CarGurus Study Concludes: Get Out of the ‘Burbs for the Best Used-Car Deals

Used-Car Shopping at City Dealerships Yields Greater Savings Than in the Suburbs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 5, 2012 -- A recent study by auto research and shopping site CarGurus ( found that consumers shopping for a used car will find better-priced deals at city dealerships than at dealerships located outside major metropolitan areas.

CarGurus analysts applied the company’s car valuation models to compare prices on millions of used-car listings offered by dealerships in and outside major United States metro areas. Dealers within a 50-mile radius of a major city center were found to offer better deals on their used-car inventory than dealerships located farther outside that metropolitan center in nearly all states studied.

“If you are looking for the best deal on a used car, head for the city,” said Langley Steinert, founder and CEO of CarGurus. “Our data shows that dealers located in populated metro areas tend to price their inventory more competitively than dealers located farther outside the city. For suburban car shoppers looking for savings, it’s worth expanding your search to include city dealerships.”

Study Highlights

  • CarGurus analysts found used-car listings at city dealerships were priced an average of $345 less than at suburban/rural dealerships in the same state.
  • In states with the highest populations (California, New York and Texas), prices at city dealerships were more than $500 less than at suburban/rural dealerships. Some of the best city savings were found in New Orleans ($770), Las Vegas ($641) and Atlanta ($606).
  • Only two states studied bucked the city savings trend: In Indiana and Arkansas suburban/rural dealerships on average offered consumers better deals on used cars than dealerships within the major metro areas in these states.


For this study, CarGurus analyzed prices on used-car inventory offered at dealerships in and outside the top 50 U.S. metro areas to determine whether car prices at dealerships located in a major city center are typically higher, lower or the same as at dealerships located outside a city center. “City dealerships” were defined as those dealerships located within a 50-mile radius of a major city center. “Suburban/rural dealerships” were defined as dealerships in the same state that were located beyond the 50-mile radius of the major city center(s). Analysts compared the advertised price for each listing and the Instant Market Value for that specific car to determine the savings off market value, then calculated the average savings across all listings from city dealers compared to suburban/rural dealers to determine where dealers offered better deals. CarGurus’ IMV (Instant Market Value) is based on an analysis of historic and current listings and factors specific details including make, model, trim, year, mileage, options and accident history.

About CarGurus

CarGurus ( is a leading online automotive destination focused on making the car shopping and research experience more transparent for consumers. CarGurus’ free listings search tool analyzes prices on millions of available cars and enables consumers to quickly find the best local deals from the best rated dealerships. Unlike many other listings sites, the search results rankings are unbiased by listings providers.

Located in Cambridge, Mass., CarGurus was founded by Langley Steinert, co-founder and former Chairman of TripAdvisor.

Amy Mueller