LAST UPDATED: November 11th, 2020

The National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) began in 1917 in McLean, Virginia. This auto sales trade group issues consumer pricing reports similar to Kelley Blue Book values on new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles. NADA also provides educational automotive research, and extensive business training and advocacy to dealerships nationwide. 

Around 90 percent of new car dealerships located in the United States are members of this automotive association. The organization lobbies for dealers politically and desires to educate consumers on fair pricing. 

Since 1933, NADA Guides has offered consumer pricing guides. The service offers several pricing and research guides for consumers at nadaguides.com, in several different areas: 

  • Autos
  • Boats
  • Classic Cars
  • Manufactured Homes
  • Motorcycles
  • RVs

In the NADA Guides store, users can purchase digital site integration with NADA data, online access to several different pricing tools, as well as printed guidebooks, like the official NADA used car guide, NADA classic car guide, and many more. 

The NADA Guides website offers a variety of buying and selling resources: 

  • Shop by body style, hybrid or electric cars, sports cars, or certified pre-owned cars (CPO) 
  • Enter a vehicle identification number (VIN) for access to an AutoCheck History Report ($24.99 for 1 or $49.99 for 25)
  • Get new car price quotes from local dealers with your zip code
  • LendingTree auto financing offers
  • List your car for sale on Autotrader
  • Get a Geico insurance quote
  • Search for a new or used car via the official NADA car finder
  • Online car buying safety tips to avoid fraud

Read on for pros and cons of shopping for a car with NADA.

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The Good

  • Great Resources and Tools
  • Official Car Appraisal Info
  • Owner and Expert Reviews
  • Compare Many Cars at Once

Great Resources and Tools

The NADA website provides ample resources and tools to prepare car shoppers for their next vehicle purchase. Plus, the nada.com website features resources from partners to help consumers get free dealer and insurance quotes, check a vehicle's history, sell their current car, and find current loan rate information. 

The NADA Car Payment and Affordability Calculator helps shoppers calculate what a monthly loan payment will be. It also helps determine how much they can afford for an automobile. It takes into account several factors, including car price, trade-in value of your current car, down payment, interest rate, how many months your loan will last, and sales tax. 

All of these helpful resources have been made available thanks to partnerships The National Automotive Dealers Association has with other automotive companies.

Official Car Appraisal Info

NADA Blue Book values are available for new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, going back dozens of years. If you are wanting to sell your car, truck, or SUV, you can check out local retail values for each model by entering the make, model, model year, trim and options. The result shows several pricing factors to help understand what the car is worth: 

  • Original MSRP
  • Low retail price
  • Average retail price

Owner and Expert Reviews

Users can read expert and consumer reviews for many vehicle models, while browsing. NADA car reviews are a great tool, to get info from an actual vehicle owner about the model or any problems, before going on to view local dealership inventory of cars for sale.

Compare Many Cars at Once

One interesting and unique feature on the NADA.com automotive website is the ability to compare up to 4 new and used cars at one time. 

This side-by-side comparison feature breaks down the differences between the various cars selected in a number of extensive categories. Factors include: 

  • Any warranties that may be offered
  • Factory invoice cost
  • Fuel economy in miles per gallon
  • Manufacturer's suggested retail price
  • Performance/mechanical specs on the vehicles
  • Rebates and sales incentives 
  • Safety features for your family
  • Used retail pricing for all 4 selected vehicle
  • Used car trade-in valuation 

The NADA comparison tool also reveals the cost of ownership over 5 years and shows interior and exterior pictures of all the vehicles when available.

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The Bad

  • Automotive Pricing Guides
  • Not an Accurate Gauge
  • User Experience

Automotive Pricing Guides

The NADA pricing guides can be trusted and reliable. However, they operate differently than those you may find on Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, and other similar websites. The guides issued by The National Automotive Dealers Association use dealer sales prices which are not exactly helpful if you are buying or selling a car through a private party. Dealers sell cars at much higher prices and offer rebates and incentives. This generally does not apply to most used car sales.

Not an Accurate Gauge

Another factor to consider is that the NADA auto pricing guides analyze vehicles in excellent and clean conditions. Since most used cars have some wear and tear, it is a little confusing to leave out a vehicle’s current condition or mileage when looking to see what it is worth. 

We worry that NADA car values cannot be considered an accurate gauge in pricing vehicles that do not fit condition criteria. Keep these tips in mind when using the NADA guides while comparing different vehicles.

User Experience

While NADA Guides has amassed a wide variety of information about automotive pricing and model info, the site navigation is a little bit clunky. It is difficult to just browse without choosing a specific vehicle model, down to the trim for detailed info. 

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The Bottom Line

The consumer pricing guides provided by the National Automotive Dealers Association can be considered honest and dependable when it comes to dealer pricing on new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles. On top of that, the group has been helping the automotive industry for over 100 years.

Whether buying or selling, we recommend NADA resources to guide your search before you head to the local dealership. Its detailed car pricing, specs, and research information, as well as its car comparison tool, are really helpful. However, your research would probably be best when combined with other pricing data from Kelley Blue Book or TrueCar

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A Bartholemeau Denver, CO

Junk. NADA has always been the tool for professionals like myself, but now the website only gives dealer retail rates on what cars sell for, which is useless to the average consumer when they are trying to trade in their vehicle or sell it private party. Trade in values don't exist, private party sales don't exist, mileage deductions do not exist, etc etc. Once a great tool, now absolutely useless.

10 months ago

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Alicia Holman Gilbert, AZ

I like this website a little more than the Blue Book as it's a little more detailed, but I'm not sure if it's as accurate, so I tend to do both and use the Kelly Blue Book numbers.

3 years ago

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Mickey Mangum Long Beach, MS

I have used NADA to price several vehicles that I owned and was trading. It really helped me to get an idea of what I should expect for a trade in AND it helped me to know how much I could get for the vehicle if I sold it. Simple web site that is very easy to use.

1 year ago

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Cim Carver Cheyenne, WY

NADA is the final word for me when it comes to researching a car’s value. I had a mechanic told me it was the only one ‘those in the know’ use and that locked it for me.

1 year ago

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Sara Smith Riverton, UT

NADA is great at providing a detailed value for a vehicle based on the year, make, model, mileage and options. It has helped us when researching vehicle values.

1 year ago

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Tom Gourley Pleasant Grove, UT

I have found NADA to be easy to use and reliable. It has been particularly valuable when I have bought and sold vehicles from private parties. I have also used it when dealing with automobile dealers.

1 year ago

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Jon Robinson Riverton, UT

NADA seems to be more true to value than others. I always check a couple with my car purchases, but I put more weight on the NADA values.

1 year ago

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Eric Smith Riverton, UT

NADA is always up to date with providing values on vehicles and is very user friendly.

1 year ago

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