Subaru CPO Buying Guide

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All Subaru CPO cars are less than five years old, and have less than 80,000 miles on them. The original powertrain warranty for many Subaru models is five-years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first), so considering the extended warranty you get (more on that later), this program is generous.

Subaru CPO vehicles are all cars originally sold at a Subaru dealer and are typically sourced from either trade-ins or auctions. The dealers will send out their teams to used car auctions and will track down the vehicles that look the cleanest. Then begins the inspection process.

Inspection

This is the heart of the CPO process. The Subaru CPO program has a 152-point inspection, and the program is quite exhaustive. All panels, gaps, and fittings, inside and out, are inspected, the engine gets a thorough mechanical going-over. Even the clock is reset.

Inspectors check to make sure all the adjustable seats and the adjustable steering wheel work and check for any leaks or cracks. The goal is to get the vehicle as close to original condition as possible, which means getting rid of any scuffs, dings, or blemishes – no matter how small.

To that end, many dealers have specialists that come in for various specific restorations, such as getting bumps out without damaging the paint, matching the original paint color perfectly, or cleaning every crevice and space you could think of.

Warranty

2017 Subaru Outback

(Subaru of America, Inc.)

The big selling point of a CPO vehicle is the extended warranty. For Subaru CPO cars, that is a seven-year/100,000-mile extended powertrain warranty. It will be honored at any Subaru service department across the country.

There are actually two choices of warranty for Subaru CPO vehicles, both with the same years and miles affixed to them. “Option 1” is called the “Classic” wrap-around plan with roadside assistance. It covers roughly 1,000 parts in all your major mechanical areas, including most major drivetrain, suspension, electrical, cooling, and fuel systems, as well as air conditioning. This plan also provides towing and rental car reimbursement for covered repairs.

“Option 2” is the “Gold Plus” plan, which also has roadside assistance. This is your bumper-to-bumper plan covering nearly all the parts on your car. Under this plan, if you break down out of town, you will be reimbursed for lodging and meals while your vehicle is being repaired.

Extras

Many of the extras are covered in the Gold Plus plan, but all Subaru CPOs also get extras like a Carfax vehicle history report and a three-month trial for SiriusXM satellite radio.

You also get a one-year subscription to Starlink connected services. Depending on your vehicle, this can let you do things like lock, unlock, and even start your car from your phone. It also has Starlink Security services, which have Automatic Collision Notification and Stolen Vehicle Recovery.

How Does It Compare to Rivals?

Toyota is considered the gold standard and has one of the most popular CPO programs out there. They have a 160-point inspection and a four-phase inspection process. The warranty is the same as Subaru's, though they will accept vehicles with up to 85,000 miles on them.

Though every manufacturer’s CPO program is different, they all follow a similar format: rigorous inspection, cleaning, and refurbishment, added perks, and an extended warranty. The details may differ, but the general concept is the same.

How to Buy a Subaru CPO Vehicle

2017 Subaru BRZ

(Subaru of America, Inc.)

U.S. News & World Report has extensive used car listings, and you can even break vehicles out by plain-old “used” or by “certified pre-owned.” You can select how far away you want to search for a car, and also pick preferred years, so can have an exact idea of what your local area offers you.