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Buyacar 9/10 NOW BELOW
autoebid 8/10 NOW BELOW

Overall Rating: 9/10E-Commerce Rating: 8/10
Your Best Bet!Buy a car | Sell a used car | New Car Reviews | Loans | Buyacar
http://www.buyacar.co.uk/

This site is full of life and colour - I like it a lot. There are a ton of ways to get started but probably the best is to use the yellow "Find your ideal new car online" box in the upper middle area of the page. You'll need to complete a free registration to see upfront pricing but this is done on a secure page and is quick to complete.

Pros:
There are a lot of different ways to find your perfect vehicle and depending on which you choose you may get to add features or decide on options (some "deals" may have limited options in terms of colours or features). Everything is cleanly laid out and easy to follow and use. Of course a huge plus is upfront pricing.

By the end of March 2009 buyacar will have implemented an online deposit payment (a beta system will start running on March 9, 2009) and "buying a new car will be no more complicated than buying a CD online" (from their press release). I for one can't wait to see this in action! There are also lots of helpful links to articles and other information on the site and you can compare cars during the selection process which is a neat feature.

Cons:
I really don't have anything negative to say about the site except that it might be nice to have a toll free number and/or an online chat facility for if you run in to problems.

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Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 8/10
One of our Favorites!autoebid - New Car Discount UK
http://www.autoebid.com/

This site has a unique approach to buying a car online. What you do is enter your desired car (make, model and derivative) and receive bids from suppliers. If you feel that a particular bid meets your requirements in terms of price, delivery and car configuration you pay autoebid for the service (£100 plus VAT if the total savings is under £1,000, a flat fee of £295 plus VAT if the total price is under £29,500 and 1% plus VAT of the total transaction for cars priced over £29,501).

Autoebid does have its own price for any vehicle and you agree - when you start the bidding process - to buy at that price or below. I suggest you start by looking at the Help information (click on the orange help button in the top right hand corner) before you consider using this site to make sure you understand how the process works and what you are agreeing to.

You can configure a car or choose from pre-configured, short delivery time vehicles. There are some excellent additional features on this site to assist the car shopper. Whether you use autoebid or not I highly recommend you check out the site for pricing comparison on the new car you're intending to buy.

Pros:
You'll get upfront pricing on the site and you have the option of easily configuring a vehicle to your preferences or going with preconfigured special offers. As well as selecting a vehicle by make you can search by category, monthly payments, new car reviews and best sellers. Once you have selected a vehicle you can compare it to another vehicle of your choosing, print or email the information, get an insurance quote or save the car to your garage. Should you want to go on and begin the bidding process everything is done on secure pages and is well explained. Just an excellent system.

Cons:
I don't really have any negative comments about this site - I guess some would say the fact that it isn't a free service is a negative but it appears that you can save the fee that the site will charge you fairly easily.

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Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 8/10
One of our Favorites!www.drivethedeal.com - the best discounts on new cars
http://www.drivethedeal.com/

A site with a simple premise and not a lot of extras but well thought out and utilitarian. Definitely check this site out when shopping for a new vehicle to see how their price compares to others in this category.

Pros:
You'll get upfront pricing on the site and the ability to start the order process online with a secure deposit. You can choose options and colours for your vehicle or go with a pre-configured special offer. When you have selected a vehicle and obtained the Drive The Deal price you can then see other cars in this budget range, other models within this range, order or finance the vehicle or print the quote. If you decide to order the vehicle you'll be transferred to a secure page to choose your colour, supply your contact information and get the order process started by placing a £500 deposit.

Cons:
The major con is that you must supply your name, email address and postcode to see the discounted price but it's not a huge pitfall.

I think it is a small deficiency that the colour choice (and therefore any associated cost increase that you may incur from selecting a metallic paint for example) is not available until the last screen before you order your vehicle. It would also be nice if some kind of delivery estimate was given for vehicles - the FAQ says they are all UK sourced but it would still be nice to know if you are going to have to wait to get your car.

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Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
Vauxhall
http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/

Independent car buying sites - like One Swoop - could certainly take a lesson from Vauxhall in terms of satisfying consumer needs and wants. There is a well done configurator with lots of options when you've finished the configuration. The process is truly online and there are extra features that are valuable and helpful for the car shopper.

Pros:
The configurator is very easy to use and allows you to step through the configuration process quickly. Once you have completed the configuration you can save the configuration or - and this is the cool part - go ahead and order your vehicle online for a special Internet-shopper-only price. This is done on a secure site and will require a debit or credit card to pay the £20 refundable 'good faith' fee.

Cons:
There is no turnaround guarantee given after you pay the £20 'good faith' fee. Once you've paid this fee your order is handed off to the dealer you have selected and they will contact you by telephone to set up a meeting. It is unfortunate that you cannot get away without providing your telephone number and conduct business via email only. So past the order point the process is in the hands of the dealer.

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Overall Rating: 6/10E-Commerce Rating: 5/10
Autobytel UK - Buy New Cars
http://www.autobytel.co.uk/

This site is too visually busy for me and more than a bit confusing in terms of everything that's going on. There are good options to help you find the right vehicle for you. There are some deficiencies in the configurator and the way car information is presented. There aren't really any extras that are helpful to the car shopper.

Pros:
You'll get upfront pricing on the site and an opportunity to configure certain vehicles (special offers may have to be taken with pre-selected colour choices and option lists). I like the New Car Search tool that allows you to search for the right vehicle by make and model or by vehicle type, fuel type and maximum price. You're offered a turn around guarantee when you make an online enquiry.

