Edmunds Review - Will They Save You Money?
The Edmunds Website in Brief:
- Free dealer price quotes direct to your inbox.
- See what others paid for the same vehicle.
- Shop from your computer or mobile device.
- Compare prices from up to 5 local dealerships.
- True Cost to Own® & payment calculators.
- You WIN when dealers compete.
- Search cars at Edmunds.
Edmunds Website Overview
A car is one of the biggest purchases most people make. Mistakes are expensive and not easily put right, so it's important to choose carefully. Not many years ago car shopping meant trudging round dealerships and dealing with car salespeople face-to-face. You can still do it that way if you want, but car-buying websites offer a much better way.
Websites such as Edmunds connect you with dealers who have the vehicle you're looking for. They show you pricing and provide a link to the dealership so you can make contact. Some are more comprehensive, and complicated, than others though. That's why it pays to know what each site offers and how to navigate their process. Here we'll explore one of the best-known automotive websites: read on for our comprehensive Edmunds review.
The Edmunds Website
If ever there was a one-stop-shop for buying a new or used car Edmunds is it. Not only will you find car search tools, but there are buying guides, vehicle reviews, payment calculators, discussion forums and the Edmunds True Cost to Own® Calculator. Plus, you can request new or used car price quotes once you find the vehicle you're looking for and they have tools to help you sell the car you already own. In short, find your way to Edmunds and you needn't go anywhere else for researching a car.
How to Use the Site
Like other car-buying websites, Edmunds presents you with a list of cars that match your search criteria. For each car there are photos, a description and a price. Plus, there's link to the dealer selling the car. There are also lots of filters for narrowing down the choice. More on those later. What's clever about the Edmunds website though is that they provide several ways of getting to that list.
The Review Sections Below Address:
Searching for a Specific Vehicle
If you already know the make and model you're interested in Edmunds makes that real easy. Just enter these at the top of the home page. Check for new or used and click “Go.” Voila! There's your listing.
Choosing a Make or Model
If you're like most car buyers you're not exactly sure what you want. That's where the other tools on the site really help.
If you've no idea what would suit you, or you just want to browse the listings, go over to the “find your match” section on the right of the home page. Here you just make three choices and click “View Now.” Edmunds then shows you a long listing of cars you might be interested in.
Alternatively, look for the “Car Reviews” link half way down to the Home page. In addition to a search box for finding reviews of specific vehicles, this gives you the Edmunds expert picks by type. So imagine you want a midsize sedan. Right there you’ll see what Edmunds considers the five best cars in that category.
If you already have an idea of what you'd like there’s another search option. Under “browse by type” just click on the kind of vehicle you’re interested in – coupe, hybrid, SUV and so on. That takes you to a list, sorted by the Edmunds rating, of all the vehicles of that type. So if a coupe appeals for example, scroll through to see which they think are the best. For each model they provide a link to full details plus their review.
An alternative search method, having clicked on “browse by type’ is to narrow it down using the choices provided. So taking coupes as an example, you could choose between luxury coupes, sporting coupes and exotic coupes.
“New” or “Used?”
Most car buyers are shopping for a used car, and that’s a smart choice because it avoids the worst of the depreciation. Alternatively, you may prefer the warranty, style and safety technology of a brand-new vehicle. Well either way, Edmunds provides two more shortcuts, again, midway down the Home page. Over to the left you’ll see links for browsing "New Car Pricing" and "Used Cars for Sale."
Under New Car Pricing you’ll see a search tool plus tools for helping you understand financing. There are also listings of the best cars at various price points: under $15k, $15-$25k and so on.
Used Cars for Sale opens a similar window. Again you’ve got a search box, a set of tools to help you through the process, and more expert listings.
Using Filters to Refine Your Vehicle Search
Earlier in this Edmunds review we mentioned all the filters. Now let’s take a closer look.
Let’s say you dived straight into your car search by using the search boxes at the top of the home page. This has given you a long list of cars of that type for sale. Now it’s time to narrow down the choice.
The first filter you’ll probably use is the one for searching near your zip code. Then you can turn to those for model year and price. (It’s often good to leave model year open as this might bring up some deals you’d otherwise miss.) And if you’re searching for new, along with price you get the option to enter a maximum monthly payment.
Then you can start narrowing down the list. For most vehicles you can choose the trim level you want, (LS or LT for example.) You can also search by mileage, features and even color. In short, you can filter the list to find any vehicle you want, (though having one show up depends on whether a dealer has it in stock.)
Edmunds Useful Research Tools
Whether you’re searching for a new car or one that’s used, Edmunds has lots of tools that help with understanding finance. There’s one in particular though that you won’t find anywhere else: the True Cost to Own®.
This uses their proprietary data to estimate what a specific vehicle will cost over a five-year period. It’s extremely useful, but also rather scary! Running a car can be surprisingly expensive!
One other tool to mention is the Car Appraiser. This lets you estimate the value of the car you'll be trading-in or selling.
What makes the site useful:
From car listings to buying guides, Edmunds has everything you could ever need to find your next car. Especially useful features are:
- Detailed reviews written by automotive experts
- Comprehensive specifications for every make, model and trim
- Rankings/grading of every vehicle, so you know how it stacks up against the competition
- The True Cost to Own® tool that lets you see how expensive a particular vehicle could be
- Extensive listings of new and used vehicles, with links to the dealers
- Tools for figuring out financing
Limitations to be aware of:
There are two problems with the Edmunds website, and in fairness they're not so much problems as consequences of it's size.
- It's huge! There's so much information that it's easy to become sidetracked or simply swamped by the volume of facts, figures and specifications.
- It can be hard to find your way to the information you want. To address this, the site designers/developers have provided lots of shortcuts but it's still not always obvious how to get to a particular tool or nugget of information.
Requesting Free Price Quotes from Edmunds
Requesting a free price quote on the Edmunds website is fast and convenient. Once you've decided on the new or used car you would like to purchase or what it's selling for in your area, visit Edmunds.com.
Enter the make and model of the vehicle, and your zip code. This helps Edmunds find the exact vehicle you want at trusted dealerships in your area. The next page will show you how many dealerships in your local area have the vehicle you want to buy. You will need to provide your contact information to receive the requested information.
You can choose only one dealer or several dealers. I would suggest the latter so you can see which dealers in your area are more flexible in their pricing and also keep you from having to drive from dealership to dealership wasting your time.
Once you check off all the dealers you want free price quotes from, click the button that says "Get Price Quotes." Now you just sit back and let the quotes roll in. Depending on the day and time of your request, some quotes may show up immediately and some dealers may take up to 48 hours to respond.
Why request price quotes from Edmunds?
- Make dealers compete for your business.
- Easily compare prices from several dealerships.
- Shop from the comfort of home or work.
- Internet volume discounts & pricing.
- Deal with trusted Edmunds dealers.
- No haggling with frontline salespeople.
The more pricing information and research you can gather before actually visiting a dealership is always beneficial to you receiving the best deal on your next vehicle purchase.
Closing Thoughts on Edmunds
Choosing a car is big decision and it's up to you to educate yourself as much as possible. On the Edmunds website you can find and learn everything you need. Then search for the car that's going to suit you best and click through to the dealer. They've done everything possible to make car buying easy. You just need to set aside some time to study what they can serve up.
Read My Other Car Buying Website Reviews Below
Recommended Sites for Online Car Shopping
CarClearanceDeals and Edmunds are the quickest way to compare new car prices in your local area. These online sites will provide you with free, no-obligation price quotes and the discounts you receive will give you confidence on your next new car purchase. Walk away from the dealership knowing you received a good deal, not hoping you did.