PROS / CarsDirect has tools to help you browse and compare cars from dealerships in your area.
CONS / The loan process is done entirely through dealerships, and you can’t sign any documents online.
VERDICT / CarsDirect has useful tools to help you find cars, but as a loan service, it only provides offers from dealerships and lacks the flexibility of other services.
CarsDirect offers an auto loan service as part of its many tools and services to help you find the right car. It is based in California but has a nationwide network of dealerships it works with. CarsDirect can also help you find a car loan if you have bad credit or have had a bankruptcy.
CarsDirect is not a direct lender; it operates as a broker, connecting you with dealers willing to offer you funding for a car from their lot. Because it works with dealers only, CarsDirect scored poorly on our ease of application score with a 58 percent. Since you can only get funding through a dealership, you can't sign any of the documents online and the additional documents you are required to provide can vary widely. There's no automatic payment option through CarsDirect, and the availability of automatic payments depends on the dealership you choose.
Since it operates with dealers only and not financial institutions as other brokers we reviewed do, your loan options are less versatile and flexible. We gave CarsDirect a 54 percent on our flexibility score chiefly because it doesn't allow you the same freedom to shop around as other services. You need to have a specific car in mind when you apply for an auto loan, and you can't take the loan offer and shop around at multiple dealerships.
CarsDirect works with both franchised and independent dealerships to provide you with loan offers, but not private sellers. The car search tool offered by CarsDirect is among the best of all the services we reviewed. This tool allows you to compare different cars, find local dealers and save them for future review.
CarsDirect has quality customer service. The reps we spoke to were knowledgeable and thoroughly explained how CarsDirect works but were more eager for us to apply than any of the other services in our review. CarsDirect can be reached through phone, email and live chat. We were able to get quick responses through all of these channels, though the live chat can lag a bit.
CarsDirect offers an auto loan service as part of its many other services. It only connects you with offers from local dealerships, which makes it a less versatile service. The tools it offers for car shopping are among the best in our review.