It depends on the car and price. Usually their prices are higher. But one time they had a 2011 VW EOS with only 16k listed for $19k. Every other EOS in town had much more miles and the asking price was actually higher than CarMax. This was a few years back, but another case is when an acquaintance of mines got his hands on a 91 or 92 NSX with 100k for only $12k.
Because I myself buy new, I personally haven't bought a car for myself at Car Max, but have shopped there with others who needed a car, and have checked out some used cars there on request from CL members. I generally find those shops impressive, with clean, expansive, well-equipped service/repair facilities, large lots with a good selection of used vehicles, impressive showrooms, salespeople that are generally honest by used-car-standards, a no-haggle pricing structure for easy deals (which usually includes a discount except maybe on extremely high-demand vehicles), any added charges (like the processing fee, if applicable) clearly spelled out on the price-sticker, and generally good washing/cleaning/preparation/detailing of cars before customer delivery. Negatives include (sometimes) higher than usual prices than on the regular used-car market (which may reflect the high level of service) and a somewhat stingy standard 30-day warranty when the vehicle is not left with the balance of the new-car warranty transferable to subsequent owners. Warranty extensions can be bought.
Most of their vehicles seem to be in good-to-excellent condition. As to be expected, the newer the vehicle, usually the better the condition. But, like any other used-car shop, you still have to inspect them carefully before buying. I was there some years ago with one friend, looking at a used Subaru SVX, and found a serious trunk water leak.
A few Car Max shops do include new-car franchises, BTW, and sell and service new vehicles...but most, as I understand, do not.
I haven't bought at Car Max, but have taken vehicles to them for appraisal to see what they'll pay. I use their appraials with new car dealerships in negotiating my trade in. Based on my experiences if I was buying a used car, and thet had what I was looking for at a decent price, I'd use them.
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The Carmax in Kenosha, WI near me is also a new Toyota dealership. We've purchased 3 Toyotas from them and have been happy w/ the experience. As mentioned, no negotiation, but they sell for under MSRP (posted on website) and I think they're very fair.
I also traded in a couple of cars there and their trade in value was great.. amount doesn't change if they cut you a check or apply towards other vehicle. I was surprised to get $4600 for my '99 LS400 w/ 165k miles some years back - ran great but the mileage definitely showed.
Four years ago we got a new 2011 Highlander SE for around $33k and had to trade it in about 11 mo later. We needed a van due to twins on the way (making it 3 kids total) and they gave us an even $30k for it. Not sure how they made money on it but it made it easy to roll into a new Sienna - drama free.
From what I understand, Carmax will NOT sell anything that's had significant damage (frame, etc..). I was told they generally only sell one in every 10 they take in on trade since most don't meet their criteria (could be BS, but who knows). They like to keep a shiny car on the floor that looks really good and it's an example of what they do NOT sell - closer inspection indicates machinery that was used to straighten the car or is evidence of extensive damage.
So yeah, you pay a little more, but you're generally not at risk of getting a problematic car. Our first Carmax purchase was a used 2002 Highlander V6 w/ 30k miles. We put another 90k trouble-free miles on it before getting the 2011. I'm sure being a Toyota had a lot to do with it.
Can you find better deals - probably. But I just think you're taking more risk. For me, it's either a CPO vehicle or I'll look at Carmax.
I'd say it's safe to say if you find the car you want at Carmax and you're ok with the price, you'll be happy with the vehicle and the purchase experience.
Carmax is good if you're willing to pay for the convenience of having them take care of everything
Not only that, but it's getting riskier and riskier nowadays dealing with total strangers trying to sell your old car on the private market. There is the risk of robbery, carjacking, strangers coming into your home, the issues of who is going to drive back with who's license-plates/registration, illegal plates themselves, check-bouncing, not having someone who can legally witness and sign over a title, and, in some cases, having to report any cash/check purchase over $10,000 to the FBI. Then, you have to go to the DMV and do THEIR required paperwork/transfers......to put it bluntly, it's both risky and a pain in the a**.
Unless you know the people you are dealing with and/or have access to a Notary Public or legal witness, even if you don't always get the full trade-in value you might want for your old car, it's usually easier and better to simply do all of this at a car dealership. They will have a safe/secure environment for the inspections/test-drives, temporary (or even permanent) state license-plates, temporary registration, a Notary Public or other person who can sign-over titles, state and emissions-inspection facilities if needed, Car Fax reports, the ability to verify credit-worthiness or the credibility of a check/bank-account, and the ability to report a 10K+ purchase to the proper authorities. That is why so many transactions today are done at new/used-car dealerships, and why companies like Car Max have grown so explosively.