CarMax Offer - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S: CarMax Offer

June 6, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

We thought we would bide our time while waiting for the debut of the Tesla Model X by keeping our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S a while longer. But we have pretty much covered all the bases on this car and quite frankly, we're getting that itch to buy something new. We were pretty sure that selling this car would replenish our coffers. But we weren't exactly sure how much we'd get. No one had any pricing data on the car.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Our long-term Chevrolet Volt and Fiat 500 were in the same uncharted waters back when we sold them. Would we get top dollar for our Model S? Take a wild guess before you hit the jump.

"Hold on sir," said the greeter at CarMax. "I'm checking with my manager to see if we can appraise this car."

This was the first time I've heard this at CarMax, but my worry was short lived. The manager came over quickly and said they could appraise it, but it would take twice as long (about an hour) since they had to do "a lot of research."

During the appraisal, I learned that CarMax wasn't going to resell the Model S on its lot. "Our insurance company won't let us sell this car until there are more out there," said the appraiser. My guess is that CarMax needs to work out the details of servicing the vehicle and offering an extended warranty. Instead, CarMax would list the Model S for sale at its own auction.

Roughly an hour later, I had an offer in hand. CarMax offered us $79,000. For reference, back in February 2013, we paid $103,770 (I'm discounting the $1,235 we paid for the wall charger, since it wasn't part of the vehicle). This is about a 24-percent depreciation, and slightly over with our fleet average of 22 percent.

We're still debating whether to take the offer, sell it private party. Or we may keep the Model S a while longer.

What would you do? Take the CarMax offer or sell it on your own?

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 22,473 miles

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2013 Tesla Model S Research