So you\u2019re ready to buy a car. You\u2019ve had your eyes on a specific model. It\u2019s sexy, sleek, powerful. And way out of your price range. You can look for a used model that's less expensive than buying it new. But you\u2019re not a mechanic, and you\u2019ve heard the horror stories of used cars fraught with expensive problems and no warranty to cover them. That won\u2019t work. But what if you could find your ideal car in guaranteed great condition with a warranty to back it up? That's where Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) comes in. It combines the happy price of a used car with the reassurance of buying new, and it might just be the ticket to the car you really want.Cost Savings: The Big Motivator Probably the biggest reason to go the used-car route is the savings. A two-year-old CPO car can cost 25 percent less than the same car when new, and four-year-old models can be 40 percent less. The prospect of landing a $60,000 luxury car for $36,000 opens up the luxury class of cars to many more buyers, and this is exactly why CPO can be a reasonable path to your dream car. Non-CPO used cars are typically even less expensive. But upfront savings could quickly be overshadowed if you get hit with repair costs after you drive the car off the lot. This is where CPO shines. It blends the cost savings of a used car with the peace of mind a warranty provides. There\u2019s Used, and Then There\u2019s Certified Pre-Owned Certified Pre-Owned is very different from a typical used car. You don\u2019t walk onto a car lot, ask what you can get for X amount of money, then drive off in a sputtering clunker. Quite the opposite. For starters, only recent model years with relatively low mileage can qualify as CPO vehicles. Mercedes-Benz, for example, requires cars to be less than six years old with fewer than 75,000 miles to be considered for CPO. They must also pass a rigorous inspection specified by the manufacturer. Each manufacturer has its own multi-point inspection process, typically checking around 150 aspects of the vehicle and sometimes as many as 300 to ensure it is in good condition. In Mercedes-Benz\u2019s case, it has factory-trained technicians recondition its cars to make sure they are certified to Mercedes-Benz standards. This should inspire confidence.Warranties: Extra Assurance As an added stamp of assurance, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with manufacturer-backed warranties. Many automakers cap the miles, but Mercedes-Benz offers an unlimited-mileage warranty for up to five years. In terms of powertrain warranty, the non-luxury CPO programs under Honda and Mazda offer seven years of coverage\u2014Hyundai\u2019s CPO program betters that by three years. And, if you're worried about a pre-owned car's dependability, 24/7 roadside assistance may also be included, like with Mercedes-Benz program. CPO warranties can be tricky, so be sure to read the documentation fully. How to Find the Best CPO Car Out There Many manufacturers offer CPO cars, trucks, and SUVs, but the majority of used vehicles sold through dealerships are not CPO. Dealerships sell many non-CPO used vehicles, from their own brand and others. But to find a CPO vehicle, you'll have to go to a dealership for the actual manufacturer whose car you want. Then ask a sales rep or look for cars with a sticker identifying them as CPO. Remember, you will only find relatively recent model years so don\u2019t bother looking for a CPO classic car. The CPO program is all about getting like-new quality at an unlike-new price. The Bottom Line With certified quality backed by a manufacturer\u2019s warranty, Certified Pre-Owned is a smart way to make higher classes of cars more attainable. Next time you think about buying a new car, check out what Certified Pre-Owned models you can find for a comparable price. You may just find yourself driving the car you really want.