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Last Updated: Jun 2024

Top 10 Best Online Car Buying Sites & Shopping Tools

Take away the worry and uncertainty from buying a new car when you use online car-buying tools to find, check, and compare your next auto purchase

The Best Online Tools for Car Buyers 

Buying a new car can be an overwhelming process, considering the multitude of models, prices, and intimidating sales pitches. Luckily, online tools have emerged to simplify this journey. 

Whether you're deciding on the right make and model, determining a fair price, or simply trying to locate the best deals in your area, these car-buying tools will help you find the best car at the best price, without getting taken for a ride.

Our Top 10 Best Online Car Buying Sites in 2024:

  • TrueCar - Best online car buying site overall
  • CarGurus - Best for deal ratings and instant browsing of over 5 million cars
  • Carvana - Best for online car shopping with detailed reviews and convenient delivery
  • Vroom - Best for low-mileage, pre-owned cars available online in 47 states
  • Kelley Blue Book - Best for true car values and fair price checks
  • Edmund's - Best for expert car reviews and nearby car searches
  • CarFax - Best for in-depth vehicle history reports before buying
  • CarMax - Best for comparing cars, price alerts, and vehicle history
  • AutoTrader - Best for new and used car searches and free vehicle history reports
  • Cars.com - Best for nationwide car searches and dealer comparisons

How Online Car Buying Tools Work

Online car-buying tools simplify finding the perfect vehicle by offering user-friendly interfaces, comprehensive search filters, and detailed listings. These digital platforms enable potential buyers to filter choices based on personal preferences, compare prices, read reviews, and gain insights into financing options, insurance quotes, and trade-in values.

These tools not only make the car shopping experience more enjoyable but also empower buyers with the knowledge needed to negotiate better deals. By understanding the fair market price of their desired vehicle, buyers can confidently tackle high-pressure sales tactics at dealerships.

As we delve deeper into the world of online car purchasing, we'll explore some specific tools that can help you uncover the real market price and make a more informed decision.

Tools for Discovering the Real Market Price

When you look at a car sitting in the lot or on an auto website, it’s almost impossible to know whether the price that’s being asked is fair or hugely inflated. That’s why you need to consult one of the car pricing tools available. 

TrueCar provides you with a full pricing report that lets you know what the car you’ve chosen is really worth. You can view the prices that others paid for similar cars and check their condition online or on the iOS and Android mobile app. 

TrueCar even lets you scan the window sticker on cars at participating dealerships to learn the real pricing breakdown.

Researching and Comparing Vehicles Online

Utilizing car-buying tools allows you to thoroughly research and compare vehicles, ensuring you'll make an informed decision for your next auto purchase. With a plethora of information available online, you can easily access the best car shopping sites, compare cars online, research car options, and find online car shopping tips that will guide you through the process.

To make the most of your research efforts, it's essential to focus on:

  1. Vehicle Specifications: This includes engine size, horsepower, fuel efficiency, and safety features. Knowing these details will help you understand how a vehicle performs and if it aligns with your needs.
  2. Reviews and Ratings: Reading expert and consumer reviews provides insight into the overall performance, reliability, and satisfaction of a vehicle. This will give you a well-rounded perspective on what to expect from your potential purchase.
  3. Price Comparison: Comparing prices across multiple sources will help you determine the market value of a vehicle and ensure that you're not overpaying.
  4. Incentives and Rebates: Researching current promotions, rebates, and financing options will help you find the best possible deal on your chosen vehicle.

By following these guidelines, you'll be well-equipped to make an educated decision when it comes to selecting the right vehicle for your needs. Once you have a clear understanding of the vehicles you're interested in, you can confidently navigate the vast world of online car shopping and utilize tools for searching for the right car, ultimately narrowing down your options and finding the perfect fit.

Tools for Searching for the Right Car

You'll discover a stress-free car shopping experience when exploring various tools designed to help you search for the perfect vehicle, making comparisons, and gathering all the necessary information for an informed decision.

Best online car-buying sites offer a myriad of options and features to make the process as smooth as possible. These sites typically offer comprehensive listings, allowing you to browse through a multitude of vehicles based on factors such as your preferred make, model, budget, and location. With user-friendly search functionalities and filters, the best sites for buying a car enable you to narrow down your options and identify the most suitable choices in no time.

A few of the best places to buy a car online include popular platforms such as CarGurus, AutoTrader, and Cars.com, each providing unique features to cater to different needs and preferences.

