May 27, 2024


Unlimited Technology

Carvana made buying a car painless during pandemic hell

The entire purchase process took around 10 minutes. I clicked “Get Started” in the Carvana app, which kicked off a 45 minute timer reservation of the vehicle. I configured a loan with a manageable monthly payment and the largest deposit I could put together, picked a delivery date and time and entered my payment information. 

The only hiccup? I had to rush to get a Georgia license to finalize the purchase, but that was relatively simple since I live near a fairly low-traffic DMV office. I sent along my temporary license photos and insurance information, had a slightly awkward and abrupt call with a Carvana rep and waited for them to approve the deal.

Once I got the green light, I just sat back and let Carvana do the work. In the meantime, I spent a lot of time staring at photos of the RAV4, my most expensive gadget purchase ever (while also devouring YouTube car reviews). It brought me back to the days before next-day package deliveries, when you actually had to sit in anticipation of a new toy coming your way.

A Carvana rep called me the day before my delivery to spell out the whole process and answer any questions. As an obsessive researcher who had spent a ton of time looking into other Carvana customer experiences, I had none. After that, I just kept an eye on the Carvana app for the actual delivery details as if I was waiting for the world’s most expensive Uber.

On the big day, the delivery driver called with some good news: She could actually drop off the car several hours early. So I packed up my daughter from the playground, rushed her back home, and waited while tracking the delivery’s tiny icon on the app. I sent along a selfie to confirm my identity and 20 minutes later the truck driver appeared in a small Carvana-branded truck. It felt like the most exciting thing to happen in my quiet suburb that entire week.

My new (used) RAV4 Hybrid looked immaculate, and I couldn’t find any visible issues while it was sitting on the truck. After dealing with a bit of paperwork and communicating with her corporate office, the driver had me sign some documents, handed me some welcome documents from Carvana (along with a nifty travel mug) and parked the car in my driveway. I successfully bought a car without ever setting foot in a dreary office, or haggling with a car dealer.

I was practically in love with the RAV4 Hybrid the instant I set foot in it. I sold my last car (a well-maintained ’91 Accord Wagon) 10 years ago, so I’ve mainly experienced newer car tech by riding around with friends and family. Having a modern car, with the latest safety sensors, tons of cameras and radar-assisted cruise control seemed like a huge leap forward from my last ride. The RAV4 drove like a dream, and my local mechanic gave me a huge thumbs up when I brought it in for a used car inspection.

Once my 7-day trial period was up, Carvana sent me an email saying that my registration and plates were in the works. I ended up receiving them in the mail two weeks later. Now that my family and I are genuinely settling into our new home and our new routines with the RAV4 Hybrid, I’m struck by how easy the whole Carvana process was. It was certainly the simplest part of our cross-country move (which involved researching and buying a house remotely, stress-packing our entire apartment, and missing our first flight to Atlanta). Calling it car-buying heaven may be a bit much, but Carvana was certainly the break I needed from the hell of everything going on in the world today.

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