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US Car Comparison Tools
Okay, you've narrowed it down to two, three, four cars. Use these sites to compare them.
Some car comparison tools allow you to compare older cars to each other (rather than just being able to compare this year's models to each other). Bolded text saying "This car comparison tool allows you to compare used cars" at the beginning of the review indicates that the car comparison tool on the site has the capability of comparing older cars.
Edmunds.com - Vehicle Comparison
Best tool of the bunch with only a couple of minor flaws. If you're wanting to compare vehicles this is where you should start.
With the Edmunds' tool you can compare up to EIGHT cars at once. Comparisons are quite detailed and list a variety of stats on vehicles as well as a short anecdotal section on the pros and cons of each vehicle.
You are not shown the price when you select the vehicle trim level so it is difficult to ensure you are getting cars of comparable value. You can only compare cars back to 2005 (and even in 2005 only a limited number of brands are available for comparison).
Autosite Research - Select Make
This tool gives the Edmunds' tool a run for its money in terms of the presentation and full-featuredness of its comparison report. I recommend using it as well as the Edmunds' tool for a complete picture of how your selected vehicles compare.
I'm not sure how many cars you can compare with this tool - I stopped at 3 because the page was getting to squished. Comparisons are very detailed - move from category to category by clicking on the link beneath the pictures at the top of the chart (Basics, Driving, Inside, Outside). The little 'up thumb' graphic which shows you which vehicle has the advantage vis a vis a specific characteristic is helpful. The report can be printed.
Although you aren't shown the prices of any of the cars as you select them after you select your original vehicle directly competing models will be indicated with an asterisk - if price was also listed this would be even more helpful but it is a start. You can only compare cars back to 2005. Invoice price is not listed in the comparison data.
Yahoo! Autos - Car Compare
A good tool that has a couple of nifty features that make it quite user friendly.
You can compare up to four vehicles with the Yahoo! tool. If you have a Yahoo! account (who doesn't these days?) you can compare cars that you have saved in the My Autos section. The comparison report is very thorough and I especially like the links to reviews in the User Reviews section of the chart. You can save the comparison report, IM it or print it. Although it is rather blatant it may be useful to some people to have a direct link to receive quotes on a vehicle from a nearby dealer.
You are not shown the price when you select the vehicle trim level but you are shown vehicles to the right that are directly competing models. You can only compare cars back to 2005.
CarsDirect.com - America's #1 way to buy cars online!
To access the research center click on the 'Research' tab on the main page. Then click on the Compare Cars link in the top right corner.
This tool doesn't offer that much functionality over the other tools in this section of our site but it DOES allow you to compare vehicles all the way back to 1996. This is a very useful feature.
I'm not sure how many vehicles you can compare at once but I would say 3 or 4 is the limit in terms of what fits nicely on the page. The comparison report is quite thorough.
You are not shown the price when you select the vehicle trim level so it is difficult to ensure you are getting cars of comparable value. You can not print, save or email the comparison report.
MSN Autos Side By Side Compare
Another tool that is nothing special but does allow you to access vehicles back to 1988.
With the MSN tool you can compare up to three vehicles at once. You can easily search used inventory from within the comparison report.
You are not shown the price when you select the vehicle trim level so it is difficult to ensure you are getting cars of comparable value. The comparison report is quite brief and the report can not be printed, saved or emailed (the email link shown in the top right only emails the basic comparison tool page URL).