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      February 23, 2020

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Autotrader vs Automotive

To help you find the Best Used Car Sites, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Autotrader and Automotive.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Used Car Sites, please Click Here

Buy Your New Car with True Car Today! When people need to buy a vehicle, many prefer to buy a used - or "pre-owned" - car. Why? You may be familiar with the idea of depreciation, or the loss in value of an item. According to the experts, the simple act of driving a brand-new car off the dealer's lot leads to a depreciation of as much as 11% of the car's value.

For that reason, buying a used car is often an attractive option for those customers who don't mind having a vehicle with a few miles on the odometer. Of course, buying a used car also comes with several considerations that you won't find when purchasing a new vehicle.

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Best Reviews

2020

Used Car Site Reviews

3.5 stars
Autotrader

AUTOTRADER

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If you want a flashy used car website with lots of images and features, Autotrader may not be what you're looking for. But, if you want to see pre-owned vehicle prices at your local car dealerships without having to give away your contact information, Autotrader is a smart choice.

To find your next used car, select the make, model, and price range on the main Autotrader page, and enter your zip code. (Hint: if you only want to see used vehicles, you'll need to click by the magnifying glass where it says "More search options" and then click on the box that says "used" and/or "certified" under the Condition heading).

Your results page will show you all of the special offers available at your local dealerships (though they tend to be for new cars only, even on the used car search page), 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 (if any) and more. 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/dealership directly and ask any questions you may have or request contact. Shoppers can get as much information they want before reaching out to the dealership; many used car websites make customers provide their contact details in order to see available prices.

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 factor in Autotrader's favor 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 express a high level of satisfaction with the prices and customer service they received through using the Autotrader site.

We feel that Autotrader is a very good choice for those who prefer not to be contacted by local dealerships but still want to see current pricing for the pre-owned car they hope to buy.

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3 stars
Automotive

AUTOMOTIVE

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Automotive's website declares that "buying smart starts here", and the amount of information they offer car shoppers is definitely evidence of that statement. From the very first page, you can start your car research with news, reviews, and buying guides.

To begin the process of finding a pre-owned car, go to the Used Cars section of the website. You can then enter your preferred make and model, along with your zip code, and there's an optional checkbox if you'd like to see certified cars only. Alternately, you can search used cars by state, by manufacturer, category, or year.

Since most shoppers tend to have an idea of the make and model they want, we went that route in our review as well. From there, you'll be taken to a results page listing all of the vehicles that meet your criteria. You can sort that list by distance, price, year, or mileage, and the options on the left-hand side allow you to further filter the results by year, trim, price range, mileage, distance from your location, color, and more.

We found the process of looking through specific results to be a little awkward. When you click on a vehicle that interests you, you can see a few more details including the dealer, the VIN and a link to a free CARFAX vehicle history report, and additional photos. But, if you continue to scroll down the page, it blends immediately into the next vehicle in the list while also scrolling the results list across the top of the page.

There was also very little information about the dealer offering each vehicle -no dealership name, website or other contact information, unless it happened to be included in the photos of the vehicle itself - and the only way to find out more is to fill out the contact form on the right-hand side of the page.

On the other hand, we 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.

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Continued from above

First, there may not be a warranty on a pre-owned car. The typical warranty is three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. So, if the vehicle you're considering has passed one of those thresholds, you may want to pay for a separate warranty to cover any surprise repairs that may happen in the future.

Also, you'll want to check the history of the vehicle you hope to buy. It may have been in an accident, had flood damage, or some other incident that may not be visible on the surface. There are a number of free services that allow you to get the full report associated with the car you're looking at.

Finally, be sure to check if there are any manufacturer recalls that haven't been addressed with any used car you wish to purchase. Whether you buy your used car from a dealer or from an individual, there's no guarantee that they've taken care of the repairs necessary to fix the problem, which could be dangerous.

Shopping online for a used car makes it very easy to see what's available in your local area without having to drive to multiple dealerships and car lots. Most websites for buying pre-owned 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 keep in mind when choosing the best website for your used car purchase? Consider these three criteria:

  • Information. Will the website give you details that can help you with your decision? Will you be better-informed with respect to the costs of owning the vehicle you choose? Do they offer other details on current trends in the automotive marketplace?
  • Price. Does the site offer you a way to get the best possible price for your car, either through a discount or through a relationship with a network of trusted dealers? Or does it just tell you where to find the car you want while leaving the haggling up to you?
  • Extra Services. Can the site connect you with resources for getting auto insurance, an auto loan, or other relevant products and services?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Used Car sites available today. We hope these reviews will get you behind the wheel quickly in a vehicle that will last for years to come!

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