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Buy a new car online: Where Can I Buy A Car OnlineUS New Online Buying Sites

Do you want to buy your next new car online? Then check out the sites below - some offer free car quotes by e-mail and some - like CarsDirect.com - show you the price you'll pay up front within moments. No haggling, no 'I'll have to talk with the manager' and no sitting in a cheesy office with a salesman in a bad suit. Our strategy? Use three or four websites to get the best combination of price and service.

Or, for immediate pricing, try our own Free New Vehicle Quote service.


QUICK INDEX:
Web Site
Overall
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Site
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Review
CarsDirect.com 9/10 NOW BELOW
GM BuyPower 8/10 NOW BELOW
FordDirect 8/10 NOW BELOW

Overall Rating: 9/10E-Commerce Rating: 9/10
Your Best Bet!CarsDirect.com - America's #1 way to buy cars online!
http://www.carsdirect.com/

CarsDirect has long been our favourite online car buying site because it has a feature that no other sites still have - an upfront price. Unfortunately this upfront price is no longer available on all vehicles and in all areas but some lucky buyers can still avoid having to deal with a car salesperson and simply get their car dealing only with CarsDirect. This very important advantage over other online sites coupled with CarsDirect's research centre, finance offerings and live help make CarsDirect a winner.

Pros:
In some locality/brand combinations you will be able to deal directly with CarsDirect and will see an upfront price. Even when this option is not available you will be shown a 'target price' that will give you a good benchmark to aim for from a dealer quote. Contact information is submitted on a secure page. CarsDirect service is free to the buyer and there is toll-free telephone help as well as live online help. If you deal with a CarsDirect vehicle specialist there is a 1-day turnaround guarantee.

If you have to go with the dealer quote option you can request quotes from multiple dealerships.

Cons:
The number of locations and brands that have upfront pricing is getting less all the time. Dealerships do not have to meet the CarsDirect 'target' price and their turnaround can be from 2-3 days. Inventory is not shown on line no matter which option you are offered to complete the buying process.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page simply choose your make and model from the drop down lists (upper middle, right hand area of the page) and click on Go. On the next page indicate your zip code and click on Continue. Click on See Our Price and on the next page select colours, options etc.

  • Get a quote
    Configure a car using the URL and process described above (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) and at the end of the process you'll get the chance to request a dealer quote (in some cases you may also get the opportunity to proceed with buying via CarsDirect but you will always have the option to get a dealer quote as well).

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online.


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

In my opinion GM BuyPower is the best implementation of online buying by a car manufacturer. FordDirect is good but I like that GM BuyPower shows you online inventory as well as showing you the complete costing information on your personally configured vehicle. And of course GM BuyPower allows you to configure, search for and request quotes on 8 brands (just over 80 vehicles) versus FordDirect which has about half that many choices.

Pros:
The GM BuyPower site allows you to completely and accurately configure a vehicle and then see if it (or one that matches it closely) is available on a nearby dealer's lot. If you request a quote your information is gathered on a secure page and a turnaround guarantee of one business day is given. There is a 1-800 number available for help.

Cons:
No upfront pricing is available on the GM BuyPower site (all you will see is MSRP). There is no online live help (which I used on CarsDirect one day and found quite effective - before that I had doubted its efficacy but it was quite good).

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page click on the Build Your Own tab (bottom left hand corner of the page). Select your year, brand and model and input your zip code and click on Build. Follow the steps until your vehicle is completely configured (colours, options).

  • Get a quote
    Configure your vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) and then click on the Request a Quote button - fill in the secure form that pops up and click on Continue.

  • See online inventory
    From the main page click on the Search Dealer Inventory tab (bottom left hand corner of the page). Select your year, brand and model and input your zip code and click on Search. Alternatively you can search dealer inventory after you have configured a vehicle (see above on how to configure a vehicle).


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
FordDirect.com - Get A Free Price Quote, Build Your Vehicle
http://www.forddirect.fordvehicles.com/

No upfront pricing at FordDirect - in fact no pricing at all is shown which I find a bit disturbing (couldn't you at least show us MSRP Ford? - yes we see it on the initial vehicle selection page but not after that). That complaint said however it is hard to fault the streamlined and efficient process that FordDirect features.

