To our benefit and sometimes to our detriment, online shopping has changed our lives. From clothing to groceries, we can get just about everything we need (and lots of things we don’t need) delivered to us without having to leave our home. And thanks to online car dealers like Carvana and VROOM, you can even purchase a new car without having to step foot in the dreaded used car dealership.
Until recently, many consumers may not have felt comfortable shopping for a car online the way they would shop for a sweater. After all, you can’t just stick a return label on a car and drop it in the mail if buyer’s remorse sets in. Then the COVID pandemic hit, and suddenly consumers became less reluctant to buy a vehicle online as it presented a safe, contact-free alternative to a brick-and-mortar dealership. Suddenly skipping the used car lot sounded like a great idea, even if it meant buying a car without even seeing it or taking it for a test drive.
So how do the major players in the online car sales industry, Carvana and VROOM, work? Is one better than the other? And most importantly, should you buy a car online? We have the answers to these pressing questions. (If you want to buy a car online but still want the option to test drive at a physical lot, check out our CarMax vs. Carvana guide).
Carvana’s inventory includes more than 15,000 vehicles, which have each gone through a thorough 150-point inspection process. You can search the Carvana website to filter by price, model, vehicle type, and other features. Because Carvana doesn’t have any physical locations, prospective car buyers can’t see or test drive a vehicle before buying it. Instead, Carvana gives you seven days to test drive the car in your real world environment as opposed to the roads surrounding a dealership. If you don’t like the vehicle or if you sense something is amiss, Carvana’s return policy allows a full refund if you return the vehicle within seven days. Additionally, each vehicle comes with a 100-day, 4,189-mile limited warranty.
VROOM charges a $599 non-refundable delivery fee for each car, and cars can be delivered in an enclosed trailer for $999. Customers also have the option to pick up their car from VROOM’s Houston, Texas dealership location to skip the delivery fee. Every VROOM vehicle comes with a limited warranty of 90 days or 60,000-miles along with one year of roadside assistance. Like Carvana, VROOM cars have a seven-day return policy.
You can also use VROOM to trade in your vehicle. You will either get an instant offer online or a guaranteed offer within one business day. Then a representative will schedule a time to pick up your vehicle for free, and a payment will be sent to you once your vehicle is received.
|Carvana vs. VROOM|
|Limited Warranty||100 days or 4,189 miles from the time of your purchase||90 days or 6,000 miles from the time of your purchase|
|Vehicle History Report||Free Carfax report||Free Carfax report|
|Inspection||150 point inspection||Detailed safety, mechanical and cosmetic inspection|
|Physical Locations||No, just a vending machine in some markets to pick up purchased vehicles||No, though vehicles can be picked up from dealership in Houston|
|Return Policy||7 days (if you drive over 400 miles, you will be charged $1.00 for each additional mile)||7 days or 250 miles|
|Vehicle Quality||Clean title, accident-free, frame and disaster damage-free||Clean title, accident-free, frame and disaster damage-free|
|Delivery fee||Free within local markets or to Carvana pickup locations, $199-$1,000 out-of-market||$599, ($999 for enclosed trailer)|
|Inventory||15,000 vehicles||3,000-4,000 vehicles|
|Financing?||Yes, through Carvana (outside financing also accepted)||Yes, through 12+ partner lenders that allow you to compare rates (outside financing also accepted)|
|Delivery within the United States?||Yes for all states||No delivery in Alaska and Hawaii|
Carvana and VROOM have many similarities including comparable limited warranty terms and return policies, vehicle inspection processes, a no-haggle pricing policy, and providing only vehicles that are accident- and damage-free with clean titles. They differ in that VROOM charges a delivery fee, while Carvana offers free delivery and more pickup locations if you are outside of their market coverage area. Additionally, Carvana also has more than three times the inventory of VROOM. Both retailers have similar search engine interfaces which include an option to see a vehicle’s imperfections, but Carvana edges VROOM in its image quality by allowing for a 360-degree view of the vehicle.
Vehicle Age Comparison
iSeeCars compared the vehicle ages at both Carvana Vs. VROOM:
|Carvana Vs. VROOM - Inventory Age Analysis (iSeeCars Study)|
|Model Year||Age||% Carvana||% VROOM|
|2019 or newer||up to 1 year old||8.2%||15.5%|
|2018||2 year old||15.8%||15.4%|
|2017||3 year old||27.6%||40.5%|
|2016||4 year old||13.5%||13.4%|
|2015||5 year old||10.0%||4.4%|
|2014 or older||6+ year old||24.9%||10.8%|
Inventory Mix by Vehicle Type
iSeeCars examined the inventory mix by vehicle type for the two online retailers.
|Carvana Vs. VROOM: Inventory Mix by Vehicle Type|
|Body||% Carvana||% Vroom|
Which provides better deals? iSeeCars also compared the pricing of vehicles at both dealership types:
|Carvana Vs. VROOM Pricing Comparison|
|Dealer Group||Avg Price||Pricing Relative to Market Value|
|Carvana Vehicles with the Most Savings|
|1||Lexus NX 200t||5.8%|
|4||Land Rover Range Rover||3.7%|
|VROOM Vehicles with the Most Savings|
|1||Lexus RX 350||8.9%|
|3||Lexus ES 350||8.4%|
Regardless of which online used car dealer you choose, you should always have the used car inspected by a trusted mechanic during your seven-day trial period. Consumers should always do their research and use online tools like the iSeeCars VIN check report to help you get all the information you need to find the best car at the best price.
Be sure to check out some of our other used car shopping guides to help you make the right car purchase for you:If you’re interested in a new car or a used car, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help shoppers find the best car deals across all vehicle types and provides key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. It also includes automotive inventory from online car retailers like Carvana and VROOM. Filter by make, model, price, and special features to find the best deal on your next vehicle.