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Where Can I Buy A Car Online?US New Manufacturers

With all the manufacturers the question here is - how much of the buying process can I actually do online? Your quick indicator is the E-Quality rating - the better the rating the more of the process of buying a car can be accomplished without leaving the comfort of your chair.



QUICK INDEX:
Web Site
Overall
Rating
Go to
Site
Read Our
Review
Welcome to GM Vehicle Showroom 8/10 NOW BELOW
Ford Vehicles 8/10 NOW BELOW
Mercedes-Benz 8/10 NOW BELOW
Jeep 8/10 NOW BELOW
Hyundai Motor America 8/10 NOW BELOW

Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 3/10
Acura
http://www.acura.com/

To my mind this site features too much flashiness and too many pop-up windows that detract from the quality information that it definitely contains. I'm also not fond of the dark background and white text - hard on the eyes. Acura should keep in mind that people come to their site to get information about cars not to be wowed by fancy webdesign.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. No turnaround guarantee is given although the FAQ indicates that you should hear back within 24 hours from your selected dealer.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor are you shown available inventory on dealer lots until you have configured a car. In the interior and exterior accessory section you have to click on the accessory link to see how much it costs - why not have the price shown in the caption for the picture that shows up in the upper window next to the car.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your model on the main page and click on Build & Price. Then click on trim level, interior and exterior colours, interior and exterior accessories and then save your configuration, request a quote or see a printable version.

  • Search for a new car
    Once you have configured a car you can check inventory by going to the Request a Quote process and then after entering your contact information you'll be shown dealers and their inventory.

  • Search for a used car
    Click on the Pre-Owned link on the main page (right hand top corner of the page). Enter your zip code and select a model (or leave at the default of All Models). You'll see vehicles within 50 miles of your zip code - you can re-sort the list by year, model, colour, price, mileage, type of transmission and distance from your location. From within the search results you can modify the search to look further afield or further delineate your criteria.

  • Locate a dealer
    Simply type in your zip code in the Dealer Locator box in the lower left-hand corner of the page and click on Locate.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Audi Luxury Models at Audi USA - official US site
http://www.audiusa.com/

Another site that I find annoying for its unasked for movie on entry and its dull colour scheme. The site is also short on useful basics like a model overview that would allow you to see pricing and feature (number of doors) information at a glance (so you could choose which model is right for you).

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use and you can calculate payments from within the configuration process.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process. There doesn't seem to be any way to look at inventory of new cars on lots nearby. You do not get to select a dealer until after you have sent the quote request (huh?) and no turnaround guarantee is given.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your model by clicking on the graphic, then select powertrain, exterior, interior and options. After you have finished configuring the car you can send your completed configuration to a dealer, save your Audi, send the configuration to a friend, estimate your payments or view a print-friendly version.

  • Search for a used car
    Enter your zip code, distance to search from your location (25 miles to any distance), model line and model and age of vehicle.

  • Locate a dealer
    Search within 0-999 miles from your zip code.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
BMW North America
http://www.bmwusa.com/

This site is elegant and simple with easy navigation. The site has a lot of interesting additional information and an easy-on-the-eyes design and appearance without flashy and distracting add ons.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use and has the added feature of giving you 360 degree and front, back and side views of your vehicle within the configurator itself (cool).

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor are you shown available inventory. No turnaround guarantee is given.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your model and then select interior and exterior colours, options and accessories. When you've finished the configuration you can send the configured vehicle to a dealer, estimate your payments, save your BMW or print out the configuration.

  • Search for a used car
    Input your zip code and then select body style, series, type of transmission, price limit and distance from your zip code (10 miles to no limit).

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip code and distance to search from your location (10-500 miles).


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Chrysler
http://www.chrysler.com/

The Chrysler site is relatively simple in design and navigation but seems to be lacking in terms of a few basics - for example I was unable to find anything on the site that allowed you to see an overview of all Chrysler vehicles in terms of pricing and models. Inventory of new and used vehicles is available online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. After you have configured the car you can check for similar cars on nearby dealer lots. You can view a window sticker on new cars in inventory (you'll see vehicle details on used cars) and VIN is shown (for both new and used).