Cons:
It is not immediately obvious how the configurator is accessed - to choose interior and exterior colours and options like audio systems or different wheels you need to click on the Options link inside the Options and Specs box in the left hand upper corner of the page (after you've selected a vehicle). I don't like that there is no ballpark figure given for availability and that you'll only know this AFTER you've sent in a sales enquiry - surely this information is crucial to help the consumer choose the car that is right from them from Step 1!

The enquiry form asks for way too much personal information on a non-secure form and - most distressingly - once you've submitted your enquiry and Autobytel has confirmed the details with you your order is handed off to a supplier and Autobytel is no longer involved.

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Overall Rating: 5/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
New cars and new car finance from UK New Cars
http://www.uknewcars.com/quote/index.php

This site has improved somewhat. The configurator is no longer squished up in to a tiny horizontal slice of the page but still has some flaws. There are no extras on this site that will make it appealing to car shoppers.

Pros:
You can configure a vehicle, see an upfront price and request a quote on it when you're done.

Cons:
The configurator works but it is tedious to be asked a single question (i.e. colour choice) on each page and have to click to the next step - why can't these just be indicated on a single page? You also have to enter way too many personal details on a non-secure form to get a quote and no turnaround guarantee is given. There are also no options to do anything with the configured details (i.e. print, email to a friend).

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Overall Rating: 5/10E-Commerce Rating: 4/10
One Swoop : Cars for sale in UK, Car dealer online for new cars UK
http://www.oneswoop.com/

This site is looking a lot less busy than previously. Lots of approaches to finding the right car for you in terms of availability, price and options but the site falls down in terms of the configurator and how the ordering process actually works. No really cool added features or information.

Pros:
You'll get upfront pricing on the site and - at first glance - it appears you can begin the process online. The My Driveway feature allows you to store up to 6 vehicles for future reference and comparison - note that this is also how you can track the process of your order if you have ordered a vehicle with a relatively long wait time (> 6 weeks). The registration process for My Driveway is not secure but only asks for your email address and name and for you to input a password.

Cons:
This site, which earlier had a configurator (albeit a confusing one), is now completely without a configurator - not an improvement. Although the text at the top of the enquiry form showed only a few fields were mandatory the telephone number field is ALSO mandatory and you don't get to indicate how you'd like to be contacted. No turnaround guarantee was given as to when an agent would get back to you.

Although the My Driveway is supposedly there to allow you to compare vehicles there is in fact no comparison feature, all you do is bring them up on the screen one at a time (although I suppose you could print out the page on each vehicle) - a car comparison tool would be something nice to add One Swoop.

Finally, I mention above that at first glance it appears you can start the order process online. This is not totally true - if you wish to start the process with your credit card you must telephone One Swoop and quote the order number provided in their email to you. Also a 1.35% handling charge applies if you use your credit card. So this site hasn't QUITE gone the whole way as far as true online buying is concerned.

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Overall Rating: 4/10E-Commerce Rating: 2/10
New and Used Cars at Discount Prices
http://www.autozone4cars.com/

Though I was redirected to a new website there certainly is no improvement seen here. The site is so visually busy it is hard to know where to start but the truth is it doesn't seem to matter. There is no configurator and little you can do online to get the purchase process started. There are no extras here for the car shopper.

Pros:
You'll see upfront pricing and you don't have to supply too much personal information to get an AutoZone representative to contact you about the car you're interested in.

Cons:
This site is so confusing with a myriad of links and tiny print all over the place. There is no configurator on the site and when you submit an enquiry for more information no turnaround guarantee is given.

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Overall Rating: 4/10E-Commerce Rating: 2/10
showroom4cars (the UK's leading internet car specialists)
http://www.showroom4cars.com/

The garish orange and purple colour scheme is still here but much of the functionality and choices available in the site earlier are gone. You can't configure vehicles and there are some other deficiencies. Still, check the site out to see how prices compare with other sites in this category. There aren't any extras on this site for the new car shopper.

Pros:
You'll get upfront pricing on the site and that's about all I can find to say on the positive side!

Cons:
There is no configurator on this site - you select a new car make and model and on the next page you'll see a very abbreviated list of the vehicle details (the showroom4 cars price, road ready price, registration, whether a colour choice is available, delivery time and country of origin). If you are interested in taking the process further you click on the Send enquiry button. A pop up window appears, you put in some personal details and presumably you'll hear back from a showroom4cars agent regarding going forward with the purchase.

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Overall Rating: 4/10E-Commerce Rating: 2/10
Nice New Cars, UK
http://www.nicenewcar.co.uk/

This is one of those sites that gets rave reviews from the consumer (in terms of those who have bought vehicles from them) but doesn't do much for me from a web perspective. No way to choose a vehicle other than make and model, no configurator and no real way to start the purchase online. There are also no extras that the new car buyer would find helpful.

Pros:
You'll see up front pricing on this site and, as mentioned above, many people have written in to tell me they got exemplary service and saved lots buying through Nice New Cars.

Cons:
The only way to see a list of cars that might meet your needs is to put keywords and/or choose a make on the main page - no ability to select cars with a certain type of transmission or body type. There is no configurator and the form that you are shown when you click on the 'send us your contact details' link and then the Online Form link is very poor - the car you are enquiring about is not put in the message field and no turnaround guarantee is given.

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