Which online dealer has better prices and how do they compare?

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).

What is Carvana?

Although online car buying might not have been buzzed about until recently, Carvana has been selling cars online since 2013. Carvana is an online-only used car retailer that allows you to virtually complete every step of the car buying process including trade-ins and financing. There is no minimum credit score to purchase a car through Carvana ’s financing, but you need to make at least $10,000 per year. Above all, Carvana will deliver the vehicle right to your doorstep, although it may include a delivery fee if you reside outside of their coverage area. They even have vending machines throughout the country that allow you to pick your car up and skip the delivery fee , while experiencing what all the car vending machine fuss is about. 

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.

What is VROOM?

Founded in 2013, VROOM is an online used car buying site with inventory that is mostly under three years old. Like Carvana , you can conduct every part of the used car buying process online with VROOM and skip the trip to the dealership . VROOM ’s website includes 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles, and shoppers can use the site’s search engine to find the car of their choice with filters such as make, model, price range, and body type. You can finance through VROOM and compare the rates of many partner lenders to find the best financing option. There is no minimum credit score, but buyers must make at least $21,600 a year to be approved for financing.  

VROOM charges a non-refundable delivery fee between $0 and $1399. Customers picking up local inventory from Texas Direct Auto's store in Stafford, TX (a Vroom affiliate) are not subject to a delivery fee or electronic registration filing 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 vehicles 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: Comparison

Here is a comparison of the car buying process at Carvana versus VROOM , which identifies the key similarities and differences between the two:

\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.

Carvana Vs. VROOM - Vehicle Selection Comparison

iSeeCars examined the vehicle inventory at both Carvana and VROOM to identify differences and similarities. 
Carvana vs. VROOM
Carvana VROOM
Test Drive? No No
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
Accepts Trade-Ins? Yes Yes
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
No-Haggle Pricing? Yes Yes
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 Non-refundable delivery fee between $0 and $1399
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
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%
VROOM has a higher share of vehicles that are less than a year old and a higher percentage of three-year-old vehicles. Carvana has a higher selection of older cars that are five years or older. The two retailers have nearly identical percentages of two-year-old and four-year-old vehicles. If you are looking for an older vehicle, Carvana is likely to have more vehicles to choose from. 

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
Truck 4.0% 8.1%
Minivan 2.4% 2.3%
SUV 41.5% 43.8%
Car 52.2% 45.7%
Luxury 20.2% 24.7%
Non-Luxury 79.8% 75.3%
When examining the vehicle types, the two have a similar mix of inventory. However, VROOM has more of its inventory devoted to pickup trucks, while Carvana has more cars. Both have similar percentages of both Minivans and SUVs as well as similar breakdowns for luxury vs. non-luxury vehicles.

Pricing Comparison

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 $18,665 +3.9%
VROOM $20,352 -3.2%
The average price of a car at Carvana is $18,665, while the average price of a used car from VROOM is $20,352. Shoppers looking for used cars under $20,000 can likely find a vehicle at either retailer . The minor price difference could likely be attributed to VROOM having slightly newer inventory. Shoppers looking for a deal will have better luck finding one at VROOM , while the average price of each vehicle is 3.2 percent below market value. Carvana , on the other hand, has its cars priced at 3.9 percent above market value.

Best Deals at Carvana

iSeeCars also identified the vehicles that can be found with the greatest savings at Carvana .
Carvana Vehicles with the Most Savings
Rank Vehicle Avg Savings
1 Lexus NX 200t 5.8%
2 Lincoln Continental 5.3%
3 Genesis G80 3.8%
4 Land Rover Range Rover 3.7%
5 Cadillac XT5 3.6%
The vehicle with the most savings is the Lexus NX 200t compact SUV, which provides savings of 5.8 percent. It’s joined by four additional luxury vehicles.

Best Deals at VROOM

Here are the vehicles with the greatest discounts at VROOM :
VROOM Vehicles with the Most Savings
Rank Vehicle Avg Savings
1 Lexus RX 350 8.9%
2 Acura RDX 8.7%
3 Lexus ES 350 8.4%
4 Ford Escape 7.9%
5 Acura MDX 7.0%
The vehicles that provide the most savings with VROOM are four luxury vehicles and one mainstream SUV, the Ford Escape. The vehicle with the most savings, like Carvana , is a Lexus SUV: the Lexus RX 350 midsize SUV with an 8.9 percent discount.

Bottom Line

When it comes to the best places to buy used cars , both Carvana and VROOM provide hassle -free alternatives to traditional dealerships and allow you to conduct your entire car buying experience online. Skipping the dealership for a contact-free buying experience is especially valuable in the Covid car buying era, and not having to deal with a used car salesperson is also an added bonus. Carvana has more inventory, which might come in handy if you have your eye set on a particular model. And although VROOM has lower prices on average, you should also factor in the $599 delivery fee which might make the prices more comparable. The vehicle inventory for both Carvana and VROOM appear on the iSeeCars.com car search engine , and you can filter to “online-only cars” to compare the inventory from both retailers

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 free 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.