How to buy a car online

Online shopping is incredibly convenient, and you can even buy a car that way these days. Here's everything you need to know...

Using computer to shop for cars online

Now that we're all used to shopping online, it isn't surprising that a growing number of manufacturers are enabling customers to buy a new car without setting foot in a showroom.

Dacia, Hyundai, Land Rover, Peugeot, Nissan, Renault, Skoda, Tesla, Vauxhall and Volvo have all introduced this functionality to their websites, although some only allow you to choose from cars they have in stock or to buy on PCP finance.

Buying directly from the manufacturer isn't your only option, either. Many franchised dealers started to sell online after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close their showrooms, with most of those adopting supermarket-style 'click and collect' services, but some also offering home delivery.

car showroom

Buying a car through What Car?

What Car? has been reviewing cars for more than 45 years, plus we've long had a team of Target Price mystery shoppers, who haggle on your behalf so you know the maximum price you should pay.

However, we are now using this information to make buying a new car at a discounted price even easier, via our online New Car Buying service, which brings together What Car? approved dealers who will compete for your custom.

You can request quotes on as many different cars as you like. And it’s all done through our website, so the dealers can’t see your personal details until you decide you’re ready to buy.

Person checking their laptop

Is buying a car online safe?

Buying online actually gives you more protection than buying at a dealership, because the sale is covered by the rules in the Consumer Contract Regulations. Most significantly, these include a 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period, during which you are entitled to hand the car back with no questions asked.

Just bear in mind that you are only covered by this if you don't visit the showroom; if you go there, for example, to fill in some paperwork, you'll be subject to the terms and conditions set by the dealer in question.

Car on back of breakdown truck

What if my new car is faulty?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives you the right to ask for a full refund in the first 30 days if your new car proves to be faulty.

In addition, if a problem is found after 30 days, but within six months of purchase, you can request a repair or a replacement vehicle. The onus is on the seller of the car to prove the fault wasn’t present when it was sold; if they can, and you’re likely to have known about it, you won’t get a refund.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

See the latest New Car Buying service deals >>