CarGurus, for instance, offers a handy car buying tool that analyzes and compares listings to give you an idea of how good a deal you're getting. AutoTrader allows you to search for new and used cars, while Cars.com provides extensive research tools to help you make an informed decision.

Carvana is another online car search website that lets you search for cars across the country that are delivered to your driveway. You can view 360-degree photos and have a 7-day test drive before committing yourself, but the biggest draw is the car vending machine in Atlanta, Georgia. This particular vending machine, standing at a striking 12 stories high, is the tallest of its kind in the United States and can accommodate up to 43 vehicles.

For used cars, we recommend using Vroom.com. Vroom allows shoppers to purchase low-mileage, pre-owned vehicles online, available in 47 states. The buying process includes making a deposit, uploading documents, and signing paperwork electronically. Vroom also offers financing through partner banks. Cars are shipped directly to the buyer, who has seven days or 250 miles to test the vehicle and can return it for a refund if not satisfied.

Tools for Reading Car Reviews

Before deciding on your next vehicle, it's essential to check out reviews from experts and owners alike to ensure you're making the best choice for your needs. There are many online resources available that provide comprehensive car reviews, and as the best online car buyer, you should take advantage of these tools to gain an in-depth understanding of the vehicles you're considering.

Some of the top sources for car reviews include:

  • Kelley Blue Book: Known for its expert advice on car values, Kelley Blue Book also offers detailed car reviews, including comparisons, pros and cons, and expert insights.
  • Edmunds: This comprehensive automotive information website provides not only expert reviews but also consumer ratings and reviews, giving you a balanced perspective on the vehicle you're considering.

These resources offer a wealth of information to help you become the best car buyer online. By analyzing expert opinions, owner experiences, and performance data, you can narrow down your options and choose a vehicle that meets your specific requirements.

As the best online car buyers, we understand that knowledge is power, and utilizing these review tools will ensure you make a confident and well-informed decision. Once you've read through reviews and feel confident in your choice, the next step is to look into the vehicle's history.

Tools for Accessing a Vehicle History Report

After you've narrowed down your options and feel confident in your choice, it's crucial to dive into the vehicle's history to ensure you're making a smart investment. A vehicle history report can reveal important information such as previous accidents, ownership history, and service records, giving you a clear picture of what you're getting into.

There are several tools available to help you access these reports, making it easy for you to evaluate the car's past and make an informed decision. One of the most well-known resources for obtaining a vehicle history report is CARFAX. By simply entering the car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can instantly receive a detailed history report that includes vital information about the vehicle.

Another reputable option is CarMax, which also provides comprehensive reports based on VIN numbers. Both of these tools offer user-friendly interfaces and can be accessed from the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that while these reports can provide valuable insights, they may not include every detail about a car's history, so it's essential to use them in conjunction with other research methods.

The Advantages of Buying Cars Online

When we're looking to buy a new car, online car-buying tools can take away the stress and uncertainty by helping us find, check, and compare our options with ease.

These tools work by aggregating data from various sources, such as dealerships, manufacturers, and consumer reviews, allowing us to make informed decisions based on our specific needs and preferences.

With an unbiased and analytical approach, these online resources provide us with in-depth knowledge to confidently navigate the car-buying process.

Tips for a Successful Online Car Buying Experience

Navigating the digital world of auto shopping can feel like a thrilling treasure hunt as you uncover the perfect vehicle for your needs and budget. However, it's essential to be well-prepared and informed to make the most out of your online car buying experience.

By utilizing the right tools and resources, you can make an educated decision and confidently purchase your dream car without leaving the comfort of your home.

To ensure a successful online car buying experience, start by researching various makes and models to find the one that best suits your needs. Use comparison tools to analyze specifications, features, and prices of different vehicles, and read owner reviews to gain insights about their real-life performance and reliability.

Once you have narrowed down your choices, use online car-buying platforms to search for available cars in your area. These platforms often provide photos, descriptions, and even vehicle history reports to help you gauge the car's condition and value.

Don't forget to secure financing options beforehand and be prepared to negotiate the best possible deal. Lastly, once you have decided on a car, arrange for a pre-purchase inspection and test drive to ensure it meets your expectations before finalizing the transaction.

By following these tips and using the available online car buying tools, you can enjoy a smooth and successful car purchasing journey from start to finish.

How we created this
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.