TrueCar

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TrueCar

TrueCar.com is based on the premise that technology and Big Data could be utilized to provide a more reliable customer service experience for car buyers. (In other words, data and analytics could now be presented in an easy-to-digest form). The internet company was founded in 2005 by Delaware automotive-tech entrepreneur Scott Painter and several business partners. The idea of TrueCar.com was born out of the Painter’s initial company Zag.com who was looking to expand its back-end automotive buying services to compiling updated vehicle pricing data for consumers. Today, TrueCar offers more than one million used car listings and over 450,000 pre-owned vehicles in stock.

 

The Good

  • Easy to purchase
  • Report based on zip code

Those looking for their next new or used car appreciate a way to make their purchase with no hassles. Truecar.com strives to give consumers exactly that experience. Before you walk into a dealership, you'll be prepared ahead of time on what the car is actually worth.

Put in your zip code and the make of car you want in order to generate a report. You will be led to select a number of other options in order to fine-tune what type of vehicle and accessories you are looking for. Once your report is generated, you will be shown an easy-to-read graph that shows you a pricing curve of under-value, far, and over-market prices as well as a number of other factors. Truecar.com will also connect you with automotive dealers in your area that are selling that type of vehicle.

The Bad

  • Some makes and models are not available
  • Difficult to navigate the website
  • Savings certificates are not available in all states

TrueCar.com claims that you can search for a vehicle and get upfront pricing so you never have to overpay. However, there are a few makes and models that are not available on the website, so if you are looking for those cars you are out of luck. To avoid frustrating consumers, the website should have more options to choose from. Also be aware that your credit score will change the pricing data once you get to the dealership.

For the vehicles they do have, it is nice to see how the cost trends overtime. Plus, you get detailed information on the cars specs and how much you can figure on paying for the monthly payment. You can also find out how much negotiating room you have on the vehicle's overall price tag.

The website is also a bit tricky to navigate around. There are no clear navigation tabs and you have to scroll down the page to find features to click on. Many of the features you will want to access are hidden from plain sight until you start exploring. The fair market vehicle pricing reports are extremely clear and easy to understand.

Be aware that the guaranteed savings certificates are not applicable in all states. Some consumers have complained that dealers have not honored the lowered price tags listed on these guaranteed savings certificates. We recommend TrueCar.com be used for educational purposes as a starting point when looking for your next vehicle. 

The Bottom Line

In terms of aggregating car listings using technology, TrueCar serves this very basic function; however, it fails to translate that data in what it promises to be "easily digestible" content. Aside from well-rated apps, its features don't seem to be anything special. The same features can be found at competing sites with more features.

TrueCar.com will give you all the knowledge you need to purchase your next new or used car at a fair price. We recommend using Truecar.com's tools to help with learning what the vehicle is worth. However, do your research and do not depend on the dealer certificates to be guaranteed savings.

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