How Carmax's used-car prices compare to Kelley Blue Book

3 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, Features

Just like any good reseller, Carmax makes its money by buying low and selling high. One would think, then, that listed prices would be high, and one would be right. What’s interesting, though, are its most-valuable listed cars.

Turns out the vendor is pretty fair with its pricing.

Some background

Here at Thinknum, we have access to both real-time and historical data about which cars sold for how much. We get this data straight from sites like Carmax, Carvana, and Vroom. And when we compile used car sale data by brand, the results for most-expensive used cars is, in some cases, pretty surprising (and not so much in others).

According to Kelley Blue Book, the brands with the best resale value are Toyota on the mid-end and Porsche on the luxury side of things. The folks at Kelley do a lot of research, and they have years of data, so there’s really no reason to not trust what they publish.

That said, Kelley doesn’t divulge how they come up with their pricing numbers, and it’s important to point out that they monetize their site - right from their “2017 Best Resale Value Award Winner” page for the Toyota 4Runner, for instance, they include links and ads for the user to go buy said car from a dealer.

But we’re a curious group here, and we wanted to find the most-expensive cars types sold at Carmax and how they were pricing them.

For fun. And education. But mostly for fun.

The Results

In our pull of data for this story, the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan topped the list for highest average price with a couple prime examples in the western states. One is for sale at $62,998 with just 3,000 miles in Duarte, CA. Another with 8,000 miles is up for grabs in Salt Lake City, Utah for an equally healthy $59,998.

Kelley says fair market range for this car is $48,380-$54,513, so it does indeed look like Carmax is pushing the sales price here a bit. That said, 3,000 miles is next to nothing, and a new G90 starts at $68,350. Saving $10,000 for a virtually new car isn’t so bad after all.

On the high end, the most expensive car (regardless of trends, averages, or brands) for sale on Carmax as of publication is a Lexus LC 500 with just 3,000 miles in Kearny Mesa, CA for $89,998.

Kelley doesn’t have a used listing for this car yet, likely because it hasn’t been around long enough to collect any relevant data. That said, for a new version of the car, they list the Fair Purchase Price at $90,211. On Lexus’s site itself, retail prices start at $92,000.

Sounds to us like someone got in a bit over their head with this performance car and let it go to Carmax before they did any more damage to their wallet (or their marriage).

However, saving a mere $3,000 for a performance car of this type doesn’t sound like much of a steal. Someone can do a lot of damage in just 3000 miles. If you're going this high-end, you want to be the first to drive it.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

Request a demo

We would love to show you how Thinknum will benefit your investment process. To get started, fill out the form and we'll contact you shortly to schedule your demo.

The best of media, delivered to you

Get a newsletter of our most popular stories of the week.