Car Buying Sites Compare New Car Buying Sites Compare New Car Buying Site Reviews What are the best New Car Buying Sites Best New Car Buying Site Reviews

New Car Buying Site FAQ

Just like any other product you can buy online, you'll find a much bigger selection on the internet than if you try to go store-to-store, or in this case dealership-to-dealership. Other reasons to shop for a car online are to save time, avoid the haggling and negotiations of salesmen (sorry, not sorry), minimize the pressure to buy, and do everything at your own convenience. Buying new vehicles online is more popular than ever before and companies are jumping on board with making it as easy as possible for customers.
Make sure the company you're buying from has a good Better Business Bureau rating, high customer reviews, and is a service you've heard of before. It may help to call in and talk to their customer service team to get information about their processes as well. Beware of prices that seem "too good to be true" , try to buy as locally as possible, and trust your gut. Do research online about the car company you're interested in buying from and you should get enough information to make an educated decision.
When you're buying from a dealership that sells new cars, they are going to have salesmen and customer service experts on standby to talk whenever you need. All it takes is a quick phone call and you can go over details about the vehicle you're interested in. They may be able to walk you through the buying process online if you run into some hiccups and want to make sure you're doing everything correctly. When it comes to making a big purchase like a car, don't hesitate to reach out to the seller to talk things through!
Technically there are instances where you'll be able to return a new car to a dealership, but we don't recommend it. Make absolutely sure you're happy with the car you purchase online because dealerships either won't take the car back, or they'll charge a few thousand dollars in return fees. Either way, you'll be out a lot of money! This is also the case for buying a vehicle in person. Cars are not something you can easily send back!
One obvious reason to buy a new car is because it will be more reliable than a used one. You never know exactly how a used car was treated or if it's bound to start having issues. New cars come with factory warranties that cover the cost of labor and repairs if you run into a problem in the first couple years of owning it. New cars have hardly any mileage on them, so they will last a lot longer for you than a used car would. They will have new oil, factory-fresh tires and brakes, the latest technology, and you can buy them in any make, model, or color you want.
One of the perks of getting a brand-new car is that it already comes with a warranty. Usually, it's something like 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. This covers parts and labor costs for normal usage. The exact warranty may differ slightly between makes and models of cars and the company you're buying from. You'll have the option of purchasing an extended warranty which would cover bumper-to-bumper issues for a period of time after the manufacturer's warranty is past. Some people choose to do this for peace of mind.
The first thing you should do when buying a new car online is to set a budget. You'll find so many beautiful makes and models with seemingly endless options for upgrades, so you want to know how much you can spend (or how big of a loan you can qualify for) before you even start looking. Do research on the car you're interested in to see if it gets good gas mileage, what other customers have said about its reliability, check crash test ratings, and what type of warranty it comes with. You might consider test driving some vehicles before pulling the trigger on purchasing it online. Take your time comparing vehicles online since you won't have the pressure or time constraints of looking around at the dealership.
Most dealers will deliver the car you purchased right to your house. How convenient is that? It will feel like Christmas morning when that shiny, new, fresh vehicle gets dropped off. If you buy from a dealer that's close by, you might be able to avoid some shipping costs or fees by picking it up directly from them. This allows you to stop and talk to the employees if you have any questions before driving your new car home.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Next, use a car-buying site to figure out what cars are in stock near you - or nationwide, if you're willing to make a trip to pick it up or if the dealer offers delivery (usually for an extra charge). Use all of the available tools to narrow down your options by color, price, desired technology, miles per gallon, or any other criteria you've prioritized. When you click on a specific vehicle's listing, you can typically see which dealership is selling it and how to get in touch. You may even be able to see ratings from previous customers to determine if the dealer has a good reputation.

Finally, it's time to work with the dealership to make your purchase. At this point, most shoppers will head to the lot to finalize the deal: setting up financing if needed, bringing in their trade-in when applicable, and driving away. But, look at the vehicle listing closely and you may find you have the option to have the car brought right to you. Why not?

There are quite a few websites offering to help you find your new car. How can you tell which one to use? Keep these factors in mind:

  • Resources. Any website can try to sell you a car, but does it give you the information you need to make an informed decision? You might want to look at videos of test drives, comparisons between your two top picks, or articles that help you decide on a budget.
  • Transparency. How much detail can you get on any particular car? Does the site clearly tell you where the vehicle is located and which dealer is offering it? Are you able to make direct contact or do you have to use a form on the website and wait for a response? Can you see a car's pricing history?
  • Reputation. What do people say about their experience with using a particular car-buying site? Did it help them find legitimate vehicle listings or did it result in tons of spam emails and phone calls? Has the Better Business Bureau rated the company?

To help you in the search for your new set of wheels, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for online car-shopping. We're sure that this information will save you time and get you connected with a vehicle you'll love to drive!

The Best Reviews of New Car Buying Sites