What are the Best Sites for Buying a Car Online?
Used car prices in Australia jumped by 21 per cent in 2021 with the low inventories and a continued shortage of new vehicles fuelling the rise.
We decided to “take a test drive” of the best sites for buying a car online and see how they compare.
We wanted to see how many of the same year, make and model are available on each website because that would be comparing apples with apples, right? And what is the median price of that same vehicle on each site? Is there a significant disparity?
We haven’t seen this sort of test done in Australia before and thought it might be not only fun, but illuminating. Additionally, with Moody’s suggesting that prices for used cars might start to pull back in 2023, it would be interesting to seen how the most popular car buying websites fair in terms of listing and prices.
Our rather non-scientific approach was as follows.
We know that most new car leases are three, four or five years in length and we’ve noticed that more dealership used cars are available after three years, rather than four or five.
So we assume that means more people choose a standard three year car lease and then return it at the end. Hence more three year old cars in inventory and available online.
The Toyota Hilux continues to be in demand because of its durability and styling upgrade. Any of the car shopping sites would likely have a decent inventory of three year old 2019 Hiluxes from which to choose.
We didn’t restrict location at all and let the car buying websites select from all listings Australia-wide. Our rationale for this was because, buying a used car interstate has become an easy, easy process and shipping the vehicle back home is no longer a challenge.
2019 Toyota Hilux – New Pricing
Toyota Hilux has ‘reigned supreme” since 2016 to become Australia’s top-selling new vehicle for seven years running.
This 2019 model included a subtle new grille design and a much-publicised DPF burn-off switch.
The new car entry prices (exclusive of on-road costs) came in at $21,865 for the 2.7-litre petrol 4×2 WorkMate manual single cab chassis to a little over $64,000 for the top-of-the-range 2.8-litre turbodiesel 4×4 Rugged X automatic.
We chose to shop for a high-end 2019 Toyota Hilux SR5 Dual Cab Auto on eight of the biggest online car buying sites in Australia – all on the same day. How did they compare?
There was 1 car matched on Cartopia – It’s price was $54,990.
There was 1 car that matched on Cars For Sale – It’s price was $54,990.
There were 137 cars matched on FindAds. The median price was $57,540.
There were 6 cars matched on Trading Post. The median price was $59,990.
There were 59 cars matched on Drive. The median price was $55,980.
There were 56 cars matched on Autotrader. The median price was $57,990.
There were 56 cars matched on CarsGuide. The median price was $57,880.
There were 70 cars matched on GumTree. The median price was $56,990.
There were 166 cars matched on Carsales. The median price was $59,000.
Best Car Buying WebSites Recommendations
Out of our list of nine used car buying websites, we found six that were worth using.
They are in order of our largest volume of matches: Carsales, FindAds and Gumtree. Cartopia, Cars For Sale and Trading Post didn’t seem to offer any new vehicles that weren’t listed on the six.
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