Top Places to Research a Car Online
When it comes to cars, Americans are pretty darn picky. And while we're all united in our love for the automobile--whether it's the irresistible masculinity of a hot rod, the perfect junk car to restore, or the overpowering thrill of a V8 truck--it behooves us all to make sure whatever car we're intending to purchase is the right one for where we are in life.
Just as all cars aren't created equal (sorry, Chevy SSR), if you're in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle, it's important to know what you're getting yourself into. There are lots of car research sites out there, but just like the vehicles they profile, there's a lot of disparity when it comes to getting the information you need in order to make an informed decision.
Here, we recommend some of our favorite car review sites, and tell you why we like them.
Our Favorite Car Review Sites
As more and more American consumers exhaustively research their purchases, perhaps no market more than the automobile attracts so much scrutiny and due diligence. Our Easton Motors list of top places to research a vehicle are:
1. Autobytel: What we love most about Autobytel is how user-friendly it is. Yes, some of the ads are pesky, and the layout can be a bit overwhelming, but Autobytel is ultimately geared toward the buyer, and we love their commitment to steering consumers in the right direction. We especially like their videos--which are always full of little bits of information that don't always make it into a blog post or review. We recommend checking out Autobytel on YouTube.
2. Edmunds.com: Edmunds has long been an automotive industry news leader, and they have a large stable of writers and journalists working for them. While we don't like the purchasing interface as much as we do on other sites (see below), we appreciate the vehicle reivew format, and how it's always consistent. If we need to know right away how many horsepower a Ford F-150 SuperCrew had in 2013, we can. Pretty neat, huh?
3. kbb.com: Like Edmunds, kbb.com (AKA, KelleyBlueBook.com) is an automotive industry standard. If Kelley Blue Book says you're a good car, then you probably are. If they say a Subaru is going to have high resale value, then you can bet the house that it will. Think of it as an almanac, but for cars. What we love about doing car research on kbb.com is that you know within about 20 seconds of reading a review whether or not a particular make or model is right for you. At the start of every kbb.com review, they tell you who's going to like the car, and who's not. They're also not afraid to give their overall impressions, based on personal test drives and side-by-side vehicle comparisons.
4. Consumer Reports: Sure, Consumer Reports isn't automotive-specific, but they take the nostalgia and emotion out of car reviews, and just give you the truth. They tell you what's actually a good buy, and have a special eye for vehicle safety. If you're a parent with young kids, or just someone who values secure transportation (hey--we're not all James Bond), then make sure you consult Consumer Reviews before finalizing your car purchase.
5. Buyherepayhere.autotrader.com: What we love most about this site is that it caters itself to the Buy Here Pay Here market, which we think is a little under-served when it comes to research and directing people to the right kinds of dealerships for their bad credit situations. Buyherepayhere.autotrader is Autotrader.com's official BHPH "spin-off" and we're grateful for them.
So, what say you, car shoppers of America? What are your favorite car review sites? Sound off on the comments, and let us know what we're missing out on!