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Monday, December 5th
Driveway is one of the newest buy-from-home used car sellers online today and is a division of Lithia Motors, Inc. Their inventory includes new, used, and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all with no-haggle pricing.
In-depth filters for searching
When you first land on the Used Cars page, you'll see a random assortment of the more than 25,000 vehicles in Driveway's inventory. You can easily search by make, model or keyword; otherwise, use the filters on the left side of the page to shop by payment type (cash or finance) and any budget parameters you have, plus apply filters to include your preferred body style/color, year and mileage, fuel type and MPG, and so on.
Excellent level of detail
You'll see plenty of information about the car that interests you. You'll usually find a dozen photos or more, a CARFAX report with the vehicle's history, and easy estimates for financing. Shipping costs are clearly displayed on this page too; just make sure that the Driveway site accurately detects your zip code where it says "delivery to" . Your taxes and fees will also only be an estimate until you get to the point of finalizing your purchase.
$500 refundable deposit
To reserve a car you find on Driveway, you'll have to pay a $500 deposit via credit card. The good news is that it will apply towards the purchase price, and it'll be refunded if the order is canceled or if you're approved for a $0 down vehicle loan. Also, be aware that Driveway doesn't guarantee availability of any used car prior to the purchase being finalized. It's possible for multiple people to put down a deposit on the same vehicle, but only one will get the car.
Not all cars come with guarantees
Can you count on your Driveway used car to meet your expectations? Maybe. All cars are inspected prior to being listed for sale, and every vehicle has a 7-day/400-mile return policy. But, they don't all have guarantees beyond that. If your used car has less than 80,000 miles on it at the time of purchase, it may come with a 60-day/3,000-mile guarantee. Check the details in the vehicle listing to see if it qualifies.
Lack of response
It's hard to get a clear picture of Driveway's reputation. They're so new on the market that there's not a ton of feedback. At the time of this evaluation, they had a concerning "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but that was because they'd been in business for such a short time and failed to respond to 8 complaints. That wouldn't ordinarily be a big deal in our book, but almost all of those complaints said the same thing: "we bought a car through Driveway four months ago and we still don't have the registration" .
That doesn't include the buyers who said that the vehicles they got were in much worse condition than promised. This includes customers who bought a car and found issues that only arose after a few weeks or months, but that were related to items that should have been taken care of (like regular servicing). It's definitely a challenge to find people with good things to say about their experience with Driveway.
Better choices for reliable used cars
Driveway has a few advantages over their similarly-structured "buy from home" used car rivals, but it's not enough to earn our recommendation. There's no reason car buyers should be waiting for months post-purchase to get the needed paperwork, and there's no excuse for failing to reply to customer complaints. Driveway doesn't get our absolute lowest ranking - but it's close.
No matter what, your first step should always be research. You should determine exactly what's going to fit your needs (or your wants!). Do you have a particular make and model in mind, or are features going to be king regardless of manufacturer? Whether you're all about safety or you feel the need for speed, it's well worth your time to dig into the details of price, reliability and availability, especially when used car inventory is at an all-time low nationwide.
Fortunately, there are many websites that help you do just that - and then make it possible for you to find your perfect new-to-you ride. Some of these platforms even let you buy your car online and have it delivered right to your house. Before you start worrying about the safety of such vehicles, rest assured that most companies selling used cars will include a detailed, independently-verified history report right in the car's listing.
You can see how many owners it's had, any accidents reported, and sometimes the service history detailing oil changes and other routine maintenance. Buying used cars online is a huge time-saver too: you don't have to make a long drive to a dealership hoping they'll have something on the lot that you'll like, and you can avoid a lot of the "pushy salesperson" experience.
Most sites that sell pre-owned vehicles also have tools for determining how much you can afford and prequalifying for financing - which is one less thing you'll have to do in person (assuming you don't take the 100% online route from the get-go).
Which site should you use for buying used cars? There are a lot of similarities among them, and among the highest-rated services you can choose fairly freely without worrying about missing out. But, here are some things to consider about any used car website you're looking at:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online services for buying used cars. We're confident that this information will help you get your next pre-owned set of wheels at a price you'll love!
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