Pros:
FordDirect has a secure page for collection of your personal information and has a turnaround guarantee of one business day. You configure the vehicle with as many exterior and interior colour choices as you want and include options as well. There is an en Espanol button but not everything is in Spanish - weird (for example 'choose optional upgrades' remains in English.

Cons:
No upfront price given and no access to dealer inventory. Also you aren't shown the prices of the options you have chosen (which you are on CarsDirect). No online live help is available and the earlier 1-800 number help has disappeared. You are not shown in advance which dealer your quote request is going to and as far as I can tell the quote request only goes to a single dealer.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page simply click on the graphic of the vehicle you are interested in (change to trucks or SUVs using the tabs at the top of the page). On the next page choose your model or trim level (upper left hand corner), colours, preferences and options. Be sure to check whether there is an Incentives button (if there is one it will be below the pictures of the optional features).

  • Get a quote
    After configuring the vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) input your information on the form on the right hand side of the page and click on the Get An Internet Price button.

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at the FordDirect site.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Autobytel.com - Free New Car Price Quotes, Used Cars, and Auto Reviews
http://www.autobytel.com/

Autobytel is the oldest of the online car buying sites in the US getting its start in 1995. To say they are huge is an understatement - they also own and run Autoweb.com, Autosite.com, Carsmart.com and Car.com. I think this is reflected in their approach which I find subtly less consumer friendly (can a website have 'attitude'?) than other sites. That said there is no denying that this is a good place to check out if you are looking for a new vehicle. Not suprisingly there's no upfront pricing nor can you search online inventory.

Pros:
The Autobytel process is falling-off-a-log simple and you should get a response from a dealer within one business day. I also like that you can (in fact are encouraged to) submit your quote request to multiple dealerships. There is a 1-888 number for help although it isn't that easy to find (click on the Customer Service link at the bottom of the page).

Cons:
There is no upfront pricing and your personal information is not collected on a secure form. There's no online (live) help. You're not shown pricing of various options or accessories you might choose during your configuration. No turnaround guarantee is given.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select New and your make from the drop down boxes at the top of the page and input your zip code and click on GO. On the next page select your model and click on continue. On the next page choose your trim level, engine/transmission, colours, options etc (not all these will be available for each vehicle).

  • Get a quote
    After configuring the vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) click on the Continue button. Complete the non-secure form and submit your request to as many dealers as you wish (sometimes only a single dealer will be listed - other times there may be several).

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at the Autobytel site.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Autoweb - New car quotes, New car dealers, and Auto purchase information
http://www.autoweb.com/content/buy/lm/new/index.cfm?id=10714;TAWEB

Does this site look familiar to you - it probably does if you've spent any time car shopping online as it is owned by the Autobytel people. Not surprisingly it works almost exactly the same. Again - no upfront pricing here and no chance to search inventory online. Still - the process is very simple and well-executed.

Pros:
A simple configuration process and you should get a response from a dealer within one business day. You can submit your quote request to multiple dealerships. There is a 1-888 number for help although it is completely buried - click on the About Us link at the bottom of the page and then choose Contact Autoweb from the drop down list.

Cons:
No pricing information shown for options and accessories that you might choose during the configuration process nor is your information collected on a secure page. No online (live) help.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your make and model from the drop down boxes in the grey box and input your zip code and click on Next. On the next page choose your trim level, engine/transmission, colours, options etc (not all these will be available for each vehicle).

  • Get a quote
    After configuring the vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) click on the Next button. Complete the non-secure form and submit your request to as many dealers as you wish (sometimes only a single dealer will be listed - other times there may be several).

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at the Autoweb site.


Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
One of our Favorites!Buy Cars Online, New & Used Car Search, Auto Classifieds
http://www.cars.com/

This site features a good configurator but unfortunately does not let you see new inventory online. The quote request process is well laid out and easy to follow.

Pros:
This site has a good configurator which allows you to see pricing information on options you are selecting. You can send your quote request to up to 3 dealers. A Smart Target Price is shown - this could be helpful as an indicator of what kind of a deal you can expect to make and whether a quote you receive is a good one or not.

