The AutoTrader theme by ThemeFuse is an app theme that has been created for anyone building a website showcasing vehicles using WordPress. As it’s an app theme it does more than just deal with the appearance of your site, and it also includes plenty of features that a website of this type would require and make great use of.
Whether you are building a website for a vehicle marketplace, or creating a motoring blog which lists and reviews cars, or you just need a well-implemented way to create and display individual vehicles page that can be easily searched and filtered by users, the AutoTrader theme is definitely worth investigating.
To find out about all the features of this theme, how easy it is to use, and who would benefit from installing it, read our in-depth AutoTrader WordPress theme review.
Features of AutoTrader
As this theme has been designed to build an online vehicle showroom using WordPress, it aims to include all the features necessary for creating such a site. Whether you are listing cars for sale or hire online, publishing vehicle reviews, or are just creating a website to promote your dealership or showroom, AutoTrader looks like a great choice.
The theme makes use of some of the more advanced features of WordPress to allow you to create feature rich product or vehicle pages to showcase your inventory in the best possible light. By making use of custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies, listing vehicles in a way that they can be easily searched and filtered by visitors is very straightforward.
Instead of lumping all the product details together in the post content area, the use of custom fields and taxonomies means data like price, millage, fuel type, and many other important details can be stored in corresponding fields, allowing visitors to filter and search the items on offer in a more effective way. The easier your products are to search, the more likely it is the visitor will find what they are looking for.
Some of the other features of the AutoTrader theme include:
- Responsive design for use on small screen devices
- Advanced searching and filtering of the vehicles
- Custom post types for handling vehicles and testimonials
- Custom taxonomies for categorising and tagging vehicles
- Dynamic images that are auto-resized depending on where they are displayed on the site (posts, sliders, etc.)
- Individual lightbox image galleries for each vehicle
- Visitors can save vehicles to a shortlist
- Advanced sidebars, including multiple sidebars for use on specific posts, pages, and categories
- Customisable post and page header elements
- Shortcodes for inserting lots of different elements into post and pages
- Contact and reservation form builders and manager
- Inclusion of a child theme for safely making changes to the template
When creating a new post or page, the theme adds a few more options and settings to the editor pages. These include options for uploading the different sized images for the post and adding a video. Also, the header for each post can be set at the individual post level. From the header tab you can choose a header element such as an image, a slider, or a map.
When creating a post, you can also define any page elements to be displayed either before or after the content. This is handy for inserting calls-to-action or sign-up forms to each post, but still having the ability to edit them in one place, and then have each instance of the element being updated to reflect those changes. This removes the need to go into each post and make the changes at that level, saving time and effort.
You can also upload three versions of each image that is included in a post. The three sizes include one large version which is displayed when the full post is viewed, and then two thumbnail images which are used on category pages or on the blog homepage.
The shortcodes that come with the theme make it very easy to insert a number of useful and attractive page elements into your content. These include elements such as:
- Check Lists
- Post Lists
- and much more
Inserting the shortcodes is as easy as clicking on the menu item that is added to the post and page editor and then choosing the element you wish to add to the content area.
At the individual post level, the AutoTrader theme allows you to easily enable and disable a number of features, giving you lots of control over how the individual posts are displayed on your site. These include enabling or disabling the comments, published date, author info, and share buttons.
AutoTrader also includes a contact form builder and a reservation form builder. These both allow you to include the form fields of your choice, in order to allow potential customers to get in touch or make a reservation.
Installation and Setup
After uploading the archive of the themes files, you will be prompted to download the theme files from the ThemeFuse servers, allowing you to get the latest versions of all the files that make up the AutoTrader WordPress theme.
Once that one-click installation is complete, you get the choice of importing the demo content or proceeding with your existing content. The content import creates all the core pages and categories for creating your site, and also allows you to get a better idea of how the theme functions. If you are working on a fresh installation or WordPress or don’t plan on using any existing content then it is probably a good idea to import the content and then work from there.
Once the installation and import has finished, you can then access the theme control panel and options page from the top level item that is entered to the admin dashboard side menu.
The Fuse Framework
While this site doesn’t make use of a parent and child framework arrangement like Genesis (but does include a child theme for your convenience), the themes from ThemeFuse are built using the Fuse Framework which handles the settings and options for configuring your site.
From the Fuse Framework menu you can configure the theme and how it will work with your site and content. There are a lot of settings with this framework and its control panel, but the use of a tabbed interface does make it easier to find your way around without getting overwhelmed by all the available settings and options.
Some of the configuration options provided by the framework control panel include:
- Uploading a custom logo and favicon
- Setting theme and text colours that will be used for certain elements of your site
- Adding custom CSS
- Setting the currency and VAT rate
- Setting the vehicle features display priority
- Creating custom taxonomies
The other menu items that come with the framework include a ‘News & Promos’ page where you can see the latest offerings from the developers, including new themes and plugins, as well as view the range of partners ThemeFuse recommends and are available for custom development work.
