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      July 15, 2020

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True Car vs Cars Direct

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

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

5 stars
True Car

TRUE CAR

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TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award When shopping for a used car, you probably hope to get the lowest price available without having the pressure from salespeople trying to push you to make a purchase. You can find all of that and more when you start your car-buying process at TRUECar.

Using their website to buy a used car is easy. You can start either by choosing the brand you prefer, or by clicking on the "Shop Used" blue button on the page. Once you've entered the make and model you want, along with your zip code, you'll be taken to a results page showing all of the matches in your local area.

You can use the drop-down boxes on the left-hand side to further refine your search, according to the following options:

  • Distance from ZIP code entered (defaults to 75 miles)
  • Body Styles
  • Price Range
  • Year Range
  • Mileage Range
  • Color
  • TRUECar Price Rating (Great Price, Good Price, All Prices)

Those results can be further sorted by price, distance, mileage or year. We love that, right from that list, TRUECar makes it easy to see which vehicles are most competitively priced - look for the words "Great Price" or "Good Price", along with a dollar amount underneath the price that says how far below market the vehicle's price actually is. Also, you can easily access a vehicle's history by clicking on the "Free Carfax Report", which will tell you if the pre-owned car has been in an accident or has had any other type of damage, along with its ownership history.

When you click on a particular vehicle for more information, you can opt to email the dealer to get more information, schedule a test drive, and receive a finalized price quote. Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the page: there you'll find the TRUECar Market Price Analysis graph, showing you the average paid for similar vehicles in your local area and helping you to determine if your chosen car is priced well.

If at any point you need help, check the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to see if a TRUECar representative is available via online chat. Or, you can call their toll-free number as well.

TRUECar also impressed us with their requirements for dealer certification. All of their 11,000+ certified dealers - just shy of 20% of all franchised dealers in the US - have affirmed their commitment to transparency, truth, and fairness in their business practices. Additionally, TRUECar partners with AAA, American Express, USAA, and more; during the process of filling out any customer information, be sure to indicate if you are a customer of one of their partners to see if you qualify for additional discounts, though they may apply solely to new car purchases.

Finally, if you are a car buff in general, be sure to check out TRUECar's blogs. For instance, their Insights blog discusses current trends in auto sales, shopping trends of Millennials compared with Baby Boomers, and much more. Those links are almost hidden away at the bottom of the main TRUECar site.

TRUECar offers everything used car shoppers could want when trying to find their next vehicle: the ability to see a wide range of cars in their local area without having to provide contact information first, a solid reputation demonstrated by their partnerships with household-name companies and an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, and a network of dealers that strive to provide a trustworthy shopping experience.

We give TRUECar our top rating and recommend that you consider their services as you buy your next used car.

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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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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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