Best place to buy used cars in Calgary
Find out where you can buy used cars in Calgary and compare financing options to lock in the best deal.
You can shop for used cars with several different types of sellers in Calgary based on what kind of car buying experience you want. Shop in-person or online through private sellers, car brokers, online dealers, in-person dealerships and auction sites. Learn more about the best place to buy used cars in Calgary for your unique set of needs.
At a glance: Where to find used cars in Calgary
Compare the pros and cons of different types of used car sellers in Calgary:
|Place to buy used cars||Best for||Examples||Pros||Cons|
|Online dealers||Online purchase and at-home delivery||Clutch and Canada Drives|
|Private marketplaces||Affordable cars||Craigslist, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, and Used Calgary|
|Online car brokers||Comparing dealership vehicles||AutoTrader and Carpages.ca|
|In-person dealerships||One-stop shopping||Bonnybrook Auto Sales, Big 4 Motors Ltd., Calgary Car Centre and Automaxx Superstore|
|Auction sites||Low prices||Graham Auctions, Regal Auctions and Canadian Remarketing Group|
Browse different types of used car providers in Calgary
Compare several different types of used car sellers in Calgary to find the best fit for your personal situation:
Clutch is an innovative site that offers an online car buying process from start to finish. Most of the cars are newer and any damage is very clearly illustrated so there are no surprises. The main downside is that you may pay extra fees.
- How the car buying process works: Shop online with at-home delivery. You’ll typically pay with cash or financing.
- Who’s it best for: It’s best for people who want a transparent car buying experience and a free 90-day warranty.
- What to watch out for: The minimum credit score to finance through Clutch is 580.
Canada Drives is a one-stop shop to purchase vehicles online in Calgary for home delivery. You’ll get 7 days to test drive the car, and it will be covered by a 30-day warranty. The main downside is that the site only offers newer used cars so you can expect to pay a bit more.
- How the car buying process works: Shop for a used car entirely online and get it delivered to your doorstep. You’ll typically pay with cash or financing.
- Who’s it best for: It’s best for people who want a completely online car buying process and a newer used car.
- What to watch out for: You can’t test drive your vehicle before you buy and start making payments (though you can trade it in for 7 days post-payment).
Our top pick for online car dealers
Canada Drives and Clutch are both our top picks for the best place to find used cars in Calgary in this category. This is because both offer a large inventory of vehicles with decent warranty and exchange coverage.
Craigslist is an easy-to-use online platform that lets you shop for used cars anonymously without needing to make a profile. The main downside is that the site has a lot of ads and too many dealerships post vehicles (often without prices).
- How the car buying process works. Send a message to the seller to book an appointment to see the car. You’ll typically pay by cash or e-transfer if you decide to buy.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who want to shop anonymously on a simple platform using personal emails to exchange messages.
- What to watch out for. Website crowded with dealership vehicles and paid advertisements.
Kijiji is similar to Craigslist but it offers more vehicle information upfront to make comparing vehicles easier. This lets you compare information such as price and kilometres without needing to open each advertisement.
- How the car buying process works. Reach out to the seller to book a time to see the car and take it for a test drive. You’ll usually pay by cash or e-transfer if you buy the car.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who want to use thumbnails to compare vehicles side by side.
- What to watch out for. The platform is a bit clunky and slow to load with too many paid advertisements.
Facebook Marketplace is an ideal place to shop for cars if you have a Facebook profile. The site lets you see who is selling the car (you can visit their profile) and also gives the seller a star rating to show you if they’re trustworthy in some cases.
- How the car buying process works. Use your Facebook profile to send a message to the seller and book an appointment. You’ll often pay by cash or e-transfer to buy the car.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who are familiar with Facebook and want a way to buy a used car from a verified(ish) seller.
- What to watch out for. You need to message quickly for the best deals and you can still run into fake profiles and faulty vehicles.
Used Calgary is another private marketplace that lets you buy used cars in Calgary. You can shop without creating a profile and it’s easy to set filters to narrow your searches. The main downside is that the inventory of used cars on this site can be much smaller than other sites.
- How the car buying process works. Send a message anonymously to the seller using your personal email. You’ll typically pay by cash or e-transfer to buy the car.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who want to search by basic parameters and filter out commercial ads (there’s a little toggle at the bottom).
- What to watch out for. Smaller inventory than other private marketplaces.
Our top pick for private marketplaces
Facebook Marketplace is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Calgary for private sale platforms. This is because the platform is user-friendly and you can visually assess if a user seems legitimate by looking at their profile and their seller rating (if available).
Online car brokers
AutoTrader is a well-known Canadian site that lets you compare dealership vehicles in Calgary. It also rates the market price of each vehicle to tell you if it’s above or below average so you know if you’re getting a good deal. The main downside is that there are a lot of ads.
- How the car buying process works. Send a message to the dealer from the page advertising the car. You’ll typically pay by cash or apply for in-house financing.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who are looking for a bit of direction on how much to pay as well as those who want financing through a broker.
- What to watch out for. The website can be difficult to navigate.
Carpages.ca is another used car broker that lets you compare used cars from multiple dealerships at one time. You can arrange a test drive or book at-home delivery with some dealers. The main drawback is that you can’t see the location of the dealership upfront.
- How the car buying process works. Send a message to the dealership that listed the vehicle to book an appointment. You’ll typically pay by cash or get in-house financing.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who want to compare prices for dealerships with the potential for at-home delivery and in-house financing options.
