"Buying someone else’s problems" is the way we used to think about purchasing a used car, but today things are different. The advent of certified pre-owned, or CPO programs is a significant reason for that attitude change. They have built a measurable degree of confidence into the used-car experience. To qualify for a CPO program, a vehicle must be a recent-model-year car or truck passing a strict manufacturer certification process. It is then protected with a carmaker-backed warranty. Yes, CPO vehicles cost more than their non-CPO peers, but they cost thousands less than the same car brand new.
In today’s market, the average new car costs a little more than $35,000. That’s a lot of money to most of us. Buying through that carmaker’s CPO program could put you in a 2-year-old version of that same car for $7,000 or $8,000 less. Not only do these CPO vehicles meet a carmaker’s stringent requirements, offering added warranty protection, they usually qualify for other perks, such as lower automaker-sponsored finance rates, free roadside assistance, free trials of satellite-radio service and more.
All CPO programs aren’t created equally, however. Some are better than others. To save you some time and energy, we’ve reviewed all the non-luxury certified pre-owned programs and picked the best one. We’ve also listed nine more meeting our basic requirements like a minimum powertrain warranty of 6 years/100,000 miles (from the original new-car-sale date) and transferability. Here are our 2019 10-best CPO picks among non-luxury brands. We’ve created a separate list of ten-best picks for luxury brands.
Top Choice: Hyundai
We think Hyundai leads the non-luxury CPO pack, primarily because of its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the balance of which transfers to its CPO vehicles. It’s disappointing, though, that Hyundai doesn’t offer a separate CPO bumper-to-bumper basic warranty. However the remaining balance of its original 5-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty does stay with the CPO vehicle. Hyundai requires a $50 deductible for all covered repairs, but CPO coverage is fully transferable.
Other benefits include a free CARFAX vehicle history report, trip interruption coverage of $100 per day for up to five days when at least 150 miles from home, a $35 per day rental car allowance during repairs for up to 10 days, free roadside assistance while the powertrain warranty remains in effect and a 90-day free satellite-radio trial. Find a CPO Hyundai for sale
These General Motors brands offer some solid CPO warranty protection. Whatever remains from the balance of the original 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty stays with the vehicle. Once it expires, a 1-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty kicks in. Likewise, the balance of the original 6-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty also stays with the CPO vehicle, and is fully transferable to the next owner.
Sweetening the CPO pot is two free scheduled-maintenance visits. Other benefits include a free vehicle-history report, a free loaner car during qualifying repairs, free roadside assistance while the powertrain warranty is in effect, and a 90-day free trial for satellite radio and OnStar. There is no deductible for qualified repairs. Find a CPO Chevrolet for sale or Find a CPO GMC for sale
FCA’s Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles share a certified pre-owned program (Chrysler is part of this program too, but it can be found on our list of Best Luxury CPO Programs). Once the balance of the original 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty expires (or on the CPO-vehicle purchase date), a 3-month/3,000-mile limited warranty kicks in. That doesn’t sound like much, but some makers, such as Subaru and Nissan don’t offer any additional bumper-to-bumper limited coverage once the original new-car warranty expires. The CPO vehicle also retains the balance of the carmaker’s original 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
All qualified repairs have a relatively high $100 deductible, but the CPO warranty is fully transferable. Among the benefits: If a qualified repair takes overnight, there is a $35 per day rental allowance for up to five days, a free CARFAX vehicle-history report, a 90-day satellite radio trial and free roadside assistance. Find a CPO Dodge for sale or Find a CPO Jeep for sale or Find a CPO Ram for sale
Ford’s fully transferable CPO warranty consists of the balance of its new-car 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as wells as a 1-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that begins when the balance of its original 3-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires or on the CPO-vehicle purchase date. Ford ties the Chrysler FCA brands’ $100 deductible for all qualified repairs, as the highest deductible among our picks.
Additional CPO benefits include a CARFAX vehicle-history report, free roadside assistance, daily rental-car reimbursement of $30 limited to five days, trip-interruption reimbursement for up to three days of up to $500 per day, special carmaker-sponsored financing and a 90-day free satellite-radio trial. Find a CPO Ford for sale
Honda has such a solid reputation for reliability, you might be tempted to disregard its certified pre-owned program, passing on the extra cost that comes with it. But, there is excellent warranty protection included, plus Honda is one of the non-luxury carmakers with no deductible for covered repairs. Its CPO warranty includes 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage from the day the car was first sold new. CPO vehicles also get, essentially, a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty if you buy a Honda that is still in the new car warranty period. For Honda vehicles purchased after the new-car limited warranty has expired, you’ll get one year or 12,000 miles of coverage from the day you buy the car as a certified pre-owned car.
