Vroom and Carvana are two of the largest and most well-known online car dealers in the United States that allow customers to purchase vehicles entirely online Online Car Buying Platform. Both offer the convenience of shopping, financing, and having cars delivered without ever having to step foot inside a traditional dealership.

However, there are some differences in their business models, inventory, prices, and customer experiences.

This article will provide an in-depth look at how Vroom and Carvana compare to help consumers determine which platform may be the better option depending on their needs and preferences.

Business Models

Vroom and Carvana have similar online car buying models but slight variations in their business operations:

  • Vroom sources vehicles from auctions, individuals, rental car companies, and trade-ins. It inspects, reconditions, photographs, and lists them for sale on its website.
  • Carvana solely focuses on purchasing vehicles from auctions and individuals. It does not accept trade-ins on its own vehicles like traditional dealers often do.

The main differences come in the inventory sourcing and how quickly cars move through their systems:

  • Carvana turns over its inventory much faster – around 30-45 days on average versus 90+ days for Vroom.
  • This means Carvana has fewer vehicles available but they are more freshly sourced, while Vroom offers a larger selection but vehicles may have in their possession longer.

Online Car Buying Platform – Vehicle Selection

As a result of their business models, Vroom and Carvana naturally differ in the size and freshness of vehicles available:

Vroom Carvana
Larger selection typically numbering over 10,000+ vehicles across many models/makes. Smaller curated selection usually between 5,000-8,000 vehicles that changes daily as inventory moves quickly.
Vehicles may have been in possession 60-120+ days on average. Vehicles are recently sourced from auctions within the last 30-45 days typically.

So Vroom offers more options but they may not be as newly acquired as what is available on Carvana at a given time. Customers need to decide if selection size or vehicle freshness is a higher priority for their purchase.

Pricing and Fees

Let’s examine similarities and differences in how Vroom and Carvana approach pricing and additional costs:

  • Both platforms include vehicle pricing on their websites along with shipping/delivery fees, which are typically between $300-400 depending on your location.
  • Financing is also available through both with competitive interest rates. Out the door pricing is provided that bundles taxes and fees into a total cost.
  • Carvana is known for pricing vehicles slightly below market value estimates on average to move inventory quickly, while Vroom aims to within market ranges.
  • Vroom has been criticized at times for adding additional unadvertised charges and documentation fees during the purchase process.

So from a raw pricing standpoint, Carvana may have a small advantage of coming in beneath expectations more consistently. However, the final costs depend on specific vehicle negotiations and market conditions too.

Delivery and Condition

Let’s compare the post-purchase delivery experience and vehicle condition policies:

  • Both platforms deliver vehicles directly to customers’ homes or offices for free within a timeframe of 5-7 business days after purchase.
  • Carvana is known for its quirky car vending machine towers where you can optionally pick up your vehicle in select cities.
  • Carvana’s 7-day return policy allows test drives and full refunds if a vehicle inspection uncovers any unreported issues. Vroom’s return window is typically 3 days.
  • Vroom offers a 100-point inspection but has faced criticism over not fully disclosing problems. Carvana includes a 150-point inspection for clean vehicle histories.

For peace of mind, Carvana’s longer return window and more robust inspection process may provide more flexibility and assurance when buying online without seeing a car in person first.

Customer Satisfaction

Let’s examine customer satisfaction ratings and reviews for each platform:

  • Carvana consistently holds a 4.0-4.5 star rating average across dozens of online review sites like Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot.
  • It routinely ranks as one of the best auto dealers in customer reviews surveys for communication, transparency, and quick resolution of issues.
  • Vroom tends to hover closer to a 3.0-3.5 star average as reviews call out more extended delivery timelines, opaque fees, or difficulties returning vehicles.

By most metrics, happy customers seem to find Carvana’s overall buying and ownership experience easier than Vroom. But individual results will differ based on each person’s unique purchase and ownership experience too.

Industry Recognition – Online Car Buying Platform

To wrap up, here’s how the automotive and tech industries perceive these companies:

  • Carvana has recognized as a stand-out innovator for its vehicle vending machines and vertical integration model that has driven rapid growth.
  • It holds the top spot on many lists of fastest growing companies and most promising tech startups in America.
  • Vroom still lags behind Carvana in brand recognition outside of the auto industry and within the investment community.
  • However, both companies have shown the potential to disrupt traditional dealerships through ecommerce transformation of the car buying process.

Online Car Buying Platform – Parting Words:

While Vroom deserves credit as an early online car seller, most industry experts and customers still view Carvana as setting the gold standard experience based on its unique business model, consistent vehicle pricing/quality standards, high customer satisfaction rates, and greater brand prominence.