What is known today as Kelley Blue Book (KBB)—first started in 1926—has origins dating back to 1918. The company gets its name from founder Les Kelley, who launched the initial enterprise under the name Kelley Kar Company. The enterprise was a car dealership with Model T Ford vehicles for sale.
Kelley collected raw data from his business operations with other dealers and banks, publishing the information for public consumption in the first Kelley Blue Book in 1926. This book became a standard guide in the automotive trade for determining car value.
By the 1960s, the company moved from a car dealership to a specialty publisher, focusing on the production of its automobile pricing guides.
The company details current market value and ranges for every type of new or used vehicle available on the market. Kelley Blue Book also provides dealer invoice pricing for new cars and trade-in values for used cars. Website visitors to kbb.com can also find expert and consumer reviews, safety ratings, and detailed 5-year Cost-to-Own data, as well as the opportunity to sell their car with an on-site ad listing.
Read on for pros and cons, plus Kelley Blue Book reviews from real users.
Kelley Blue Book's most significant feature allows owners to determine what their vehicle is worth, called Blue Book Value. All it requires is the make, model, mileage, model year, and relative condition to find the car's value. Car pricing is fast, free and requires just a few clicks to get the results.
Kelly Blue Book values are a go-to feature for both car buyers and sellers, whether going through a dealership or selling directly. The Blue Book values are the gold standard for determining vehicle valuation in the automotive market, allowing all parties, when buying or selling, to be informed and prepared to negotiate accordingly.
For new automobiles, KBB also provides information about a car's suggested retail price (the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP) and the dealer invoice price.
For used cars, KBB provides retail value, certified pre-owned value, trade-in price, private party value, and an instant cash offer if you are looking to quickly sell your car to a local dealer.
Instant cash offers are to be redeemed with a participating dealer, pending inspection and appraisal.
When the Kelley Blue Book website was launched in 1995, it charged consumers $3.95 for a pricing report. The backlash was almost instantaneous. Customers insisted that online information should be free. In response, KBB did just that, offering a list of free pricing tools and services for both car shoppers and dealers.
Here are a few of the company's no-cost features/tools that stand out:
Free Dealer Price Quote. With the car make, model and zip code, users can find out the going sales price for any vehicle offered by car dealers.
Five-year cost-to-own. Helps prospective buyers to prepare for new car ownership by configuring the hidden costs over a five year period. These hidden costs are fuel economy, state fees, financing, maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Once the hidden costs have been calculated, it then allows buyers to compare and contrast those costs between different vehicles.
Next, it calculates the loss in value-what the car is worth in five years, adding the two together to determine the cost to own. This especially comes in handy when comparing cars of the same market price, since the cost to own can be the deciding factor of which car is more expensive.
Autocheck vehicle history report. Kelley Blue Book is best known for this feature along with the ability to determine the going rate of a car's market value. Autocheck is a partner with Kelley Blue Book, helping prospective used car buyers do background research on a used or pre-owned vehicle to determine the vehicle's history. This feature helps buyers avoid pitfalls by finding any accident reports, criminal activity or unreported title brands.
Kelley Blue Book also offers expert and consumer vehicle reviews and ratings. Kbb.com also features numerous awards and top 10 lists.
Bonus services include credit checks, car insurance information, and vehicle history reports.
If you are selling a car, there are four different packages for placing a used car ad on Kelley Blue Book. Available packages are dependent on your location, but basic options are:
Looking up car listings on KBB.com has one feature that could be improved: the cars should be listed separately, as both are currently mixed together. This occurs throughout the site and can be tedious at best and confusing at worst.
As highly regarded as the KBB website is, the iPhone and iPad apps fall way short of its expectations. With only a one star rating, customers have more than their share of negative feedback. A few harsh critiques:
The app is extremely slow and can lag or jump around. For instance, when selecting the choice of car, it will jump back to various different prompt screens (what make of car, body style, etc.) and then return to the screen you're supposed to be on.
Since they redesigned the app, the ease of use has become intolerable compared to the previous version. It now takes longer to view your desired car due to the additional steps to get to the car.
The Android app isn't much better. With only three stars, it is riddled with the same issues as the Apple version.
Customers complain that it takes way too long to find what they are looking for—along with a myriad of technical issues. Regarding these app issues, being that many car dealers use this app, it would behoove KBB to fix any bugs or technical issues to maintain good relationships and continued trust in their brand. The standard Blue Book Value feature is fast and easy; however, clicking through to the results can be a bit confusing, as the page is very crowded and one has to scroll down to finally see the price chart for the specified vehicle. The page could be made cleaner with fewer components.
Used this to compare prices on a few cars a few years back. Love the format, so simple and easy to get the information you need fast.
This book is a first stop when we are looking at a car or truck. We always check to see what the value is on a used car we like then we have a good idea if the sales price is fair or high! This book gives you a good starting pay when you are negotiating on a vehicle!
These guys helped me price and buy my Ranger at a good price. Not only was I able to see what it should cost, but also what the high and low end was.
Kelly Blue Book has been integral is selling my car. I used their services to properly price my vehicle and sell it at an affordable yet modest price.
The site can be difficult to navigate and isnt always reliable. I do believe the site needs to be overhauled.
Great place to find reviews on many different businesses and see the dealers around.
Kelly Blue Book is one of the best car information sites. I used this site when purchasing my first car and it helped me get a more accurate price for my used car!
Kelly blue book was an amazing website when I was trying to find my first car. It's amazing car review section allowed me to finalize my car to my toyata Corolla.
