Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

Pickup Truck Showdown: Used or CPO?

It sometimes seems as if truck buyers just can’t win. Sure, a new pickup should offer everything these customers could possibly want, but they’re also rather pricey. Of course, these vehicles couldn’t possibly fit into every buyer’s budget. Alternatively, drivers could opt for a considerably more affordable used ride… although they also risk acquiring a lemon.

Fortunately, there’s a third option for customers: certified pre-owned trucks. These vehicles have been backed by the brand, with most companies requiring a 100-step inspection process in order for the nameplate to qualify. Furthermore, these CPOs are often backed by some sort of warranty, so drivers won’t be stuck if their purchase doesn’t end up working.

Of course, the CPOs are traditionally pricier than their used counterparts. If you’ve completely ruled out new trucks, you’re left with these two options. Is a CPO or a used truck more beneficial, and how do they fit within your budget? Are you sacrificing anything by favoring one over another? Should you scrap the idea and opt for a new pickup?

Well, let’s compare these two types of ‘used’ or ‘pre-owned’ vehicles, and you can use the guide to determine your course of action. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of whether you should pursue a used Ford F-150 or a certified pre-owned Dodge…


How popular are these rides? According to Phillip Reed of NerdWallet, more than 22-percent of used car sales are attributed to these CPOs. Furthermore, sales have already climbed 5.2-percent over last year’s numbers.

“Clearly, what they think they’re getting is peace of mind. They recognize they are getting a vehicle that is certified to a certain level of quality and condition,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for

Sure, these vehicles may be a bit pricier than their “used” counterparts, but the warranties provide the buyer with some protections (often times, these dealerships will add two more years and another 24,000 miles to the original warranty). Furthermore, dealerships are focused on attributes that would only help confirm the CPO’s abilities. The age and condition are of utmost importance, as most dealerships will refuse to take a vehicle that’s older than six years or has more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. In other words, drivers shouldn’t even need those warranties and protections, as they should trust that their pickup is more than capable of lasting several years.

Drivers have clearly recognized these advantages. An study showed that 64-percent of buyers chose the CPO because of the certification, and 57-percent of customers chose the vehicle because of the accompanying warranty.

Of course, when all is said and done, drivers won’t just want to assume that the CPO is reliable or dependable. A customer will want to know the exact details of the CPO program, thus avoiding any complications down the road. Drivers also need to do a personal, physical inspection of the vehicle, and if necessary, drivers could even pursue the original CPO inspection report. It’s still important to refer to an actual price guide, thus assuring that you won’t be paying an excessive amount for the ride. It’s also important to recognize that a CPO won’t suddenly make a non-reliable model a superstar.

Finally, plenty of vehicles could be coined as ‘certified pre-owned,’ but that doesn’t mean much if it’s not backed by the brand. Any dealership could claim their used vehicle is certified pre-owned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been supported by the manufacturer. Make sure you receive all of the specifics on a certified pre-owned program, or you may find yourself regretting your final decision.


The main incentive for a used pickup is rather obvious. Used vehicles are generally more affordable than their CPO counterparts. Why? Well, the lack of protections and warranties certainly benefits the dealership, so these businesses are more than willing to offer an affordable price tag in order to clear out inventory.

Well, since these used vehicles presumably failed to pass a brand’s or dealership’s extensive inspection process, they’re surely less capable than their CPO counterparts, right? Not necessarily. In fact, considering the financial incentive, you may be able to secure an equally-impressive vehicle for an incredible price.

Take the two used Ford F-150s that are available at The Faricy Boys, a Colorado-based dealership. A 2009 model is currently sitting on the lot for only $17,900, an incredible price for a used pickup. The super cab may have 103,873 miles on the odometer, but it’s still more than capable. The 5.4-liter V8 engine can pump out around 220 horsepower and 265 pounds-feet of torque, and thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission, drivers can expect an 18 highway/14 city mile per gallon efficiency.

The vehicle also offers a whole host of amenities, including a four-speaker sound system, remote keyless entry, and a number of safety capabilities. When all is said and done, you probably won’t find a more well-versed used pickup… unless you opt for Faricy’s other offering, the 2014 Ford F-150.

Sure, the $57,900 may seem a bit high for a used vehicle, but remember that this figure already includes a discount on the original price offering. The 13,405-mile pickup is one of the most incredible used pickup options at The Faricy Boys. The 6.2-liter V8 provides plenty of might and muscle, and the six-speed automatic electronic transmission results in solid efficiency specs.

Unsurprisingly, the vehicle also offers a number of luxury features. The pickup has heated and cooled seats, a back-up camera, a moonroof, a navigation system… everything a driver could possibly want. The vehicle is even equipped with the brand’s tow package, so drivers won’t have an issue hauling their cargo.

What does this all mean? Well, just because a vehicle is ‘used’ and not ‘pre-owned,’ it doesn’t mean it’s any less capable.


Ultimately, the decision is up to you. There are clear protections that accompany a used vehicle (price) or a certified pre-owned (protections). Fortunately, if you’re going to be purchasing from a dealership as reputable as The Faricy Boys, you won’t have to worry either way about your final decision.