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Recommendations? Certified-pre-owned that might hold some value?

Hi! Looking for opinions here…

I need to buy a car or small SUV for a college student. She will definitely need it for one year. It should be roomy enough for hauling stuff back & forth from college and safe for Turnpike driving with a zillion trucks sharing the road.

Here’s the biggest question - after one year, I may need to resell it. (Maybe not. Depends on her plans). So in case it DOES need to be resold, I’m wondering which CPO car might hold its value best if it does need to be resold that fast? Ideas?

I want go to with a CPO because we are NOT too car-savvy. I have a very trusted mechanic at home, but since she has to take it out of town, I’d like her to be able to take it to a local dealer for warranty coverage if any problem. Also, I don’t know how to evaluate a used car that well and I’d feel more comfortable with a CPO warranty.

All things equal, Ford is my first choice but I’m open to any ideas.

A fwd Honda CRV or Toyota Rav4 would be good options too. You should get the Consumer Reports buyers guide, and here’s a site with lots of safety info:

As Texases recommended, please consult Consumer Reports magazine for their latest “Best and Worst” used car buys.

For one year, you’re wasting your money on a CPO car.

Buy the cheapest car you think will last a year, and dump it for whatever you can get for it when the year is over.

CPO cars are for people who expect to keep them for a long time.

That’s not what you’re after.

If only a year, have you considered a long term rental or short term lease?

CPO cars are for people that want to keep the for a long time. These are always nearly new cars, too. Late model cars always have the highest depreciation. If you want to maintain value, find a 5 year old Camry or Accord. It’s not so old that age becomes an issue (it does for all cars) but it is old enough to work out much of the depreciation. If you want an SUV, consider the CR-V or Rav-4. One more thing: low mileage is important to maintain value. Aim for less than 10,000 miles per year since the car was built.

Thank you all.

Thing is, we MAY be keeping it long term. It all depends on what happens after one year. So that’s why I want one that will hold value IF we have to sell it in one year, but is good IF we end up keeping it longterm.

Plus, during the one year, it will be with my 21-year old, out of town. That’s why I want the CPO in case something goes wrong.

Yes, I did consider lease/rent but considering all factors, I want a CPO. That’s the only thing in my comfort zone.

No CPO car will hold its value for one year, compared to ‘regular’ used car. You’re paying extra for CPO, but it’ll no longe be CPO when you sell it. There’s really no way to buy a 1-2 year-old-car and not pay a lot of depreciation. This is one case where it might make better sense to lease, perhaps lease a 2-year-old car.

The best value for your money would be a 4-cylinder stick shift small pick-up truck…Very low maintenance cost, very high reliability and you should be able to sell it for what you paid for it…

“Safety” is FAR more dependent on the driver and not the vehicle…

I'd Take A Look At GM Pre-Owned Certified Cars.

GM's bumper-to-bumper new car warranty is 36months / 36,000 miles. Also included is a 60 month / 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty that includes roadside assistance & courtesy transportation.

Look for one that is low miles and not very old (The warranty begins at original new car delivery date / miles). I have been told that a dealer spends $400 to certify a used car, but if you shop carefully and compare, the CPO car may not cost you any more than any old used car.

GM extends the 36months / 36,000 mile warranty to 48months / 48,000 miles on their CPO cars. Our 15 month old / 10,000 miles CPO Chevrolet came with the balance of the 48months / 48,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty and the 60 month / 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty.

I did a lot of comparison shopping and I did not pay extra for the CPO car. I think some dealers certify all or most of their cars (not all qualify) to make sales easier for them and it gives tham a competetive edge and increases volume.

Take a look at the Malibu, Buicks, and small SUVs. I think it's wise to buy the CPO for your daughter. She shoul have no extra expenses except maintenance. Should you keep it, you've got a great warranty. Should you sell it, the fact the car is covered by such a great warranty should make it easier to sell at a premium price.


Here are the numbers:

A CPO 2009 Honda CR-V will cost about $21,900. If you sell it after one year to a private buyer, you can probably get about $18,200. That’s a loss of 17% value in one year. If you had purchased a similar car off the same lot, the loss would be about 12.5% and would have saved you about $1100. If you bought a similar CR-V from a private seller, it would cost you $2300 less, for a loss of 7% in one year. If you sell it a dealer, it is just like a trade-in. Expect around $16,800 for it. That’s $1400 less than if you sell it to a private buyer. The worst case is buying a CPO and selling it back to the dealer. The loss is an astonishing $4100 (24%) in one year. You asked if it is a good idea, and I say no. Depreciation seems to be around $1300 per year until you get to the 2004 model, so the year really doesn’t mater much.

