Artificial Intelligence is changing the way people do things, including car buying. And AI chatbots are driving the change. If you are in the market for a new car, AI can help do the legwork for you. There’s Microsoft Copilot, Gemini and the more recognizable and popular ChatGPT. We gave ChatGPT a test drive to help shop for a new set of wheels.

AI is nothing new but the emergence of ChatGPT in late 2022 brought it more mainstream. ChatGPT is a chatbot that uses human-like conversations to respond in detail to any questions asked. AI chatbots are a gamechanger for car shopping consumers. Using generative AI tools like ChatGPT for car shopping can help eliminate wasted hours at dealerships or having to deal with high-pressure car salesmen. This translates to a consumer that is more informed and prepared and firmly in the driver’s seat. Let’s get started.

Sign up for ChatGPT, Upgrade to ChatGPT Plus

You can create a free OpenAI account at using your email address, Google account, or Microsoft account. ChatGPT’s free version has its limitations, though, and has a knowledge base that only goes through 2021. So you’ll want to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 a month (you can always cancel once you’ve landed your new ride) and gets you access to the plugins that exponentially expand its abilities. 

Get plugged in

ChatGPT Plus has hundreds of free, car-buying-related plugins to choose from, many of them made by popular websites such as Edmunds Cars and CarGurus. These are basically chatbot enhancements that amplify the AI’s search capabilities, which means deeper access to the real-time databases of car inventories. To get to the plugin store you have to change “ChatGPT-3.5” at the top to “plugins,” which will take you to the plugin store where you can choose your free plugins and begin your car search.

Using the Edmunds Cars and CarGurus plugins, users can ask ChatGPT normal, English-language questions about cars for sale, then compare different makes and models, check vehicle listings and ratings, get vehicle reviews, pricing trends, search local inventory and personalized guidance.

You can examine safety ratings, driver assistance features, find out about recalls, and more, all by typing pretty much as you normally speak (or text). When ChatGPT is asked a question, it will automatically choose among the plugins you selected (CarGurus, Edmunds) in order to provide a detailed response or it will respond based on its ChatGPT-4 knowledge base.

My Car Search Begins

I asked ChatGPT to “Find me a 2024 EV under $40,000 in 90505” and quickly received five listings and their photos, via the CarGurus plugin. Here’s one:

  1. 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE RWD

  • Price: $34,599

  • Dealer Location: Downey, CA (~15.4 miles away)

  • View Listing

Then I asked it to compare the safety ratings of a 2024 Honda Pilot vs. 2024 Toyota Highlander. ChatGPT provided the full and detailed safety features using the Edmunds Cars plugin, but could not actually compare them because it didn’t have access to the latest real-time data. But then I asked again, specifying it use the Edmunds plugin, and it found the real-time data, offering detailed safety specs for both vehicles. Both rated very highly, and ChatGPT mostly demurred when asked to pick the safer vehicle. 

“Ultimately,” it said, “the ‘safer’ vehicle may depend on your specific safety priorities, such as the importance of certain safety features or the weight you give to NHTSA vs. IIHS ratings.”

Not Sure What Car You Want?

Customers who haven’t decided what they want can start by inputting some personal preferences and details to get tailored recommendations based on their lifestyle and driving habits. 

I told ChatGPT, “I value safety most, what 2024 SUV do you recommend?” It recommended the 2024 Subaru Forester. When asked for the safety ratings for the 2024 Subaru Forester, using the Edmunds plugin,  it showed the car received an overall 5-star rating. It noted: “These ratings indicate that the 2024 Subaru Forester is highly rated for safety, performing well in both NHTSA and IIHS assessments, making it a safe choice among compact crossovers.” It also recommended the 2024 Volvo XC40 and 2024 Mazda CX-5 as “excellent choices for safety-conscious buyers.” 

ChatGPT can also provide a side-by-side comparison of car features and prices for customers still deciding between which car to choose.

Tips for a Better Search

To get the best search results, make sure to use clear, simple, and precise prompts. I had to reword certain questions to get the most detailed responses. Also, if searching for cars in a certain location, make sure to provide a zip code so you can get up-to-date listings in your area. 

In my next search, I got more specific and asked ChatGPT: “What car should I buy? I want a family car. I value safety, fuel efficiency and only use the car within 30 miles.” The response: 

A compact or midsize hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) would be an excellent choice for a family car. These vehicles offer the advantage of reduced fuel consumption (or no fuel consumption for EVs), lower emissions, and many come with the latest safety technologies. 

Then ChatGPT recommended and provided detailed information about the Toyota Prius, the Hyundai Kona Electric, and Honda CRV Hybrid.  

ChatGPT Can Figure Out Car Costs

If you’re mathematically challenged or simply need some numbers crunched before buying a car, ChatGPT can handle that. Financing calculations on car websites only go so far. ChatGPT can evaluate different financing options like lease, loan, and dealer financing and the pros and cons of each. Best of all, once you have that data you can input that info to ChatGPT for a side-by-side table comparison and summary. ChatGPT can assess your budget and do the math when figuring out monthly payments to help you determine the best deal and save you money. 

Compare Insurance Costs

Aside from getting help figuring out maintenance costs, which cars require minimal cost repairs or fuel costs and efficiency of certain cars, you can also compare insurance quotes. For example, once you have two insurance quotes, you can ask ChatGPT to compare them in a table and summarize them, as with the financing data.

Market Insights

ChatGPT will also provide you with real-time market insights and pricing trends to key you in on pricing fluctuations and any promotional offers so that you can time your car buying purchase to get the greatest cost savings. When I asked the fair market price for a 2024 Kia Niro, ChatGPT displayed several Niros with both their MSRP and the Edmunds Suggested Price, which was typically about $1,000 less than the MSRP. The latest market insights, pricing trends and fair market prices can arm potential buyers with the knowledge they need to negotiate purchase price like a pro and drive away in their new ride.

Vroom. Vroom.

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