Certified Pre-Owned Cars Overview

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) cars are essentially top-quality, inspected used cars backed by manufacturers' warranties.

You may have noticed that many vehicles formerly known as "used" are now termed "Certified Pre-Owned" or "CPO." These programs originated in the Luxury category due to the high rate of off-lease vehicles populating the market in the recent past. Because these vehicles were in great shape and had lower mileage, manufacturers took a serious interest in ensuring that they delivered a positive purchase and ownership experience. As a result, they began to "refurbish" these vehicles and add warranties and special financing.

What are some of the features of a CPO vehicle program?

A variety of organizations have jumped on the Certified Pre-Owned bandwagon, including dealers and several third-party suppliers.

Most certified used vehicle programs:

  • Include only vehicles that are under 5 years
  • Have mileage limits of less than 100,000
  • Use only vehicles that have had no major bodywork from prior accidents
  • "Refurbish" the vehicle after a multi-step inspection
  • Provide an extended warranty

Additionally, some programs offer:

  • Consumer cash incentives
  • Low interest loans
  • Lease programs
  • An exchange policy

CPO Program Details

Not all CPO programs are created equal. How does the one you're considering stack up?