Is Buying A Car Online The New Norm? Canada Drives vs. Clutch vs. Cardoor

Is Buying A Car Online The New Norm? Canada Drives vs. Clutch vs. Cardoor

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 25, 2022

These days, you can buy just about anything online, including cars. Thankfully, certain online platforms are available not just to make the car shopping experience more convenient, but also the process of getting a car loan. 

Canada Drives, CarDoor, and Clutch are three online car-buying platforms that are available for consumers looking to make their shopping experience more convenient and hassle-free. But which one is best?

Let’s compare all 3 of them to help you determine which resource to use to find and finance your next car online. 

Canada Drives

Who Is Canada Drives?

Canada Drives is a BC-based fintech firm founded in 2010 that helps Canadians shop for certified preowned vehicles and secure auto financing to cover the cost of a vehicle. The company works with the specific financial profiles and budgets of consumers to help them get the auto financing they need. 

Canada Drives has over 350 Canadian dealerships within its network and connects them to consumers in need of financial assistance to buy a car. In additions to matching consumers with vehicle and financing options that meet their needs, Canada Drives also delivers the vehicles in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. 

How Does Canada Drives Work?

Rather than dealing with the stringent lending criteria from your bank or negotiating with the dealership for a lower price on your car, Canada Drives can help you avoid all that hassle. They’ll connect you with several certified car dealers all over the country that will pair you up with a vehicle that meets your needs and price point.

Credit scores are not a factor when it comes to getting auto financing with the help of Canada Drives, which is often a barrier for many consumers who may be unable to secure a car loan due to poor credit. Instead, Canada Drives helps all consumers, no matter what their credit score may be. 

All that’s required is a quick application process. And before long, the car you want can be purchased and delivered to you in as little as 24 hours.

Follow these steps to use Canada Drives to buy your next car:

  1. Browse available vehicles.
  2. Calculate the total price (including delivery, warranty, and trade-in, if applicable)
  3. Complete your finance application by entering your personal information, employment details, and your preferred payment schedule.
  4. Canada Drives will connect you with a suitable dealership.
Learn More

Who is CarDoor?

CarDoor is an online buying and trading platform for vehicles. Consumers can do their shopping for a car completely online and arrange for auto financing at the same time. 

The platform allows shoppers to compare different vehicles side-by-side to help make a more informed purchasing decision. Consumers can even pick their own monthly payments that they are comfortable with, and CarDoor will accommodate their financing accordingly.

How Does CarDoor Work?

Buying and financing a car with CarDoor is easy and requires just three simple steps:

  1. Browse vehicle inventory online.
  2. Apply for auto financing.
  3. Wait for your car to be delivered to you without the need to visit a dealership.
Learn More
clutch

Who is Clutch? 

Clutch was founded in 2016 to revolutionize the car-buying experience for consumers. The company helps consumers find and buy good-quality vehicles completely online while avoiding the potentially stressful experience that can often come with shopping for a car at a dealership. 

Those looking to sell their car can also use Clutch to find a qualified buyer.

How Does Clutch Work?

  1. To buy a car through Clutch, follow these 3 steps:
  2. Browse the selection of more than 700 vehicles online. 
  3. Place your order and checkout online. You’ll be charged only after your vehicle has been delivered. 
  4. Have your car delivered to you in as little as one day.
Learn More

Best Features: Canada Drives vs. CarDoor vs. Clutch

How do Canada Drives, CarDoor, and Clutch compare to one another? Let’s take a closer look at some of the features and benefits of each to help you decide which service to use when it comes time to buy a car.

Canada Drives 

  • Search online. There’s no need to peruse multiple car dealerships to find your next car. With Canada Drives, you can search and find your vehicle all online.
  • Inspected and guaranteed. Every car that is purchased through Canada Drive has gone through a 150-point safety inspection and comes with a free CARFAX Vehicle History Report.
  • Delivered to your door. Once you find the car you want and start the financing process, it will be delivered right to you.
  • Warranty. Your car is covered under Canada Drive’s 30-day/1,500 km warranty at no extra charge. And for a nominal fee, you can upgrade your warranty package for 24 and 48 months.
  • 7-day return policy. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you have 7 days to return the car for a full refund. 
  • Multiple financing options. You can either put your purchase on your credit or debit card, finance through your bank, or finance through Canada Drive. 
  • Trade-in your car. If you are looking to get rid of your existing vehicle, you can trade it in to reduce the purchase price of your next car. 