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. You are not given an option to save your configured car.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page click on the Build & Price link (in the blue box on the left hand side of the page), select the vehicle you are interested in and click on GO. On the next screen input your zip code and click on Continue, then just follow the steps of selecting colours, power, options and accessories. Once you have configured the car you can request a quote, search inventory or print the summary.

  • Search for a new car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the blue box on the left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on GO. On the next screen click on the Inventory Search button for the dealership you wish to search. On the next page you can search by vehicle, model, drive, engine transmission and exterior and interior colour. You can re-sort the list by a variety of criteria in either ascending or descending order.

  • Search for a used car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the blue box on the left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on Search Certified Pre-Owned Inventory (small print underneath the zip code box). On the next screen enter your zip code again (not quite sure why) and select model, age range, maximum price, maximum mileage and distance from your zip code (10 miles to any distance).

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page click on the Find A Dealer link (in the blue box on the left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on GO. On the next screen you'll see a list of nearby dealers (click on the map view tab to see how they are located in terms of your location) and you can search inventory or request a test drive from this page.

  • Find recall information
    On this page enter the last 8 characters from your VIN and find recall information on your vehicle. Well done Chrysler!


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
Dodge
http://www.dodge.com/

A colourful, interesting and modern site that is simply laid out and easy to use and navigate. New and used inventory is online and finding a dealer is a snap.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. You can search both new and used inventory online.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page click on the Build & Price link (in the grey box on the left hand side of the page), select the vehicle you are interested in and click on GO. On the next screen input your zip code and click on Continue, then just follow the steps of selecting colours, power, options and accessories. Once you have configured the car you can request a quote, search inventory or print the summary.

  • Search for a new car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the grey box on the left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on GO. On the next screen click on the Inventory Search button for the dealership you wish to search. On the next page you can search by vehicle, model, drive, engine transmission and exterior and interior colour. You can re-sort the list by a variety of criteria in either ascending or descending order.

  • Search for a used car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the grey box on the left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on Search Certified Pre-Owned Inventory (small print underneath the zip code box). On the next screen enter your zip code again (not quite sure why) and select model, age range, maximum price, maximum mileage and distance from your zip code (10 miles to any distance).

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page type your zip code in the Find A Dealer box and click on GO. On the next screen you'll see a list of nearby dealers (click on the map view tab to see how they are located in terms of your location) and you can search inventory or request a test drive from this page.

  • Find recall information
    On this page enter the last 8 characters from your VIN and find recall information on your vehicle. Well done Dodge!


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 8/10
One of our Favorites!Ford Vehicles: Ford Vehicles Official Site: learn about Ford cars, trucks and SUVs
http://www.fordvehicles.com/

The Ford site is simple and easy to navigate but still has some colour and personality. Dealer inventories of both new and used vehicles are online (although the used is a bit tricky to find) and finding a dealer is a snap.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use and Ford is one of the few that provides a secure form for input of your personal information. The Customized Buyer's Guide that you receive (PDF format) is a valuable extra. A turnaround guarantee of 24 hours is given.

Cons:
There is no ability to save details of your configured car or send it to someone else.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the graphic that represents the model you are interested in (to switch betweens, cars, trucks and SUVs click on the tab at the top of the page). Select the trim level on the next screen, input your zip code and click on the Next: Build Your Vehicle button. Follow the steps until you have configured your vehicle. You can request a quote on your configured vehicle or look for it in inventory.

  • Search for a new car
    Click on the graphic that represents the model you are interested in (to switch betweens, cars, trucks and SUVs click on the tab at the top of the page). You can let FordDirect search for a vehicle for you or input your zip code and click on the Search Dealer Lot button (right hand side of the screen).

  • Search for a used car
    Enter your zip code and click on Search. Click on the browse inventory link to see that dealership's stock of vehicles.

  • Locate a dealer
    Enter dealer name or zip code or city/state and click on Search.

  • Find recall information
    You must register on the site above to receive recall information on your specific vehicle.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 9/10
One of our Favorites!Welcome to GM Vehicle Showroom
http://www.gmbuypower.com/

This manufacturer site is highly customized to fit the needs of the car shopper (versus the car researcher). It is simple to use and intuitively organized. You can use this site to build, request a quote on and search inventory for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn vehicles.

