I Bought A Car On Carvana

I need to share a little back story before I get started with my car buying experience on Carvana. I’ve owned and driven the same car since I was 15-years-old. She’s a 1998 Ford Mustang and is a part of my soul.

photo of a 1998 red Ford Mustang parked in a cul-de-sac

Lil Red is aptly her name because she’s red obviously but the “lil” part is what really speaks to her personality. She’s a little bit gangster. She’s taken a few lickins’ over the years and yet she’s still here – thriving!

With that said, I’m 30 and I have never purchased a car. To be honest, Lil Red has been telling me in her subtle and some not so subtle ways, that she would like to retire and become a classic. I, of course, kept putting off purchasing a new car because I knew I could keep fixing my Mustang and have no car payment – which I’ve also never experienced.

I’ve been a bystander in the car buying process many times and every time the thought of buying a car came up, I would have anxiety about spending hours at a dealership and negotiating like backroom mobsters over price. Which is honestly a pretty accurate description of how my parents’ last car purchase played out at the dealership.

Two women standing in a driveway in front of a Carvana truck.

So, why Carvana

Honestly, I started seeing Carvana license plates on vehicles on the road and wrote the name down in my phone notes one day. I turned to my BFF Google to see what I could learn because I honestly didn’t know that it was an online car buying process when I became aware of the brand.

How it works

Carvana’s website is a massive search engine for any make, model and price vehicle you’re looking for. You can browse their inventory just for fun and when you’re ready to get serious – you can create an account and input your financials to get a better picture of your costs like down payment, monthly payment, and interest rate.

Now, browsing cars on the internet is nothing new. Just about everyone does some kind of online research before making a major purchase. In a traditional car buying situation, once you find a car you like – you’d then head down to the dealership to test drive it and move forward from there. With Carvana, this is the point where the buying process differs greatly. If you find a car you like on Carvana – you purchase it right there – just like you would hit “Add To Cart” on your Amazon account!

Some may start hyperventilating at this stage because buying a car is a big deal. Even more so when you’re putting your money up for a car you haven’t seen or driven.

But this is the interesting part, Carvana has a 7-day money back guarantee. This is essentially a no strings attached 7-day test drive so you and your vehicle can really bond and get to know one another. If it doesn’t work out – no problem. Call Carvana and they’ll come pick it up or drop it back off at a Carvana vending machine and your downpayment will be refunded. This was the feature that really sealed the deal for me. It gave me peace of mind that if I really didn’t like the car or just wanted to back out of the process altogether – I could.

My Purchase

I bought a 2016 Ford Fusion SE!

Leigha of A Southern Compass holding a Ford key standing in front of a 2016 Ford Fusion.

I was unsure of what kind of car I wanted so I spent a few days browsing and playing with the different filters. I loved how many ways you could filter your browsing experience from down payment to monthly payment and all the usual filters make, model, year etc..

I really wanted to stay in the Ford family and have a car payment under $400 a month. Those were my main constraints and I was able to find TONS of options within that search criteria.

Leigha of A Southern Compass sitting in a driveway between a 1998 red Ford Mustang and a gray 2016 Ford Fusion.

Buying Online

The process of purchasing the car online was even easier than looking through the inventory. You begin by inputting your personal details then move into the financing piece. You can finance through Carvana, pay cash or opt to use third party financing. Each of these steps tells you about how many minutes it will take to complete each process and the max per section on my purchase was 4 minutes.

Have a trade-in? There’s an option for you to trade in your car as well. Obviously, I kept my Mustang so I can’t speak to that aspect of the process.

Delivery or Pick Up?

This is one of the coolest parts about using Carvana, if you ask me. You can either have your car delivered right to your driveway or go to one of their nearest Carvana vending machines and have your car brought to you.

Source: Carvana Facebook

I love the idea of the car vending machine. If you want to see it in action watch this vlog from Lee Benjamin & her husband Dylan about their Carvana car buying experience.

I elected to have the car delivered to my house. I mean, I love getting packages and this is a big package.

My Carvana rep, Ashley, called me an hour prior to the scheduled delivery time to let me know her estimated time of arrival and that everything was on-track. The only items I needed to take possession of the vehicle was my driver’s license and proof of insurance on the vehicle. She uploaded that information into her tablet and explained all the paperwork that I had previously signed online. This whole process took about 15-20 minutes.

Leigha of A Southern Compass sitting in the driver's seat of a 2016 gray Ford Fusion with her hand on the door preparing the close the door.

Car Quality

This was one of the questions marks that I was waiting to answer upon receiving the car. Carvana is really great about showing you detailed pictures of any imperfections on the vehicle so I was interested to see how true to life that was. When I looked at this car online there were some very small and minor scratches and I hardly noticed them in real life upon inspection.

The car smelled great and it was in excellent condition. Everything checked out from the detailed report, Carfax and 150 point Carvana checklist that was provided on the vehicle. All-in-all, I was truly impressed that what I saw online was exactly what was delivered.

If you’re looking into a Ford Fusion – I like it – if my opinion counts for anything. I think it’s a great car. It has some upgraded technology but not all the bells and whistles on the SE model. It rides smoothly and is pretty decent on gas mileage. I like the room in the vehicle and the trunk is HUGE – which is a major change from my Mustang.

Room For Improvement

Not every experience is perfect and there is always room for improvement so here are the things that I guess I’d describe as negatives I guess:

  • My Carvana rep said that they did not have time to get the car inspected so I would have to do that in order to complete the registration process. I found that a little inconvenient.
  • The “oil change” light was on in the vehicle when it arrived. I found this a bit curious because it had to pass their inspection and one would assume that the oil and all other fluids would be changed or topped off. The alert said that the current oil was only valued at 4% so it REALLY needs an oil change. I really would have thought that I wouldn’t have needed to perform any maintenance so soon after getting a new vehicle.
  • My dad looked over the car and noticed some pretty deep grooves in the rear brake rotors. He deemed them significant enough that they should have probably been replaced during Carvana’s inspection period but weren’t.
    • There is a complementary 100-day Limited Warranty that Carvana provides. I called the warranty provider and he explained that I would need to take the vehicle to a service provider and both parties would determine if repairs are needed and if so – determine if they are covered under the warranty.
    • I haven’t done this yet but I’ll update this post when I do with the results of this process.
  • If I really want to nitpick, the car could have been cleaned better. The window had a film all over it and the outside wasn’t super clean but that’s just really looking for something to complain about.
Leigha of A Southern Compass standing in the driver's side doorway of a 2016 gray Ford Fusion smiling.

Overall, I had a FANTASTIC experience with Carvana! I even drove to the Carvana location with a vending machine closest to me to snap this picture. I mean, when you get a new car, you take all the pictures, right?

I love the car and buying a car on Carvana was such an easy process. I would highly recommend anyone looking to buy a car check out Carvana! It’s just too easy of a process to ignore. I truly believe this is a great model for buying/selling cars! I am certainly a satisfied customer.

Leigha of A Southern Compass standing with one hand on the front of her new  2016 gray Ford Fusion in a parking lot near Carvana's vending machine.

Opinions are my own.


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