There are two uses for Autotrader's Android app; The first is to find a new car to buy and this is both useful and worthy. The second is for looking at pictures of cars that you'll never in a month of Sundays be able to afford. This is pointless, and by far our favourite pastime.
And as ways to pass the time go, it's a doozy. Imagine this, you want to buy a US Cop car like the Ford Crown Victoria. They don't come up all that often, but when they do you can stare at it for ages and think about how much you want one - even though it would be a rubbish car to own - and how you'd get it wrapped to look like a proper panda car. The Autotrader app is, therefore, a little fantasy for your day. It's also suitable for work, which other fantasies may not be.
- Google Play
As an app, it's also a hit because it works really well. Autotrader really needs your postcode to find cars near you, although we think it uses this more for internal stats than anything else, but it does serve to show you cars that you can actually go an have a look. We leave this on "national" when we're in dream-mode and within 20 or so miles when we're actually looking for a new car.
As you would expect, you can filter by manufacturer, model, price, fuel type and body type. There's also transmission options, dealer or private sale and you can select the colour and number of doors too. It's an incredibly flexible search, if you know roughly what you're looking for. You can also add keywords, should there be something specific you're looking for, like, say "sportback" or something similar.
The only thing we think is missing is the ability to search for cars which are a little older. We often like to narrow our searches to late-60s Mustangs and such, but that's not all that easy to do, either with the app or on the website.
The pictures are good, and assuming the seller has uploaded some nice shots, they're well formatted in the app. If you sign in, you can save cars to your shortlist too, so you can get your other half to scroll through and veto the good ones.
Minor quibbles aside, this free app means you'll never be bored on a train or bus again, because you can be thinking about the sort of car you'd be driving if you could afford anything, and weren't stuck on stupid public transport where there seems to be some global paranoia around the use of soap and/or deodorant.