Pros:
You can choose which vehicle is right for you to buy by brand, body style, model or price (tabs at the top of the page). The configurator is quick and easy to use and you are given a secure page to input your information when you request a quote. A turnaround guarantee of one business day is given.

Cons:
You are not able to save the configured car details or to send them to anyone else.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the Build Your Own tab (lower left hand corner of the page) and choose your vehicle year, brand and model and enter your zip code. Click on Build and follow the steps. When you have configured the vehicle you can request a quote on the vehicle or search dealer inventory.

  • Search for a new car
    Click on the Search Dealer Inventory tab (lower left hand corner of the page) and choose your vehicle year, brand and model and enter your zip code. Click on Search and choose your trim level on the next page and click on the Continue to Inventory button. Click on the Search Inventory button at dealerships shown in your area. You'll see how well inventory on hand matches your request and you can also see window stickers (that include VIN) on each vehicle.

  • Search for a used car
    Input your zip and select year, make, model and price range in the drop down boxes. Click on Search. You'll be shown a list of vehicles that can be re-sorted by make, model, year, price, colour, mileage and distance from your location. Some vehicles will have photos but all will have VINs and mileage.

  • Locate a dealer
    Select your brand and input your zip code and click on Submit.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Honda Cars - New and Certified Used Cars from American Honda
http://automobiles.honda.com/

A straightforward site design with a pleasing colour palette and easy navigation. The major deficiency that one notices soon after you get in to the site is the lack of new inventory online - inventory is in fact available online but you have to configure a car AND request a quote before you can access it. Used inventory is easily accessible online and locating a dealer is a simple step on the main page.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use and a turnaround guarantee of one business day is given.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor are you shown available inventory on dealer lots until you have configured a car. There is no way to save the configured vehicle for future reference.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page select your model in the right hand column. On the next page click on the Build & Price link under the Tools heading. Then follow the steps until you have finished configuring your vehicle. Once the vehicle is configured you may estimate payments, email the configuration to a friend, see the configuration in a printer friendly format or request a quote.

  • Search for a new car
    Go throught the configuration process detailed above and request a quote. Input your personal information and then click on the Submit button. When you finally get to the Select a Dealer part of the process you'll be able to see new inventory online.

  • Search for a used car
    Put in your zip code, distance to search from your zip code (15-250 miles), model, age range and price limit. The displayed results can be re-sorted by year, model, colour, price, mileage, transmission type and distance from your zip code.

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page simply put your zip code in the box in the middle of the page and click on the Locate A Dealer button.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 1/10
Hummer
http://www.hummer.com/

Hummer gets off on the wrong foot in my book with its emphasis on fancy graphics and geegaws - not everyone has a fast connection and more importantly most of us want information and hard facts - not bandwidth munching images. Despite this criticism the site is elegantly and attractively designed. There is no access to new or used Hummer inventory through the site.

Pros:
There is a basic configurator on the Hummer site.

Cons:
You cannot request a quote through the Hummer site - you are instructed to print out your configured Hummer details and take the print out with you to a Hummer dealer.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the Build A Hummer link and follow the instructions.

  • Locate a dealer
    Hover over the Locate A Dealer link and select Inside U.S. Then enter your zip code and the distance to search within (25-250 miles).


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Hyundai Motor America - Hyundai USA Homepage
http://www.hyundaiusa.com/

A perfectly okay site with pleasant images, effective design and easy navigation. However neither new nor used inventory seem to be available online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use but seemed to have a major problem (see Cons below).

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process but more importantly the process seemed to fail when I clicked the Submit key. I got a 'page not found' message. No turnaround guarantee was indicated nor did there seem to be any way to access inventory.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the graphic for the model you are interested in. Then input your zip code and follow the steps. When you are finished configuring the vehicle you can request a quote (supposedly, although I could not get this to work) or print the page.

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your street (that's a weird one), city and state or your zip code and click on Search.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
Infiniti
http://www.infiniti.com/

A rather stark site with an awful lot of white. Neither new nor used inventory seems to be online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process, no turnaround guarantee is given and neither new nor used inventory is available online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your vehicle, trim and model year from the drop down boxes, input your zip code and click on the Build Your Infiniti button. Follow the steps until your vehicle is configured. Once you've configured the vehicle you can save the configuration, view a printable summary of the configuration, email the configuration to a friend, get pre-approved for financing or request a quote.

