One of our blog writers, Bradley Berman, recently mentioned to us that he needed a car and was planning to get a subscription through Canvas. So, we had a lightbulb moment! Why don’t we ask him to give us his honest review of our product? We were eager to receive his candid thoughts and share them with you. Read below to see his perspective on getting a car through Canvas. (FYI: we did pay him to write this up for us, but we haven’t changed any of his words below)
Buying a car is stressful. It’s second only to purchasing a house in terms of a consumer’s expense, which make it daunting when a dealership puts the pen in your hand to sign a five-year auto loan or a three-year lease. Signing those papers is stressful because you know that you are committing to a single model (and tens of thousands of dollars of payments) for the next several years. I escaped that unpleasant experience a few weeks ago when I took an alternative route to car ownership with a car-subscription through Canvas.
The folks at Canvas asked me to share my unvarnished opinion of what it was like to start my subscription. The first thing that hit me was unexpected. Unlike the experience of securing a heft loan or a lease, when I subscribed to a car, I didn’t feel any pressure. Selecting the vehicle, choosing the terms, and scheduling the delivery was a breeze. The entire process took place from the convenience of my home.
Here I am with my Escape
Click, Choose, Done
Most car buyers anguish for months when choosing their next car. There’s a ton of research on the web, then visiting dealerships, test-driving, and making a pressurize decision, followed by the dreadful process of negotiating a deal. That process was streamlined to minutes when I got a car through Canvas. I went to DriveCanvas.com, hit the “Browse Cars” button, and settled upon the Ford Escape crossover SUV. How could I be so cavalier about choosing a car? Because I knew that, if I decided later that I don’t like the model, then I could return it or swap it for another vehicle. It’s hard to imagine a more care-free car-shopping experience for putting a set of wheels in my driveway.
It was also relatively easy to choose the Escape, because Canvas has a limited choice of available vehicles. In addition to the Escape crossover, I could have selected only four other options: Edge, Explorer, Fusion, and Flex. I’ve also seen the Ford C-Max Hybrid go in and out of stock. The limited selection, all Ford vehicles, is a drawback at this stage — at least until Canvas expands its selection, which it plans to do. On the flip side, I needed a vehicle and I like Ford’s products, so the limited choice sped up the process.
After signing up for a Canvas account and selected the Escape, I indicated how many miles we expected to drive per month — an allowance of either 500, 850, 1,250, or unlimited miles. I work from home so I chose 500 miles. (Each step up in mileage would have added another $25 to my bill.)
Next, I scheduled a delivery date. I selected a one-hour time slot on a day in the following week — and submitted my credit-card information and driver’s license number. Minutes later, I received an email confirmation that the delivery date was officially scheduled, with the exact total that would be charged to my credit card at the time of delivery.
Huh? There was no phone call and no need to visit a dealership? No wrangling over the model and terms? Nope, it was completely transparent in a single monthly fee that includes insurance and maintenance. No sales manager needed to be consulted, and no closing finance clerk tried to sell me add-on features “for just a few more dollars.”
The entire ordering process miraculously took about 20 minutes from start to finish. It was so uneventful that, during the next few days, I almost forgot that my next vehicle was on its way.
The car was scheduled for delivery at 9:00 am on the next Thursday. On that morning, I received a text at 7:38 am: “Hi, this is Canvas. Your car has been prepped for delivery. Our delivery agent Menelik will see you at 9:00 am.” Then, at precisely 8:59 am, I received another text: “Our delivery agent is outside with your car.”
I opened the front door and there in the driveway was a 2015 Ford Escape SE with a Magnetic Metallic finish with 23,779 miles on the odometer. It was in perfect condition. A courteous Menelik walked around the car looking for any blemishes to document — just like what happens when you rent a car. He managed to find a little curb rash on one of the wheels, which he photographed on a tablet. All the documentation was handled digitally on the tablet in a paper-free process. The photo of the wheel that Menelik took was immediately attached to the inspection report and vehicle agreement.
He reviewed the terms, showing me the registration and insurance cards that would live in the glove box. He outlined the comprehensive list of maintenance tasks — inspections, fluids, filters, and tire rotations — that were included in the monthly fee, along with comprehensive insurance with a $500 deductible.
Menelik explained that I could add more drivers — as many as I like — to the insurance coverage from my DriveCanvas.com account’s dashboard. He explained that the mileage plan that I selected — 500 miles per month — would roll over to the following month if I didn’t use the full allotment. He also explained that some subscribers like to “bank” their miles, saving them for a planned road trip. Or, if I saw that I needed more miles per month, I could simply adjust my plan on the fly to the next level without any penalty.
Finally, he let me know about Canvas’s three-day, 100-mile “Get-it-Right Guarantee.” If for any reason that I didn’t feel the car would work for me, all I had to do was to give a call and Canvas take it back at no expense.
I signed the documentation on the tablet with my index finger. Within five minutes, a copy of the agreement was in my email inbox.
Off and Running
Menelik shook my hand and thanked me. I asked how he would get back to his office (because he drove the Escape to my house) and he replied that he had already hailed a ride — but that he would wait for the drivers at the end of the block. That would give me a chance to start enjoying the car in privacy. As he walked down the block, the experience seemed surreal to me. How could the process be so quick and easy? Why is this not the regular way that everybody gets their car?
Back at my desk, I logged into the Canvas dashboard, submitted my wife’s email address and driver’s license number. A minute later, she clicked on a link from the email she received. Ten minutes later, Canvas sent me an email with the subject line: “Good News! Your additional driver is approved.” I’ve had the Escape almost two weeks now. It’s a great crossover utility, but we’re realizing that we would be just as happy with a smaller more fuel-efficient car, perhaps the Ford C-Max Hybrid if it’s available. I called up the customer-service line. The rep explained that she would call me seven days before the next monthly subscription cycle, which is in about a week. To me, it’s this flexibility — to keep driving the car that I have or to switch to a different one next month — that makes a car subscription so appealing.
We haven’t decided for sure if we’ll keep the Escape for several months or swap it out for something else — or even try to manage with a single car for a month or two. But one thing is already certain. Choosing a car by the month and having it delivered is incredibly convenient. Assuming that Canvas continues to expand its selection of Ford and Lincoln vehicles, I’ll think twice before getting a car any other way.
Well, what do you think? Interested in trying Canvas for yourself? Just follow this link and check out our inventory.