If you’re shopping for a new set of wheels and aren’t sure where to start, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best car-buying apps in Canada so that you can find your next ride from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about how you can use these handy apps and websites to track down your dream vehicle at a price you can afford.
How did we choose these car-buying apps?
We chose our top picks for car-buying apps based on their overall design and functionality. Since many of these apps have very similar features, they are listed in no particular order. This means it will be up to you to make an assessment of what’s available and pick the one that sounds like the best fit for you. You can also sign up for a few of your favourites to get access to the largest inventory of vehicles possible.
Best for: Pricing out vehicles and finding the best deal
AutoTRADER.ca lets you search through a massive inventory of vehicles in your area with the click of a mouse. You can conduct a targeted search by inputting the make and model of the vehicle you’re looking for into the search tool. You can also narrow your search with specialized filters that sort by price, mileage, year, transmission type and colour (among others).
This app markets a handy feature that lets you price out the vehicle you might be interested in. It also has a tag system next to many postings to let you know if you’re getting a below or above market price for the vehicle you’re interested in. On top of that, you’ll be able to save your search and get price alerts and new listings straight to your email inbox.
It’s easy to sign up for an account, which will allow you to save vehicles as you’re scrolling. The main downside is that not all vehicles have a rating under the tag system and the site seems to privilege dealership vehicles over private sales.
Best for: Getting pre-approval for a loan to purchase a dealership vehicle
Car Loans Canada works with a number of different dealerships across Canada to help you get pre-approved for financing. You won’t necessarily be able to peruse an inventory of vehicles before you get approved, but this could be a good solution if you’re not sure how you’ll get the money to purchase your new car.
All you need to do is apply for financing with an easy online application to be connected with a dealership willing to finance you in your area. They’ll work with you and your budget to find a car that suits your needs based on what they have in stock. The benefit of this approach is that you’ll have the money you need to make your purchase before you go in to buy a vehicle.
However, this option is also somewhat limiting because you’ll only be able to select from the vehicles on offer at the time of your pre-approval. You may also end up paying more than you want because it will be more difficult to negotiate with the dealer when they know how much money you have at your disposal.
Accessible via website
Best for: Searching for a dealership vehicle with specific or custom features
CarGurus has a large inventory of dealership vehicles that it markets to buyers from across Canada. You can easily search for the make and model of the vehicle that you’re interested in or peruse the whole inventory if you’re not sure what you want. Just be aware that you won’t be able to search for private sale vehicles as this is a dealer-only app.
When you conduct a search, you can specify what type of car you’re looking for using a number of generic filters such as price and mileage. You can also choose to search by more specific filters such as the size of the cabin, the safety rating and the car’s fuel economy (which is a search function that’s unique to CarGurus)
As an added benefit, CarGurus will give you a rating of how good each vehicle’s price is along with an overall rating out of five stars for the dealership. You’ll also get an average breakdown of how much you’ll have to pay for your vehicle each month. This will help make sure that you get the best deal possible from a reputable and trustworthy source at a price you can afford.
Best for: Easy access to vehicle stats in main browsing list
Canadians use Kijiji for used car shopping like Americans use Craigslist. It is probably one of the best search engines for private sale cars in Canada. Kijiji offers a number of different search filters so you can narrow down what type of vehicle you’re interested in. It’s also one of the most recommended apps on Reddit based on the first-hand experience of many users.
After you define a search, you’ll get a list of vehicles that match the specific parameters you’re interested in. One of the major benefits is that the mileage and price will be listed in the main vehicle list, so you won’t need to open postings in another window to access pertinent information.
The only thing to be aware of is that this app is fairly jam-packed with ads, which can interfere with the search functionality. It also has a less comprehensive selection of vehicles than other apps like Facebook Marketplace and Used.ca.
Best for: Accessing a wide range of private sale vehicles with minimal in-app ads
Used.ca is a site that lets you shop for private and dealership cars – similar to Craigslist and Kijiji. All you need to do is set your location and then sort by the “Automobiles and Other Vehicles” category. From there, you can set generic filters to find the vehicle you’re most interested in.
Most of the vehicles listed on this app are private sale vehicles but you’ll find the odd dealership ad here and there. The plus side of this app is that it’s well-known in most areas so there are a lot of listings available. It’s also easy to negotiate the price with the seller before you go to see the car (and there are no pushy salespeople to contend with!).
The downside of shopping with Used.ca is that just about anyone can post an ad – which means you could end up buying a lemon. This app also provides fewer filters to search by, which means you can’t get overly specific about what you’re looking for.
Best for: Buying a private sale vehicle from a trustworthy source
Facebook Marketplace is a user-friendly app that lets you search for vehicles within your area. It offers mostly private sale vehicles and specifies when vehicles are being sold by a dealership. It also offers a number of basic search filters so that you can sort vehicles by features such as price and mileage.