CarDoor

  • Instant trade-in estimates. If you’re looking to trade in your current vehicle, you can get an instant estimate on it to find out how much you can get for it, and how much you can put toward your next car purchase. 
  • Transparent pricing. Each vehicle comes with a detailed report on how the price is calculated using current market data. 
  • Delivered to your door. The car you purchase will be delivered to your home without hassle.
  • Online financing. Applying for auto financing can be done quickly and easily through CarDoor’s online financing application system.
  • 14-day money-back guarantee. You’ll have 14 days to test your car out, and if you’re not satisfied with it, you can get a full refund before the 14 days are up.
  • 90-day bumper-to-bumper warranty. Get a free 90-day/10,000 km warranty, whichever of the two expires first.
  • 60-day exchange program. In addition to the 14-day money-back guarantee, you also have 60 days to exchange your vehicle for another if you’re not satisfied within the first 60 days or the first 5,000 km, whichever of the 2 comes first.

Clutch

  • Many cars in inventory. Clutch has more than 700 vehicles in its inventory for buyers to choose from.
  • No charge until delivery. You won’t be fully charged for your purchase until your vehicle has been successfully delivered to you.
  • Quick delivery. Your car can be delivered to your home in as little as 24 hours. 
  • Thorough inspection. All vehicles undergo a thorough 210-point inspection.
  • Warranty. All vehicles come with a no-charge 90-day/6,000 km warranty. 
  • 10-day return. You’ll have 10 days or 750 km to test drive your car, and if you’re not satisfied, you can send it back. 
  • Trade-in or sell. Not only do you have the option to trade in your car to reduce the cost of your next purchase, but you can also sell your vehicle through Clutch without being obligated to make a purchase. 
Canada DrivesCarDoorClutch
Car Financing OfferedYesYesYes
Warranty30-day/1,500 km warranty90-day/10,000 km warranty90-day/6,000 km warranty
Test Drive Available7 days14 days10 days or 750 km
Car Delivery to DoorYesYesYes
Trade-In YesYesYes

Can You Finance A Car Online?

Generally speaking, there are two main ways to finance a car purchase, auto loans or dealership financing.

Auto Loans 

You can approach your bank for a car loan or use an alternative online lender to finance your next car purchase. Ideally, you’ll already have your financing lined up before you agree to buy a car. That way, you’ll know how much you can afford and get approved for before going through the process of buying a car. 

The lender will likely want to assess your financial and credit strength by looking at your credit report and income.

Dealership Financing

Getting financing directly through a dealer is more convenient, but you might not get the best deal. You may actually find a significant difference between an auto loan from a lender versus what your dealer will offer you. That’s because dealers go through an external financial institution and then charge a little extra on top of the lender’s interest rate to make a profit.

Tips On Buying A Car Online

If you decide to buy a car online, be sure to consider these tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of online car shopping and score the best deal for you.  

Compare Prices 

Look for cars of the same make, model, and year as the ones you’re interested in buying and compare their prices from different sellers. A couple of good resources are the Canadian Black Book and CARFAX for information on the current market value of vehicles.

Don’t Rush The Process

Take your time browsing vehicles online. This is not a small purchase. You’ll be committing yourself to a hefty payment when you agree to buy a car, so don’t rush through yourself.

Watch Out For Poor Background Checks

Some online sellers might not be very transparent when it comes to the condition of their vehicles. To protect yourself, consider asking a mechanic to inspect the vehicle and run a VIN check with a CARFAX or other similar company to verify the history of the car you’re interested in. 

Online Car Buying FAQs

Is online car buying safe?

Yes, it’s usually safe to buy a car online. That said, there is always some risk involved as there are always scammers lurking. That’s why it’s important to take certain precautions to make sure you don’t get scammed. This includes ensuring you’re working with a reputable lender by checking their reviews and calling them if you have any questions.

Can I test drive a car before buying it online?

If you buy a car from Canada Drives, CarDoor, or Clutch, you can test drive the car before fully committing to the purchase. All three services offer a 7 to14 day return policy if you’re unhappy with the car. During that time, you can test drive the car as much as you want. 

Should I buy a car online or at a dealership?

You may want to do both when looking for your next car. You might be able to scope out a few dealerships to get a feel for the type of car you want. When you’ve narrowed down your options, you can take to the internet to find a vehicle that best matches your criteria while finding the lowest price available. Or you can take what you find from an online search to a dealer and ask that they match the price. Either methods works, but with online car buying there’ll be fewer people and usually less paperwork to deal with. 

Can I buy a car online from a different province?

Yes, you can, however, you may be liable for any shipping costs. Moreover, you might not be able to test drive the car, so do make sure it is the car you want before purchasing any car out of the province. 

Bottom Line

When it comes to buying a car online, Canada Drives, CarDoor, and Clutch are the best options for Canadian consumers. So how do you choose between them? Focus on the vehicles available and whether or not you can find that meets your needs. The financing options available to you. Which platform is giving you the best deal? And finally, whether or not they deliver to you area. 


Rating of 5/5 based on 4 votes.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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