Article By Acklam Car Centre

What's the Difference Between Certified Pre-Owned and Used Luxury Cars?

‍While most of us are familiar with used vehicles, the term "Certified Pre-Owned" (CPO) might not be as well-known. Essentially, CPO vehicles are the cream of the used car crop, presenting some of the most appealing deals in the automobile industry. This article will delve into the distinguishing factors between used and CPO vehicles, providing a comprehensive understanding of their pros and cons.

Understanding Vehicle Depreciation

Depreciation is a term that frequently appears in the realm of used cars. It refers to the decrease in a vehicle's value over time, which is steepest when the car is brand new. As the car ages, the depreciation curve starts to level out.

For first-time buyers, this depreciation can be a significant financial hit. However, those who purchase the car afterward can capitalize on the initial buyer's depreciation loss, thereby saving a considerable amount of money. This is one of the appealing factors of buying a used car.

However, the potential downside of a used car lies in its history. The car may have been subject to misuse or neglect, or the previous owner might not have maintained it well. These factors can understandably cause apprehension for potential buyers, as they can influence the car's performance and longevity.

Certified Pre-Owned: A Safer Bet?

Certified Pre-Owned programs aim to alleviate the anxieties associated with used cars. Offered by most manufacturers, these programs provide a level of assurance not typically associated with non-CPO used cars.

The CPO Process

  • Selection - Only used cars that meet certain age and mileage standards are considered for CPO programs. Cars that are too old or have too much mileage are disqualified.
  • Condition Assessment - The car's overall condition is rigorously evaluated. If it presents significant damage or mechanical issues, it's ruled out.
  • Reconditioning - All cars selected for CPO programs undergo reconditioning, which may include paint and body repairs, mechanical fixes, and interior refurbishment. The cars might also receive new brakes or tires if needed.
  • Comprehensive Inspection - Finally, the cars must pass a thorough inspection process, usually covering over 150 points to ensure their quality.

Warranty Coverage for CPO and Used Cars

Warranty coverage is another advantage of CPO vehicles. They typically come with warranties that either supplement or extend the original warranty. For instance, a CPO vehicle might have an additional 12-month/12,000-mile warranty that begins either at the end of the original warranty or from the date of the CPO purchase.

Some plans also offer extended warranty coverage, including up to 72 months and 100,000 miles from the original in-service date. Additional perks like 24-hour roadside assistance and a vehicle history report are often provided as well.

Furthermore, financing options and lease plans are often available for CPO vehicles, providing additional flexibility for potential buyers.

The Appeal of Used Cars

Despite the advantages of CPO vehicles, used cars still hold their appeal. One of the primary benefits is cost, as non-CPO vehicles typically have a lower price tag. If you're looking to minimize your expenditure, a used car might be the way to go.

However, it's crucial to thoroughly evaluate the car's condition before purchasing, as you won't have the same assurances as with a CPO vehicle. If you're not mechanically inclined, consider bringing a knowledgeable friend or hiring a professional to inspect the car.


Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, with their comprehensive inspections, thorough reconditioning, and extended warranty coverage, often provide buyers with greater confidence and satisfaction. Despite their typically higher cost compared to standard used cars, the added peace of mind can be worth the extra investment. On the other hand, if cost is your primary concern, a used vehicle might be a more suitable option, provided you take necessary precautions to ensure its condition.