The main benefit of using Facebook Marketplace is that all your communication with sellers happens through Facebook Messenger. It also allows you to see the seller’s Facebook profile as well as how long they’ve been a member of Facebook. This can give you additional peace of mind if you want to make sure that the person you’re buying from is a trustworthy source.
The only thing you might want to be cautious of when using Marketplace is that the seller can also view your profile if you send them a message. This could potentially expose you to security risks so you should be sure that your profile is set to private and doesn’t give away sensitive personal information.
Used Cars Canada
Best for: Searching for a vehicle from the inventory of a specific dealership
Used Cars Canada is another dealership-only sales app that’s available across Canada. You can search by province and city or select a specific dealership you’d like to shop with to get started. From there, you can easily search the cars on offer near you using basic filters to narrow down listings.
This app doesn’t necessarily set itself apart from similar apps with its functionality or design, but it does let you search by dealer so that you can see the specific offerings for your location. As a result of this feature, it may showcase vehicles that aren’t listed anywhere else.
The major downside of this app is that it spams you with advertisements for car loans, and most advertised prices don’t include taxes and fees. It’s also not as user-friendly as similar sites and, due to the revolving nature of dealership stock, its inventory may not always be up to date.
Best for: Accessing market research on private sale vehicles
BRZO is a bridging app that’s designed to connect you to all of the car ads posted on Craigslist across the country. However, unlike Craigslist, it also offers specialized tools and market research for every posting to make sure you get the best deal. For example, it might show you the average sale price for the vehicle you’re interested in.
This app also features key search options and filters to hide listings that don’t align with the type of vehicle you want. This means you won’t need to navigate Craigslist’s outdated user interface to track down a vehicle that matches your search criteria.
That said, there are a couple of negative features for this app you should be aware of. For one, it’s only available for Apple iOS so Android users can’t download it. It also costs a one-time fee of $9.99, which seems like an unnecessary expense when there are so many free car-buying apps available.
Best for: Accessing a massive inventory of vehicles posted by multiple sources
Trovit is a relatively new app that pulls ads from a number of different sources to give you a more complete inventory of what’s available in your area. This means that posts aren’t listed directly on Trovit but you’ll be redirected to a third-party platform if you want to learn more about a specific vehicle.
The benefit of this app is that you can access thousands of cars in one place, which means you don’t have to sign up for multiple apps. It also allows you to search by generic filters so that you can narrow down what type of vehicle you’re interested in.
The main downside of this app is that you won’t be able to contact sellers directly in the app, which means all of your communication won’t be in one place. You’ll also have to navigate through irrelevant ads within the app for other car-buying sites (which is presumably how Trovit makes its money).
Best for: Getting the best overall price from a dealership
Unhaggle operates from a unique premise because it starts a bidding war between dealers to get your business. All you need to do is specify what type of vehicle you want to purchase and list out the optional extras you’re interested in (such as Bluetooth, heated seats or a sunroof).
From there, you’ll get a list of vehicle-specific data that outlines what other drivers have paid in your area for a similar vehicle. You can also request that dealers submit their lowest bids in a reverse auction for the car you want – which guarantees that you get the best price.
The biggest concern with this site is that you’re essentially handing your personal information over to a long list of dealers in your area, which could result in unwanted calls or emails. That said, you can avoid this if you upgrade to Unhaggle Premium, which operates on an anonymous basis for both you and the dealers you’re sourcing quotes from.
Accessible via website
There is a wide range of car-buying apps and sites in Canada that you can use to find your dream vehicle. Most of the apps listed above are free and ready to download while a couple of options will cost you a small amount to get access. Learn how you can shop around for the best deal, and read our guide to financing your new vehicle when you’re ready to make a purchase.
Frequently asked questions
The app that works best for you will likely depend on what type of vehicle you’re looking for. You can check out the “Best for” byline on the options listed above to find out which area each app excels in.
Not typically, no. Most apps are free of charge and make money on re-directs or advertisements within the app. A handful of options, such as BRZO, cost a small download fee so that developers can continue to update and maintain the app.
That’s up to you. For reference, dealerships tend to be a little bit more reliable but have higher prices and additional fees and taxes that you’ll need to factor into your sale. Private sales can be riskier, but that risk can pay off if you’re lucky enough to get a solid vehicle for a lower price. You can find out more about the difference between dealers and private sales here.
Claire Horwood is a writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, loans and other financial products. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, along with an Associate's Degree in Science from Camosun College. Much of Claire's coursework has focused on writing and statistics, with a healthy dose of social and cultural analysis mixed in for good measure. She has also worked extensively in the field of "Blended Finance" with the Canadian government. In her spare time, Claire loves rock climbing, travelling and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee.
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