Cartopia iPhone app is no car shopping paradise

Jan 8, 2010
Autos

It’s hard not to be skeptical when an informative resource is put out by a company with coinciding interests. Nationwide Insurance is conveniently behind Cartopia, the free iPhone app that supposedly helps you shop for your next car, but actually tries to convince you to sign up for Nationwide insurance or a loan. To start, you can […]

It’s hard not to be skeptical when an informative resource is put out by a company with coinciding interests. Nationwide Insurance is conveniently behind Cartopia, the free iPhone app that supposedly helps you shop for your next car, but actually tries to convince you to sign up for Nationwide insurance or a loan.

To start, you can click on “compare cars,” or “loan & quote.” To compare cars, you enter in each car by the make and model, or by using the VIN, which is a number specific to every vehicle. From there, you’re able to find out the car’s specifications and its price, as well as safety information. If you do have the car’s VIN (which means you’re way advanced in your new car search), you can get a summary of the car’s history, too.

The car specifications are pretty helpful, such as the type of engine and the number of doors; the pricing and warranty info are helpful only when the information actually comes up. Learning the ownership costs would be great, except they were never applicable. Also, the safety information had its merits: It included frontal offset and side impact test results with lots of details, but more than half the time, the iPhone app would state that the “safety information could not be found.”

On top of this, it’s up to you to add in all the information you’ve learned about your cars, such as price, mileage and mpg in order to compare them with one another. Lastly, the loan calculator and insurance quote feature essentially leads you to call Nationwide for an insurance quote or about a loan. Maybe they should have just skipped the iPhone app and bought an ad in the paper?

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Jesse Sposato

Jesse Sposato is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, and one of the founders and editors of Sadie Magazine, an online counter-culture magazine for young women.

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