While Edmunds.com was launched in 1997, the Edmunds company was started in 1966 as a publishing company specializing in the consolidation of automotive specification data. Edmunds distributed printed booklets targeting car shoppers to help them make informed buying decisions. 

Decades later in the 1990s, Edmunds released its data on CD-ROM, plus other notable books dedicated to car buyers. One of these books was Edmunds Strategies for Smart Car Buyers. Another was Edmunds New Cars & Trucks Buyer's Guide. 

With Edmunds.com, the company made its services digital. As it has done since its inception, Edmunds continues to offer detailed information to car buyers, sharing tips and advice with features like buying guides, expert reviews, and articles about selling or leasing used cars. 

Edmunds specializes in providing customers all they need to know before buying a used or new car. Using Edmunds’ nationwide database, customers can search a complete virtual inventory of new, used, and certified pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs in their area. Car listings can be browsed by make and model—plus categories for body type like coupes and hatchbacks, or categories like convertibles, hybrid models, or electric cars. There is even a price range breakdown, with eight price groups ranging from “Under $15K” to “Luxury.” 

Used car listings include photos, videos, vehicle details, and pricing, along with easy ways to contact the dealership for more information. 

Users are provided with several tools, including:

  • Compare Cars Tool
  • New Car Price Quotes
  • Edmunds True Market Value
  • Edmunds True Cost to Own

Edmunds has a sizeable Youtube presence. The video lineup includes test track drives, auto show updates, and quick, helpful advice videos about car buying, car selling, and financing your new car. 

Keep reading our Edmunds.com review for pros and cons, plus verified reviews from consumers like you.

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The Good

  • Edmunds True Cost to Own
  • Edmunds True Market Value
  • Edmunds Price Promise
  • Tools for New Car Buyers
  • Financing Features

Edmunds True Cost to Own

One of the best parts of Edmunds.com is its True Cost-to-Own feature that reveals hidden costs of things like gas mileage and maintenance during the five years from purchased date. Sometimes, a car or truck may be cheap to buy at first but then require lots of maintenance not covered by the warranty.

Comparing vehicle ratings side-by-side through this feature will reveal this information ahead of time and help you save money in the future. Eight factors are taken into account, over the course of five years to determine the five-year cost of ownership: 

  1. Vehicle depreciation
  2. Interest on financing
  3. Taxes and government fees
  4. Insurance premiums
  5. Fuel economy
  6. Maintenance
  7. Repairs
  8. Federal tax credit 

Edmunds also compiles all this exhaustive consumer data into an easy-to-read pie chart so you can see at a glance what problems you may run into after purchasing the vehicle. 

Edmunds True Market Value

One of Edmunds’ signature offers is what it calls upfront pricing. The site provides a free True Value Appraisal Tool for car owners looking to sell their vehicle. This car assessment tool allows owners to tell what their car is worth by entering make, model, mileage, styling, and condition. It offers transparent pricing info with dealership trade-in, private party, and dealer retail price estimates. 

Edmunds Price Promise

Another signature offer is Edmunds Price Promise. This is a way for buyers to save money when vehicle-shopping. This tool makes it possible to lock in a no-haggle price before going to the dealership. There are three steps to this process:

  1. Compare multiple Price Promise offers from Edmunds’ network of dealers
  2. Lock in savings of up to thousands off MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) and get a dedicated dealer contact to help you make your purchase
  3. Print and bring the certificate to the dealership

To avoid having to negotiate, customers can print out the actual certificate, guaranteeing their savings, and bring it with them to the dealership (sort of like a coupon for cars). 

Tools for New Car Buyers

For new car buyers, Edmunds offers the Compare Car tool, which shows each new car's pros and cons—plus expert input on the car's performance, interior comfort, function, fit and finish to help determine if that vehicle is the best choice.

The New Cars Price Quote is favorable because it allows customers to contact up to five dealers at once. Most car finder websites only offer three quotes. 

Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) helps customers figure out whether they should buy now or wait a month for prices to go down by predicting market trends for all car models every month. The TMV is automatically adjusted to include the styling options and colors customers select—plus current incentives. 

Financing Features

Buyers seeking a car loan are also covered. Edmunds has an associated site called up2drive.com for auto loans. The site offers individual loans for new and used cars and even car loan refinancing with Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) starting as low as 2.99%. It is free to apply online, allowing approved applicants to write an expedited check directly to the car dealer or current lender. 

