Best Online Car Buying Websites
The Baker's Dozen of Best Used Car Websites
We decided to test drive the top car buying websites and compare them. We wanted to find out how many cars of the same make, year and model are on each site. This would allow us to compare apples to apples. What is the average price for that exact vehicle on each website? Are there significant differences? This type of test has never been done before and we thought it would be fun and informative. Which are the best online car-buying sites? Let's find the best online car buying sites.
This is our method. Most new car leases last for two, three, or four years. We've noticed that Dealership used cars are more readily available after two years than they were after three or four. We believe that this means that more people opt for a two-year standard car lease and return it at the end. There are now more two-year-old cars on hand and they are also available online.
We chose to use a radius of 50 miles around downtown San Francisco. This gives us an excellent scientific pool of several million.
We used a two-year-old Subaru Outback to test the vehicle, as it is one of America's most popular vehicles. Because of its durability, and the recent styling upgrades, it is highly sought after. There would be a good selection of Subaru Outbacks aged two years on any of the online car shops. Here's how it felt to buy a Subaru Outback two years ago on one of our best online car shopping sites (13) All in one day.
We place them in the order we like on car review websites:
TrueCar matched 60 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $26,100.
TrueCar is one of the most user-friendly car search websites. It is intuitive and easy to use. It is actually a delight. They are a perfect match for the listings on Carvana, Vroom, and other sites. There are many vehicles to choose from. TrueCar is highly recommended.
Craigslist matched 61 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $23,200.
Craigslist is still a good choice. It is roughly in the same range as other high-inventory sites with 61 listings. The median price was the lowest among our top car buying websites. The median price was 10% lower than other car search websites. Craigslist might offer the best deals on car purchases,
Craigslist's website and presentation are probably the ugliest of all these car-buying sites. Although it is cumbersome, we all have gotten used to the site. Folks, ten percent less is... ten percent saved. This makes up for many sins. Our test may be anecdotal. However, our suspicion is that pricing might be under pressure more than on other online car-buying sites.
cars.com matched 66 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $25,000.
The cars.com website is very user-friendly and intuitive. The user has a large selection of options with sixty-six (66), vehicles. The result listing contains a lot of useful information. It's a great idea.
AutoTrader matched 55 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $26,488.
There are a few Outbacks. The Year parameter search field was something we had to look at for a while. We think it is very important. AutoTrader's "Featured Dealer" listing is displayed above organic search results, much like Google's Sponsored listings. Advertisers pay extra, but there is only one. Otherwise, the AutoTrader result listings look clean and are easy to understand.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
KBB matched 45 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $26,488.
There is a good variety of Outbacks. Although the site was easy to use, we had to find the Call To Action button (CTA) at the top. We love the results page. It's easy to read and clean. We would have rated KBB higher if there had been more results. Design is less important than inventory.
The Carvana matched 16 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $26,500.
Carvana is the owner of the vehicles. It's a completely different system. The price is not negotiable and the buyer orders the vehicle as if he were ordering a pizza. They will tell you how quickly the car can arrive online. We are not only incredulous, but we also know the car shipping industry.
You cannot test drive the vehicle. There is seller confidence. The buyer has seven days to return it and a dealer warranty of 100 days and 4189 miles. This is a great deal. If you are clear about what you want, you can minimize your risk. Carvana's website is simple and clean. There is a lot to love about this website. We rate them highly despite the limited inventory and lack of selection. Give them a shot.
CarGurus matched 53 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $25,000.
CarGurus's sponsored results method was copied by Google. They show three sponsored advertisers at the top, followed by natural organic results and then a final sponsored listing down below. However, it is only the first page. This is because the visitor has to focus on the first page and ignore the other three. Otherwise, it is a great website for car searches.
Edmunds matched 67 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $26,720.
A nice selection. Edmunds has a lot of light gray text on their website, which makes it difficult for users to see the listings. It's so annoying. Sometimes web designers prefer to keep things subtle, discreet, and soft because it appeals more to their creative senses. This is where the marketing department needs to step in and say "Ummm...we're in business selling cars." Bold and louder!
Only seven (7) Subaru Outbacks were matched with Vroom. The cost was $28,620.
Vroom had the lowest median price, due to its small number of vehicles. Vroom claims they do the opposite and take the hassle out of the buying process. They also offer savings to customers. It is possible that this is true.
It is true for Cartelligent in California. We've seen their excellent negotiation skills with dealers. Vroom seems to have a similar business model. Perhaps this is the future. Vroom is a great car buying site. We would rate Vroom higher if they had more inventory.
CarsDirect matched 26 Subaru Outbacks. The median price was $25.981.
CarsDirect's site was a little clunky in comparison to other sites. The text is very small. There are not many CTA fields on this site. The site needs to be redesigned to make it more attractive and user-friendly. You can sort from the highest to the lowest by mixing up multiple listings. It's not difficult.
CarsDirect is ranked lower than the best-used car websites with only 26 results. We also rate them less highly for their website experience.
AutoTempest has only one (1) Subaru Outback matching. There is no median price when there is just one listing.
AutoTempest also displays vehicles on other car search websites such as cars.com or craigslist. It's a mixed bag. It is difficult to use the AutoTempest search engine and we don't see any value in using it to locate online car dealers.
Only one (1) Subaru Outback was matched. It doesn't matter what the price is.
Is there a single Outback within 50 miles of you? According to the south, this dog won't hunt. It was a very disappointing experience. CarMax is somewhat misleading. Car Mini is a more accurate description. We recommend you skip this site.
There were no (0) Subaru Outbacks found within 50 miles from San Francisco on eBay. The median cost is quite naturally mute.
There weren't any Subaru Outbacks within 50 miles from San Francisco, but the same was true for those within 500 miles. Isn't that strange? It's not easy to get under the hood and kick the tires on eBay. It is a good idea to ship your vehicle with Move Car Auto Transport if you purchase a vehicle from eBay. For the seller's close proximity to the buyer, we recommend almost every other car-buying site.
Recommendations for the Best Car Buying Websites
We found nine websites worth using out of the 13 Baker's Dozen best-used car-buying sites. These are our top picks: TrueCar. Craigslist. cars.com. AutoTrader. KBB. Carvana. CarGurus. Edmunds. Vroom. Regardless of where you find your car, if you need to ship it, there is no better website than Move Car to get a reliable, competitive quote.