Should You Buy a New or Used Car? Staff
by Staff
New, used, or CPO?

When it comes to car shopping, consumers often face a crucial decision: opt for a brand-new vehicle with a full warranty; or save money by purchasing a used car–which may come with unknown maintenance histories and potential repair risks.

However, there's a middle ground: certified pre-owned (CPO) cars.

CPO cars are typically returned at the end of a three-year lease and undergo a thorough inspection by the dealership. Any maintenance or wear issues are addressed, and these cars are backed by a manufacturer-supported extended warranty, offering years of coverage and a higher mileage cap, often up to 100,000 miles. Additionally, some CPO cars come with roadside assistance during the warranty period.

While a CPO car will cost more than a regular used car, there is still a significant cost saving when compared to buying new–the largest chunk of a vehicle’s depreciation happens within the first 12 months. This added expense can be seen as an investment in future savings on repairs and time.

Sometimes, buying a CPO vehicle can be a better option than buying new, depending on the models being considered. For example, according to data from Consumer Reports, a 2019 Audi Q5 has a higher reliability rating and lower problem rate than a brand new Volkswagen Tiguan, which has a higher problem rate and below-average predicted reliability score.

If you choose the used or CPO option have a mechanic inspect the vehicle first

The data reveals obvious differences in reliability and satisfaction among the three car-buying strategies: new, CPO, and used.

New cars are the most reliable, with comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranties backing them initially, and they maintain high levels of reliability even after the warranty expires.

Certified pre-owned cars have about 15 percent fewer problems than other used cars, according to CR. They also offer higher satisfaction rates than non-CPO used cars, with owners reporting fewer issues and higher satisfaction levels.

Used cars, while less reliable and satisfying than new cars, offer significant savings and can provide access to luxury, comfort, and safety features at lower price points. While CPO cars are more expensive, the increased reliability and satisfaction they offer can justify the premium.

Regardless of whether you choose a CPO or a traditional used car, it’s a good idea to have an independent mechanic inspect the car before purchase to reduce the chances of future issues.

This article was co-written using AI and was then heavily edited and optimized by our editorial team. Staff Staff

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  • Ninja250 Ninja250 on May 17, 2024

    I'd love to buy a new car, but the inability of manufacturers to produce anything remotely affordable means I'll be keeping my current vehicles longer and buying used when it becomes necessary to replace them.