What is an approved used car

What is an approved used car?

Last updated March 22nd, 2024

Approved used cars are pre-owned vehicles that were recertified by their manufacturer before going back on sale. However, approved used status isn’t just given out to any used vehicle.

To make the grade, cars must pass stringent checks. Many manufacturers have 100 points of inspection or more for their approved used schemes. Therefore, cars bearing an ‘approved used’ sticker are usually in excellent condition. Mechanics will have carefully addressed any issues to ensure they meet the manufacturer’s high standards.

Most approved used cars also have low mileages – and they’re sold with warranties, providing buyers with extra peace of mind. Therefore, if you’re looking to sell your car and make the switch to a reliable second-hand car, it’s well worth considering an approved used model.

In this guide, we will expound the benefits of buying an approved used car. We’ll also explain why ex-demonstrator cars can be great for used buyers. Finally, we’ll highlight the approved used criteria for some of the UK’s favourite car brands.

Get a free valuation

Benefits of buying an approved used car

  • These models have been cherry picked by dealers for their condition and reliability.

  • Approved used cars are subject to more rigorous checks and inspections than standard used cars.

  • They also come with warranty coverage, providing additional reassurance to buyers.

  • Finally, approved used cars typically have lower mileages than most second-hand cars, meaning they are less likely to develop mechanical issues.

Is it better to buy an approved used car?

Whether it is better to buy an approved used car depends on where your priorities lie:

  • If you have reservations about buying a second-hand car due to reliability concerns, an approved used model should ease your fears. Approved used cars are checked and tested more extensively than standard used cars.

  • Approved used cars come with manufacturer-backed warranties, safety certification and exchange policies, which can make buying one seem like less of a gamble.

  • Of course, all this extra reassurance does come at a higher cost. So, if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, a standard used car may be a better option.

Ex-demonstrators as approved used cars:

Ex-demonstrators are cars that were formerly used by dealerships for test drives and demonstrations. They are often repurposed as approved used cars.

These cars are sought after by many used buyers, as they are more affordable than their brand-new equivalents, have low mileages, are typically under 18 months old - and have been maintained to a high standard, courtesy of the dealership’s technicians.

What’s more, ex-demonstrators were used to showcase the very best features their model has to offer. Therefore, many ex-demonstrator cars are loaded with desirable extras and upgrades that the standard trims lack!

Comparison of different brands’ approved used schemes

Alfa Romeo ‘Selected for You’

Alfa Romeo’s Selected for You scheme covers cars that are five years old or less with under 60,000 miles on the clock. This scheme offers:

  • A 12-month warranty, covering all major car components.

  • A 30-day exchange period with a copy of the exchange promise.

  • A history and mileage check.

  • A comprehensive car check with an assurance certificate.

BMW Approved Used Cars

BMW’s Approved Used Cars scheme doesn’t have any restrictions in terms of age or mileage. Key features include:

  • A 12-month unlimited mileage extendable warranty.

  • 12 months’ breakdown cover (in the UK, Ireland and Europe).

  • 12 months’ MOT cover.

  • Full vehicle checks and preparation with a road test.

  • Independent, certified history and mileage checks.

Ford Direct

Ford’s Direct scheme accepts vehicles up to two years old with a maximum of 24,000 miles. Key features include:

  • A 24-month unlimited mileage warranty.

  • 24 months’ breakdown cover (pan-Europe).

  • Full service history.

  • Mileage and history check.

  • A 30-day or 1,000-mile exchange period, whichever comes first.

  • Thorough car checks.

  • 3-day driveaway insurance.

Hyundai Promise

The Hyundai Promise scheme accepts petrol and diesel cars up to 42 months old - and EVs/PHEVs/hybrid cars up to 36 months old with a maximum mileage of 36,000. Key features include:

  • An 18-month warranty.

  • 12 months’ roadside assistance.

  • A multi-point car check.

  • An independent history and mileage check.

  • Free driveaway insurance.

  • A 30-day or 1,000-mile exchange policy, whichever comes first.

  • A £250 excess cover voucher.

Jeep Selected for You

Jeep’s Selected for You scheme accepts cars up to five years old with a maximum mileage of 60,000. Key features of this scheme include:

  • A 12-month warranty.

  • 12 months’ breakdown cover.

  • A 30-day exchange period.

  • A pre-sale car check.

  • An independent history and mileage check.

  • An assurance certificate.

Kia Approved Used Cars

Kia’s Approved Used Cars scheme is open to cars up to 20 months old with a mileage under 20,000. Key features include:

  • A seven-year warranty.

  • 12 months’ breakdown cover, provided by the RAC.

  • A full service history check.

  • Free driveway insurance, which includes a £250 voucher for any claim during the first year.

  • A history check, provided by Experian.

  • A multi-point car check.

  • 12-months' MOT cover.

  • A 24-hour accident aftercare service.

MINI Approved

The MINI Approved cars scheme offers:

  • A 12-month warranty.

  • 12 months’ roadside assistance for the UK and Europe.

  • 12 months' MOT cover (for a minimum of 6 months in Northern Ireland).

  • An independent history and mileage check.

  • Full service history.

  • MOT cover up to £750.

  • A 30-day exchange policy.

  • A free annual health check.

Renault Approved Used Car

Renault’s Approved Used Car scheme offers:

  • A 12-month warranty.

  • 12 months’ breakdown cover.

  • Car and history checks.

  • 5-day driveaway insurance.

  • A 30-day exchange policy.

  • An accident support line.

Suzuki Approved Used

The Suzuki Approved Used programme is open to a used Suzukithat is less than eight years old with a maximum mileage of 70,000. Key features include:

  • A warranty.

  • Breakdown cover (UK and Europe only).

  • MOT cover.

  • A multi-point car check.

  • A history and mileage check.

  • A valet service.

Volvo Selekt

Volvo’s Selekt approved used scheme is open to used Volvos up to five years old, with a maximum mileage of 104,000. Key features include:

  • A 12-month unlimited mileage warranty.

  • 12 months’ roadside assistance.

  • MOT cover up to £750 (£10 excess).

  • A 150-point car check.

  • A 30-day or 1,500-mile exchange policy - whichever comes first.