Carvana Vs. CarMax Vs. CarGurus: A Comprehensive Comparison

In the world of used cars, three major players have made quite a splash in recent years: Carvana, CarMax, and CarGurus. All three have changed the game with their unique approaches to the car buying and selling process.

But how do they stack up against each other? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each company to find out which one comes out on top.

A Brief Comparison Table

Buying ExperienceOnlineIn-personVaries
Home DeliveryYesNoVaries
Inventory SizeLimitedLargeLargest
Test DrivesNoYesVaries
No-Haggle PricingYesYesVaries
Return Policy7-dayVariesVaries
In-House FinancingYesYesNo
Physical LocationsFewOver 200Varies
Private Seller OptionsNoNoYes

Carvana: The Online Car Vending Machine


  • Online Convenience

Carvana is a fully online platform, meaning you can browse, buy, and even finance a car without ever leaving your couch.

This level of convenience is unparalleled in the industry and is a huge draw for customers who prefer not to deal with in-person salespeople.

  • 7-Day Return Policy

Carvana offers a 7-day return policy, giving customers peace of mind when purchasing a vehicle.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it within a week with no questions asked.

  • Vehicle Delivery

Carvana’s vehicle delivery service is a game-changer. They’ll deliver your car right to your door, or you can pick it up at one of their unique “car vending machines” in select cities.


  • Limited Inventory

Carvana’s inventory is smaller than that of competitors like CarMax. This means you may have a harder time finding the exact make, model, and year you’re looking for.

  • No Test Drives

Since Carvana is entirely online, you won’t have the opportunity to test drive your car before buying it. While the 7-day return policy offers some protection, this could be a deal-breaker for some buyers.

CarMax: The King of Used Cars


  • Massive Inventory

CarMax boasts the largest inventory of used cars in the country.

With over 50,000 vehicles in stock, you’ll have a much easier time finding your dream car here than at Carvana.

  • No-Haggle Pricing

CarMax’s no-haggle pricing policy takes the stress out of negotiating. Their vehicles are priced fairly from the start, so you won’t have to worry about haggling for the best deal.

  • Test Drives and In-Person Experience

With over 200 physical locations nationwide, CarMax offers the opportunity to test drive vehicles and work with salespeople in person. For many buyers, this is a crucial part of the car-buying experience.


  • No Home Delivery

Unlike Carvana, CarMax does not offer home delivery for their vehicles. You’ll need to visit a physical location to pick up your car.

  • Limited Online Presence

While CarMax’s website allows you to browse inventory, the overall online experience is not as smooth as Carvana’s. You can’t purchase or finance a vehicle entirely online, so you’ll need to visit a store to complete the process.

CarGurus: The Used Car Matchmaker


  • Aggregated Listings

CarGurus is a platform that aggregates used car listings from dealerships and private sellers across the country. This gives users access to an even larger pool of vehicles than CarMax or Carvana.

  • Price Transparency

CarGurus offers price comparisons and market analysis to help buyers determine if a vehicle is fairly priced. This level of transparency is invaluable when making a purchasing decision.

  • Dealership and Private Seller Options

With listings from both dealerships and private sellers, CarGurus offers more variety and flexibility in the car-buying process.


  • No Direct Sales

CarGurus is a platform for connecting buyers with sellers, rather than selling cars directly. This means that the actual purchasing experience will vary depending on the individual seller.

  • No Standardized Policies

Unlike Carvana and CarMax, CarGurus doesn’t have standardized policies like no-haggle pricing or a 7-day return policy. You’ll need to work out the details of each transaction with the seller, which could be more time-consuming and less predictable.

  • Limited Financing Options

CarGurus does not offer in-house financing like Carvana and CarMax. You’ll need to secure financing through a third-party lender or negotiate with the seller.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which is better, CarMax vs. Carvana?

The better option between CarMax and Carvana depends on your preferences. If you value a large inventory, in-person experience, and test drives, CarMax may be the better choice. However, if you prioritize online convenience, home delivery, and a streamlined purchasing process, Carvana could be the better fit.

Are CarGurus and Carvana the same company?

No, CarGurus and Carvana are separate companies. CarGurus is an online platform that aggregates used car listings from dealerships and private sellers, while Carvana is an online car retailer that sells and delivers used cars directly to consumers.

Who pays better than CarMax?

It depends on the specific vehicle and market conditions. Some private buyers or dealerships may offer a better price for your car than CarMax, but it’s essential to shop around and compare offers to find the best deal.

Does CarMax price match Carvana?

CarMax does not have an official price-matching policy with Carvana. However, CarMax’s no-haggle pricing means that their vehicles are priced fairly from the start, so you may find competitive prices between the two companies.

What is Carvana’s biggest competitor?

Carvana’s biggest competitor is CarMax, the largest used car retailer in the United States. Both companies offer a unique approach to buying and selling used cars, but CarMax has a more extensive inventory and physical presence, while Carvana focuses on online convenience and home delivery.

Final Thoughts: Choosing The Right Option For You

When it comes to Carvana, CarMax, and CarGurus, each platform has its unique advantages and drawbacks. The best choice for you will ultimately depend on your specific needs, preferences, and priorities. Here’s a quick summary to help you decide:

  • Carvana is best for those who value convenience, a fully online experience, and home delivery. However, you may need to compromise on inventory and forgo test drives.
  • CarMax is ideal for buyers who want a large inventory, in-person experience, and no-haggle pricing. However, you won’t enjoy the same level of online convenience and home delivery that Carvana offers.
  • CarGurus is perfect for individuals who want to explore a wide range of options from dealerships and private sellers. You’ll benefit from price transparency and variety, but you’ll need to handle the details of each transaction with the seller and arrange your own financing.

No matter which platform you choose, it’s essential to do your research, compare prices, and take the time to find the right car for you. In the end, the best option is the one that meets your needs and provides the smoothest, most satisfying car-buying experience. So, buckle up and get ready to hit the road on your next ride!

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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