How Kelley Blue Book Can Help You Buy a Car

Couple on a road trip in a convertible

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Buying a new vehicle can be a daunting task, with many steps involved. When all these steps leave you feeling overwhelmed, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) can give you the guidance to streamline your decision making. 

How Kelley Blue Book Works

When car shopping, there are a number of decisions to be made, from what type of vehicle you want (car? truck? SUV?) to which make and model will fit your needs. Throughout this process, you are also evaluating how much you are willing to pay.

Kelley Blue Book helps by giving you reliable feature and pricing information throughout the car-buying process. Using their data, you can search for cars, filter results, and compare all of your options before making your final selection.

You can use Kelley Blue Book on its website or through the app.

KBB Can Help You Pick the Perfect Make and Model

When choosing the make and model of your new car, sometimes it's tough to know where to begin. Start by looking at vehicles that you find appealing. Then, think about what you need to accomplish with the new car. But to narrow down your search, you need to know which features each model includes.

Kelley Blue Book helps by offering a car comparison tool, which you can find under their Research Tools menu option. Select up to four vehicles using this tool and then review their details side by side.

Comparing Features With Kelley Blue Book

The site will show you the suggested retail price, fuel economy, safety ratings, and the manufacturer's warranty, all in one spot. Plus, you can see the KBB Expert ratings, which are created by Kelley's team of editors and experts, as well as consumer ratings and reviews.

Consumer reviews give you an owner's experience driving and owning that exact model of car, so you can get a feel for what it's like before you buy.


With four alternatives arranged together, you can compare engines, horsepower, and drivetrain, then evaluate safety features point-by-point. Interior features, exterior features, technology, comfort, and performance—line by line, you can see how each car stacks up against the competition.

Each feature section covers all of the options available on the vehicle. It also lists whether the feature is standard, optional, or not available for each vehicle you are comparing. This will help you eliminate a few choices based on your wants and needs for your new car.


The safety features section displays more than a dozen safety features, including whether the car is equipped with airbags, safety-seat anchors, collision warning system, blind-spot alert, or traction control. It also details whether it comes with a communications system or backup camera.


Kelley Blue Book shows you right away which cars have Bluetooth technology, internet access, remote engine start, or any other technology feature you're looking for, as well as whether it's standard or optional.

Other Features

Need to know if your future car has satellite radio, hill start assist, or heated seats? Kelley Blue Book can tell you. It spells out dozens of other features and details, comparing them across models, within the following categories:

  • Entertainment
  • Comfort and convenience
  • Performance
  • Seating
  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Security
  • Mechanical
  • Dimensions, weights, and capacities

With all this information, you should be able to narrow down your choices to a few solid options for make and model. Then, you can comparison shop based on price.

Find the Fair Market Value on KBB

Now that you have decided on a make and model, it's time to figure out how much you should pay. It's important to know what is a fair price for a particular car, so you can know whether you're overpaying or getting a good deal when it comes time to shop.

From the compare page, you can click on the "See More Pricing" button located underneath your car of choice. Then, you can select "Build and Price" for a new car or "Find Inventory" to find a used car.

Once you have the vehicle outfitted to your liking, click on the “See Fair Purchase Price” button at the bottom. Then you can see the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), invoice, and fair market range.

The fair market range represents the prices at which people are actually purchasing the vehicle. This is before taxes, rebates, and incentives are applied.

Knowing the fair market value will give you negotiating power when you’re actually at the dealership. If the dealer pushes you past your maximum price, or past the fair market value, you know you should walk away from the deal. Just below the fair market range, you can review the fair purchase price. This is the price you can expect to pay after taxes, rebates, and incentives are applied.

Get Help Selling Your Used Vehicle on KBB

If this is your first vehicle, then you are ready to take your negotiation skills to the dealership or visit some car-buying websites. If you already have a car, then you have a few more decisions to make.

First, you will need to decide whether you want to sell your current vehicle privately or trade it in to a dealer. Kelley Blue Book can tell you how much your vehicle is worth in each situation. If the gap between selling it and trading it in is small, you may want to avoid the hassle of marketing your vehicle and trying to sell it on your own.

If you want to trade it in to a dealer, Kelley Blue Book can show you what it calls an instant cash offer, which you can take to a participating dealer and exchange for cash. If you'd rather sell it on your own, you can place on online ad through Kelley Blue Book. The site takes you to its partner, Auto Trader, where you can create an ad that will be seen by millions of car buyers on Auto Trader's website in addition to

With Kelley Blue Book, you can visit one website to gather all the details you need to ensure that you are getting the best deal on a new car or the best price for an old one. With this knowledge, you will have the confidence that you are getting a vehicle that will meet your needs as well as the necessary information to negotiate effectively.