This post is contributed by Julie Blackley, Communications Manager for iSeeCars.com.

With the average price of new cars reaching record highs, used vehicles provide an economical alternative for prospective car buyers. However, with these savings come sacrifices on the perks of new cars such as warranty protection and a clean vehicle history.

Luckily for cautious and savvy consumers, certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles offer the best of both worlds between new and used cars by providing the peace of mind of a new car without the high sticker price.

What is a CPO Vehicle?

While the qualifying age and mileage vary by manufacturer, a CPO vehicle is typically a previously owned five-year-old or newer car with less than 80,000 miles on the odometer and no record of significant damage. Before it enters the used car marketplace, the vehicle becomes certified by the car’s manufacturer after a comprehensive inspection and reconditioning process. CPO vehicles usually carry an extended warranty that qualifies them for service at any of the manufacturer’s dealerships across the country.

Meanwhile, traditional non-certified used cars have not been subject to the rigorous CPO inspection and do not include an extended warranty. Additionally, non-certified used cars can be any age with any mileage on the odometer. While the added benefits of CPO cars come at a cost compared to non-certified used vehicles, a new iSeeCars study determined that the additional cost for these cars varies widely, with some being as little as 1.6 percent or $300 more.

iSeeCars analyzed more than one million used cars to determine the CPO cars with the lowest additional cost or premium compared to their non-certified equivalents.

Here are the cars that offer the best CPO deals:

iSeeCars Top 10 Cars with the Lowest CPO Premiums

Rank Make/Model Average CPO Premium (%) Average CPO Premium ($)
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 1.6% $523
2 Nissan Rogue 1.7% $302
3 Honda CR-V 1.7% $339
4 Honda Odyssey 1.8% $420
5 Chevrolet Tahoe 1.8% $707
6 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 1.9% $529
7 Honda Accord 1.9% $322
8 Honda Civic 2.0% $291
9 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2.1% $560
10 GMC Sierra 1500 2.1% $646
 Average Premium for CPO Cars   3.6% $813

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the car with the lowest overall premium at 1.6 percent, which adds an average of $523 to the average non-certified used version. Under Jeep’s CPO program terms, buyers receive the remainder of the manufacturer’s original powertrain and extended warranties. They also get a comprehensive three-month or 3,000-mile warranty that begins when the CPO vehicle was purchased or after the car’s new vehicle warranty expires.

Honda is the automaker with the most cars on the list including the CR-V compact SUV, the Odyssey minivan, and the Accord and Civic sedans. Honda’s CPO terms include a one-year/ 12,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the original time of sale.

Advice for Consumers

iSeeCars.com advises consumers to do their research before buying a CPO car. While the data shows that buying a CPO car doesn’t necessarily add a significant amount to the cost, the benefits should still be carefully considered as some CPO programs don’t have as much value as others. If consumers come across a CPO version of a car they are interested in with a high premium, they might be able to find a better deal on the car’s non-certified version and can have an independent mechanic perform an inspection for added peace-of-mind.

For more details about the study and its findings, visit the iSeeCars website.

Julie is the Communications Manager for iSeeCars.com, an award-winning car search engine powered by big data analytics that helps car shoppers get a great used car and avoid overpaying. iSeeCars also empowers consumers by answering the key questions every shopper should know before buying a car with its VIN Report tool.  When she isn’t writing about cars, she’s likely wrangling her 2 small children in or out of them. Despite her line of work, running will always be her preferred mode of transportation.

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