Autotrader Review: Is Autotrader Any Good?

autotrader review

In today’s article, we’ll have a look at Autotrader – their history, the website and whether they’re any good for buying and selling cars! Keep reading to find out more…

What Is Autotrader?

Since its move to an online platform in 1996, Autotrader has become a globally recognised marketplace for vehicles of every shape and size. But it was not always a giant of the sector. In fact, Autotrader’s beginnings can be traced back to a tiny operation that launched over forty years ago. In 1977, Founder Paul Gibbons – along with business partner John Madejski – published a 24-page A4 leaflet that they funded out of their own pockets. After years of delivering the leaflet door to door, Autotrader finally took as a magazine, quickly gaining a dedicated readership across the country.

Circulation of the magazine peaked in 2000 but saw a steady if modest decline thereafter. While still in its physical format, Autotrader was one of the earliest vehicle retailers to identify the shift towards online sales. Since the late 2000s, Autotrader’s point of emphasis has undoubtedly been their website. Their approach is underpinned by a focus on direct interaction between buyers and sellers, reminiscent of Ebay’s business model that had emerged a few years earlier. 

Today, what began as a humble leaflet dropped through people’s letterboxes has flourished into a giant of online retail. Autotrader’s timely shift to online sales has helped them keep up with a volatile market and remain relevant despite dramatic shifts to their business model and format.

The Website – How Does Autotrader Work?

Part of Autotrader’s success in the online market can be attributed to the sheer breadth of services they offer. From selling and buying to valuations and tax, the website combines almost everything a car owner or seller could possibly want. 

The standout feature is Autotrader’s search engine. With just a few simple clicks, you can search through thousands of Autotrader’s used cars in your local area. The search function allows you to easily adjust the parameters to search by make, mileage, price, as well as many other options. 

What it lacks in aesthetic charm it more than makes up for with the variety of cars on offer and navigational simplicity. All searches return results that are easy to interact with, a sign of the website’s fundamentally sound layout and logic.  

In addition, there are a number of handy blog entries provided by Autotrader, which advise and inform the reader in the relevant topic. For example, if you click on the leasing section of the website, a number of blog pieces pop up that answer a number of relevant questions, including the effect of coronavirus on the leasing market and common FAQs to do with applications.

Overall, it’s not hard to see why customers have flocked to Autotrader. Its website boasts a huge collection of cars and the functionality is such that it almost serves as a compendium of everything car-related. 

Is Autotrader Any Good?

Reviews of Autotrader from the UK’s major customer feedback sites have come back overwhelmingly positive. With a 4.7 score on trustpilot (out of over 50,000 ratings), the website has struck a chord with customers for several reasons.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the website is how easy it is to use. Most of the online reviews of Autotrader stress how simple it is to list, sell, or buy a vehicle. The website has scored well in terms of speed too, with customers remarking how quickly they had been able to achieve what they wanted due to Autotrader’s legions of buyers and sellers.

For many people, Autotrader is the first port of call for anything relating to cars. Because of its versatile website, you don’t even need to be on the lookout for a new car to visit Autotrader.  

Autotrader vs Fairsquare:

Whilst Autotrader has a truly massive selection of car’s on offer, it is sometimes this choice that hampers the website. It is very easy to get lost in the sheer enormity of cars on offer. When you search for a car at Autotrader, you have to be prepared to trawl through a lot of less than desirable vehicles before you find the right one. Fairsquare has the advantage in this respect: They offer a more curated selection of cars, ensuring everything on their website is safe, stylish, and good value for money. It is far quicker to find an appropriate car on Fairsquare because most of the unsuitable options are either sent to the bottom by the efficient search algorithm or have been weeded out entirely.

A helpful FAQs section is a particularly useful part of Fairsquare’s website. What’s great about it is it is located in a prominent banner on the homepage, directing the customer to a vast array of common questions and blog posts that might be of use to them. On Autotrader, these blog posts and FAQs tend to pop up rather erratically on specific pages. This is helpful for issues around a particular car or service, but the lack of a central hub for FAQs can make Autotrader seem really daunting. 

Of course, one of the most important considerations for anyone looking for a new car is money. Fairsquare recognises this and puts financial considerations at the forefront of its presentation. Each car that the website shows is accompanied by a finance example, which breaks down how much would need to be paid considering several variables such as the cash price of the car, representative APR, and the monthly payments. On Autotrader, the emphasis on direct communication between sellers and buyers really shrouds the financial side of things in a cloud of confusion. There is no way to tell if the offer is flexible or indeed if it is available in different financial packages. Money is probably the key factor in car purchases, which makes Autotrader’s opaque presentation of it on the website problematic.

Overall, Autotrader has become a go-to for car lovers by virtue of the various services they offer and the encyclopaedic choice of vehicles. However, even the most seasoned car owner could be daunted by its bloated website. Whilst smaller, Fairsquare presents its services in a more elegant and simplistic way. Their search function is extremely easy to use and returns only the best matches for every customer. Fairsquare will no doubt be hugely useful for customers who want to find a good match for their preferences quickly and easily. In these important ways, Fairsquare is sure to be an effective competitor to Autotrader in this market for years to come. 

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