CARS.COM — When it comes to warranties, the best policy depends on what type of coverage you need and what type of repairs are required. It's easy to get lost in the weeds, so we rank the vehicle warranty policies from outstanding to ordinary based on three major provisions: powertrain, bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance.
Some automakers offer lengthy powertrain warranties for their vehicles, but that typically covers only the engine, transmission and driveline. By contrast, bumper-to-bumper coverage — often called "basic" warranties — cover everything else (electrical parts, for example) and often include the powertrain if an automaker doesn't split it out. Then comes other coverage, from roadside assistance to warranties for body panel corrosion and vehicle accessories.
Related: Making Sense of Used-Car Warranties
Here's the lay of the land for each automaker.
Why they're here: Even when you consider their transferability limitations, these are still the best warranties for 2018. The powertrain policies are years ahead of the rest of the industry, and the bumper-to-bumper warranties are equally impressive.
- Genesis: Five years or 60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, 10 years or 100,000 miles for powertrain, and three years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
- Hyundai and Mitsubishi: Five years or 60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, 10 years or 100,000 miles for powertrain, and five years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
- Kia: Five years or 60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance, and 10 years or 100,000 miles for powertrain
- Volkswagen: Six years or 72,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and powertrain on all 2018 models except the e-Golf, with three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance
Caveats: The powertrain coverage for Genesis, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi isn't transferrable to subsequent owners, so it drops to five years or 60,000 miles after the first owner, though bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance have no term reduction. Volkswagen debuted an expanded warranty in early 2017 for the 2018 model-year Atlas and Tiguan, then later extended it to the rest of the 2018 lineup except the e-Golf, which won’t get the policy. As of this writing, the automaker said it would announce the plug-in hatchback’s warranty closer to its launch date. (Volkswagen's 2017 model-year warranties are considerably shorter.)
Why they're here: Jaguar matches the bumper-to-bumper coverage of the top group, while Infiniti and Tesla have impressive powertrain coverage.
- Jaguar: Five years or 60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, powertrain and roadside assistance
- Infiniti: Four years or 60,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, six years or 70,000 miles for powertrain, and four years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
- Tesla: Four years or 50,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance, and eight years with no mileage cap for powertrain — specifically the drive unit and battery
Caveats: These policies are fully transferrable to subsequent owners. Tesla's warranty for powertrain components is similar to what many automakers furnish on powertrain components for select hybrids or electric vehicles.
Why they're here: A mix of strong bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage puts these five brands above most.
- Acura: Four years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance, and six years or 70,000 miles of powertrain
- Buick and Cadillac: Four years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and six years or 70,000 miles of powertrain and roadside assistance
- Lexus: Four years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper, six years or 70,000 miles of powertrain, and four years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
- Lincoln: Four years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper, six years or 70,000 miles of powertrain, and unlimited roadside assistance for the first owner
Caveats: All policies are transferable except Lincoln's roadside assistance, which ends after the original owner.
Why they're here: Below the warranties of note is the rest of the industry — a wide swath of brands with two essential blocks of coverage. Mass-market brands generally offer three years of bumper-to-bumper coverage and five years of powertrain coverage, while many luxury and niche brands offer four years of both.
- Alfa Romeo, BMW, Fiat, Mini and Volvo: Four years or 50,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and powertrain, and four years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
- Audi, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Porsche: Four years or 50,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, powertrain and roadside assistance
- Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jeep, Nissan and Ram: Three years or 36,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and five years or 60,000 miles for powertrain and roadside assistance
- Honda, Mazda and Subaru: Three years or 36,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance, and five years or 60,000 miles for powertrain
- Toyota: Three years or 36,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper, five years or 60,000 miles for powertrain, and two years with no mileage cap for roadside assistance
Caveats: Exemptions abound. Diesel heavy-duty trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Ram have five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranties; Ford and Ram extend that to smaller diesel engines in a few other models. The Nissan Titan pickup truck and NV full-size van, meanwhile, have an impressive five years or 100,000 miles of powertrain and bumper-to-bumper coverage.
More to Note
We excluded exotic or ultra-luxury brands and rank warranties by the overall brand. Some vehicles, like the Titan, have notably different coverage than their siblings. We also looked at policies for retail shoppers only, so if you're a fleet or commercial-vehicle shopper, many automakers offer longer warranties not reflected above.
Warranties generally expire when you hit the earlier of the two limits (time or mileage), and any transfers of ownership are subject to those limits since the original in-service date, not the date someone else buys the car. To wit, if you buy a three-year-old car with a five-year powertrain warranty, you'd get the remaining two years — not five new years.
Coverage specifics can vary by brand, and certain dealerships may offer their own warranties separate from an automaker. Some offer extended warranties for an additional amount. Warranties generally don't cover regular maintenance or items considered normal wear and tear (think brake pads and oil changes), but some automakers offer complimentary maintenance that's separate from their warranties.
Editor's note: Cars.com updated this post on Oct. 2, 2017, to reflect updated information for Volkswagen.
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