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Carvana and CarMax

DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular

Has anyone used either one of these to buy a pre-owned automobile?

My partner and I would like to trade in one of our cars and get a mid sized SUV. All of the dealers nearby have very low inventory. We understand now is not an ideal time to buy a car, but we will need a larger vehicle very soon.

My hatchback and her compact car are already not really working with our baby and all of the accessories and equipment

We're looking at Honda Passport, Kia Telluride and Hyundai sibling counterpart, Subaru Ascent. All but the passport have very low availability and very high markup.

Passports are well regarded by consumer reports and similar publications.


  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    edited April 19
    Carvana has some problems. I don’t know about Carmax

    Especially with getting titles. They, very often temp title their cars in a different state, sometimes send the wrong car, or send a jacked up car and hope enough time passes before they attempt to return it they don’t have to worry (I checked it’s 7 days).

    So if you use those services, have your mechanic go through your car. Check everything. And make sure you get the correct title. Match the vin and make sure it’s for your state.

    Honda Passports are good cars. Boring cars, but safe and generally reliable.

    zepherin on
  • AkimboEGAkimboEG Registered User regular
    We bought a Civic from CarMax just before the pandemic started. Our reasons for going with them were trust (I don't trust them fully, but definitely more than some random used car dealership), their no-haggle policy (I personally hate haggling), and wide selection with high availability. They also transfer vehicles between locations at no cost, if they're close enough. Overall, it was a very positive experience, and we're happy with the purchase.

    A few things you'll want to keep in mind if going this route:
    • You won't find the best possible deal at CarMax vs. other used car dealerships. The benefits from going with CarMax come at a slight cost.
    • They have their own inspection and verification process, but they don't let you take the car out for inspection at a third party mechanic before purchasing. This would've been a deal breaker for us, but a no-questions-asked 30 days return policy basically solves this issue.
    • Not all cars are the same. Their website is pretty good for narrowing down options, but you'll want to personally inspect and test drive every vehicle. The same is true for pricing - they generally follow a formula, but with some patience and a good eye, you can find some deals better than others.

    I'll also say that our experience with their customer service was pretty great. Like I mentioned, the pandemic hit right after we purchased the car, and it ended up sitting in the garage for nearly six months before we actually started using it. We then discovered a technical issue that we missed before purchasing, and CarMax fixed it without question and without charging us a dime - all more than half a year after the purchase.

    Give me a kiss to build a dream on; And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss; Sweetheart, I ask no more than this; A kiss to build a dream on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    Pre pandemic we sold my wife's car to Carvana (for far more than a dealers trade in offer) and later bought a car from them. Our experience buying was that cars get snatched up quick, but it was painless. Ours was formerly a corporate car from another state, so Zepherin's advice is definitely applicable.

    Also, the selling process had us calling customer service several times and was one of the best cust service experiences we have ever had.

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I bought an SUV from CarMax once upon a time. It was an easy experience and the car was fine. and boy do you pay for it! by the end, I wished I had been able to just wait a year and buy a new car.

  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    edited April 22
    I bought a preowned luxury car from Carmax with extended warranty, which was very useful. Overall, I was quite happy with the experience as I didn’t have to deal with random dealers and mechanics. See if they have it available. My experience is about 10 years old though.

    Basar on
    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • TuminTumin Registered User regular
    edited April 23
    Carmax does algorithmic pricing with scheduled price drops, and their goal is to move cars quickly. So sometimes you can find decent deals if local demand slumps or.a model is unpopular, but you can't negotiate.

    I found their pricing fair at the low end but mostly you pay for convenience and no hassle. Their offers to buy cars are really low, though.

    Tumin on
  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    We had repeated terrible experiences with both early in the pandemic, cars not coming, canceled orders with no notice etc. And this is in the Boston metro area, so not them avoiding delivery to the sticks. We ended up going to a Honda dealer.

    That said! My previous car WAS bought from carvana and it was great. You won't get the absolute best price, but it's probably a fair one. And I'll echo everyone else that said take that car to a mechanic for a thorough inspection immediately. And not the cheapest one you can find, spend the money now to save in the long run.

    I also did not trade in my car with carvana, so no idea how they are on that half of the equation. If you can float it I'd probably sell myself, it's a hot market, just pick a reasonable price and wait for someone to match it, just ignore all hagglers entirely.

  • DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    Thanks for the advice, everyone. We're going to go to a CarMax in a few weeks.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    We bought a used Pilot to replace our Forester that was a bit too small and had high road noise (for me). That was back in 2016 (it's a 2014) and we've only had one issue beyond maintenance. That issue was fixed relatively simply at a local shop (needed to replace an air valve to clear an error code). Super happy.

    We have friends who bought a Hyundai Palisade and they really like it. They bought theirs new about 2 mos ago.

  • DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    We're buying a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and trading in my 2012 Mazda. We will hopefully test drive and buy it, if we like it, May 23.

    I applied for CarMax financing. I'm also going to check with my credit union.

    What's a good interest rate, knowing now is not a good time?

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    When I bought my car from carmax (2011, so a while ago), the interest rates were non negotiable and based on your credit score. Mine was insanely high because verizon sucks, but that's another story =p

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    edited May 11
    Credit union rates are going to be better than dealer financing.
    2.5 is a good interest rate for a 5 year.
    3-4 is going to be an ok rate if your credit isn't great.
    If it's more than 4.5, either your credit is fucked (no judgement Verizon sucks), or they are trying to rip you off.

    zepherin on
  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    Credit union rates are going to be better than dealer financing.

    Except when a dealer is offering 0% deals, which I don’t think many are at the moment.

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    edited May 12
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    Credit union rates are going to be better than dealer financing.

    Except when a dealer is offering 0% deals, which I don’t think many are at the moment.
    Sometimes that’s a good deal, usually though the loan origination fee is higher than a credit union, or they are only offering that on sticker price, and sticker is higher than msrp.

    Although in this market, they can charge a high loan origination fee, apr, higher msrp and not negotiate.

    zepherin on
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