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Wednesday, August 17th
Cars Direct started in 1998 and is one of the original sites used to shop for both new and used vehicles. Many people use this service to research various makes and models, in order to be as informed as possible before deciding what to buy.
Detailed reviews of each make and model
You'll definitely get that impression as you start using the Cars Direct site. When you enter the make and model (if you've got one in mind), it'll take you to the car's current-year overview. Pay particular attention to the trim levels, because getting a price quote will require you to select a specific one (and that information won't be on the quote page itself). Also, at the top of the page you'll find any incentives currently running and whether or not the vehicle is selling at MSRP at the moment. From there, you click on "Get Custom Price Quote" to find a new car for purchase.
Almost useless for actually buying a new car
We found the whole new car buying process on Cars Direct to be annoying at best. Instead of letting us see what was available for the make and model we selected, it required us to choose a color, trim level and features to request a quote. After all that, there wasn't a vehicle in their dealer database that matched what we had entered. In other words, if you just want a Honda Civic and aren't particular about every little detail, Cars Direct offers no way to browse any ready-to-buy options anywhere. Otherwise, you're back to the drawing board, tweaking all of the possible features and upgrades in the hopes that you'll achieve the "magic formula" that matches some available vehicle in their database.
Experts in internet marketing, not automotive
When you consider that Cars Direct has two parent companies (Internet Brands and iMatrix) that are both internet marketing specialists, is it any surprise that this platform comes up short in connecting customers with current vehicle listings? Unfortunately, it seems like they do a fantastic job in selling site users' contact information: we found lots of complaints from people who used the Cars Direct service and wound up inundated with spammy phone calls and emails - from car-related businesses and totally unrelated ones like security system companies and warehouse clubs. No thank you.
Use this service for research only
Buying new cars can be straightforward and convenient. Cars Direct is neither. You can find decent information that can help you refine the cars you're looking for, but you'll 100% want to use a higher-rated service when you're ready to take the next step and make a purchase. We recommend against entering your personal information anywhere on the Cars Direct site and only enter a fake name and email address when doing research here.
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.
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:
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!
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