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The best programs for certified preowned cars?

Tara Baukus Mello
Tara Baukus Mello

Dear Driving for Dollars,
I'm ready to buy a used car, and I've decided I want to buy one that is certified by the automaker because those seem to offer more peace of mind that I won't be buying someone else's headache. But the certified programs seem to be very wide-ranging in terms of what they offer.

Which carmaker has the best program for certified preowned cars?
-- Autumn

Find the best auto loans at Bankrate.com.

Dear Autumn,
You are right that programs for certified preowned cars offered by manufacturers vary widely in terms of their inspection processes, the cars that qualify and the warranty they offer, just to name a few areas.

Auto research firm IntelliChoice does assess all of the programs annually for its Certified Pre-Owned Car Awards. Nine areas are assessed for the awards, including extended manufacturer warranties, used car ownership costs, inspection process comprehensiveness, dealer compliance and special financing incentives.

For 2014, Volvo took top honors among premium car brands, while Hyundai was ranked highest among popular brands. This year's award marks the seventh consecutive year for Volvo and the third consecutive year for Hyundai.

While these brands clearly have stellar certified preowned car programs, keep in mind your best bet is to look at the details of the CPO programs for the car brands you are considering and choose the one that suits your needs best. To help you assess the programs, read "3 tips on buying a certified preowned car" at Bankrate.com.

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