Carvana is well-known for being an online-only car dealership. Buyers can visit Carvana’s website, sort through their vehicle options, secure their financing and finalize their purchase all without leaving home. Carvana offers car delivery services in certain areas, too.
For buyers who might not want to make that visit to an in-person dealership, Carvana simplifies the process and maybe even eliminates the pressure of in-person sales. Carvana isn’t the only option for buying a car online though. What companies are considered Carvana competitors? Check out these other companies to research all the options and find the best price for the right car.
Why Buyers Should Check Other Sites
If Carvana can help buyers find their dream car, why visit any other online site? Like any purchase, checking out the competition can help buyers find the best price for what they want. A car is a major investment; some buyers are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and shopping around can help buyers understand that they really are paying the fairest price.
When buying a car online, buyers need to know how much they can spend. Experts recommend spending less than 10 percent of take home pay on a car payment; total car expenses also should cost less than 20 percent of take home pay. Car expenses will typically include fuel needs and insurance.
Many buyers zero in on the monthly payment of a vehicle. To find their best monthly payment for their budget, buyers need to look at what’s left of their paycheck after all deductions like taxes and health insurance. If take home pay is $3,000 per month, then the buyer should stick to a car payment that is less than $300.
Monthly payments, though, are calculated after a down payment and trade-in is applied. If a buyer has a trade-in plus funds set aside for a large down payment, they could afford a much nicer car even with a $300 monthly payment.
Different sites could offer different prices for a trade-in. This is where research is important for buyers. Time is on the buyer’s side during online shopping. While in-person car sales could be a high-pressure situation, buyers who are shopping online could step away from the screen to think about their options. They may even expand their search over a couple of days.
When exploring different options for buying a new car online, though, what sites are there beyond Carvana? How can buyers find the best prices or the best monthly payments?
Carvana has many different competitors online, but buyers might not be as familiar with them. Some of Carvana’s possible competitors include:
Vroom: The site offers low-mileage cars. This means that, while buyers can find newer models, none of the options will have a blank odometer. However, some mileage readings may only be less than 200 miles. Like Carvana, buyers can search for vehicles based on different parameters like by make, model or body type. Once the results are displayed, shoppers can select additional criteria to further narrow down the choices. Vroom also has several lending partners to help buyers find the best financing, but buyers also can finance through their own lender (like their personal bank or credit union). The platform also lets individuals sell a car to the company, too.
Driveway: Search for new, pre-owned and used models. Each model offers a price with details on the estimated monthly payment plus how much the buyer needs for a down payment. Buyers can click on more details that show the loan terms and interest rate details. Terms may be different per buyer. While financing can be completed online via Driveway, the company also allows buyers to have third-party financing. Buyers just have to contact the company to work through the details. In addition, Driveway works with the local DMV to help buyers register their vehicle and collects the taxes from the buyer, too. The company makes the whole car buying process entirely virtual. Buyers can sell a car, too.
OneRequest: The search query tool lets buyers zero in on the exact vehicle they want. Set a max price and even specify a model year range. Buyers also can add in maximum mileage and make/model or body type, too. Buyers also could select a tab for extra assistance in their search or opt for the concierge to find the car for them. Through OneRequest, buyers anonymously communicate with different dealerships. The benefit of this is that personal information is not disclosed.
TRED: Like the other sites, TRED lets buyers set specific parameters for their car search. However, cars offered via TRED are privately owned. With TRED, buyers can get pre-qualified for financing, too.
RelayCars: The site provides buyers with an immersive car-buying experience. Shoppers can explore vehicle models via virtual 3D models, which can showcase the vehicle from any vantage point. Users can interact with the models using their mouse or just a fingertip. RelayCars also lets users explore the vehicle in augmented reality. The camera on a smartphone or tablet shows the real environment, and the user can then drop a graphic depiction of the vehicle into their environment. See the car in the driveway, garage or maybe even the backyard. When buyers discover the car they love, they can search the availability and complete the purchase online. RelayCars is designed to be a virtual car dealership and creates an immersive experience that can more closely replicate the in-person car buying tradition.
What’s the Best Online Car Site?
Car buyers might wonder what site is the best for buying a vehicle. This might depend on what type of vehicle the buyer wants. While many of these sites offer a new and used or pre-owned selection, TRED includes private sellers. This could mean different vehicle selection.
Not all sites also might have the same vehicle selection, and limited selection could impact the best site for the buyer. Some buyers are extremely focused on what they want, including mileage preferences and features. If they cannot find their vehicle via Carvana, they may look elsewhere.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to buying online is that buyers can surf onto other sites to check inventory and even pricing. In the past, car buyers would have visited one dealership or multiple dealerships to find the car they want at the price they need.
In today’s digital environment, buyers just have to enter a new web address to launch their search. Buyers also may have multiple browser tabs open to go back and forth between sites to compare and contrast different vehicles that each site offers.
What’s the best site for buying a vehicle? Again, the best site is dependent on the buyer.
Are Car Dealerships Obsolete?
The car buying experience might be virtual, but that doesn’t mean that dealerships and their offerings are obsolete. Many online car sites connect buyers to participating dealerships. While Carvana and Vroom offer their own inventory, this isn’t how all the online sites work. If a buyer has a relationship with a particular car dealership, they might visit a site that is aligned with this dealership.
For other buyers, though, the dealership experience might not be something that they value. In fact, it could be an experience they dread. In addition, younger generations may be more comfortable making their full vehicle purchase online as the virtual experience is so familiar to them.
When shopping online, buyers can take comfort in knowing that they can browse at their leisure. Many sites are very hassle-free, and there isn’t a virtual sales person necessarily tagging along on the car buying journey.
However, that doesn’t mean that buyers can’t ask for help as they browse. Many online car sites offer customer service help for buyers who need more assistance.
How Can Buyers Explore the Vehicles they Like?
Buying a car online could feel like a less tangible experience for some buyers. When shopping for a car in the past, buyers often sat in different vehicles, explored the different features and maybe took a test drive or two.
How can buyers better understand the features of each vehicle when shopping online? With Carvana, buyers are selecting their car by photos and information that is available online. For this reason, Carvana offers a seven-day return policy. While most car sales are final, with Carvana there could be a bit more flexibility as, again, buyers can’t really take the vehicle for a test drive. Carvana has exceptions to the seven-day return, though. Buyers need to read all the details.
However, other sites may partner with car dealerships. This could mean that buyers might be able to schedule a test drive of the vehicle before they buy it.
RelayCars offers buyers the opportunity to explore vehicle models through 3D imagery and even augmented reality. This gives buyers more information about the interior details of a specific vehicle. They also may preview the vehicle in different paint color options to find the one they like best.
While Carvana may be one of the most well-known online car buying sites, it isn’t the only option for buyers who want a virtual car shopping experience. Take time to research vehicles on other sites to find the best vehicle and the best price for the budget. Shopping online provides the buyer with more tools to review all their vehicle options and the flexibility to shop anytime and from anywhere.