You can also find links to the support provisions from ThemeFuse which include the forums, FAQs, and documentation.
While the framework doesn’t use the native WordPress UI, it is responsive and it doesn’t deviate too far from the default WordPress interface making it easy to use for first timers.
Adding Vehicles to the Site
As the different vehicles that will be listed on your online car showroom are handled using WordPress custom post types, creating them is similar to creating a regular post, but with a lot more options and available fields to make use of. The additional fields cover details such as:
- Price options
- Emission class
- Registration year
As AutoTrader also makes use of lots of custom taxonomies, it means you can really categorise and tag your vehicle posts in order to make it very easy for the visitors to your site to find the exact type of car they are looking for.
These custom taxonomies, which are essentially vehicle specific categories and tags, include details like:
- Vehicle type (e.g. sedan, suv, sports car, etc.)
- Fuel type (e.g. diesel, gas, hydrogen, etc.)
- Status (e.g. damage, intact, etc.)
- Interior features (e.g. cruise control, parking sensors, etc.)
- Exterior features (e.g. 18” allow wheels, sunroof, etc.)
- Safety features (e.g. abs, airbags, etc.)
- Extras (e.g. warranty, full service history, etc.)
- Makers/Models (e.g. Audi, A6, Q7, etc.)
As these custom taxonomies function like regular WordPress categories and tags, visitors can easily use them to filter and navigate their way around the vehicles listed on the site.
Once you’ve added the post content, including the gallery images, and listed all the features, you can preview the post and then publish it when it’s ready.
The individual vehicle pages look really good. The uploaded images are well presented, and viewing the multiple photos that make up the optional galleries is very easy for site visitors. Despite the individual vehicle posts having the ability to hold lots of detailed information about the car, the content is well organised and arranged on the frontend, making digesting the details very straightforward.
This clear presentation of data is very important, especially when your website and business is promoting big-ticket items such as cars and other motor vehicles.
The use of tables, with different coloured rows, tabs, and well formatted bullet lists makes taking in all the details about each vehicle much easier than it could’ve been if attempted without using a purpose built theme like AutoTrader.
The AutoTrader theme includes four different sliders. They can be used to display multiple pieces of content, whether that is images, posts, video, or text, in the space that would traditionally just display one piece of content. The sliders can automatically scroll through the different items that have been assigned to them, or the user can scroll through the slideshow at their own pace.
While sliders aren’t appropriate for all types of website despite their popularity, for a website promoting and selling cars, they are a good choice. As the decision to buy a vehicles is often strongly influenced by the appearance of the car, being able to showcase multiple photos of the vehicle should be beneficial and a good use of a slider.
With AutoTrader, you can create the following types of sliders:
- Full width banner sliders
- Image and video sliders with product text
- Featured vehicles/posts sliders
- Carousel sliders for scrolling through the latest arrivals
Once created, the sliders can then be added to the homepage of the website or used as the header on individual posts or vehicle pages. As mentioned earlier, the theme includes a header control panel on the ‘Add New Post’ screen so it’s very simple to set a particular slider to be displayed in the header of a particular post. This could allow you to create a slider showcasing many photos of a particular car and then only display it on the post that corresponds to that vehicle.
Support and Documentation
When it comes to support, users of this theme get a few options for getting help and assistance. These include the:
The user documentation is well laid out and covers each of the features of the theme in a step-by-step manner which makes it very easy to follow along when setting up the theme.
While this theme might cost a bit more than a regular WordPress theme, it’s important to realise that AutoTrader includes more features than a typical WordPress theme. While it will transform the appearance of your site, it also includes all the features you might need when either selling vehicles online, or promoting an inventory of cars on behalf of a dealer or showroom.
AutoTrader is available in three pricing options:
- Standard: $95 – theme only
- Developer: $145 – layered PSD files, bonus theme
- Club: $195 – all ThemeFuse themes, plus new additions
You can find out more about the pricing plans for AutoTrader here.
If you are in the process of building a website to showcase vehicles for any reason, then AutoTrader is a great choice. Whether it’s to list cars that are available to buy and hire, or just display detailed information about a range of vehicles AutoTrader has everything that’s needed.
The post creator for adding the individual vehicle pages is really well designed both in terms of creating the posts from the backend, and also displaying them to visitors via the frontend. You can really list every detail about a vehicle, and then have it presented in an easily digestible way.
The search tool is very useful, and the ability to refine searches using sliders and other fields will make it very easy for your visitors to find something that matches their criteria. Being able to add individual vehicles to their shortlist is also a feature that visitors to the site will appreciate.
If you like the design and presentation of AutoTrader then you should definitely take a closer look at this theme as it has lots of features which should suit almost all websites being built to list and showcase vehicles.