Helpful tools include several different Edmunds Payment Calculators, including the following: 

  • Monthly Loan Payment Calculator
  • Monthly Lease Payment Calculator
  • Affordability Calculator: What Can I Afford?
  • Low APR vs Cash Back Calculator
  • Maintenance Costs and Recalls Calculator
  • Gas Guzzler Trade-In Calculator

The Bad

  • Phone Number Required
  • Pricing Tool Improvements
  • History Report
  • Comparison Tool
  • Sponsored Cars

Phone Number Required

A phone number should not be a required a field when requesting car prices. It's understandable why car dealerships want contact information, but many customers likely prefer to communicate and negotiate via email, rather than phone calls.

Pricing Tool Improvements

Regarding the True Market Value Tool, Edmunds doesn't reveal exactly how many car sales are included in the TMV number or the time frame of car sales that are used in calculations.

Customers can view price information based on their zip code, but cannot compare that to national price information. Compared to one of its major competitors, automotive site TrueCar does a slightly better job with graphing prices and categorizing what should be considered a bad, good, or great deal.

The Edmunds True Cost to Own value should be redesigned to offer an estimated residual value for each vehicle as well as a percentage of the purchase price since car prices will differ when comparing.

History Report

One serious improvement should be to incorporate a free vehicle history report like eBay Motors does. Currently, on Edmunds.com, a history report is not included. Edmunds just provides a direct link to the Carfax website where customers have to pay for a history report. 

Comparison Tool

The Compare Cars tool can only be used for new cars. Customers should be able to compare used vehicles as well with the ability to look at the differences between model years for a single make/model.

Sponsored Cars

It would be better for Edmunds to separate the "sponsored cars" feature from the Car Finder feature. Currently, both are mixed in together, with "sponsored cars" blended in with the results of the Car Finder feature. It is possible to just ignore the sponsored cars, but it can be a little confusing. If, for example, a customer narrows their results to Toyotas the sponsored cars will still include a Chevy and a Nissan.

All in all, these are suggestions to improve an already solid service. 

The Bottom Line

Since 1997, Edmunds.com has helped improve the buying experience by giving customers the power to make the best-informed decision when buying a car.

Search for any new or used car online and compare multiple prices from the site’s extensive partner network of over 10,000 dealers nationwide. 

With the price promise program, you can choose the deal you want and bring your printable certificate to the dealership for a test drive. This certificate can help you save thousands off the MSRP. 

Certain functions can be tweaked to be even better but overall, its variety of tools and services make Edmunds one of car buyers' favorite go-to resources.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

3.9
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9 Reviews

Review Breakdown

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4 star
44%
3 star
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11%

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Cim Carver

February 21st, 2020 Cheyenne, WY

Great site for car research. Very easy to use and their rankings are very helpful as you’re looking into cars.

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Cat Lee

January 16th, 2020 Los Angeles, CA

DO NOT GIVE YOUR INFORMATION TO Edmunds.com. They got my phone number into their system accidentally. In the last twelve hours throughout the night and this morning (8:30pm - 8:30am), I have received 14 unsolicited phone calls and text messages from various dealerships. I have contacted Edmunds about this issue to no avail. DO NOT under any circumstance give your phone number to Edmunds.com unless you want to be receiving phone calls every 10 minutes.

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Phil Cooke

December 12th, 2019 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Thorough and unbiased; site can be a little cumbersome, but I find better than Kelleys

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Robert Pacitti

December 12th, 2019 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Search tools online only. I Find it very useful and once purchased they tell me the value of the car I purchased as depreciation occurs

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Juan

December 4th, 2019 Beaver, PA

I have browsed on this site for cars before. There are some options but not many people list cars im looking for on here.

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Alex Danielson

November 19th, 2019 Riverton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I've used Edmunds quite a number of times while searching for cars and information. Great service, reliable info and product!

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Rob Whipple

May 6th, 2019 Mesa, AZ

Great detail and info on cars in my area to find. Has been very helpful. Great pictures and easy to navigate.

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Cody Linden

July 23rd, 2018 Lehi, UT

Edmunds was helpful when I wanted to compare cars as well as information on certain models or brands. Gave me a bigger picture view on the market before I narrowed down my decision.

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Anonymous

June 8th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

Edmunds gives their customers great information and a lot of behind the scenes information before you go looking for a car. I think they are very trustworthy and give value to the car buying process.

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