Buying a used car can save you lots of money—or be a massive headache. How can you really know what that vehicle went through before the keys became yours? Buying through a certified pre-owned program is a great way to increase peace of mind. But CPO programs aren’t all created equal. So how can you know which ones are the best? Trust the experts at IntelliChoice (a MotorTrend subsidiary).
What Are the Best Certified Pre-Owned Programs for 2021?
To determine its 2021 CPO winners, IntelliChoice takes nine factors into account: vehicle inspection, warranty, title verification report, availability of special financing, roadside assistance, return and exchange provisions, dealership compliance systems, ownership costs, and market penetration. Since vehicle inspection and warranty matter most to consumers, those factors carry the most weight.
Best CPO Programs: Popular Brand Winners
IntelliChoice delivers awards in several categories. Among non-luxury mainstream brands, Kia wins in ownership costs and warranty. With warranty coverage stretching for 10 years or 100,000 miles from the original in-service date, it’s little surprise that Kia has won IntelliChoice’s best CPO warranty award for popular brands four years in a row. It’s the second year Kia won the ownership cost award, as well.
However, for the first time, Ford won best CPO program for mainstream brands this year, knocking Kia down to second after its win in 2020. When IntelliChoice factored Ford’s high scores in special financing, roadside assistance, and warranty, the Blue Oval beat out the competition for the overall best CPO program award. Ford’s extensive inspection regimen for its CPO cars also earned commendation.
Best CPO Programs: Premium Brand Winners
Among premium brands, Cadillac can now claim a four-year winning streak for lowest ownership costs. Last year, Cadillac won best CPO warranty for premium brands, but in 2021 that award goes to Lexus and its L/Certified program. It offers 78 months and unlimited miles, and complimentary maintenance for two years or 20,000 miles (whichever comes first), which IntelliChoice found to be the best CPO warranty among premium brands.
For 2021, Acura takes the overall prize for best CPO program for premium brands. Its strong scores for roadside assistance, ownership costs, and market penetration helped it earn that designation from IntelliChoice. Acura’s CPO warranty includes two-year, 100,000-mile comprehensive coverage and a complimentary first scheduled maintenance appointment. That Acura only certifies vehicles under six years old and with less than 80,000 miles helps ensure its CPO offerings will be of good quality—so you can lower the chances of problems down the road.
Best Certified Pre-Owned Used Car Programs for 2021:
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