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip code in the box in the bottom right hand corner of the page and click on Go.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
ISUZU
http://www.isuzu.com/

An attractive site with good use of colour and images without being overdone. Navigation is simple and intuitive. However neither new or used inventory seems to be available online.

Pros:
The configurator is very quick and easy to use and I especially like that you can send your quote request to multiple dealers (simply by checking off all those that show up in the grey box in step 6 of the configuration and quote request process).

Cons:
No turnaround guarantee is given in the quote request process and your personal information is entered on a non-secure form. No inventory available online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the graphic of the model you are interested in. Input your zip code, click on Go and follow the steps. When you are finished configuring the vehicle you can request a quote, print a summary of the configured vehicle or email the configuration to a friend.

  • Locate a dealer
    Simply input your zip code in the Find a Dealer box in the middle left hand area of the main page and click on Go.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Jaguar US
http://www.jaguarusa.com/us/en/new_home.htm

An average site that really doesn't, in my opinion, reflect the elegance and style of the cars it represents. New inventory is not available online but used inventory is.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. You can save your configured vehicle information. Although the form where you enter personal information is not secure only your first and last name and email address are mandatory - no need to enter phone number or street address.

Cons:
There is no turnaround guarantee given. New inventory is not available online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Enter your zip code and click on Submit. Follow the steps until you reach the summary step. From here you can save the vehicle, print the summary, apply for credit, estimate payments or request a quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Input your zip code, distance to search within (25-200 miles), model, price range, year range and maximum mileage. The results list can be re-sorted by model, price, year, colour, body type, engine, mileage and dealership name (unfortunately not the distance from your location).

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip code in the Locate a Dealer box in the middle, right hand area of the page and click on the arrow.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Jeep
http://www.jeep.com/

The Jeep site is relatively simple in design and navigation and you can easily see the various models available on the main page (there are only 4 major models) and if you hover over the graphics you'll see basic pricing information. Inventory of new and used vehicles is available online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. After you have configured the car you can check for similar cars on nearby dealer lots. You can view a window sticker on new cars in inventory (you'll see vehicle details on used cars) and VIN is shown (for both new and used).

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. You are not given an option to save your configured car.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page click on the Build & Price link (in the tan box on the lower left hand side of the page), select the vehicle you are interested in and click on GO. On the next screen input your zip code and click on Continue, then just follow the steps of selecting colours, power, options and accessories. Once you have configured the car you can request a quote, search inventory or print the summary.

  • Search for a new car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the tan box on the lower left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on GO. On the next screen click on the Inventory Search button for the dealership you wish to search. On the next page you can search by vehicle, model, drive, engine transmission and exterior and interior colour. You can re-sort the list by a variety of criteria in either ascending or descending order.

  • Search for a used car
    On the main page click on the Search Inventory link (in the tan box on the lower left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on Search Certified Pre-Owned Inventory (small print underneath the zip code box). On the next screen enter your zip code again (not quite sure why) and select model, age range, maximum price, maximum mileage and distance from your zip code (10 miles to any distance).

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page click on the Find A Dealer link (in the tan box on the lower left hand side of the page), enter your zip code and click on GO. On the next screen you'll see a list of nearby dealers (click on the map view tab to see how they are located in terms of your location) and you can search inventory or request a test drive from this page.

  • Find recall information
    On this page enter the last 8 characters from your VIN and find recall information on your vehicle. Well done Jeep!


Overall Rating: 5/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
Kia Motors America
http://www.kia.com/index.php

A colourful yet simple and effective site. Unfortunately neither new or used inventory is available online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is there any turnaround guarantee given. There is no way to save your configured vehicle information. Neither new or used inventory is available online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select a model from the list on the left hand side of the page and then click on the Build & Price link on the next page. Follow the steps until you reach the Dealer Quote step (5). Once you have configured a vehicle you can send the configuration to a friend via email, print the page or request a quote.

