Whether it is your first time or you are a veteran in securing a vehicle online, this guide will help you find the best online dealerships available based on your needs. In the recent decade, the automotive industry has undergone a huge transformation with a shift to online platforms. Many dealerships are creating user-friendly websites, apps, and processes to allow their customers to purchase a car completely online from the comfort of their own homes.

With the rise of this new breed of online-based, technology-focused dealerships, it is important to discern what they specialize in, who they serve, and how their customer service is rated. Some online dealers specialize in acquiring used cars from private owners, others focus on selling used cars, while some help you broker deals for new cars. Therefore it is essential for you to know exactly what you are looking for and the result you have in mind before looking for the best online dealership. Consider the price of the car, make/model, condition, and whether you want to buy or lease it. Knowing ahead of time exactly what you want will help you find the right company to work with, which can enhance your user experience.

What is an Online Car Dealer?

If you are new to buying your car online, you may wonder what an online car dealer is, it is a marketplace where you as a consumer can search and purchase a car without having to leave your house. A typical online dealer will provide all the tools you need to make an informed decision. These tools include a detailed description of the vehicles, free Carfax reports, high-quality images, and 360-degree views of cars. Surprisingly, with a clear understanding of a car’s accident and service history, along with quality photos and videos, you can make a confident decision about the car you want.

Online dealerships put the power in your hands, allowing you to view all available inventory, understand transparent pricing, and make decisions without the pressure of a traditional salesperson. This is not to say that all traditional dealerships operate in this manner, but a majority do. Of course, the significant advantage of a traditional dealership is the ability to touch and feel the car in person before buying. However, if you have an idea of what your ideal car is like, then online car dealerships may be the way to go.

How to Pick the Best Online Dealer?

We have already covered why online car dealerships are superior to traditional brick and mortar ones. But not all online car dealerships are created equal. They all have certain niches, customer service ratings, and pros/cons to consider. Let’s briefly cover what to look for when choosing an online dealer:

  1. Customer Reviews and Ratings: One of the most efficient ways to understand the quality of an online dealership is to check their reviews. By looking at what their existing customers are saying, you’ll get an idea about the quality of their cars, service, and efficiency of their shopping process.
  2. Vehicle Specialization: Some online dealerships specialize in only used cars, while others focus on luxury, and sometimes you can find one that does it all. Your eligibility and the type of vehicle you want will determine the right dealership for you to work with.
  3. Price and Financing Options: Although they typically offer the same service of selling cars, some dealerships specialize in working with people with poor credit, while others charge more for their cars due to brand recognition and the quality of cars. Be sure to compare prices of dealerships and see what kind of financing is being offered.
  4. Services and Policies: Review the policies the dealer has in place regarding delivery, returns, and any warranties that they offer. A dealership that offers a reasonable return policy, and an extended warranty is typically an indicator that they have great cars and service.
  5. Website User Experience: One look at the company’s website will also give you a great indication of whether or not you should work with them. If the website is functional, easy to use, and contains lots of valuable information, then you know you’re dealing with the right company.

If you consider all these factors when looking for your next online car dealership, you’ll make a decision that aligns with your wants and needs. By ensuring the dealership you are working with checks all boxes, you can rest assured that you’ll get a car delivered to your doorstep in great condition.

Below, we have compiled a list of top online dealerships known for their many customers, years of experience, and streamlined online processes. Each one has its specialty, so let’s review and see which one is the right fit for you.

1. DriveOZ

This game-changing online car dealership is gaining a lot of traction as it focuses on making the process of buying and leasing cars completely online while providing some of the best deals on the market to their customers due to their ability to broker any deal. Here’s a brief overview of its advantages and disadvantages:


  • One-Stop Shop: Unlike other online platforms, DriveOZ lets you shop for new cars, used cars, and leases.
  • Access to National Deals: DriveOZ provides you with incentives and special offers from car manufacturers nationwide.
  • Expert Assistance: The platform will assign a car professional to your application to guide you and answer any questions you may have along the way.
  • Convenience: From browsing to securing a vehicle, the entire process can be completed online through DriveOZ.


  • Limited Physical Presence: As an online broker that facilitates deals between clients and dealerships, they don’t have many locations with inventory for clients to visit.

Overall, DriveOZ provides the most options when it comes to buying or leasing a vehicle, with a strong focus on negotiating and brokering the best deals.

2. CarMax

CarMax, an absolute veteran and innovator in the car resale market, has become quite a name in recent years as one of the key players in online car sales. They have the largest inventory and many resources to help clients acquire a car.


