According to a survey, 62% of people said they would buy a car online if they could. Considering this, many automobile retailers have introduced digital platforms to facilitate a seamless vehicle trading process.

Among multiple online car-buying sites, AutoTrader and CarGurus stand out for their comprehensive services, user-friendly interfaces, and competitive pricing. However, each platform brings a unique set of advantages and disadvantages to the table. Hence, it can be challenging for you to choose the best one. But don’t worry; we’re here to help.

In this article, we will share an in-depth AutoTrader vs CarGurus comparison and some valuable information you should know before selling or buying a vehicle on these sites.

What is AutoTrader?

Established in 1997, AutoTrader is a well-known online marketplace for buying and selling cars. It offers a vast inventory of new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles from both dealers and private sellers.

Let's explore the vehicle buying and selling procedures on this platform:


  1. Create a Vehicle Listing: The first step entails providing detailed information about your car, including its photographs, current condition, mileage, and asking price.
  2. Reaching the Potential Buyers: Once your listing goes live, it gains visibility to potential online car buyers. AutoTrader's extensive reach ensures that your vehicle attracts interested parties swiftly.
  3. Communicate Directly: The buyers will then reach out to you through the platform. This direct line of communication allows for inquiries, negotiations, and discussions regarding the vehicle.
  4. Finalize the Sale: After agreeing on a price, the final step involves meeting the buyer to facilitate the vehicle transfer and handle the necessary paperwork. AutoTrader guides the process to ensure a smooth and secure trade.


  1. Search and Selection: To begin, you need to search for your desired vehicles using filters such as model, price, and location. This feature helps narrow down choices to suit your preferences and needs.
  2. Browse Listings: Upon entering the search criteria, you will be presented with an extensive selection of vehicle listings. These include both new and used cars.
  3. Contact the Seller: If interested, you can contact the seller directly through the platform. This could be with a private seller or dealership, depending on the listing you find suitable.
  4. Finalize the Purchase: After negotiations and agreement on the price, the purchase can be finalized. This step involves paperwork, and you can also ask for a physical inspection or test drive of the vehicle.


Here are some positive aspects of using AutoTrader for vehicle transactions:

  • Car Comparison Feature: AutoTrader compare cars, allowing users to select multiple vehicles and evaluate them side-by-side regarding various criteria. These include price, features, specifications, fuel economy, and more.
  • Auto Trader Car Valuation Tool: This site to sell a car online features a trade-in valuation tool, allowing you to estimate the value of your current vehicle depending on different factors like its model, current condition, etc.
  • Vehicle Reviews: It offers expert and user-generated vehicle reviews, helping you better understand a car's performance and reliability.
  • Large Inventory: The platform boasts a vast inventory of new and used cars, providing a wide range of options for your preferences.


A few downsides of using AutoTrader include:

  • Limited Negotiation: Negotiation options may be limited when dealing with dealerships on AutoTrader, as prices are often fixed.
  • Listing Accuracy: Occasionally, listings may have inaccurate or outdated information, leading to frustration for buyers.

What is CarGurus?

CarGurus, one of the Auto Trader competitors, is a renowned online automotive marketplace that has gained popularity in the United States and beyond. The platform was founded in 2006 and has since been known for its user-centric approach. It employs advanced algorithms to help you find great deals.

Let’s explore the procedures for buying and selling a vehicle on car sites like CarGurus:


  1. List Your Vehicle: This step involves providing information about the vehicle, including its HD photos, condition, mileage, and your asking price.
  2. Compare the Price: CarGurus offers a pricing tool that helps you understand how your asking price compares to similar vehicles on the market. This aids in setting a competitive and fair rate. The platform then exposes the listing to a broad audience, attracting potential buyers.
  3. Communicate and Negotiate: Afterwards, interested buyers will contact you directly through the platform. CarGurus facilitates quick communication, allowing for easy negotiation and discussion.
  4. Complete the Process: Once a deal is agreed upon, you can arrange the final meeting with the buyer. Typically, this phase includes receiving the payment and transferring the vehicle.