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page input your zip code in the box on the right hand side of the page in the middle of the page and click on the red search button.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Land Rover US - Overview
http://www.landrover.com/us/en/vehicles/home.htm

A simply arranged but effective site that makes good use of colours and graphics. Unfortunately neither new or used inventory is listed online.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. You can save your configured vehicle details.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. Neither new or used inventory is listed online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select the Land Rover you wish to configure by clicking on the model name underneath the picture. Then follow the steps to choose trim level, colours and options. When you are finished configuring the vehicle you can save the vehicle, print the summary, see a window sticker for the vehicle, calculate monthly payments or request a quote.

  • Locate a dealer
    Click on the Locate A Retailer button on the right hand side of the page. Enter your zip code or select your state or enter a retailer name and click on the Search button.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Lexus Models
http://www.lexus.com/models/

Although the Lexus site is visually rather blah it has some unique features that make it a good site for the vehicle shopper. For example - get started by clicking in the lower left on the 'Which Lexus Fits My Budget' button - this will help you choose the Lexus that is a good starting point for you. Unfortunately new Lexus inventory doesn't seem to be online (although used inventory is).

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. Although you enter your personal information on a non-secure form you only need to give your first and last names and your email address - no phone number or street address is required.

Cons:
No turnaround guarantee is given when you request a quote and you can't save your configured vehicle. New inventory is not available online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page simply click on the graphic of the model that you wish to build. On the next screen click on the graphic underneath the Build your XX heading (where XX is the model that you selected). When you have finished configuring the car you can email the configuration to a friend, see a printable version, apply for credit, estimate payments or request a quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Enter your zip code in the box shown, select the model you are interested in and click Submit.

  • Locate a dealer
    On the main page enter your zip code in the Find A Dealer box (middle of the page) and click on the Go button.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
Mercedes-Benz, Home of Mercedes-Benz Luxury Automobiles
http://www.mbusa.com/index.do

An elegant but to my mind somewhat dark site that unfortunately doesn't seem to have new inventory online. Used inventory is online and searchable though. Navigation is straightforward and the site is attractive without being laden with gimmicks. Despite this lack of gimmickry, even on a cable connection, the site seems sluggish.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. You can save the configured vehicle to your portfolio. Used inventory is online.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. New inventory is not online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the Build Your Own link in the left hand column. Select your model and on the next screen select colours, options and accessories. Once you are finished configuring the vehicle you can save it to your portfolio, print out a summary or request a quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Enter your zip code, distance to search from your zip (10 miles to Nation Wide), body style, model, age range, maximum mileage and maximum price and click on Search. The resulting list can be re-sorted by model, year, price, mileage, colour and distance from your location.

  • Locate a dealer
    Enter your zip code, or select a state or input a dealer's name and click on the Go button beneath the option you have chosen.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Mitsubishi Motors
http://www.mitsubishicars.com/

A simple rather monochromatic site that unfortunately does not have inventories of either new or used vehicles online.

Pros:
The configurator is supremely quick and easy to use as it consists of a single page where you indicate all your preferences (i.e. choose colours and options).

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. You cannot save or even print the configured vehicle summary page. No inventories online (new or used).

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page hover over the vehicle you are interested in and select the Build & Price link. Choose your colours, trim level, options and accessories and when you are finished click on the Request a Quote button. The only thing you can do when the vehicle is configured is request a quote.

  • Locate a dealer
    Enter your zip code, city and state or dealer name and click on Submit.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
NissanUSA
http://www.nissanusa.com/

This is an okay site although the constant barrage of movies and fancy graphics leave me cold. New inventory is online but I couldn't figure out a way to access used inventory.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. Once you've chosen a model and trim level and input your zip code you can search for the vehicle on a dealer's lot.

Cons:
The page where you input your personal information in the quote request process is not secure and no turnaround guarantee is given. I couldn't find any way to search for used Nissans online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the vehicle you want in column 1, choose a trim level in the second column, input your zip code and then click on the Build Your Nissan button. When you've finished configuring the vehicle you can view a printable summary, save the configuration, email the configuration to a friend, get pre-approved for financing or request a quote from a dealership.

  • Search for a new car
    Click on the vehicle you want in column 1, choose a trim level in the second column, input your zip code and then click on the Search Inventory button. On the next page click on one of the dealer's inventory - you'll be shown a list of vehicles at that dealership and how closely they match your choice.