Honda is pretty stingy with its CPO perks, but they do include 24-hour roadside assistance and a free 3-month satellite-radio trial. The CPO warranty is fully transferable between private parties. Find a CPO Honda for sale
Often Kia and Hyundai are in lockstep with warranties and other incentives, but not with their certified pre-owned programs. Yes, they are similar, but they differ in one key area. Where Hyundai doesn’t offer a separate CPO basic warranty, but instead carries the remaining balance of its original 5-year/60,000-mile basic new-car warranty to the CPO vehicle, Kia provides CPO vehicles with 1 year/12,000 miles of basic limited bumper-to-bumper coverage in what it calls its Platinum Warranty. It begins the day the CPO vehicle is purchased. Although Kia requires a $50 deductible for covered repairs, its CPO coverage is transferable.
Other Kia CPO perks include a free CARFAX vehicle-history report, 10 years (from original new-car purchase date) of free roadside assistance, free 90-day satellite-radio trial, up to 10 days of car-rental allowance at $35 per day and up to 5 days of trip interruption reimbursement of $100 per day. Find a CPO Kia for sale
Mazda’s certified pre-owned program looks very similar to Honda’s. It too includes a 7-year/100,000 total miles powertrain warranty, as well as adding 1 year/12,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage to whatever is left of the original new-car warranty. The 12-Month/12,000-Mile Limited Vehicle Warranty begins once the factory warranty ends. If it’s out of warranty, the 12-Month/12,000-Mile Limited Vehicle Warranty begins on the day you purchase your Mazda as a CPO vehicle.
It also includes free roadside assistance and a free three-month satellite-radio trial. The CPO warranty is transferable between private parties without charge. There is no deductible for covered repairs. Find a CPO Mazda for sale
A major shortfall of Nissan’s CPO warranty is that it doesn’t add anything to the original 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper new-car warranty. Whatever, if any, of the original warranty remains transfers to the CPO vehicle, but that’s it. Every new Nissan also carries a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the balance of which also transfers to the CPO vehicle. A $50 deductible is required for qualified repairs.
Nissan allows a one-time transfer between private owners of the CPO coverage. Other benefits include free CARFAX vehicle-history report, free roadside assistance, rental-car reimbursement of $35 per day for up to five days, trip-interruption reimbursement of up to $500 when 100 miles or more from home and a free 90-day satellite-radio trial. Find a CPO Nissan for sale
Like Nissan, the only bumper-to-bumper coverage for a Subaru CPO vehicle is whatever might remain of the original 3-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty. Subaru does add 2 years and 40,000 miles to the original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty to bring that coverage up to par (7 years/100,000 miles) with most of the other non-luxury CPO coverage on our list. Subaru doesn’t charge a deductible for qualifying repairs, and CPO coverage is fully transferable.
Among the other perks are a free CARFAX vehicle-history report, free roadside assistance, a free 90-day satellite-radio trial and, for appropriately equipped Subarus, a 1-year free subscription to STARLINK Safety Plus. Find a CPO Subaru for sale
To bring its CPO-powertrain coverage in line with most other non-luxury brands, Toyota provides CPO vehicles with a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This is 2 years and 40,000 miles more than the original powertrain warranty. Moreover, Toyota adds 1 year/12,000 miles of extra bumper-to-bumper coverage to whatever balance remains (if any) on the original 3-year/36,000-mile basic new-car warranty. There is a $50 deductible for covered repairs, but the CPO coverage is fully transferable.
Other added CPO benefits include a free CARFAX vehicle-history report, one year of free roadside assistance, travel reimbursement when at least 150 miles from home, free 90-day satellite-radio trial, rental-car reimbursement and special financing rates. Find a CPO Toyota for sale
Editor’s Note: Since the publishing of this list, some programs have changed. We’ve modified the text to reflect those changes and to make the coverage period clearer.
Mitsubishi offers terrific certified pre-owned warranty coverage, however we chose not to include it among our picks because Mitsubishi has so few CPO vehicles available. CPO powertrain coverage is the remaining balance of the 10-year/100,000 new-car powertrain warranty. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is the remainder of the new-car 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty. This is the same as our top pick Hyundai, and Mitsubishi doesn’t have a deductible.