  1. Search and Filter: Firstly, you need to search for your desired cars on the CarGurus official platform. For this purpose, you can utilize various filters like make, model, price range, and location.
  2. Compare Vehicles and View Reviews: When you input your search criteria, CarGurus Car Compare will provide you with a comprehensive range of vehicle listings to explore. You can also view CarGurus reviews for selling that encompass feedback on the seller’s communication and honesty, along with the condition of the car compared to its listing.
  3. Get in Touch with the Seller: Once you find a vehicle of your interest, you can directly contact the seller (dealerships or private sellers) through CarGurus to inquire more about the car.
  4. Complete the Purchase: In this phase, you can do negotiations, inspect or test drive, and finally, complete the purchase paperwork and receive your car.


Let’s explore a few aspects in which CarGurus stands out amongst its competitors:

  • Comprehensive Vehicle History Reports: The detailed reports give you crucial insights into a car's background, including any accidents, previous owners, service records, and title status.
  • Deal Rating System: CarGurus uses a unique deal rating system that evaluates whether a car is a good deal by comparing its market value and the asked price. This will help you make an informed decision.
  • Price Drop Alerts: CarGurus notifies you when there’s a price drop on a vehicle you are interested in, helping you grab great deals.
  • User Reviews: CarGurus provides numerous user reviews and ratings for cars, which can be a valuable resource for potential buyers.


Here are a few drawbacks of CarGurus as a vehicle trading platform:

  • Limited Control For Sellers: You might find that you have less control over the listings than other platforms, as CarGurus heavily emphasizes market value and deal ratings.
  • Dependence on Dealerships: A significant portion of the listings on this site come from dealerships, which might limit your options if you’re interested in private seller deals.

Looking to sell a car? We can help you with that.

AutoTrader Vs CarGurus - A Brief Comparison

When it comes to the online car marketplace, CarGurus vs AutoTrader is a crucial comparison as both are among the top players. Here's a detailed overview to help you make an informed decision between both:

1. Market Reach

  • AutoTrader: AutoTrader has a substantial market reach, being one of the most established and recognized online vehicle marketplaces. It boasts a vast user base, which means your listing is likely to be seen by a large number of potential buyers.
  • CarGurus: CarGurus, although newer than AutoTrader, has rapidly gained popularity. It is particularly known for its data-driven approach to car pricing, providing valuable insights for buyers and sellers.

2. User Interface and Experience

  • AutoTrader: This CarGurus alternative platform offers a user-friendly interface, making it easy for you to list your vehicle. It provides detailed guides and tips too, enhancing the overall user experience.
  • CarGurus: CarGurus is known for its intuitive and modern user interface. It emphasizes a hassle-free experience with features like price comparison tools.

3. Costs and Fees

  • AutoTrader: Listing fees on AutoTrader vary based on the package you choose. There are options for different budgets, but you should be aware of the costs involved in premium listings for selling a vehicle.
  • CarGurus: CarGurus often offers more competitive pricing, which can be a significant advantage if you want to sell a car. The platform sometimes provides free listings with basic features, appealing to budget-conscious users.

4. Customer Service

  • AutoTrader: AutoTrader provides robust customer service, including phone and email support. They are known for their responsiveness and helpfulness in resolving issues.
  • CarGurus: CarGurus also offers commendable customer service, with a major emphasis on online support. Their FAQ section and online resources are comprehensive, helping users solve common problems quickly.

Conclusion: AutoTrader vs CarGurus

When deciding between CarGurus vs AutoTrader for private sale or purchase of vehicles, it's essential to consider your specific requirements and preferences. Both platforms offer distinct features and advantages, so the choice ultimately depends on what matters most to you.

For instance, CarGurus offers a streamlined user experience and comes equipped with a built-in price analysis tool. If your priority is to identify great deals and navigate through listings effortlessly, this site might be the better fit.

Similarly, for car valuation, AutoTrader is an excellent choice. It is one of the CarGurus competitors that lets you assess a wide inventory of vehicles so you can easily find the one for your needs. Furthermore, it stands out for its extensive range of search filters, allowing you to narrow your options based on various criteria.

Nexus Auto Transport - A Premier Choice For Stress-Free Vehicle Shipping

To ship a car to another state is another critical aspect of vehicle ownership. And it’s where Nexus Auto Transport steps in as your partner. Being in the logistics industry for over 7 years, we have made our name as a premier choice for stress-free vehicle shipping.

Moreover, we offer reliable, efficient, and affordable services, ensuring your vehicle reaches its destination safely and on time. So contact us now and ensure a seamless automobile transportation experience, be it expedited transit, door-to-door delivery of your vehicle, cross-country car shipping, or more. So visit our car shipping calculator and get a quote now!

Get a car shipping quote in seconds!