Certified Pre-Owned or New Car? A Side-By-Side Comparison

CPO or New Car Comparison

You’re worried about buying a used car, but aren’t sure about paying full price for a new vehicle — that’s quite a pickle to be in. Fortunately, the solution to your dilemma might just be a certified pre-owned vehicle.

Sitting between “new” and “used,” certified pre-owned cars (aka. CPO cars) offer the best of both worlds. They’re more affordable than buying new, yet come backed with a nearly guaranteed stamp of approval thanks to extended warranties. You can even get additional benefits with a CPO car, like roadside assistance, for free or at a deeply discounted rate.

Then again, if you choose a certified used vehicle, you’re losing out on a full-blown warranty and the flexibility to build your car the way you want. Decisions, decisions….

View the benefits and disadvantages of new and CPO cars using our side-by-side comparison below.

CPO vs. New: The Pros & Cons

Certified Used Cars

#1 Like-New Quality

Because of strict manufacturer guidelines, only select vehicles can qualify as “certified pre-owned.” These CPO rules vary by manufacturer, but you can expect every certified used vehicle to come with a nearly spotless vehicle history report, low mileage and an extended warranty.

How does Honda do CPO? Every Honda Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle is backed by HondaTrue, which ensures the vehicle is in great condition. All CPO Honda vehicles have been thoroughly inspected and come with a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty* for added peace of mind. Additionally, every certified used Honda comes standard with a free 3-month SiriusXM subscription, emergency roadside assistance, coverage for trip interruptions, concierge service, and free oil changes over the first 12 months of ownership.

#2 Less Depreciation

As a general rule, all vehicles depreciate in value. Because they’re used, certified pre-owned cars have already depreciated, so you won’t lose as much money when it comes time to sell.

#3 More Affordable

Expect to pay less for a CPO car vs. a new vehicle. How much less? This varies by make and model, season and overall supply and demand. However, the average price difference between new and certified pre-owned vehicles hovers around 20-25%.

#4 You Get What You Get

However, unlike new cars that you can build out, certified used cars are sold as-is. While you can ask your used car dealer to install accessories or add-ons, you’re not able to select paint color, seats, or built-in tech without paying extra and completely nullifying your savings.

#5 Better for Higher Trims

In terms of percentage, maximum savings on certified pre-owned vehicles can typically be found at the top of a model’s trim lineup. If you’re interested in a range-topping model with wireless phone charging, wi-fi, heated seats and the newest safety technology, strongly consider a CPO vehicle. This also applies to the next-largest vehicle in a brand’s roster; for instance, you can purchase a CPO CR-V for a comparable, if not lower price than a new HR-V.

New Cars

#1 Impeccable Quality

Because the vehicle is new, you don’t have to worry about any past accidents, hidden problems, cosmetic issues, interior stains or cigarette smells — basically anything you’d be worried about when buying a used car from a private seller.

Additionally, every new vehicle comes with a pristine new-vehicle warranty that covers the car from any mechanical defects. This warranty period differs from manufacturer to manufacturer; every new Honda, for example, is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Any defective part or component will be replaced for free by your Honda dealer.

#2 More Depreciation

As the car’s first owner, you do pay a higher price, both at the time of purchase and when you go to sell it. The majority of a car’s depreciation occurs within the first 60 months of ownership, though you can negate a bit of this by investing in a brand that produces vehicles with higher-than-average resale values. Honda is frequently on that list.

#3 Latest in Safety & Technology

While certified pre-owned vehicles utilize advanced driver-assist features, safety systems and other technology, some older CPO models may be a bit behind the times. If you package your new car, you’ll be able to add on a feature that wasn’t available just 5 years earlier.

Take the Odyssey’s CabinWatch feature: Had you purchased a new Odyssey in 2018, you’d have the option to add the in-vehicle monitoring software to its infotainment system. This feature wasn’t available in past Odyssey vans. (The 2020 Odyssey features CabinWatch and CabinTalk, Honda’s new in-vehicle PA system.)

#4 Build it Yourself

Purchasing a new car awards you the opportunity to build the vehicle to spec. Visit your dealer and select exterior and interior colors, upholstery and trimmings, infotainment screen, and dozens of other features – it’s really that simple.

#5 Better for Base Models

In contrast to CPO, it’s usually smarter to buy an entry-level model if you choose to purchase new. The price difference between a new base model and its certified pre-owned cousin is oftentimes comparable.

Experts say, “You don’t buy a deal; you buy a car.” No matter what type of vehicle you choose, trust that our Phoenix Honda dealerships have deals you want on the cars you want to buy. Just visit your Valley Honda Dealers to get a quote on a certified pre-owned car or brand-new Honda.


*7-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty measured from the original in-service date. See dealer for limited warranty details.