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      February 23, 2020

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Autotrader vs Edmunds

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

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.

Continue reading below reviews

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
Edmunds

EDMUNDS

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Edmunds began as a newsstand publication in the 1960s and has come to be a household name when it comes to all things automotive. If you're looking to buy a used car, the Edmunds site might help you get a great price.

From the Used Cars page, select the make and model you're looking for and then enter your zip code. (Or, if you prefer to shop by car type, click on "Shop by type".) From there, you'll be taken to a results page that shows all of the available pre-owned inventory in your area; you can sort those results by distance from your location, lowest price, or lowest mileage.

On the left-hand side of the page, you can also filter your results by price range, year, or mileage; click on the "Advanced Search" link for more options. When you've selected a vehicle that interests you, you'll see more details about the car and dealership, along with links to get a free CARFAX vehicle history report or an insurance agent.

We also saw that certain dealers participate in a special offer program called "Used + Perks". While the offers vary, many of them include benefits like a $100 gas card. Unfortunately, that was as far as we were able to go. When we went to enter our name, email address, and phone number to get the special offer and its details, we got an error message asking for a valid email address. We tried several accounts (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) but had the same issue every time. As a customer, you can still contact the dealership directly if you find a vehicle that interests you, but it looks like you'd probably lose the Used + Perks offer if you can't get the site to accept your email address.

That was hugely disappointing, especially since Edmunds offers several resources that other new car sites lack. We especially like 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 have hopes that, in the near future, the site difficulties we experienced will be resolved and we'll be able to move them much higher in our rankings, because of Edmunds' great site features and solid reputation in the automotive community.

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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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