I am returning to the US in November after three years in Germany, and I am already looking for a car. Of course I am prowling the Carmax website, not only because they have lots of pictures of their cars but because they have that extended warranty that really makes sense for pricier cars.

Temptation: Carmax Cayman For Little Over Thirty Grand

This is one of them, and at a great price: a 2008 Porsche Cayman for just $30,097. The car is a former dealership car, so I imagine it had a few dozen (or hundred) drivers in its 47,000 mile life, and also has a more alarming "accident or vehicle damage" in its Auto Check vehicle report. The report states that "accidents or damage events are a result of vehicle collisions or other non-collision incidents such as vandalism or theft".

A vehicle like this I would only buy after an extensive test drive to ascertain that the car either was not in a crash, or that the accident was a mild one, to make sure the frame is straight. Does Carmax even allow you to drive one of their cars to a third party inspector, say a Porsche specialist, to get an independent evaluation of the car? If they do, I would get the car seen by someone other than Carmax before purchase. I would also buy the approximately $3,000 extended warranty for peace of mind, and enjoy a Cayman for less than $35,000.

Alternatively I could get this other 2008 Cayman for $30,988 from Porsche of Arlington, with 34,000 miles, with no accidents, then buy an extended warranty from a place like Extended Warranty Direct, or from my bank, USAA, and hope that they cover every thing like the Carmax one does. (Well, I wouldn't really hope they do: I would ask questions and read fine prints before buying the warranty)

Edit: how about this Cayman S for five bucks less than 27 grand?

Temptation: Carmax Cayman For Little Over Thirty Grand

Seems like there are a lot of Caymans around the $30,000 price point. The crashed car from Carmax might be a gamble, but I would never buy a crashed car just for the Carmax extended warranty. A quick search of Auto Trader shows a lot of these cars around the 30 grand mark: http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/...