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      February 23, 2020

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Cars Direct vs Edmunds

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

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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
Cars Direct

CARS DIRECT

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CarsDirect is quickly becoming a well-known name in the used car marketplace. Finding your next pre-owned vehicle using their website is a relatively smooth process. From the main Used Car page, you can either enter your preferred make and model along with your zip code; or you can shop according to body style or price.

Once you've selected your search criteria, you'll be taken to a list of results in your area (the default distance is 50 miles). You can sort that list according to price, mileage, distance or year, and the left-hand navigation lets you further filter those results by color, drive type, and more.

When you select a vehicle that interests you, you'll be taken to a page where you can see any available photos, get a free CARFAX record check, get a detailed list of all the car's features, and see any additional comments provided by the seller. Then, when you're ready, you can use either the provided contact form or the dealership's details to reach out and find out if the vehicle is still available or ask any other questions you may have.

Two features we felt were missing from the CarsDirect site, compared with other used car websites in our review, were pricing discounts/incentives and a way to know if the dealer price is a good deal. CarsDirect doesn't give the shopper any way of knowing of the given price is above average for the area and for the condition of the vehicle, and there are no perks offered for using the site to find a pre-owned vehicle.

Also, in our opinion, CarsDirect has mixed results with respect to their reputation. The site has been rated as the #1 site for buying new cars online by PC World, Time, and Forbes, which is a good sign. We also found customer reviews praising the quality of the information offered on the CarsDirect site, which they said helped them to get the best price at their local dealer.

On the other hand, CarsDirect's parent company (Internet Brands, Inc.) had no rating or accreditation with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review. This definitely doesn't mean that CarsDirect isn't trustworthy, but there are many competitors that have both a good rating and an accreditation with the BBB.

CarsDirect does earn points for the research information offered on the site. One of the tools mentioned most often by happy customers is the ability to compare cars. This allows you to determine which vehicle provides the most value for your money with respect to features, safety ratings, and other characteristics. Particularly if you're not exactly sure which used car you plan to buy, this can help you make a well-informed decision.

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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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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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