  • Locate a dealer
    Enter your zip code, miles to search from your zip (10-100), dealer name or city and state and then click on Search.

  • Find recall information
    You can search for recall information by model and year. Well done Nissan!


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 2/10
Porsche
http://www.porsche.com/usa/

The Porsche site is elegantly simple and easy to use. Unfortunately new inventory is not online but you can search for pre-owned Porsche's on the site.

Pros:
The configurator works well and it is great fun adding a $3,000 paint job and $1,900 wheels to a vehicle. Although new inventory is not available online directly from the Porsche site you may be able to access it through a dealer's site.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor are you given a turnaround guarantee. I didn't find it immediately obvious how to move from Step 1 to 2 of the configuration process - after you have selected a model click on the trim level you want in the top left hand corner of the lower box in the configuration screen.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the Build Your Porsche link in the blue box in the lower left hand corner of the main page. Select your model, trim level, features, colours, wheels, options and 'custom tailoring'. When you have finished configuring the vehicle you can save your configured vehicle, print out a summary, estimate payments, download an application for credit or request a quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Select your model, derivative, body type, price range, age range and input your zip code and distance to search within (15-500 miles). This tool is very cool because it allows you to see, before you even click Search, what vehicles are available in your area.

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip code in the box in the lower left hand corner of the page and click on the arrow.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Saturn Automobile - New Saturn
http://www.saturn.com/saturn/Saturnindex.jsp

A pleasant, simple, easy to use site that I felt could use a little more colour - it is rather anemic. New inventory is online but I couldn't figure out how to access used inventory.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. New inventory is accessible from within the configurator (after you've configured a vehicle) or from the main page.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor are you offered a turnaround guarantee. I also found it disturbing that when I selected the 'Confirm Price' option after configuring a vehicle I didn't see any indication that the configuration details I had chosen were being transferred to the dealer (in fact I was told to indicate my colour and option choices in the Message field provided - why did I bother to just configure the vehicle?). It is also annoying that you can't search for pre-owned Saturns from this site.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page click on the Build Your Own link in the lower right hand corner of the page and then select a model to configure. Select trim level, colours, options and accessories. When you are done you can email a dealer/confirm the price (but neither transfers configuration information to the dealer), locate the vehicle you have just configured or estimate payments.

  • Search for a new car
    From the main page click on the Locate Vehicle link in the lower right hand corner of the page and then enter your zip code and click on Find. On the next page click on the Locate a vehicle link on any of the dealerships listed. Select a vehicle year, style and model on the next screen.

  • Locate a dealer
    From the main page click on the Find Retailer link in the lower right hand corner of the page. Enter your zip code or city and state to find a retailer.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Subaru
http://www.subaru.com/

An average site with a super easy way of accessing both new and used inventory online. Well done Subaru!

Pros:
The configurator is fine but has a couple of quirks (see below). You do get a turnaround guarantee of 24 hours. It's easy to find both new and used cars online quickly and easily.

Cons:
The configurator has a weird way of indicating your colour choice - click on the radio button beneath the exterior colour you want to select an interior/exterior combo. Also I think it's a bit odd that installation price of accessories is not included in the calculated total. You don't get a secure page for entering your personal information.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page go to the Build Your Own heading in the lower left hand corner of the page, hover over it and then choose the model you wish to build. Select a model, colour and transmission, and accessories. When you have done configuring the vehicle you can request a quote, make an appointment for a test drive, view a window sticker, estimate payments or search for this vehicle on a dealer's lot.

  • Search for a new car
    On the main page go to the Financial & Shopping Tools heading in the lower middle area of the page, hover over it and select the View inventory link. Enter your zip and click on Go (or select a state from the list). Click on the Check Inventory link for the dealer you wish to use. You'll see a list of new vehicles at the dealership - you can re-sort the list by year, make, model, transmission, colour and body style.

  • Search for a used car
    On the main page go to the Financial & Shopping Tools heading in the lower middle area of the page, hover over it and select the View inventory link. Enter your zip and click on Go (or select a state from the list). Click on the Check Inventory link for the dealer you wish to use. On the next screen look for a Search Pre-Owned or Search Used heading at the top of the page - click on this. This will either show you used vehicles at the dealership or give you the opportunity to input search criteria.