Cons:
No upfront pricing is given. Your personal information is not collected on a secure form and no turnaround guarantee is given. You can't search new inventory online. There is no telephone or online help available.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page choose your make and model (in the grey box on the right) and input your zip code. Click on the Build Your New Car button. Over the next few pages select trim level, colours and options.

  • Get a quote
    After configuring your car (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) click on the Get a Free Quote button. You can change the search distance from your zip code to see more dealers and you can select up to 3 dealers to send you a "no-obligation price quote".

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at cars.com.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 9/10
One of our Favorites!Autos.com: The best auto ranking site to help you find your perfect car
http://www.autos.com/

This is a CarsDirect offering that takes a bit of a different approach to online car buying. There is no extensive configuration or pricing information here - it's kind of like a Google-ized CarsDirect. The process is quick, simple and easy. You do get to do basic configuration and your information is collected on a secure form. There is however no access to online inventory.

Pros:
The site is elegant in its simplicity and condensed style. Your information is collected on a secure form and toll free help is available. upfront pricing, secure page for collecting personal information, good configurator, financing available, ability to indicate how you would like to be contacted, turnaround guarantee given, online toll free help, free service

Cons:
The configurator is quite a bit less full-featured than the CarsDirect site - no pricing is given when you select colour combos, the MSRP is actually not shown ANYWHERE on the configuration form and there is no chance to request options (like CD players or different wheels) on this configurator. No turnaround guarantee is given and you aren't shown which dealers your quote is going to. No access to online inventory or online (live) help.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    From the main page select your manufacturer, model and input your zip code than click on the Get A Price button. On the next page select style and exterior colour (that's it - you only get these two choices).

  • Get a quote
    After configuring the vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) input your contact information on the secure form and click on Get Your Free Quotes.

  • See online inventory
    New vehicle inventory is not available on the Autos.com site.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
Buy your next new or used car online with our New Car Pricing Guides
http://www.carsmart.com/content/buy/lm/new/index.cfm

Another site from the Autobytel family of sites. The process is simple and straightforward but no upfront pricing or ability to see inventory on dealers' lots.

Pros:
You should receive a reply to your quote request in one business day and if you are lucky you may get to send your request to more than one dealership (depends on where you live and the vehicle you are looking for). upfront pricing, secure page for collecting personal information, good configurator, financing available, ability to indicate how you would like to be contacted, turnaround guarantee given, online toll free help, free service

Cons:
No upfront pricing here, your information is not collected on a secure form and you can't see inventory online. There is supposedly telephone support (at least that's what the help page says) but I was unable to find a number anywhere on the site. There is no online (live) help. The configurator is pretty bare bones and you do not see pricing information on options and features you may have added to the basic car you selected. MSRP is not displayed anywhere so you have no idea what the potential price of a vehicle might be.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your manufacturer and model, enter your zip code and click on Continue. On the next page select your trim level, other options and colour combination.

  • Get a quote
    After configuring the vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) input your contact information on the non-secure form and click on Submit.

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at CarSmart.com.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
One of our Favorites!carmax VERY LIMITED COVERAGE (6 STATES and 7 BRANDS OF CARS)
http://www.carmax.com/dyn/newcar/newcar.aspx

Carmax is somewhat limited in terms of geography and brands but if you are lucky enough to live in states where they offer new cars you should check them out. To find out simply mouse over the brands in the carmax locations box in the centre of the main page. As you hover over the brand icon you'll see where new vehicles of that brand are being sold. Again this is a site that is blurring the line between online car buying and classifieds. However you are shown upfront pricing and dealer inventory which are both major advantages.

Pros:
You're shown upfront pricing - carmax's 'no haggle price'. You don't configure cars on this site - rather indicate what make and model you are looking for and which location to look at and then you see the inventory. There is toll free help available.

Cons:
I don't like that you can't search nationwide for new cars (only used cars have a nationwide search).

How to:

  • See online inventory
    Mouse over the brand that you are interested in and if it is being sold in your state then click on the graphic. On the next screen select your model, city/market, location and price range and click on Search. On the resulting list you'll see upfront pricing as well as basic information on the vehicle. Click on the vehicle's name to see more information and instructions on how to contact carmax.


Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Car Dealer Listings - MSN Autos
http://autos.msn.com/newcar/

A fairly good configurator (complete with tiny photos of the car that show you your colour selections) and a secure and upfront contact form. No upfront pricing though. Still - a quick and simple quote request process that unfortunately does not give you online access to inventory.

Pros:
A good configurator. Your personal information is collected on a secure form and a 24 hour turnaround guarantee is clearly stated.

Cons:
No upfront pricing or access to online inventory. No telephone or online (live) help available on the site. Within the configurator you aren't shown pricing on either the vehicle itself or options you are adding.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select your make and model, enter your zip code and click on Continue. On the next couple of pages indicate colours, options etc.

  • Get a quote
    After configuring your vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) click on Continue. Input your personal information on the secure page presented and click on Continue.

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at MSN Autos.


Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Vehix - New Cars
http://www.vehix.com/freePriceQuote/

Another quote request site that has some fairly good features that raise it a step above some of its competitors. That said I still find its visuals annoying and the site too busy. You can however use this site to configure a vehicle and then look for it on nearby dealers' lots.

Pros:
The configurator on this site is well done and pricing information (both invoice and MSRP) is shown for any options or packages you add. You can also create a printable summary or compare at this point in the configuration process. By clicking on the Search Inventory link you'll see similar vehicles on dealers' lots.

Cons:
No upfront pricing is given, your personal information is not collected on a secure form and no turnaround guarantee is given. I am also not thoroughly convinced that the configured vehicle details are being emailed to the dealer (there is no indication that you are requesting a quote on anything but the standard issue for any model). You are not shown which dealerships your quote request is going to. There is no telephone or online (live) help available.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Select Year, Make and Model and enter your Zip Code and then click on the Continue button. Select trim, colour and options.

  • Get a quote
    After configuring your vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) click on the Free Price Quote link. Fill in the non-secure form and click on Submit.

  • See online inventory
    You can search inventory at anytime. If you click on the Search Inventory button after configuring a vehicle you'll be shown similar vehicles at dealers' lots nearby. If you Search Inventory from the main page you can select a make, model and trim level and search using that broader criteria.


Overall Rating: 4/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
Welcome to the Costco Auto Program
http://www.costcoauto.com/

I've included this site since many of you are probably Costco members and may not be aware of this special autobuying program. The configurator is very bare bones but there is a turnaround guarantee given. No access to inventory is available.

Pros:
The process is quick and simple and seeing as it is free if you are a Costco member it seems a good idea to check this out to see if you can get a good price on a vehicle. You're given a turnaround guarantee of 24 hours and telephone support is available (in both Spanish and English) at a toll-free number during quite extensive hours.

Cons:
No upfront pricing, your personal information is not collected on a secure form and it sounds as if the only contact method is by telephone (although there is a place to specify your email address and it is in fact mandatory). You can not search inventory online.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    Input your zip code and click on go. Indicate the year, make and model of vehicle you are looking for and indicate if you have a trade in (and if so its specifications).

  • Get a quote
    "Configure" your vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above), indicate if you have a trade in and click on Continue. Input your information on the non-secure form and click on Continue - your information will be sent to a nearby dealer contact and you'll also receive the contact information for that dealership so you can telephone them at your convenience.

  • See online inventory
    New inventory is not available online at the Costco site.


Overall Rating: 4/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
New Cars | DealerNet
http://www.dealernet.com/

Another average quote request site. The process is quick and simple but the configurator is so bare bones as to be almost nonexistent and the form used to collect your personal information is not secure.

Pros:
A very quick and easy process.

Cons:
No upfront pricing, no security on personal information gathering form and no turnaround guarantee given. The configurator is very basic - all you get to indicate is trim level (the chance to indicate colour has disappeared). No online or telephone help and no access to inventory online. You are not shown which dealer your quote request is going to.

How to:

  • Configure a car
    On the main page indicate your manufacturer and model, input your zip code and click on Get Quotes. On the next page choose your trim level (the ability to choose a colour seems to have disappeared).

  • Get a quote
    After configuring your vehicle (use the 'Configure a car' link shown above) fill out the non-secure form and then click on the Get Free Price Quote button.

  • See online inventory
    New vehicle inventory is not available on the DealerNet site.


 
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