The best way to retain value of a car is to buy a really old one that has already lost most of its value to depreciation. The average depreciation curve of a new or slightly used car is below. The closer you are to the right end of the curve, the more money you will retain when you sell the car a year from now.

Whitey, Larchlea Has Already Stated That She/He Is Not Comfortable Buying A Used Car [Without A Decent Warranty].

"I want go to with a CPO because we are NOT too car-savvy. I have a very trusted mechanic at home, but since she has to take it out of town, I'd like her to be able to take it to a local dealer for warranty coverage if any problem. Also, I don't know how to evaluate a used car that well and I'd feel more comfortable with a CPO warranty."

Which CPO car ? That's the question.


" . . . I'm wondering which CPO car might hold its value best if it does need to be resold that fast?"

With so many competing priorities, I thought my input might be useful anyway. If the OP wants a safe reliable car, depreciation might have to take a back seat to those priorities, and she will have to take a large financial hit about a year from now.

CPO is silly. It gives you a false sense of security. The only difference between a CPO car and an identical non-CPO car is that they charge you a 4-figure fee for the CPO, which usually extends the warranty. It does not guarantee that the car will not break. It does not guarantee that the car will not leave her stranded on the side of the road. The CPO car is every bit as likely to break as the non-CPO car, because the CPO inspection is largely a visual one and is probably much less rigorous than the inspection you can have your trusted mechanic do before you buy the car for $100.

Wanting to have her take it to the dealership for repairs is laudable, but misguided. Dealers aren’t any better, and oftentimes are worse, than independent mechanics at fixing their cars. As an example, I had my 2007 TL in for warranty work on shaking brakes for a total of 6 weeks, during which they tried everything (except, of course, replacing the hub like I told them to when I brought it there) they could think of and still never got the car fixed until I finally had to threaten them with legal action if they didn’t fix it, so they tried the hub and, of course, it worked.

In short, just because it’s a dealership doesn’t mean that the people in the service bay are competent. You’d be better off buying a car that’s a few years old with a good reputation for reliability. You can’t insulate your daughter from every possible car problem, and paying a couple grand for a useless CPO certificate isn’t going to help.

BTW, if you’re looking for reliability in an SUV, Ford would be my last choice. You’d probably be looking at Escapes, and they are, to be totally blunt, crap.

Shadowfax, You're Really Generalizing, Here.

When I Can Buy A CPO Car For The Same Price As The Going Price For Non-CPO Used Cars ( And I Have) , It Very Certainly Isn't Silly To Buy One And Benefit From The Long Manufacturer's Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty.

Did you read any of the previous posts or just jump in here ?

Also, because one has had bad experiences at dealers is no reason to condemn them all. I have good dealers in my area with good technicians. I have had all good experiences. I have used them and sometimes they are better qualified and better equipped to handle certain repairs than independents and sometimes at a lower cost.

I have had bad experiences with independent "mechanics," but I won't say that they're all bad. I've dealt with good ones, too.

Warranties are insurance. Do you think it's silly to have insurance ? Most people pay for car and home owner's insurance, but seldom or never use it, but it's not silly. How about free insurance ? Would you take it ?


Update - I stopped reading for a while when the comments got pretty off track.

Bottom line was, we found some excellent deals on CPO Escapes at a trusted Ford dealer. But just before we bought one, we noticed that Ford was offering $3,000 rebates on the 2011. Plus, college students get an extra $500 rebates off new. The final kicker, the same trusted dealer had the perfect demo on the lot. This is our 6th car over a period of about 15 years with this dealership so they don’t mess around with price or funny deals or anything. With $3,500 off the top and the discount for a demo, wow, the price was almost as low as a CPO.

The best thing - I personally love the car. So my daughter will go off to college with a safe, brand new 2011 Escape. (My trusted independent mechanics love the car. One of them owns one.) If she ends up not needing in long-term, I will take it over and sell my Explorer.

My point about my daughter taking it to an out-of-town dealer was only for the issue of dependability. At home, we use independents. For a 21-year old out of town without a known, dependable independent mechanic, she could get ripped off easily.

Thank you to those who offered advice. :slight_smile:

I’m Happy To Learn That This Has Worked Out Well For You And Your Daughter.

Having a dealer you can trust and one that appreciates your business and will work with you is fantastic.

Best of luck,