Carvana: A Convenient Solution to Selling & Buying Cars

Carvana is without a doubt a much more convenient option when buying/selling a vehicle, but it might not make sense for everyone.


Jeremy Fuchs
Updated 20 September 2021
Carvana: A Convenient Solution to Selling & Buying Cars

Source: Carvana

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Sections on this page
  1. Our Take
  2. Pros of Carvana
  3. Cons of Carvana
  4. How Carvana Compares to the Competition
  5. Carvana Features
  6. What Carvana Customers Are Saying
  7. Who Is Carvana For?

Carvana is for anyone in need of a car or trying to sell one. It’s an online marketplace where you can shop for a used car and have it delivered to your door. You can also sell your car quickly and easily.

Carvana is mainly geared toward the Internet-savvy generation, and it represents a brand new way to buy and sell cars. Gone are the days of haggling with used car salespeople and spending endless hours in used car lots.

Shopping for a car can now be done on your terms, anytime, from any place. With access to a nationwide inventory, you can search for vehicles from the comfort of your home.

Adopting a fun delivery and pickup solution, Carvana has transformed how car buying is done. However, like with any online product, the inability to try it out physically may be a dealbreaker for some users.

If you are in a pinch and need a car fast, Carvana is a good option. A 7-day return policy diminishes the risk of getting a car sight unseen. Carvana is a brand new way of obtaining a car, but it could soon become the standard.

Our Take

Carvana is perfect for those who need a car, fast. With its streamlined process, it represents an easier way to get a car. However, there are issues with the warranties, and you cannot test drive the car before purchasing.

Car buyers: Carvana is best for those who already know what car they want, have already test-driven it elsewhere, and don't want to deal with dealerships.

Car sellers: Carvana is best for those who don't want the hassle of posting the car for sale or dealing with used car salespeople.

Carvana car delivery
(Source: Automotive News)

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Pros of Carvana

There are several benefits to Carvana, with most of them relating to financing.

  • No hard credit inquiry for pre-qualification.
  • Pre-qualification in minutes.
  • No application fee or origination fee.
  • 7 days to try the car and return if needed.
  • Do everything online—no waiting for hours at the dealer, no haggling or negotiating.
  • Free delivery (in most cities)
  • Car vending machines make it easy to pick up a car.
  • Makes it very easy to sell your car.

Cons of Carvana

  • Some cities have a delivery fee ranging from $190-$590, which is pretty expensive.
  • There aren’t many car vending machines right now.
  • A minimum income of $833/month is required.
  • No way to test drive multiple cars (as you would at a dealership).
  • Price is set—no negotiation opportunity to bring the price down as a buyer.
  • If you’re selling your vehicle, you could potentially get a better deal from a private seller.
  • The only way to test drive a car is to purchase it.
  • Warranty is only good for 100 days (unless you pay to increase it).

How Carvana Compares to the Competition

There are several competitors to Carvana, although none offer anything as unique as Carvana’s vending machines.

CarMax

CarMax is similar to Carvana—you can search for the car you want, and the cars can be picked up or delivered right to your front door. In addition, CarMax offers a 24-hour test drive period and a 30-day return policy (compared to Carvana’s 7-day return period).

Since it’s been around for much longer than Carvana, CarMax has many more in-person locations throughout the U.S., making it more convenient if you want to test drive multiple vehicles.

AutoTrader

Another option when buying or selling vehicles is AutoTrader. AutoTrader is a bit different than Carvana and CarMax—it’s more of a listing service where sellers pay to list their cars. As a buyer, the site connects you to used car lots in your area and gives you the option to purchase new cars.

Carvana Features

Carvana’s main unique feature and selling point is its car vending machines, allowing you to buy a car in minutes. However, several other features make Carvana a solid choice for both buyers and sellers.

7-Day Return Policy

Carvana’s 7-day return policy allows you to test the car out for up to 400 miles. If you drive over the 400-mile limit, you’ll be charged $1/mile that you go over. If you are unsatisfied, you can return it.

You are limited to two exchanges for a total of three vehicles. (The third vehicle cannot be returned or exchanged.)

Warranty

All cars purchased on Carvana come with a standard 100-day, 4,189-mile warranty. This basic warranty covers all repairs, minus replacements. A co-pay of as much as $50 is required.

After that warranty is reached, there are a few other options. Called Carvana Care, this offers free repairs at their network of over 5,000 maintenance facilities.

Delivery Fees

Depending on your location, Carvana may ship your car for free. If you’re outside of the free delivery area, you may have to pay a fee ranging from $190-$590. However, delivery fees are nonrefundable unless you decide to return your vehicle.

Contactless Delivery & Pickup

Carvana deliveries and pickups are touchless. Upon delivery, your car is sanitized, and you will find your paperwork and keys inside the car.

Optional Features

CarvanaCare is an optional, paid service that extends the original warranty. There are three tiers, ranging from basic to premium coverage, which includes free oil changes and tire rotations for one year.

Vehicle Return Process

There are a number of steps to return a vehicle and the warranty could be much better. After the 100-day “worry-free guarantee,” the warranty expires. While you can purchase additional coverage, it’s still bare bones.

Selling Vehicles

Selling to Carvana is fairly straightforward. After entering your VIN and answering a few questions, such as mileage and drivetrain, Carvana will come back with a final offer in two minutes.

As a seller, you have a few options. You can:

  • Reject offers
  • Accept offers
  • Receive payment by check or direct deposit
  • Choose to trade-in the car, using the value towards the down payment of the next car.

Once you decide to proceed with a sale, you can arrange for Carvana to pick up the car.

What Carvana Customers Are Saying

In general, customer reviews of Carvana are mixed. Some have wonderful experiences, praising the ease of use, speed, and return policy. Others were disappointed with the customer service, delivery delays, and high prices. Many average reviews discussed issues with the vehicle inspection and delivery but were satisfied overall with the product.

Who Is Carvana For?

Carvana is great for those who don't have time, don't want to go to a dealer, or detest dealing with salespeople. It's also great if you already know what car you want and don't need to test drive.

It's not good if you aren't comfortable with a hard price or if you’re unsure what car you want. Without being able to test drive, you are taking a bit of a leap of faith.

It's also good if you’re looking to sell a car, as Carvana has made it a simple, streamlined process—you’ll be able to get the market value for your car and never have to leave your couch.

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