Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

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anonymousboglehead
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by anonymousboglehead » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:30 pm

I've been researching plug-in hybrids a lot recently, and one thing to keep in mind is that the reported "gas mileage" figures are largely bogus. The Volvo T8 Hybrid, for example, may claim to get 55 mpg (or MPGe) on the highway, but that's only the case when the car's battery is fully charged. IIRC, the Volvo T8 Hybrid has a battery-only range of ~ 15 miles, so unless you plan on exclusively taking very short highway trips, you will never see 55 mpg on the highway (or anywhere else). Doesn't mean the car isn't worth buying and doesn't mean the car gets poor gas mileage, but keep in mind that EPA figures are even more exaggerated for plug-in hybrids (especially SUVs) than other vehicles. Happy car buying!

Danny

ncbill
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by ncbill » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:38 pm

carguyny wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:09 pm
I know leasing isn't really popular on here, but if you don't need a lot of miles it's worth looking into. Total cost of ownership can come out significantly ahead on good deals.

For example, I know from time to time you can lease an XC90 T5 for $400/mth at 10k miles/year (12k won't be much more). Factor in the $50k earning 2% after-tax a year invested and you're down to less than $320/mth. Car is always in warranty, always get new tech/safety, no repairs at all to cover as it includes oil changes. Just tires you might need to replace once.

I also regularly see heavily discounted leases on the Lexus GX 460.
yep, the XC 90 seems to lease well based on forum posts over at leasehackr [sic] dot com.

OP might want to spend some time over there.

pittpirate1985
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by pittpirate1985 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:23 pm

Thanks for all the comments on here. I test drove the Highlander, XC90 T6 Momentum and Subaru Ascend (today). The Ascend is fantastic but currently no incentives from either Subaru or the dealer as it is so hot right now. Will try out Acura MDX tomorrow like someone suggested on here - though I suspect it may not make as much of a difference.

I think it makes sense to me to lease either the Highlander Hybrid or XC90 for a 3 year period. Leases on Highlander Hybrid arent good. The dealership I went to for the XC90 was not a good place - horribly aggressive sales guy who was a complete jerk and overbearing- trying to sell everything that wasnt necessary - had to really push him to give me the info that I actually needed to make a good decision.

I may try out another dealer who would probably have a more ethical policy. Have read a fair bit that you need a good dealership to work with esp for Volvo. But with current Costco pricing, I will compare lease options between XC90 vs Highlander Hybrid, and if XC90 isnt too off, will go with that.

3 years in, turn in the XC90, and if Subaru Ascend still holds with good reviews, may buy a 1-2 year used model to use over a 10-15 year period. Or else cave in for a minivan if it turns out we need one then.

Thanks for those esp. who suggested trying out the Ascend and also evaluating lease option on XC90. Lets see how this goes.

ResearchMed
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:36 pm

pittpirate1985 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:23 pm
Thanks for all the comments on here. I test drove the Highlander, XC90 T6 Momentum and Subaru Ascend (today). The Ascend is fantastic but currently no incentives from either Subaru or the dealer as it is so hot right now. Will try out Acura MDX tomorrow like someone suggested on here - though I suspect it may not make as much of a difference.

I think it makes sense to me to lease either the Highlander Hybrid or XC90 for a 3 year period. Leases on Highlander Hybrid arent good. The dealership I went to for the XC90 was not a good place - horribly aggressive sales guy who was a complete jerk and overbearing- trying to sell everything that wasnt necessary - had to really push him to give me the info that I actually needed to make a good decision.

I may try out another dealer who would probably have a more ethical policy. Have read a fair bit that you need a good dealership to work with esp for Volvo. But with current Costco pricing, I will compare lease options between XC90 vs Highlander Hybrid, and if XC90 isnt too off, will go with that.

3 years in, turn in the XC90, and if Subaru Ascend still holds with good reviews, may buy a 1-2 year used model to use over a 10-15 year period. Or else cave in for a minivan if it turns out we need one then.

Thanks for those esp. who suggested trying out the Ascend and also evaluating lease option on XC90. Lets see how this goes.
Not to throw a monkey wrench into the works at this point, but if you aren't opposed to getting a "used" car (which seems to be the case in the future, at least), then have you considered trying to find something like a year-old CPO CX90?

A couple of years ago, for the first time, we didn't get a "new" car. We spotted a very young, low-mileage XC60 while we were looking at XC90's - which weren't actually available due to the waiting list.

