CPO cars undergo a safety inspection and come with a wa... CPO cars undergo a safety inspection and come with a warranty (Credit: Getty Images).
A lot of car buyers are flocking to car dealerships this week to capitalize on end-of-year car deals. But not all of them will walk away with a new car. Once at the dealerships, many find a better deal on the vehicle they want among the certified-pre-owned cars and trucks on the lot. And according to IntelliChoice, a provider of automotive cost and value analysis, Volvo and Hyundai have the best certified pre-owned programs in the auto industry.

Certified pre-owned cars are used vehicles that have undergone a safety inspection and carry a warranty. Because of this process, CPO vehicles tend to cost more than a traditional used cars, but also come with a higher level of reliability and can usually be bought with a higher level of confidence in the quality of the car.

Since CPO vehicles are often lease turn-ins and are refurbished and cared for by the dealership, they can be had with low miles and less wear and tear than traditional used cars.

The IntelliChoice study split CPO programs into two different categories: Premium and Popular. The Premium category consisted of 12 different brands, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Lexus and Volvo. The Popular category contained brands such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Hyundai.

IntelliChoice then analyzed each brand's performance based on several criteria, most importantly the warranty and inspection processes. The brands that performed the best in each category were deemed the winners. For 2012, Volvo was the top choice in the premium category and Hyundai took the top spot in the Popular category.

Volvo received a 100 percent inspection score and also finished among the top five for its warranty score. Hyundai also received a 100 percent inspection score and the second-highest warranty score. IntelliChoice noted that Hyundai currently offers the longest powertrain coverage at 10 years/100,000 miles.

Other notable brands in the study were:

-- Porsche, which won the Best Premium Warranty Award.
-- Lincoln, which on the Best Premium Brand Used Ownership Costs Award.
-- MINI, which won the Best Popular Warranty Award.
-- Honda, which won the Best Popular Brand Used Ownership Costs Award.


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