Carvana Review: So This is Better Than It Looks, Even
Carvana was not really on my radar, and I had never seen any Carvana reviews when it came time to turn in my lease (a 2014 Buick Encore).
Carvana is not a car dealership per se, and the whole issue was sticky for me. One of the last places I went with my husband was to ostensibly sign a new lease for a newer Buick Encore in December 2017. But it didn’t end up working out, and then he died, and I extended the lease because I could barely get to the gas station at that point.
Then there was this fire at my house, and my car lease was ending, and I was in a hotel, and all this craziness kicked up. And somehow (a commercial?) I ended up looking at CarMax, the closest of which is in Connecticut. And I saw a Fiat 500, which reminded me my in-laws had one and my 6’4″ husband fit in the backseat. And it’s cute and retro. So I googled around a bit more and landed on Carvana. I saw a Fiat 500x, which was much like my Encore.
So before Carvana, I went to look at the features and noticed my localish dealership (Fiat of Westbury) had a decent Fiat 500x lease special. After much attempting to do it over the phone, I got lured in. It did not go well. (Yelp review here.)
Back to Carvana. I noticed that most Fiats on the site were Fiat 500E models, totally foreign to me. That’s because Fiat hates the 500E, and will only sell or lease it in two states. Fiat’s late CEO famously implored folks not to buy or lease the 500E, because it allegedly cost Fiat Chrysler $14,000 per car. (I looked into this more and that’s apparently because automakers must invest in new technology to build electric cars, and the Fiat 500E is totally electric.)
After some quick calculations, I brought the matter of buying (not leasing) the electric Fiat 500 to my dad, who promptly asked about range and what happens if I need to drive to the city. I investigated and noticed that garages have quick chargers. Other than the city, I rarely travel outside of range. So far, so good. And I was seriously starting to dig this car, and I thought it would be forever before I could have an electric car.
Carvana’s interface was awesome, and I narrowed it down to (not kidding) 17 Fiat 500Es. I selected one based on mileage and condition, and it was set to arrive on a Tuesday. (I ordered it Thursday night.) Tuesday rolls around, and my car is a no-show. I called Carvana, and after a few hours, it was determined that my car needed some repairs and was not meant to be listed. They offered a replacement that was similar, but it had a feature I wasn’t into. However, the Carvana rep told me that I could wait for the original configuration to come up and swap cars.
This wound up being a boon, because a combination I’d never seen popped up — the robin’s egg blue exterior (my favorite color, Celeste Blu for Fiat), and a white interior. I nearly selected an orange one because I mistakenly thought it was the only one besides white (Bianco Gelato) with a white (Steam) interior. Both times, my car arrived on time, I was allowed a test drive, and both were in impeccable condition. This is my first (returned) Fiat 500e:
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It’s been over a week, and I would recommend Carvana to anyone after my experience. The dealership visit was a nightmare, whereas Carvana was painless and required hardly any human interaction. The price was upfront, the financing took seconds, and the payments were manageable.
Moreover, Carvana has more electric Fiat 500 vehicles than anyone I’ve seen. In New York, they can be scarce and marked up. At Carvana, I had my choice of colors and features. I LOVE the car. More than any car I’ve owned. It’s adorable and I never have to go to the gas station in the rain. Already, I’m nervous the car will stop production because I’m pretty sure I want to get another one when I’m done with this one. Next week, I’m having a charging station installed.
Separately, I’ll discuss the Fiat 500E, but my Carvana review was its own awesome experience. If Amazon Prime sold cars, it would be like this. It’s just a fantastic, fair, awesome way to get reasonably priced cars without bait and switching tactics. And the selection is huge- if you want a color or trim, it’s far easier to wait for it to show up on Carvana than have the dealer wear you down to accept whatever is left on one lot. And calling to swap my car out took like 20 minutes.
I highly recommend Carvana and hope I never have to acquire a car the old-fashioned way again.