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1. I've found CarMax to be very fair with regards to selling them vehicles. Process was easy and cash out the door is always nice. I've never purchased from them though. As for Saturn, they're now defunct. That was probably more to do with the quality of their vehicles in the past 5 years than the buying experience.

2. Don't waste time with phone calls. The classic way is dealing via fax, but now it's easier to use email. In my last purchase I knew the model and trim level I wanted, but didn't care about color. I emailed every dealership within a ~1.5 hour trip from my house and told them what I wanted and how much I was offering. I got someone about an hour away to agree. The dealer 15 minutes from my house agreed to the same price after I told them.

I found CarMax to be pleasant to deal with, but they have awful prices, both when buying and selling. For example, they offered me $5000 for my car, which I ended up selling pretty easily to some guy on Craigslist for $7500. Of course there's more hassle with a private sale, but not $2500 worth of hassle.

In my case I got $4000 someone was only willing to buy for $3500. It just depends on the vehicle.

I've just been learning quite a bit about the business of car sales. Car dealerships make most of their profit in the parts and service departments of their store, so it's definitely in your favor to run your best offer past your local dealership. They are more likely to take a smaller profit on your purchase in the hopes of having you get your scheduled maintenance performed in their shop.

On high end cars there are even better deals if you pre-buy the 2/3 year 100K maintenance package. You get the services at a bit less than list price, or a free hire car.

They use it to get you to come back into the dealer every few months AND they hope you will buy another new car from them when the warranty runs out.

The dealer makes a huge profit on you taking back a full service history high end car as a trade-in

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