  • Large Inventory: If you’re looking for a specific make and model, it’s highly likely CarMax has it. They own the largest used car inventory in the country.
  • Competitive Rates: CarMax offers some great finance options with APRs as low as 4.95% for qualified borrowers.
  • Online Convenience: From browsing to purchasing and getting financing, CarMax has created a system for you to get it all done completely online.
  • Accepts Trade-ins: If you have a car to trade in, they will accept it and will do so even if you don’t buy one from them.
  • Financing Flexibility: CarMax works with various credit profiles and provides an extensive range of financing choices. This includes individuals with credit who may face difficulties securing car loans elsewhere.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: With CarMax’s 30-day money-back guarantee, you have the option to return the vehicle within 30 days or up to 1,500 miles after purchase to receive a refund if you’re not satisfied.


  • No-Haggle Pricing: There is no room for negotiation so you might not get the best deal on the market due to their No-Haggle Policy.

CarMax is a very large and reputable company that provides a large inventory of used cars in great condition with a streamlined process to secure them online. Because of their exceptional service, they charge 10% to 15% more on their cars than others and don’t allow any negotiating, which may not be ideal if you’re looking for the best deal.

3. Carvana

Carvana is another online dealer who has revolutionized the traditional car sales process and created a tech-focused way to procure a vehicle completely online. They are mostly known as a company that will buy your used car but they are also a large reseller of used cars.


  • Convenience: You have the ability to complete an entire purchase online.
  • Transparent Pricing: All pricing is upfront with no hidden fees or crazy markups.
  • 7-Day Return Policy: For any reason, if the vehicle is not to your liking, you can simply return it back to them within the 7-day period.
  • Wide Selection: They also have a large selection of used cars to choose from.


  • Delayed Delivery: There are some customers who are reporting delays in receiving their vehicles.
  • Title Issues: Obtaining a proper vehicle title has also been reported by many customers.
  • Customer Service: Although their customer service is generally good, some customers are unhappy and this is likely because the company is understaffed in that department.

Overall, Carvana provides a seamless online car buying experience, however, it’s important to be mindful of potential delivery and title issues.

4. DriveTime

If you’re in the market for an affordable pre-owned vehicle and you’re not confident about your credit, then DriveTime is the place for you. They have 143 car dealerships throughout the country with many options for cars and special financing.


  • Extensive Selection: Offers a large variety of used cars.
  • Credit Assistance: Specializes in helping customers who have poor or no credit history, which is a significant advantage.
  • Transparent and Competitive Pricing: DriveTime is upfront with their pricing with no hidden fees or last-minute surprises. You’ll know exactly what you need to put down and how much it will cost you.
  • Customer Policies: They offer a 30-day return policy and a 1,500-mile limited warranty, which is great to have when buying a car online.
  • GPS Tracking: All vehicles have GPS tracking equipped, which is great in the event the car is stolen.


  • No Selection of New Cars: Not ideal for lease or new car purchases since they only sell used cars.
  • Higher Interest Rates: Their interest rates can be much higher than other dealers since they deal with higher-risk credit applicants.

Overall, DriveTime is a great place to start if you are looking for affordable pre-owned cars and don’t qualify for traditional financing.

5. Vroom

Vroom, an online used car retailer, is similar to Carvana and offers a tech-based, hassle-free experience right from the comfort of your own home.


  • Convenience: Online shopping allows you to secure a car and get it delivered to your front door.
  • Competitive Pricing: Offers some of the most competitive pricing in the industry.
  • 7-Day Return Policy: If, for any reason, you’re not happy with your car purchase, you can return it within 7 days.
  • Free Carfax Report: For each car listed on Vroom, customers have access to a Carfax report that contains information about the vehicle’s history.


  • Customer Service Issues: Many customers have reported delays in support and response from the customer service team.
  • Car Registration Delays: In some cases, it has been reported that some clients are not getting their cars as quickly as possible. This is a significant issue since no one wants to wait for their new car.
  • Undisclosed Cosmetic Issues: Poor care during the delivery process can cause some cars to be delivered with dings and scratches.
  • Return Policy Caveat: $599 delivery fee is not refundable if you choose to exercise your 7-day right to return.

Vroom has a great inventory and an overall easy process to buy a car. However, they definitely need to work out their delivery speed and method to improve their overall customer experience.

When looking for the right online dealership to facilitate your car buying, it’s important to explore all available options. Each dealership we discussed has their own speciality and a list of pros and cons. Some are great for bad credit, some focus on affordability while others provide high-quality used cars. Take time to select one or two dealerships you think will meet your needs and then review them thoroughly. We definitely recommend going with a service that can provide you with great savings, quality cars, and a seamless process from start to finish. Although all the companies on our list are quite reputable and great at what they do, a few are guaranteed to provide you with a quality car and outstanding customer service. Online car buying is the future of car sales, and we hope this guide will serve you well in the years to come.

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