New vs CPO: Which Kind of Ford Explorer Should You Buy?

A close up of the grille on a silver 2022 Ford Explorer is shown.

The debate between new vs Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) will be a debate that never ends and with good reason. For popular vehicles like the Ford Explorer, this rings more true than ever. Lots of people find themselves uncertain whether they should buy new or used. Most times, it boils down to price and features. Obviously, that is going to change drastically depending on the model year you’re eyeing to purchase and what your budget is. Often, people want a brand-new model because it has no wear and tear and you get the latest features, plus you get warranties. But with Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, they’re reconditioned like new and also come with warranties, plus they’re much cheaper than buying new.

When it comes down to it, those of you shopping for a midsize SUV are probably deciding between buying a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer and a brand-new Ford Explorer. Both types of SUV come with great features, warranties, and post-purchase support, but which one favors your budget more, and which one has the features you want? Well, you’re in luck because we can give you the pros and cons depending on what you’re shopping for and what kind of Explorer you want to own.

A grey 2020 certified pre-owned Ford Explorer is shown parked in a driveway.

Benefits of Buying New

When you buy a brand-new Ford Explorer, you’re getting the latest features available with the newest model year. At the moment, new models are mainly the 2022 Explorer, with the 2023 models starting to arrive. These models are feature rich with a lot of the most modern tech, safety, and performance features that make them some of the best options in the midsize SUV segment. New vehicles also come with Ford’s standard warranties, including three-year or 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Buying a new Ford Explorer also includes updates for the Ford SYNC infotainment system, better-tuned performance for on-road and off-road handling, and special editions and new trim availability. The 2022 model year, for instance, received a brand new trim in the form of the ST-Line, a sporty variant with the exterior of the Explorer ST but without the expensive 3.0L twin-turbo V6 engine. The high-performance ST trim also received rear-wheel drive for the 2022 model year. Essentially, buying new gives you access to all the latest updates, features, and advancements that Ford imbues into its popular nameplates, and it’s more than evident with the Ford Explorer.

Benefits of Buying CPO

It might seem like buying new is always the best way to go, but not everyone can afford to buy a brand-new Ford Explorer. However, not everyone likes the idea of buying a used SUV where you don’t have any guarantees; buying used means you have to deal with all of the potential service issues and maintenance that the previous owner may not have properly dealt with when they owned the vehicle. This can be costly in the long run. However, with a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer, you don’t have to worry about any of that.

Thanks to Ford’s CPO program, you are getting a completely reconditioned vehicle with manufacturer-backed warranties, post-purchase support, and roadside assistance. But pay attention because there are actually two different levels to purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer: Blue Certified and Gold Certified.

Blue Certified Ford Explorers have fewer than 120,000 miles on them and are 10 years old or newer. Every Blue Certified vehicle has also gone through a 139-point detailed inspection inside and out and comes with a 90-day or 4,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. You get 24/7 roadside assistance and 11,000 FordPass Reward Points you can use towards service and maintenance. If you are, for any reason, unsatisfied with the purchase, you have a 14-day or 1,000-mile money-back guarantee.

Gold Certified Ford Explorers have fewer than 80,000 miles on them and are 6 years old or newer. Unlike Blue Certified vehicles, Gold Certified vehicles must pass through a 172-point inspection that covers the mechanical components, interior, powertrain, drivetrain, wheels, and suspension. Gold Certified models also come with a 12-month or 12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty and an additional 7-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. You get 24/7 roadside assistance and 22,000 FordPass Reward Points that you can use for your Ford Explorer however you want. You also still have access to a 14-day or 1,000-mile money-back guarantee, just like Blue Certified vehicles.

A red 2023 Ford Explorer ST is shown parked near a concrete structure.

Differences Between New and CPO

Now that you have an idea of the benefits of a brand new Ford Explorer vs a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer, there are obviously those who would ask how the differences between the two affect them. Well, if you buy new, you are guaranteed a vehicle with no wear and tear on it. Additionally, you get access to all the newest additions and options, as listed above. However, you don’t have access to some of the extended warranty features available with Gold Certified CPO models unless you talk to us about additional warranty coverage.

The other major difference between the two vehicles is price. Certified Pre-Owned Explorers are more affordable than brand-new Explorers. Since Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorers are generally older model-year units, they are available for thousands less than the MSRP of buying new. This makes them a lot more attractive for those who want the quality of buying a brand new Ford Explorer but don’t want to spend as much on a down payment or monthly payments. Certified Pre-Owned Explorers effectively give you the best of both worlds: warranties and post-purchase support like a new vehicle, but at the price of a used vehicle.

However, the downside to Certified Pre-Owned vehicles is that they don’t get the newest amenities, tech, or performance updates that come with brand-new model-year units. Typically, a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer is going to be at least a year or two behind the newest model year offerings. In this case, it means you’re likely looking at the newest Certified Pre-Owned Explorers being 2020 model years. You would forfeit access to trims like the Timberline, the ST-Line, and the King Ranch. It also means no rear-wheel drive ST trim for the current crop of Certified Pre-Owned Explorers.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Your Ford Explorer Purchase

How you weigh the pros and cons of buying new vs Certified Pre-Owned will depend on what you want most out of a Ford Explorer. If your budget allows for it and you have no qualms about spending more, buying brand-new makes the most sense. You have access to the newest model year offerings and the latest features. However, if finances are an important issue for you and you’re working with a set budget, a Certified Pre-Owned Ford Explorer makes a lot more sense. You’re saving money and getting warranties and additional factory support with a highly reliable pre-owned SUV. The lower price and warranties really make the CPO option look quite attractive, assuming you’re willing to give up some of the newer model year amenities. Both options are great, but it all depends on your financial situation and what sort of features you want from a Ford Explorer.

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