Dealership vs. Carvana: Which is the Better Way to Shop?

Vehicle Showroom

Nowadays, your local car dealership isn’t the only place you can purchase your vehicle. Online dealers like Carvana have offered some convenience, but just because it’s convenient doesn’t always mean it’s the best place to shop. Let’s go over what you can expect from Carvana vs. a car dealership.

The Carvana Experience: Is it Really Worth it?

With Carvana, you can browse quickly through car listings with tons of photos. Great—until you remember not everything you see online is as advertised. Since you won’t be able to see the car in person, you’ll have to rely on the accuracy of the pictures. Looks can be deceiving when you’re just looking at photos. In fact, some Carvana customers even experienced receiving a completely different car than the one pictured.

One of the biggest draws of Carvana is its futuristic “car vending machine.” When you want to go pick up your car at one of these locations, it will be sent out via conveyor belt. This is cool, but only if you happen to live close to one of their sixteen locations. If you don’t live in one of Carvana’s delivery zones, you’ll have to pay a delivery charge of $200—and that’s not including wait time to have it delivered. There are even horror stories from customers who’ve had unfavorable experiences with having their car delivered improperly by Carvana.

Why the Dealership Experience is Best

When you visit your trusted car dealer, you’ll be able to inspect every car on the lot, up close and personal. When you buy directly from a dealership, you get exactly what you paid for, and can even take a test drive before you sign any documents or make a payment.

When you’re shopping online, most of the time you have a specific car in mind. However, you may find a car that’s better for your lifestyle if you go to a dealer first. Dealership staff members are experts about cars and can help you find the best one for you. Again, a test drive is great in these cases, as you’ll be able to see how it performs for yourself.

If there’s a problem with your vehicle, you can take it back to your local dealership to have in inspected. It’s also easier to get your service questions answered directly from a local dealership. With Carvana, you have to make appointments and wait for another delivery driver to pick the vehicle up. That’s less than ideal or convenient. It can be hard to get quick service from online sellers, especially when their businesses are located hundreds of miles away. 

Can You Buy New Cars from Carvana?

Currently, Carvana only offers used cars. Pre-owned cars may be cheaper, but they don’t come with the guaranteed peace of mind that new Nissan vehicles provide. Plus, even a freshly cleaned used car can’t quite replicate that new car smell.

At a dealership like Jim Burke Nissan, you’ll be able to browse through new vehicles as well as used ones. New cars are often affordable to finance and you get the maximum value from the car’s warranty.

Is Carvana Cheaper than a Dealership?

This will depend on which kind of vehicle you want to buy. However, Carvana promises a “haggle and hassle-free” buying experience. While this is supposedly easier, it means that you’re potentially missing out on savings.

When you buy from a car dealership, you may be able to negotiate a more affordable price. Many dealerships, including our Birmingham location, will price match their inventory with other competitors in the area. You may also be able to offer you a special deal or promotion that isn’t available online.

Carvana vs. Dealership: The Final Say

Carvana may be a quick and easy way to get a car, but it can’t replicate the dealership experience. Getting your car from a dealership means that you’ll always be able to get the best price and reliable service.

If you’re looking for a new or used car dealership in Birmingham, feel free to browse our inventory today or visit our lot! Call us at (205) 588-6287 to schedule a test drive or request a quote. We’d be happy to help!