It turned out that we love this car, and it didn't take too long to forget that it hadn't been ours from the start.
The savings were surprisingly large, given how "almost new" the car was.
The only "down side" in our minds, thinking ahead to the future, is that this type of purchase has little likelihood of letting us choose a color. Yes, picky, picky. :happy

RM
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pittpirate1985
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by pittpirate1985 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:47 pm

RM,
Thanks - I did and I still am considering them. The major issue is, currently the year old T6 XC90s are around 45000-50000 in my area, with around 12000-15000 miles on them. Compared to that, a new XC90 T6 with the Costco discounts is 55-65K depending on the bells and whistles. So it isnt as lucrative.

Somehow I am not sold on the XC90 as a 10+ year vehicle. If I were to buy a vehicle, at this point, I would want it to last 10+ years without a lot of maintenance and I understand that can be an issue with XC90s. In that scenario, a Highlander or Subaru Ascend would make more sense. Plus, with a growing family, possibility for moving, and improvements in hybrid technology, maybe worth leasing for few years and seeing what our needs are and what technology is few years down the line before buying a car I want to hold on to for 10+ years.

I somehow am not enthusiastic about leasing, but it makes practical sense to me the more I think about it with the abovementioned scenarios.

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Fletch
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by Fletch » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:41 am

Admiral wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:56 am
Fletch wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:49 am
In my opinion, always throw the "service/maintenance department" into your consideration of a vehicle brand, whether an indy or the dealer. An unscrupulous service department can cost you unnecessary thousands over 10 years. Do some research and talk to happy and unhappy customers to help you make your decision.
How would one locate unhappy customers of a particular service department? In my experience, a manufacturer's service department is only worth it when the car is under warranty. Once out: Independent mechanic only.
My friends are more than willing to tell me about their vehicle maintenance/service experiences. Several have told me to avoid certain places. For example, I would never take my car to one of the quick lube places for an oil/filter change ... far too many horror stories. FWIW, in my 55+ years of having vehicles serviced, dealers have almost always provided better value (considering cost/quality/reliability of repairs) service than an indy but I'm very picky, do my homework, and only do business with reputable dealers. 50 years ago vehicles were rather simple to maintain and repair; I did much of my own service, not so much today; I'll stick with the dealer who is more likely to have the latest software updates, service advisory materials, OEM parts, and provide loaners free of charge if necessary. YMMV
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Billius
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by Billius » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:41 am

I only ever had Volvos until recently switching to a Toyota. One thing to look out for with Volvos, especially if you plan on keeping the car for a long time, is high maintenance costs.

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blaugranamd
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by blaugranamd » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:07 am

Not sure if this was already brought up but the XC90 T8 Hybrid qualifies for $5,000 tax credit:
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

Also, the Volvo, if bought new, then Volvo's Overseas Delivery Program will pay for TWO round trip airfare to Sweden, 1 night in a hotel in Gothenburg, insurance for 2 weeks, and you can drive your car on a European vacation and they'll ship it back to the states for you. They also say you'll get a better deal on the car going through this program too. Probably about a $3000+ value.

https://www.volvocars.com/us/shopping-t ... Q1EALw_wcB

IMO, the lastest gen Volvos are some of the most beautiful cars out there. I'm just debating which one I want at this point.
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pittpirate1985
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by pittpirate1985 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:16 am

Billius wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:41 am
I only ever had Volvos until recently switching to a Toyota. One thing to look out for with Volvos, especially if you plan on keeping the car for a long time, is high maintenance costs.
Is this also true for the first 3 years? This is the prime reason I dont want to own a Volvo long-term; i would lease it if that.

Also I suspect once we use the XC90, probably hard to switch back to Toyota. I still maintain Highlander is a much smarter choice. But you cant compare it to the drive of an XC90. Totally different league.

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blaugranamd
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by blaugranamd » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:20 am

pittpirate1985 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:16 am
Billius wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:41 am
I only ever had Volvos until recently switching to a Toyota. One thing to look out for with Volvos, especially if you plan on keeping the car for a long time, is high maintenance costs.
Is this also true for the first 3 years? This is the prime reason I dont want to own a Volvo long-term; i would lease it if that.

Also I suspect once we use the XC90, probably hard to switch back to Toyota. I still maintain Highlander is a much smarter choice. But you cant compare it to the drive of an XC90. Totally different league.
First three years schedule service are included with a new purchase.
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puma
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by puma » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:54 am

pittpirate1985 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:28 pm
[...]

