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For the fifth year in a row, Jaguar earned the top spot among luxury marques for IntelliChoice's annual ranking of certified used vehicle programs.

IntelliChoice, a subsidiary of PRIMEDIA, Inc., publishes annual car and truck cost guides projecting ownership expenses from the day of purchase to five years out.

The results for 2006 put Volkswagen at the top of non-luxury automakers for the second year in a row.

Jaguar won top spot among luxury brands, marking the fifth year in a row that Jaguar's program placed first in the upscale category.

IntelliChoice noted most major automakers now have a certified used vehicle program—29 different manufacturer-sponsored certified used vehicle programs were analyzed for this study. These were split between luxury and non-luxury brands, each offering a number of different benefits.

"Certified pre-owned vehicles sales continue to gain momentum and have secured a significant and valuable place in the automotive landscape," said James Bell, publisher of IntelliChoice.com. "As the only consumer automotive site to evaluate and rank these programs, we feel it is critical to provide car buyers with the most up-to-date information and tools they need to determine the greatest value for their money. Certified pre-owned vehicles offer an outstanding economic alternative to a typical new car, SUV, or truck purchase."

IntelliChoice estimates that 1.6 million CPO vehicles will be sold in 2005. This accounts for around 10 percent of all U.S. automotive sales.

IntelliChoice ranks used vehicle certification programs based on the following criteria: car inspection process; extended warranty coverage; title verification; certification inspection process; availability of special financing; roadside assistance benefits; and whether there are return or exchange policies for the used vehicles.

The warranties and inspections offered on certified used cars are some of the most appealing features to consumers. Jaguar was rated as having the best warranty among luxury car brands, while Audi, Land Rover and Infiniti were tied with Jaguar for the top slot of the best inspection category.

In the non-luxury class, Mazda was singled out as having the best warranty program, while the best inspection accolades went to Nissan.

Cadillac's program was ranked third among luxury automakers this year, marking the second time the domestic car brand has made it into the top five.

Ford/Mercury were the only domestic brands in the non-luxury top five, coming in with the fifth-best certified pre-owned program. However, Ford Motor Company fielded three other brands in the lists—Jaguar, Volvo and Mazda.

Also interesting to note: Toyota joined the non-luxury list for the first time, while the automaker's luxury marque Lexus dropped off the top-five luxury brands.

Here's the IntelliChoice list of top certified used programs for 2006:

Luxury

  1. Jaguar
  2. Volvo
  3. Cadillac
  4. Saab
  5. Audi

Non-Luxury

  1. Volkswagen
  2. Mazda
  3. Honda
  4. Toyota
  5. Ford/Mercury

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