If you're interested in a nearly new vehicle with a manufacturer-backed certified pre-owned warranty, some of the best deals are available on recently discontinued models. With no continued marketing to support such vehicles, many shoppers are unfamiliar with them, leading to decreased consumer demand. That means big savings for buyers who don't need to have the latest and greatest vehicle, and will instead settle for a two- or three-year old car at a great price. We've rounded up some of our favorite discontinued models that are still available with certified pre-owned warranties for shoppers interested in a great deal on a used car.
BMW 5 Series Wagon
Although most American car shoppers prefer sedans and hatchbacks to station wagons, BMW's decision to drop the wagon body style of its latest 5 Series in favor of the controversial GT left some wagon lovers high and dry. Not to worry, however, because nearly 40 examples of recent 5 Series wagons are currently listed on AutoTrader.com with the automaker's six-year certified pre-owned warranty. While some 2010 models are priced as high as $50,000, we recommend a 2008 or 2009 535i wagon, available in the mid-$30,000 range. Not only do those models feature the same body style as newer versions, they also include BMW's impressive 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Best of all, they offer all-wheel drive for buyers in snowy northern climates.
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A certified pre-owned example of Cadillac's freshly cancelled DTS gives buyers a great alternative to many of today's highly expensive luxury sedans. While some 2011 models can stretch into the $40,000 range, we recommend buyers look for a certified 2009 model, which provides the exact same body style and similar equipment for around $30,000. Such equipment includes Cadillac's highly touted 4.6-liter "Northstar" V8 engine with nearly 300 horsepower, standard leather upholstery, and - for most models - a standard power sunroof, heated rear seats and a steering wheel with heating and cooling. Also included is Cadillac's certified pre-owned warranty, which provides six years or 100,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage.
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If you're looking for a good deal on a luxurious full-size SUV, a certified pre-owned example of Chrysler's little-known Aspen may be the vehicle for you. While it flopped as a new car due to its premium price tag coupled with an arrival at the onset of the recession, used examples offer great deals and a lot of high-end equipment. Even an upscale 2008 or 2009 Aspen Limited, for example, is available for around $25,000 with Chrysler's certified pre-owned warranty - a decrease of around $15,000 from the SUV's new price just a few years ago. And most come with a long list of features like a navigation system, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and even a remote starter.
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Straddling the border between the midsize and large SUV segments, Kia's recently discontinued Borrego is becoming a great deal among certified pre-owned SUVs. Released just as truck-based SUVs were losing favor and the recession was in full force, the Borrego never found major sales success. But buyers who can locate a certified pre-owned example are likely to be happy with their purchase, as a three-year-old example of the SUV can easily be had in upscale EX trim for under $20,000. Not only does that include a long list of equipment like rear climate control, power front seats and automatic headlights, it also comes with the peace of mind associated with Kia's ten-year, 100,000-mile certified pre-owned powertrain warranty.
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Lexus HS 250h
Lexus recently announced that it will cancel the hybrid HS 250h later this year after the sedan spent just three model years on the market. While demand for the HS 250h was never strong when it was new due to high price tag that could easily top $40,000, the sedan is slowly becoming a great used bargain as values fall. In fact, there are currently nearly 50 examples listed on AutoTrader.com with a certified pre-owned warranty for under $30,000 - a figure that's virtually unheard of for a one- or two-year-old Lexus. And while the HS 250h is unlikely to captivate driving enthusiasts due to its hybrid powertrain and continuously-variable automatic transmission, it offers up to 35 miles per gallon in city and highway driving, a long list of standard equipment, and upscale appointments consistent with the Lexus brand.
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Mazda's compact Tribute SUV was little more than a Ford Escape with a different badge - and that's a good thing. Because in addition to offering the Escape's durable construction, its tried-and-true 3.0-liter V6 and an impressive array of equipment, the Tribute's lesser-known nameplate makes it a better deal than its more common sibling. And while the Tribute became increasingly more rare later in its life due to changing buyer preferences, we strongly recommend that SUV shoppers look around for a good deal on a 2008 or 2009 model with Mazda's certified pre-owned warranty. Not only does that give buyers powertrain coverage for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, but the automaker is currently touting 0.9 percent financing on all of its certified pre-owned cars.
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Although Mercedes replaced its midsize CLK coupe and convertible with the new E-Class, shoppers who preferred the sleek lines of the outgoing model can still get a great deal on a certified pre-owned example. We recommend a 2009 model, which is available in drop-top form for around $40,000 or with a fixed roof for around $33,000. And while we're tempted by the high-performance CLK63 AMG and the V8-powered CLK550, our top pick is the CLK350, whose 268-horsepower V6 achieved up to 25 miles per gallon in highway driving and provided more than adequate passing power. Of course, we also suggest a certified example, which includes bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage for 12 months and up to 100,000 vehicle miles.
Find a Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class for sale
What it means to you: If you're looking for a great deal on a used car, don't be afraid to consider a discontinued model.