  • Locate a dealer
    In the top, right hand corner of the main page put in your zip code, city or state and click on Go.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
American Suzuki Motor Corporation
http://www.suzukiauto.com/

A visually busy site with an unasked for soundtrack that plays on entry (grrr!). It doesn't seem to be possible to access new inventory online and used inventory seemed pretty sparse.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. A turnaround guarantee of 24 hours is given and you can also submit your quote request to additional dealers after you have selected the first one. You can search for used cars easily on the site.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your personal infomration and you can't use your tab key to move between fields in the form (a little thing but annoying). You can't search for new inventory on the site.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the vehice you are interested in and then select trim, colours, options and accessories. When you are finished configuring the vehicle you can print the page, calculate payments or get a dealer quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Select your model, transmission and age range in the top row of boxes. Then input your zip code and distance to search (25-250 miles) and click on the Show My Suzuki button.

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip code in the Locate a Dealer box (left hand side of the page) and click on Go.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Toyota.com
http://www.toyota.com/

This stylish and elegant site surprisingly does not allow you to access new Toyota inventory online. You can search for used Toyotas however.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use. Used inventory can be accessed easily from the main page.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. You can not check for your configured detail on a local dealership's lot.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page click on the Build and Price Your Toyota link (under Shopping Tools in the bottom left hand corner of the page) - input your zip code and click on Go. Select your model, trim level, options, colours and accessories. Once you have configured the vehicle you can estimate your payments, create an eBrochure, email this eBrochure, print the summary page, apply for credit or request a quote on the configured vehicle.

  • Search for a used car
    In the right hand box (red background) input your zip code, search radius (25-250 miles), vehicle and age range and click on Search. If you'd like more criteria click on the Advanced Search button. The resulting list can be re-sorted by year, model, price, mileage, colour and distance from your zip.

  • Locate a dealer
    From the main page click on the Locate A Dealer link (under Shopping Tools in the bottom left hand corner of the page) - input your zip code and click on Go.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Volkswagen
http://www.vw.com/

Volkswagen manages to keep on my good side by using geegaws like pop up graphics and animation sparingly so that they accentuate the site rather than overwhelm you. Unfortunately new inventory is not available online. Used inventory can be searched easily and quickly on the site however.

Pros:
The configurator is quick and easy to use and I like the way it is contained within a small box so you're not having to scroll around looking for the next button. The used inventory search is very well designed and highly efficient.

Cons:
You are not offered a secure page to input your information in the quote request process nor is a turnaround guarantee given. It is very disappointing that you can't access new inventory online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page click on the graphic for the model you are interested in. Then click on the Start Building button (orange - on the left hand side). Select your trim level, colour and interior and options. When you are finished configuring the vehicle you can get a quote, print the summary page or make an appointment to take a test drive.

  • Search for a used car
    Click on as many models as you are interested in, select year(s) you want and then input your zip code and distance to search within (25-500 miles) and click on Search. You are shown a VERY cool results screen that can be re-sorted or refined on the fly (using sliders or must have features). Very well done!

  • Locate a dealer
    Search for a dealer by zip code, dealer name or state.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
www.volvocars.us
http://www.volvocars.us/

A dull site that seems to have fancy web geegaws to impress rather than doing anything useful. The site has also always seemed sluggish to me and the configurator unreliable. There is no way to see new inventory online but used inventory can be accessed.

Pros:
The configurator is easy to use and your personal information is collected on a secure form. Used inventory can be accessed easily from the site.

Cons:
The configurator seems sluggish to me, no turnaround guarantee is given and you can't access new inventory online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Click on the model you are interested in, enter your zip code and click on Next. Select the trim level and then select colours and options. When you have finished configuring the vehicle you can print the summary, save and email the summary, estimate payments or get a quote.

  • Search for a used car
    Input your body style, year, model, exterior colour, maximum mileage and maximum price using the boxes on the left. Then put in your zip code and search radius (from 10-500 miles) and click on Search. You can re-sort the results displayed by year, model, exterior colour, mileage, price, retailer name and distance from your zip.

  • Locate a dealer
    Input your zip, city and state or dealer name and then press the Go button next to that choice.


 
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