I use kelly blue book whenever I am purchasing a car from craigslist and I appreciate their fair prices
Maryann Renteria (Mckrae)
I appreciate the ease of being able to look up your car and know what it is worth! Safe, real, reliable answer to your question of what your car is worth‼️
Great tool when trying to buy or sell a car. Not sure how trustworthy it is, because the general public doesn’t know any better.
I have used multiple times for selling cars and for making sure I'm getting a good deal on a used car. I think they are very accurate very user-friendly
The thing I like about using KBB when searching for cars is the fact that i can also check the worth of the vehicle I’m looking for. It’s nice to be able to have an idea of what a car should be worth and what the price should be so that way I dont get swindled or overpay for a new /used vehicle. To me all car search engines are basically the same, but KBB offers a trusted and reliable estimation of a cars worth.
Kelly blue book is a great resource to use. This company is very benefical when coming for teaching for cars. This company is also very honest and makes sure to give the most accurate quotes on vehicles. A very trusted company.
I’ve used Kelley blue book a lot. It has all the information you’re looking for on vehicles you’re looking into. The site is very user friendly and I was able to navigate thru it very easily. It has very useful information and helped me make decisions on buying or selling my vehicles. I will always use Kelley blue book when it comes to buying or selling my cars.
I used Kelly blue book every time I have bought a car, or thought about selling my car, and it is such an easy tool to use to see if you are getting a good deal!
With a recent private sale of one vehicle and Dealer purchase of another Kelley blue book helped us make sure we were giving and getting the best value.
I’ve used Kelly’s blue book to help me in all of my car selling. It’s easy to use and a great tool to have when selling your car.
Kelly Blue book is the trusted source I go to when I need to find a value for my vehicles. The values are always right where they need to be. Never too high or too low.
Kelly Blue Book provides a great serivce to its customer and has helped me determine how much my car is worth when selling and also how much I should pay when buying a used car. Their prices are always very accurate for what the market will pay.
We use Kelley blue book quite often when we’re buying and selling things it’s a nice option to use and it’s very informational it’s got a lot of good things on it I haven’t had too many problems obviously with it once again I feel like it’s a great source for anybody that’s needing to use it and I am grateful that it’s around
Well worth the effort to do research and input data from your vehicle. Made life easy!
I like Kelley Blue Book because it helps me determine the real value of a car I want to buy.
Kelly Blue Book took all of the guess work out of car shopping. This process was super intimidating for me as I have NO idea what I was looking for or the value of anything. This site is easy to use and so helpful.
Kelly Blue book is the best known car value book. It is my go to whenever I need to find the value of a car. It gives a very accurate value for your vehicle and is very easy to navigate the website. I trust Kelly Blue book to be accurate when researching car values.
I’ve used this multiple times while searching For cars on KSL to see if they are worth what they are priced at.
All the information I need in one place. Accurate and thorough. Easy to read and understand.
Rommie Bishop III
Kelley Blue book was very helpful in helping understand the value of my car. Paired with Carfax, I had a more comprehensive understanding of what I should expect to pay for in the Subaru Outback I wanted.
I use Kelley Blue Book to price out all of my vehicles. They are usually priced lower than some of the other Auto info companies.
I’ve used Kelly Blue Book for years. The information is easy to find and super useful when looking to buy or sell a car.
I use kelley blue book When I’m selling or buying vehicles. It’s a great way to get a base price on the vehicles.
Kelley Blue Book offers a reliable way to know and understand the worth of a vehicle. It is trustworthy and dependable. You can know immediately if you are getting a good price on your car.
Have used this company to value my car before selling on my own and it's always super accurate.
Great tool to compare prices of vehicles when you're browsing for a new car to buy.
I love using Kelly blue boom to find the value of your car. It has been a great resource in finding another car.
Kelley gives average pricing on used vehicles. I've used it to price several cars I've sold over the years and to research vehicles as I've purchased them. I trust it and believe the quotes to be accurate and fair.
I always use Kelley Blue Book when pricing the value of my car and when pricing out a car to buy! A must use tool for car buying!
Really like this site! I like how it will tell me the value before I buy or sell a car! Now I know what to expect.
I have used Kelley Blue Book a few times when buying and selling cars to get an idea of how much a car might go for. It is a great service.
Overall, Kelly Blue Book is a well trusted name in the industry. I have used their tools multiple times. Kelly Blue Book offers real value in saving money through accessible information. They offer industry leading, key information invaluable in making purchasing decisions. I won't ever buy anything without consulting Kelly Blue Book!
Kelley Blue Book is really awesome for looking for a car. They are accurate and reliable.
I was thinking about selling my vehicle. I was able to get a good idea as to what my vehicle is actually worth. It helped me decide whether to sell myself or use as trade-in.
Super helpful site. Makes it very easy to compare different cars and make sure you’re getting a fair price.
Kelly Blue has always been fair and accurate when it come to the true value of the cars.
I love Kelley Blue Book. When I was purchasing a car a few years ago, I used Kelley Blue Book. It helped me find cars with the best value, and showed me how much a car was actually worth.
We’ve come to really rely on Kelly blue book for buying and selling. Our experience is that they really give us accurate valuation
They have always been very accurate in their approximate price for vehicles. They are the most reliable source I have used.
Kelley Blue Book has been the standard for what price to sell cars for a long time. I have used it numerous times to get a good idea of a used car is priced right or not.
Have used the online service several times. Able to find information that is helpful when looking to trade cars
Like this company also they help with the cost of a new or used car very helpful and resourceful it helps alot to turn to they books about cars before you spend your money on a vehicle