Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A silver 2021 Kia Telluride is shown from the front parked near mountains.

The Gift That Keeps Giving: Kia Certified Pre-Owned

Long, long ago, in 1992, the Kia Sephia and Kia Sorento were introduced to the American public via Portland, Oregon. Since then, the brand has become known for producing high-quality vehicles ranging from the sporty Stinger to the eight-passenger Telluride. One of the main reasons drivers are drawn to their Certified Pre-Owned Kia dealer is that they’re getting a great deal on an already great vehicle.

Whether shopping new or pre-owned, drivers know that Kia vehicles are unparalleled when it comes to reliability and flexibility. Growing families have come to trust Kia crossovers and SUVs, while drivers looking for a fun and customizable sedan are drawn to the brand for vehicles that range from practical to flashy. There is a Kia for every budget, whether brand new from the manufacturer or a previously owned favorite.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Kia?

Many drivers are familiar with the difference between new and pre-owned vehicles. One has extremely low mileage and that new car smell, while the other has quite literally been around the block a few times…maybe even the whole city. But right in between the two traditional options lies a third opportunity: the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle.

A Certified Pre-Owned vehicle differs from any other pre-owned vehicle in that it truly is “certified” by the manufacturer. Bear in mind that some dealerships will offer what they call “dealership certified” pre-owned vehicles, but this is an entirely different practice. A true CPO will have met the qualifications set forth by the manufacturer for certification and will only be offered by an affiliated dealership.

So what makes up those qualifications? It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all CPO vehicles will be of a certain age or newer, have less than a specified number of miles on the odometer, and will have undergone a thorough inspection. Kia requires its CPO vehicles to be five model years old or newer, have fewer than 60,000 miles, and pass a 165-point Quality Assurance Inspection.

If you were purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned Kia in 2022, for example, your selection pool would include vehicles from 2018 or newer. That means you might even find a 2020 or 2021 model in the mix. Much like finding the perfect used car, finding the perfect CPO Kia may require a little research and working with your local Certified Pre-Owned Kia dealer. However, while you may have a lot of questions about a regular used vehicle, Kia’s CPO program gives drivers peace of mind for years to come.

A mechanic is shown inspecting an engine at a certified pre-owned Kia dealer.

What Is Included in a Certified Pre-Owned Kia Inspection?

Many drivers would be hard-pressed to name 165 different aspects of their vehicle right off the top of their head, which is why Kia has published their inspection requirements so that any customer can take a look at their very strict requirements.

In order to receive manufacturer’s certification, a Kia vehicle must be inspected by a Kia factory-trained dealer technician. They must document their findings as they perform their inspection, and these details are submitted to the manufacturer for review. If there are any parts that do not meet the inspection standards, they must be replaced with a part authorized by Kia. That means no shortcuts and no surprises.

So what types of things are included in the inspection itself? The vehicle is taken for a test drive to ensure it performs as it should. Then everything under the hood is checked out, including emission systems, seals and gaskets, belts, filters, pumps, hoses, and clamps. The engine, the cooling system, the power steering system, and all electrical systems are checked to ensure they are operating properly. From the horn to the defrosters, every mechanical aspect of the Kia is inspected.

The interior and exterior are examined in detail, as well. There should be no blemishes in a Certified Pre-Owned Kia, inside or out. Each vehicle needs to meet Kia’s quality standard before it receives certification. Finally, each CPO Kia includes a CARFAX Vehicle History Report. This allows both Kia and the future owner of the vehicle to know exactly where their investment has been and confirm that it is in fantastic condition.

The Benefits of Kia’s Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Program

In addition to the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your Certified Pre-Owned vehicle has been fully inspected by a trained professional and certified by the manufacturer, Kia provides some additional comfort to CPO drivers. The first is Platinum Coverage. For up to one year or 12,000 miles from the date and mileage at the time of purchase, your Certified Pre-Owned Kia will include Kia’s Platinum Coverage, which is comprehensive coverage for nearly every part of the vehicle.

On top of that, each CPO Kia includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. This begins from the vehicle’s original sales date. Therefore, a vehicle originally sold as brand new in 2020 would be covered through 2030 or once the odometer reaches 100,000 miles. This warranty provides coverage for the engine, transmission, and drive axle if they should mechanically fail.

Also included with this warranty is Travel Breakdown Protection Coverage. When drivers find themselves more than 100 miles away from home and dealing with a mechanical breakdown, they’ll receive a daily rental car allowance while their vehicle is being repaired under warranty. Also included in this program is Emergency Towing Coverage and travel reimbursement while your Kia is in the shop.

For ten years following the purchase of your Certified Pre-Owned Kia, you’ll also receive Roadside Assistance. There is no mileage qualification for this coverage–it starts on the date you purchase your CPO Kia and ends after ten years. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Kia’s Roadside Assistance program offers flat tire assistance, lockout recovery, jumpstarts, and will even deliver up to three gallons of free fuel if you happen to run out on your travels.

A red 2021 Kia K5 is shown from the side driving on an empty highway.

Too Good to Be True?

In many ways, drivers may think that a Certified Pre-Owned Kia is too good of a deal to be true. You’re getting a next-to-new vehicle with low mileage, an extended warranty, and complimentary roadside assistance–what’s the catch?

Amazingly, there isn’t one. The process of purchasing a CPO Kia is much like the process of buying any new-to-you vehicle. A quick search on Kia’s website will help you locate a Certified Pre-Owned Kia dealership near you, where you’ll be able to scour their inventory, speak with the staff directly to answer any questions you may have, and test drive the vehicle before you make your final decision. You’ll be able to check out the many features, trims, and options offered in stock or in your area to ensure you’re getting the car, crossover, SUV, or minivan of your dreams.

Best of all, you’ll drive away knowing that you’re not stuck with a limping lemon if things go awry. Between the 165-point inspection and the extended warranty, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that every eventuality has been fully considered and is covered, not by a dealership, but by the manufacturer itself. When the factory that made your vehicle stands by its work, that’s a great relief for drivers like you, who need the type of reliable transportation Kia has become known for in their decades in the US.