In and around Denver, the diversity of epic natural landscapes and dynamic weather conditions are considered some of the most impactful to the senses, and enticing to locals and tourists alike. It’s a big part of what lures so many active individuals to Colorado, eager to embrace the kind of outdoor endeavors that exemplify most perceptions of the ‘Colorado lifestyle.’ Considering that the average number of sunny days per year in Denver (245 in case you were wondering) bests the national average by about 20%, there’s little surprise that so many people celebrate long drives, hikes, biking, kayaking, and off-roading. But to fully embrace that active Colorado lifestyle, it’s important to have the right vehicle – one that can haul any gear you might need, while being versatile enough to triumph over the variety of terrains you might encounter. And with that in mind, there’s no real surprise that Jeeps rank as an enduring favorite or that dealerships in Denver are overflowing with them.
Within a ten mile radius of Denver, there are roughly two-hundred automotive dealerships. I’ll repeat that one more time for the people in the back: two-hun-dred dealerships. Pick your make, pick your model, pick your trim level. New, used, or Certified Pre-Owned. No matter your aspirations, your budget, or your credit-worthiness, there’s an option out there for you — both in terms of the actual vehicles you can choose from, and the dealership itself. And out of those two hundred dealerships, over 140 offer Jeeps in some form or fashion.
But most of us understand that (as with any other kind of business) not all dealerships are created equal. Some boast a better track record when it comes to creating satisfied customers, or a relaxed customer-centric experience. Many excel at creating lasting relationships, supporting their customers in terms of scheduled maintenance and repairs. Others face criticisms for lacking such strengths. So, considering how significant in scope most vehicle purchases are, it’s important to find the right dealership to partner with – one that will support you through both the car-buying and car-owning experience. And yes, this is especially important around Denver, where you might be putting more wear and tear on your vehicle than out would encounter in ‘less ambitious geographies.’
So, what happens when someone interested in a Jeep begins to dig into that list of dealerships to be found around Denver?
The ever-increasing prevalence of both social media posts and online reviews are often referred to as the new ‘word of mouth.’ It’s how modern consumers, empowered with a wider platform to do so, tend to share their experiences. Granted, people tend to be more likely to share the negative than the positive, but there are aggregate resources out there that help to create a more accurate composite of a dealership’s reputation.
Take dealerrater.com for example. Enter in the type of vehicle you’re interested in (in this case, Jeep) and the Zip (in this case 80201) and choose from Dealer Reviews, Service Reviews, Cars for Sale, or Car Recalls. Then, click the ‘Search’ button.
Not all dealerships are present on all sites, but it might be a valuable tool to begin your search. In the case of our search, we find ten dealerships with scores (out of 5.0) ranging from 1.1 to 4.8. Reviews, of course, are filtered through personal perception – and no single review tells the entire story – but you might find some red flags.
McDonald Independent Subaru Jeep (in Englewood) only has one review listing and lacks any kind of score. That review (titled False Advertising) reads, “Buyer Beware! This dealership uses false advertised pricing and does not stand behind their price quotes even when provided with multiple sources of evidence. Lost a sale and a customer.” Now, we’re not here to malign McDonald Independent Subaru Jeep, but it’s important to understand what you might find – and that there may be little contrary information to oppose it. In the case of McDonald, that review is the only review. Maybe it’s no real surprise that a quick Google search shows that McDonald Independent Subaru Jeep is now permanently closed.
AutoNation Chrysler Jeep Arapahoe (also in Englewood) earned that 1.1 score and rarely sees a score higher than one star. Scroll through the reviews, and you’ll find review titles such as Horrible Service, Terrible service!, Doesn’t Understand the Word No, Horrible customer service, Poor Communication, Wait is Too Long, Bait and Switch, Warranty in Writing??? Not So Much…, and Liars and Cheats (among others). Once again, such reviews should be taken with a grain of salt but might inspire you to dig a little bit deeper before choosing to do business with AutoNation Chrysler Jeep Arapahoe.
Then there’s a dealership like Larry H. Miller Colorado Jeep (Aurora). Boasting a 4.8 score and 442 reviews, you’ll find review titles like Helpful, No Pressure, Patient, Exceptional Service!, Amazing Experience, Great Help…, and a variety of reviews singling out specific salespeople. And yes, these positives should also be taken with a grain of salt, but it certainly helps to reassure you that they might be the type of dealership worth partnering with. That said, even the team at Larry H. Miller has their negative reviews with titles such as Not Treated Fairly, Terrible Customer Communication & Service, and One of the Worst/Weirdest Experiences.
This is why it’s important to perform your own due diligence. Dealerrater is a good resource, but no single resource or review should be the basis for your decision. Dig around. Ask around. Explore other online resources, peruse social media activity, and reviews found on the dealer’s websites. It’s really the only way to vet your options before making up your mind based on your own personal experience.
My Personal Experience
Yeah, let’s get’s personal. I was in the market for a used Wrangler. I was keeping my options open and really didn’t have my heart set on any particular model year, configuration, or trim level. All I know is that I wanted something that would provide a good basis for some basic mods (lifts, tires, etc) and didn’t want to spend thirty-grand. In other words, choosing the right dealership (with an extensive, but reliable inventory) became exceptionally important.
Needless to say, I was in Denver, searching dealerships within a fairly small radius – and it was ‘Red Flag City.’ I wasn’t feeling good about many of the options available to me. That’s when my girlfriend’s co-worker had shared that they had a great experience with The Faricy Boys in Colorado Springs. “Okay,” I thought. “An hour-and-a-half is a reasonable distance to check this place out on a nice afternoon, but first let me dig a little.”
Did I hit Dealerrater? Sure. Boom. A 4.8 star rating and 845 reviews including such titles as Wonderful and stress free experience!, Buying Used Made Easy, and Exceptional. Okay, but what about the negative reviews? Of course, there were the occasion gripes like Poor Service Department, Below Average, and the way-too-specific-to-be-reasonable Doesn’t Take Care of Military Veterans. I lost forty-five minutes scrolling through reviews, but the majority were positive (enough to compel me to dig deeper). I visited Faricy’s website and social media pages, to find a similar mix in favor of the positive (enough to compel me to review their inventory). I perused thorough and well-presented vehicle profiles on their site (strong enough to compel me to visit the dealership), and sure enough, I found a 2010 Sahara in great condition, with reasonable mileage for just over $15K.
It was a perfect fit. But what was even a better fit was the service that I encountered. Understanding that my experience was unique to me (and that I had no place to question anyone else’s) every beat of that transaction echoed the online praise which had constituted that 4.8 star rating.
That said, use the resources available to you and follow your instincts. Also, if you’re in Denver, don’t be afraid to check out your options in Colorado Springs – not that my experience or review should be the entire basis for your decision (insert winking emoji here).