What is CarGurus?

CarGurus is one of the biggest car shopping sites in the United States and its popularity has exploded in the last few years. But what is CarGurus, and how can car shoppers and sellers use it to their advantage?

CarGurus and Langley Steinert

CarGurus seems to have become the site of choice for car buyers and sellers in recent years and you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a relatively new project.

In actual fact, CarGurus has been around since 2006, when it was launched by Langley Steinert, the co-founder of TripAdvisor.

There are currently over 5 million vehicles listed on the website, providing endless choice for car shoppers across the United States.

Great Deals and Instant Market Value

One of the standout features of CarGurus is something known as Instant Market Value (IMV), which is the algorithm that the site uses to determine a fair value.

Instant Market Value is based on comparable cars being sold elsewhere, so it’s usually a very good indicator of the car’s market value.

Buying and Selling on CarGurus

You can use CarGurus to buy used cars, new cars, and certified cars. It is free for dealerships to list their vehicles and so you will find a lot of vehicles across a broad range of categories and in locations across the United States.

CarGurus also has a category for “certified cars”. Known as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles, these used cars have been inspected and come with a manufacturer warranty.

If you’re car shopping for a great deal and don’t have hours and days to waste kicking tires and going on test drives, these cars are a great option.

Pros and Cons of CarGurus

How does CarGurus compare to other car buying and selling websites? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

Pro: Unbiased Car Shopping

Half of the dealerships on CarGurus pay to be there while the other half don’t. However, CarGurus doesn’t discriminate and all of these listings are given equal weight.

Pro: Lots of Search Results

There are a huge number of listings on the CarGurus platform and car enthusiasts can search by zip code, price, make, model, condition, mileage, and more. It doesn’t matter where you live, there will be some vehicles near you.

Pro: Instant Market Value (IMV)

The Instant Market Value is very useful when it comes time to sell your car through CarGurus. You can also get the IMV here and then compare it to quotes received from other car buyers, dealerships, and services like Kelley Blue Book.

Pro: Financing Options and Protection

CarGurus offers financing options for anyone buying vehicles through the site and there is also up to $75,000 worth of protection provided.

Pro: Reviews and Dealership Reputation

You can check reviews of car dealerships to determine whether or not it’s worth entering into a discussion with a particular dealer.

Reviews are helpful in any retail setting but they are particularly useful when it comes to car shopping. Car dealerships and private car dealers that are too pushy or use underhanded tactics are held to account and you can stay clear.

Con: Listing Problems

One of the biggest complaints about CarGurus is that some of the listings are outdated, with the cars having already been sold.

To avoid this issue, you should contact the dealership as soon as you find a vehicle that you like. Make sure that it is still available and arrange a time to see it and test drive it.

Con: Limited Private Sellers

You can sell vehicles through CarGurus and the process is actually quite simple. However, the number of private listings is dwarfed by car dealerships.

Oftentimes, the best deals come from private sellers as they don’t have to think about profit and loss and are more willing to negotiate. However, you have to search through many car dealerships before you find those private sellers.

Con: Cost

You can list your car for free on CarGurus. However, you will need to pay $99 when it sells. It is not a huge sum when you consider how many potential buyers will see your car, but it’s certainly more than you would pay by listing on Facebook or Craigslist!

Con: Red Tape

One of the great benefits of selling on CarGurus is that it’s a very strict and ordered process. It helps to keep scams to an absolute minimum and with the introduction of protection schemes and IMV, it also means that customers pay a fair price.

However, when it comes to selling your car through CarGurus, the red tape gets a little annoying.

To prove that you own the car and that you’re not listing a vehicle owned by someone else, you need to snap a picture with a door open and the vehicle identification number (VIN) stuck to the windshield.

Summary: CarGurus

As you can see, CarGurus has a lot to offer both buyers and sellers. Whether you’re looking for a good deal on a used car, want to buy new from reputable dealerships, or have a vehicle to sell, it’s worth taking a look at CarGurus.