A silver 2022 Ford EcoSport is shown from a high angle on a city street.

Go for the Gold (Or Blue): A Look at Ford’s Blue Advantage Program

When it comes to getting into your next vehicle, you have an assortment of options. Should you go for a new vehicle, or is a used car better for you? Maybe you want to go with the tried and true, Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. Many manufacturers have different CPO programs, and all the terms and conditions can be hard to understand, making it crucial to do your research to get the best deal possible. Ford offers a more unique CPO program that is different from many manufacturers. When buying a Certified Pre-Owned Ford through the Ford Blue Advantage program, you select between Blue and Gold Certified models. This may sound a bit different from the other CPO programs you may have read about, but we’re here to help break down Ford’s version of this popular used vehicle option. By the end, you will be a master of Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned program, known as Ford Blue Advantage, and understand the difference between the Blue and Gold Certified vehicles.

Ford Blue Advantage Basics

Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned program ensures you are buying the best used vehicle, held to strict standards set by the company. As mentioned, there are two options; regardless of which option you choose, your used vehicle will undergo an extensive multi-point inspection, complete with a CarFax report. They will also come with a 14-day or 1,000-mile money back guarantee. On top of that, they come with a three-month subscription to Sirius XM Radio, and they send you off with a full tank of fuel!

A brown 2019 certified pre-owned Ford Edge is shown driving past a restaurant.

Blue Certified Vehicles

While the whole program is labeled the Ford Blue Advantage, Ford has two different color options for certifications. The basic level is the Ford Blue Certified. The Blue Certified models are manufactured within ten years and have less than 120,000 miles on them. They undergo a 139-point inspection, which includes a road test for your vehicle’s engine and powertrain functions. It also ensures that the exterior of your vehicle and its functions, such as the windshield, exterior lights, and power liftgate, work properly. Also, part of the 139-point inspection is a testing of all interior functions, like the airbags and safety belts, audio and alarm systems, and amenities like the steering controls, Bluetooth system, and power outlets, ensuring they are in top condition.

The Ford team certifying your vehicle for Blue status will also run a vehicle diagnostic test and inspect the underhood of your vehicle. This check covers aspects like the engine and the electrical system and ensures the AC and fuel pumps function correctly. After the underhood is checked, the technicians will do an underbody inspection that covers your vehicle’s frame, exhaust, and tires. Ford Blue can also extend to hybrids, in which case the Ford service team will check all of the hybrid’s additional electric features, such as high voltage connections and cooling systems.

Blue Warranties and Additional Benefits

Your Blue Certified vehicle also comes with a comprehensive limited warranty that covers it for 90 days or 4,000 miles after your original purchase date. This warranty is typically known as your bumper-to-bumper warranty and covers your Ford from front to back and top to bottom. It covers everything on and in your car aside from the aspects that will wear under typical driving circumstances.

Ford also includes 24/7 roadside assistance for the duration of the limited warranty coverage. We love having roadside assistance ready and available to us, personally, and we are glad they include this as part of the Blue program. The other benefit of the Blue certification is 11,000 FordPass reward points. If you’re unfamiliar with FordPass, it’s a rewards program where you can use your accrued points to help pay for maintenance, tires, or even a new vehicle!

Gold Certified Vehicles

The second and highest level of the Ford Blue Advantage program is the Gold Certified vehicle. To make it to this exclusive level of Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, the car must be under six years old and have less than 80,000 miles on it. The vehicle then undergoes a comprehensive 172 multi-point inspection and covers a more intensive vehicle history report that includes a look at its scheduled maintenance history. This inspection also covers a road test to ensure your vehicle runs as it should, and like the Blue program, the exterior of your vehicle gets a thorough examination as well.

The interior inspection is more comprehensive for the Gold Certified vehicles, and aspects like the interior carpets and seat upholstery get detailed checking. The Ford technicians then check under the vehicle’s hood and body to ensure everything is in perfect working condition. Like the Blue certification process, Gold has a special inspection for hybrids that allows them to be a part of the Gold program as well.

Gold Warranties and Additional Benefits

The Gold Certified vehicles come with two warranties. The first is a 12-month or 12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. This is the same bumper-to-bumper warranty as the Blue certification but with a much longer time frame. The next warranty that comes with the Gold Certified vehicles is the seven-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This warranty takes a deeper and more immersive coverage for your powertrain. It ensures additional coverage for the engine and transmission of your vehicle and all parts that connect to the drivetrain.

The Gold certification adds more than just an additional warranty to the vehicle you are interested in. When you get a Gold Certified Ford, it comes with 24/7 roadside assistance for the length of the limited warranty and covers everything from being lost on the road to needing a tow. If you participate in that FordPass program mentioned earlier, the Gold Certified models will earn you 22,000 points towards your rewards.

A red 2020 Ford Fusion is shown speeding down a highway.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Each certification level has its own costs and benefits. This means when selecting your next Certified Pre-Owned Ford, you must weigh those out carefully.

Blue Certified Pros and Cons

The benefits of the Blue Certified vehicles are that they are lower in cost, putting their price tag much further away from new model prices. You get some great warranties and anything not covered in the 132 multi-point inspection, such as the seats, is easily visible when looking over the vehicle at the dealership. The cons of the Blue program are that the warranties are much shorter lived, and there is no powertrain warranty, which could be an issue for those concerned about comprehensive coverage.

Gold Certified Pros and Cons

The Gold Certified vehicles have a lot of positives to note. You get extended warranty time frames, longer roadside assistance, and an additional warranty, which means your vehicle has many more aspects covered. However, on the downside, the vehicles are newer and have been used less, so their prices aren’t as low. As long as you are aware of this and are not deterred by the difference in price, a Gold Certified Ford is a great option.

Although Both Options Are Great, It’s Worth Spending Extra for Gold

We were pretty divided over which certification level was the best deal initially, but after a lot of deliberation, we think that the Gold Certified vehicles are our go-to choice when searching for a used Ford. On the one hand, you know you’re getting a used vehicle at a slightly higher price, but if you wanted to get roadside assistance separately, it would cost much more than the difference between a Gold and Blue vehicle. You’re also paying for some additional peace of mind because you had a more extensive inspection and an additional warranty. While both options are great depending on your budget, it seems worth spending a little more to get a lot more value.