- What to watch out for. The site requests contact information such as your full name, phone number and email address just to send a message.
Our top pick for online car brokers
Carpages.ca is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Calgary in the car brokers category. This is because the site is user-friendly and it’s a one-stop shop for sourcing, buying and financing a vehicle (with options for at-home delivery).
In-person dealerships are a good option if you want to test drive multiple vehicles at one time and you would rather get help with buying a vehicle in person. The main downside is that it can be difficult to find a trustworthy dealership.
- How the car buying process works. Shop for your next vehicle in person and get help from a salesperson. You’ll typically pay with cash or get dealership financing.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for customers who would prefer to see vehicles in person and test drive multiple cars before buying. It’s also good for bad credit financing.
- What to watch out for. Keep an eye out for low-quality vehicles, poor customer service and less-than-honest sales tactics in some cases.
|Name of dealership||Rating on Google*||Positive reviews||Negative reviews|
|Country Hills Hyundai||4.1||Good customer service||Expensive warranty and “extras” packages|
|Bonnybrook Auto Sales||4.7||Patient, honest and courteous||No recent negative reviews|
|Automaxx Superstore||4.4||Friendly and professional||Some complaints about financing department|
|Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC||4.3||Helpful and knowledgeable||Unprofessional staff on rare occasions|
|Calgary Car Centre||4.6||Kind and patient||Lack of after-purchase care in some cases|
|Chinook Auto Sales||4.1||Transparent and accommodating||Pressure to leave a deposit and faulty vehicles in some cases|
|Wolfe Calgary – Chevrolet GMC Buick||4.5||Friendly and quick service||No recent negative reviews with comments|
|Big 4 Motors Ltd.||4.7||Responsive and attentive||Lack of after-purchase care in some cases|
|Capital Chevrolet Buick GMC||4.5||Knowledgeable and friendly||Slow financing and poor service in some cases|
|South Pointe Toyota||4.6||Good customer service||Complaints about service and financing departments in rare cases|
*As of February 2022
Our top pick for in-person dealers
Bonnybrook Auto Sales is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Calgary for in-person dealers. This is because it has a 4.7-star rating based on over 100 reviews and the dealer is praised for excellent customer service (and there are no recent negative reviews).
Car auction sites in Calgary can help you save money on used cars in Calgary if the bids on the car you want stay low. The main downside is that they can be riskier because you won’t be able to test drive or fully inspect the vehicle before you bid on it.
- How the car buying process works. Place a bid on a vehicle and drive it home if you win. You’ll typically pay by cash or e-transfer.
- Who it’s best for. It’s best for people who are willing to accept more risk for the chance to get a great deal.
- What to watch out for. Potential for faulty vehicles and you may pay too much if you get caught up in bidding. There are also no test drives or returns.
|Name of dealership||Rating on Google*||Positive reviews||Negative reviews|
|Graham Auctions||4.1||Easy bidding and well-organized||Some faulty vehicles and owners driving bids up|
|Regal Auctions||3.7||Competitive prices and transparent descriptions||Some faulty vehicles and questionable inspections|
|Canadian Remarketing Group||4.7||Good customer service||Not very many reviews|
*As of February 2022
Our top pick for in-person dealers
Graham Auctions is our top pick for the best place to buy used cars in Calgary for the auctions category because it seems to have a good bidding system in place despite having some complaints about vehicle quality (as auctioned vehicles are most risky to purchase).
Compare used car loans in Calgary
What to look for when you buy a used car in Calgary
Use this used car checklist to make sure the car you want to buy is a good fit:
- Low mileage. Look for cars that have odometer readings below 120,000 kilometres to avoid paying for mechanical issues and failures due to high mileage.
- Inspection by mechanic. Call in a licensed mechanic to take a look at the vehicle you want to buy to check for issues (even if it’s been inspected by a dealership).
- Up-to-date maintenance. Ask for any available maintenance records to see if the car has been regularly serviced.
- Decent price. Look up the car you want to buy on Kelley Blue Book and Canadian Black Book to make sure you’re getting a fair market price.
- Passes a VIN check. Order a CarMax report to make sure the car hasn’t been involved in any thefts or serious accidents.
- Drives well. Take the car for a test drive to make sure that it drives well and doesn’t have any steering/braking issues.
- Eligible for financing. Make sure that the car you want is eligible for financing and see if you can get pre-approved before you shop so you know how much you have to spend.
How to pay for a used car in Calgary
Think about the following payment options to purchase a used car in Calgary:
- Use your own savings. Dip into your savings to buy a used car or see if your friends or family might be able to give you an interest-free loan.
- Apply for a car loan. Apply to borrow money from a bank or private lender to buy a used car in Calgary or get a bad credit car loan if your credit score is below 650.
- Apply for dealership financing. See if the dealership you’re shopping with is willing to finance you with reasonable interest rates.
- Use a credit card. You may be able to use a credit card to pay for cheap vehicles (usually $5,000 or under). This lets you collect rewards but your interest rate will be around 19.99%.
You can buy used cars in Calgary with various sellers, including private individuals, car brokers, online dealers, in-person dealerships and auction sites. The best place for you to buy will depend on what type of car buying experience you want. Learn more about the different types of sellers and compare car financing options to get the money you need to start shopping.
Frequently asked questions
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