If you don’t know what Carvana is, you could be missing out on a low-stress, easy, quick, and streamlined buying process. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Carvana and conclude whether or not the service is good. Take a look.
What is Carvana?
Carvana is a way to buy a car online without using a dealership. The idea is that they can offer lower prices since they don’t have to pay dealership fees or the traditional overheads.
You have the option to buy or sell your car through their site, and they do all the hard work for you. There’s an option to sell your car with no haggling so you don’t have to rely on your local marketplace.
How Does Carvana Work?
Carvana works like a dealership on steroids, but it prides itself on not having the same dealership gimmicks that you’re used to.
There is a limited stock of cars, but the stock is upwards of 25,000 options. They don’t have a dealership, just a bunch of pop-up shops across the country. They call them Carvana Inspection Centers.
This is where they do the full 150-point inspection on every car, add it to their online inventory, and take professional photos of the interior and exterior. It’s also where the car waits until it finds its home.
When you sell a car to Carvana, they’ll pick it up and drive it to the nearest center. When you buy, they’ll grab the car from its center and deliver it to your front door (in most cases).
You pay through Carvana, not a third party. To be honest, their pricing is really fair. It’s somewhere between a private sale and dealership price, so it’s the best of both worlds. In many cases, it’s even cheaper than CarMax since CarMax has a huge overhead.
The Process of Shopping with Carvana
In this section, we’ll show you some screenshots that walk you through the process of shopping with Carvana. The whole process takes place on their website. When you startup, you’ll be greeted with a header that lets you choose what kind of car you’re looking to buy.
For this example, we plugged in a Honda Accord. It generates a list of over 200 options.
You can keep scrolling until you find the perfect one. You can also filter by the body type, year, mileage, and extra features that you’re looking for.
In simple terms, you’re almost guaranteed to find the right car.
When you click on any of the options, you’ll be brought to a big page that has more information. The first thing it shows you a 360-degree view of the car that you can scroll around.
As you’re looking, you might see small triangle-shaped symbols. These symbols point out where an imperfection exists. It could be a scratch, dent, or bump.
Right off the bat, this is something that a dealership would never do. You can keep scrolling down and see pictures of the interior.
These are actual shots from the car you’re looking at. You’ll also see a countdown clock in the middle-bottom of the image posted.
If you order within that time period, they have an expected delivery date underneath. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s impressively quick. In this instance, we can get this car within 2 days.
They have a button that shows you delivery and pickup options for this specific car.
You plug in your zip and see the soonest delivery and the closest pickup. A little lower on the screen, you’ll see the results of their 150-point inspection.
If you’re happy with what you see, you can start the checkout process. Keep scrolling and you’ll start seeing finance options.
It breaks down the exact cost and you’ll notice this car includes free shipping. There are never dealer fees, so the pricing you see is exactly what you’ll get. If you already know how much car you can afford, this step is really easy.
If you have an account, the process is pretty much done. You give some financial information and arrange a final delivery and that’s it.
Things to Love About Carvana
Let’s take a second and talk about all the great parts of this platform.
We messed around with their car inventory and looked for some less common cars. Not only were they available, but they had multiple options. They had a number of Porsche 718 Boxsters listed, which surprised us.
When it comes to your everyday car, you’re almost guaranteed to find the right trim, sub-model, color, and package you’re looking for. As we mentioned, they have over 25,000 cars listed on their site.
Quality of the Cars
The next thing is that these cars are in really good shape. They do a full inspection, they use Carfax, and they certify every car on their “lot”.
What’s more, they never sell a car that was in an accident, so you don’t have to read the small print or cross your fingers.
As opposed to CarMax’s “we will make an offer on any car” policy, Carvana tends to pick high-quality options.
Their 100-Day Guarantee
They have a 100-day guarantee on the cars that they sell. If anything goes wrong within the first 100 days or roughly 4,200 miles, they’ll take care of it for you.
They also accept returns within 7 days of you receiving your car. If you are unhappy with it, they’ll return your money with no questions asked.
7-Day Test Drives are Offered
The only downside with buying online is you don’t know how the car runs. That’s why Carvana offers a 7-day test drive so you can get a feel for the vehicle before making your decision.
We can’t stop talking about the images on their site. The full 360-degree view and interior shots are exceptional. The highlighted imperfections on the exterior help you avoid a disaster.
Overall, the images are a huge selling point of this service. You can take your time and really look over a vehicle before you write a check.
Owner’s Manual and Free Oil Change
The cherry on top? Every car comes with an owner’s manual and a free oil change. This isn’t essential in the car-buying process, but it’s a really nice gesture.
An often-overlooked benefit of Carvana is how low-pressure the whole situation is. We just cruised through a dozen different car listings while lounging on the couch.
There were no pushy salespeople trying to force us to sign for a new Porsche and upsell us. Carvana is the chill roommate who’s up for whatever movie you want to watch.
The buying process is surprisingly easy and stress-free. There are no gimmicks or sales techniques aimed to trick you. In addition, you don’t have to worry about what major problem the used car salesperson is trying to hide. It’s all out in the open.
Things That Carvana Can Improve
To give a full assessment, we’ll talk about some of the negatives of Carvana. These might not be big deals to certain people, but they’re worth pointing out.
Delivery Can Get Messy
Depending on your location, delivery can be a problem. You might be looking at a delivery that takes weeks after purchase, especially if you live in a remote area.
On top of that, a lot of people will wind up paying for delivery. There are certain areas that can avoid the delivery fee, but they don’t disclose where exactly. Over time, they might have enough centers set up that you don’t have to pay for delivery no matter what.
The No-Haggle Policy
On paper, a no-haggle policy seems great. It becomes a lot worse when you’re trying to negotiate the price down.
The perk of buying from a car lot or through a private sale is that you can almost always haggle and get a lower price. With that said, prices are usually jacked up to begin with because they know you’ll haggle.
With Carvana, there’s absolutely no haggling. The printed price is the only price.
Are Carvana Cars Good?
In general, the cars offered are really good. They’re in great shape and the price is better than you’ll find at a dealership.
Without being able to drive the options, we can’t conclude how they good are mechanically. However, aesthetically, they’re great.
It helps that they go through the extra inspection process and comb through the car’s history. This helps them make sure every car offered is worth buying.
Who is Carvana Right For?
This platform is right for almost anybody. It’s a little weird to make such a big decision solely through pictures and comments online, but it’s worth it.
Since they also offer a test drive, you aren’t missing out on too much. Carvana is the best option for someone who already knows what car they want. It’s otherwise a good option for the general buyer who doesn’t mind getting over the initial awkwardness of car shopping online.
Carvana is a great step in the right direction. You can buy a car online with no extra stress and no sleazy sales tricks. Overall, we love this service, and we can’t say enough good things about it. Next time you’re looking to get a car, consider Carvana.