If you can't decide between a new and a used car, picking a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle might be a good compromise. Most certified cars are recent, and they're all given thorough inspections by dealerships selling them. More importantly, they include long warranties to give you peace of mind. But which certified programs are the best? We've listed a few with the longest warranties and the best reputations.

Hyundai

The Hyundai CPO warranty is possibly the best among nonpremium automakers. Its bumper-to-bumper coverage only lasts up to five years and 60,000 miles -- on the low side of most CPO warranties -- but the powertrain coverage more than makes up for it. Hyundai powertrain coverage lasts for 10 years or 100,000 miles, which outshines most competitors by several years. And a powertrain warranty covers most major components, such as the engine, drivetrain and other big-ticket items.

Kia

The Kia CPO warranty roughly mirrors the warranty from related automaker Hyundai. That means bumper-to-bumper coverage only lasts for five years and 60,000 miles, which isn't extensive for certified programs. But the powertrain warranty is exceptional, covering 10 years and 100,000 miles. That program is among the longest in the business. And while it can't be used for minor issues like a bumper-to-bumper warranty can, the powertrain warranty covers large-scale components, such as the engine, the transmission and other costly items.

Lexus

While many CPO warranties simply extend the factory warranty's coverage, Lexus's program is different -- in a good way. The Lexus certified warranty lasts for three years or 100,000 miles from the date of the CPO sale. That means it doesn't matter how many miles are on the car when you buy it -- any issues will be covered for three years and up to 100,000 miles. The Lexus CPO warranty also boasts no deductible, meaning drivers get several easy years of worry-free driving with little expense before their warranty expires.

Porsche

Porsche's CPO warranty provides a worry-free way for driving enthusiasts to buy their dream Porsche. One reason the brand's warranty is so good is that it covers more model years than other programs. While many warranties only go back five or six years, Porsche's can apply to any vehicle up to eight years old, and with up to 100,000 miles on the odometer. That means drivers can get a used Porsche with a warranty at a lower price than they could if the program only included 4- or 5-year-old cars. More important, the warranty runs up to two years and 50,000 miles from the date of delivery.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen CPO program is a shining star among such programs from nonpremium brands. One reason is that it gives drivers the balance of the original factory warranty with only a slight deductible. Though that practice is common in the industry, the main benefit of VW's program is what comes next. After the factory warranty expires, VW gives drivers two years and 24,000 miles of additional bumper-to-bumper coverage. That means some nearly new Volkswagen models actually have more warranty coverage than new cars. It's a good deal for shoppers who may otherwise worry about long-term dependability.

Volvo

Volvo's CPO program is among the best. One reason is the warranty includes no deductible, unlike many certified warranties. But Volvo's program also offers seven years and 100,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage -- among the longest terms in the industry. Volvo also boasts an unusual program that will buy back any vehicle with major accident history that wasn't noticed at the time of sale. These terms have cemented Volvo's reputation as an excellent CPO warranty provider.

What it means to you: Any CPO warranty offers great benefits to car shoppers, but the programs we've listed are the top choices for shoppers interested in the best coverage for their vehicles.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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