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Aol Autos app strips down car buying data for research, daydreams

Most people don't buy a car but once every few years (or more). But that doesn't mean that people don't like shopping for new cars. If you're one of those kind of people, then a new app from Aol Autos*, released today, could be your new favorite toy.

Basically, the App is a stripped down version of the New Cars section of the Aol Autos website. Start by entering your search parameters – price, type, style and make/model – and the app will show you all the new vehicles currently available that fit what you're looking for.

If you want a new sub-$15,000 hatchback, for example, there are 18 on the market right now. How about a hybrid that costs between $15,000 and $25,000. You get your choice of six. For those lazy Sunday afternoon daydreams, you can also price options for the $1.38 million 2010 Maybach Landaulet. $12,250 for a three-place rear seat? Sign me up. Keep reading to find out more.



*Aol, of course, owns TUAW.

If you're only interested in new cars, the Aol Autos app is actually much easier to navigate and a cleaner design than the full site. The photo gallery – all manufacturer promotional shots – is slick and shows off most every angle or most every car. Of course, if you're all the dealership when you play with the app, then this section is less than helpful. For daydreaming about that Maybach from the office, though, it works well. Pricing, trim level and other information in the database comes from Autodata, and is constantly updated. For this reason and others, the app needs an internet connection for full functionality. Thankfully, it does save the information and images that you've already looked at for off-line viewing. Autodata supplies "MSRP, Invoice, and target market pricing available on most models," and the app even tells you what the difference is between those three price points

Speaking of connections, you can easily email links to particular vehicles from within the app, or post your finds to Twitter or Facebook. This is handy, but what would be really useful would be a way to store your own notes. Imagine: if you're configuring or building cars in the app and then driving around to dealerships to see what's available near you, wouldn't it be cool to jot down what the dealer tells you? Sorry, you can't do that. The app is also missing the "Get a Price Quote" functionality that the Aol Autos site does. Like we said, it's stripped down.

The app will give you owner and expert opinions for most of the vehicles on the market today. If the review is on the website, then you can access it through the app.

Once you've found a vehicle you like, you can save it to favorites, something you can't do on the site. These faves are accessed from the main page for easy comparison, just the thing for more daydreaming about what to buy. Or, of course, for actually buying a car. The app is available for free in the iTunes App Store.

Most people don't buy a car but once every few years (or more). But that doesn't mean that people don't like shopping for new cars. If...