Our picks for nearly-new cars you won't hate driving.
If you'll recall, we did a feature earlier this year about the upsides (and potential pitfalls) of buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle, but it's one thing to talk abstractly about finding good CPO values, and another thing entirely to actually go about picking some.
Today, then, we're going to attempt to rectify that. Here are our picks for six CPO cars that we'd gladly put in our driveways.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Now, we know what you're thinking. Toyota Land Cruiser? That sounds like the sort of car you buy old and well-worn, right? Well, sure. If you're looking for the best bargain, Toyota's reliability (and consequently its notoriously high resale value) makes an older, more-traveled car an attractive prospect for bargain hunters.
It's not necessary to buy a decade-old Toyota just to get a good deal, however. While the combination of resale value and already-higher CPO premiums may make the Land Cruiser seem like a bad deal, keep in mind that you're getting a car that is practically new, under comprehensive factory and CPO warranties, and still several thousand dollars cheaper than a nearly identical factory fresh model on the other end of the showroom. Best deal? Maybe not. Still a good one? Absolutely.
"Chevrolet" may not be the first nameplate that comes to mind for CPO, but rest assured that the company has a robust program in place with plenty of models to choose from. The Camaro (pictured here is a 2015 SS 1LE) makes for an attractive purchase for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it's a prior-generation model. This naturally depresses the resale a bit, making it possible to get into a CPO-warrantied, low-mile, independently suspended V8 pony car for a song. Just remember, for the price of a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro V6, you could have had a V8.
Now we're talking, right? When one thinks of CPO, this sort of car is exactly what springs to mind--a luxury brand with traditionally poor resale value and tons of cutting-edge, premium content that might well break. It's astonishing just how much car you can get for your money when you look at pre-owned Jaguars. We'd say it's the second-best approach to Jaguar ownership next to leasing (if you consider that ownership), but beware that if you decide to unload it when the certified warranty expires, you're going to be looking at another significant chunk of depreciated value.
Are you a sport compact enthusiast in search of a more upmarket offering? Find the Volkswagen Golf R to be a bit boring, but the Subaru WRX STI and Ford Focus RS a bit too boy-racer? Well, here's your pick, and if you're OK with the idea of getting a little less power and skipping a few late-breaking features, the best bang for your buck could be a two- or three-year-old Mercedes-AMG CLA45.
The early models boasted only 355 horsepower (to the current car's 375) and you'll miss out on some interior tech, but for the price, it's hard to argue with the value.
Remember the 1 Series? We'd hope so; it has only been gone a few years now. Oh, you didn't even realize it had gone? Even better. This is the CPO BMW for you.
BMW's 2 Series replacement is the enthusiast's choice in the entry-level compact luxury market. A nearly new BMW M235i is the budget alternative to buying a brand-new M240i, and even better, nipping at the heels of the mighty M2. Sure, you don't get a trick differential or the prestige of a proper M-car, but you'll pay about half as much for the pleasure.
The Subaru BRZ is sort of a best-of-all-worlds case for a CPO purchase. Subaru's resale value is traditionally high, but not startlingly so. Fortunately, like the Camaro, a prior-year BRZ has a bit of the "old model" smell to it, meaning used values are starting to depreciate a bit more aggressively. What's even better is that the BRZ didn't improve nearly as much as the Camaro when it was overhauled, meaning you're less likely to feel like you're missing out on the latest and greatest in performance.
Feel like you're ready to take the plunge? Consult our CPO Buyer's Guide and happy hunting! Your next new-to-you car is just around the corner.