However, the Highlander Hybrid is not REALLY a hybrid.. it gives 29 MPG in the city, and nothing much on the highway, compared to an XC90 T8 which is significantly better on a highway (around 55 MPG).

[...]
A 2017 XC90 PHEV gives 24 city/27 hwy/25 MPG combined according to the EPA. Where did you get this "significantly better on a highway" 55 MPG?

I think you might be confusing MPG with MPGe. MPGe comes into play only when you are battery power, which for this vehicle is 14 miles according to the EPA. If you don't charge at home, or go on a long road trip with no convenient access to charging, MPGe number is less relevant than MPG. Calling the Volvo PHEV "significantly better on a highway (around 55 MPG)" compared to Highlander Hybrid is not accurate unless this is a commute vehicle and you have a short commute with access to charging.

Billius
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by Billius » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:53 am

blaugranamd wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:20 am
pittpirate1985 wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:16 am
Billius wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:41 am
I only ever had Volvos until recently switching to a Toyota. One thing to look out for with Volvos, especially if you plan on keeping the car for a long time, is high maintenance costs.
Is this also true for the first 3 years? This is the prime reason I dont want to own a Volvo long-term; i would lease it if that.

Also I suspect once we use the XC90, probably hard to switch back to Toyota. I still maintain Highlander is a much smarter choice. But you cant compare it to the drive of an XC90. Totally different league.
First three years schedule service are included with a new purchase.
Yes, this. Any new or leased car will have the first few years of maintenance covered, generally limited by a mileage cap of some kind.

I want to preface this by admitting that I know very little about cars and car maintenance. The following is partially from experience, but I'll admit that I'm most likely also talking out of my rear:

The high costs for Volvos starts adding up later when you get into part changes once its a few years old. This is true for any car of course, but, in my experience, it gets crazy with Volvos. I suspect that is has to do with everything being imported (I just checked, out of curiosity, their first U.S. plant is under construction right now) and scarcity of skilled labor. You'll find plenty of mechanics who know Fords, Toyotas, Hondas, etc., but finding a good Volvo mechanic takes some work.

We have two cars right now, the aforementioned Toyota, 2017 Corolla, leased about a year ago (wouldn't lease again, but we had our reasons at the time and I don't regret it) and a 1998 Volvo V70. The V70 gets very limited use now, maybe 500 miles this past year, but before the Corolla it was our main car. When it was, every time we'd bring it to the shop (they have a good reputation, I don't believe they were ripping us off) it would be at least $1000 to cover the maintenance. Make that trip twice a year and, well... We've pretty much given up on bringing it into the shop now, my wife just needs it to get her to and from school for one more year. I handle the basics like changing the oil, filters, and lights. We're moving when she's finished and are hoping to become a one car household in the new locale. Either way we're ditching the V70 when we go.

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blaugranamd
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by blaugranamd » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:25 am

Dunno what was recommended before but look at the actual maintenance schedules these days, unless the "check XXX" parts are wearing out prematurely there's very little other than oil and filters that needs done. With a nearly 20 year old car, sure you're gonna be getting cracked boots, lines, worn wheel bearings, exhaust holes, etc that are gonna ratchet up maintenance costs. New cars shouldn't really have those issues for a long time. The new Volvos don't even need timing or accessory belt replacements until 150k miles, which is 50k miles later than my Subaru. Modern cars have lifetime coolants, 10k mile synthetic oil change intervals, etc. Even the hybrid batteries are replaced for free if they're holding less than 55% charge at anytime before 8 years/100k miles.

https://volvornt.harte-hanks.com/manual ... -09-17.pdf
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grkmec
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by grkmec » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:31 am

pittpirate1985 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:23 pm
Thanks for all the comments on here. I test drove the Highlander, XC90 T6 Momentum and Subaru Ascend (today). The Ascend is fantastic but currently no incentives from either Subaru or the dealer as it is so hot right now. Will try out Acura MDX tomorrow like someone suggested on here - though I suspect it may not make as much of a difference.

I think it makes sense to me to lease either the Highlander Hybrid or XC90 for a 3 year period. Leases on Highlander Hybrid arent good. The dealership I went to for the XC90 was not a good place - horribly aggressive sales guy who was a complete jerk and overbearing- trying to sell everything that wasnt necessary - had to really push him to give me the info that I actually needed to make a good decision.

I may try out another dealer who would probably have a more ethical policy. Have read a fair bit that you need a good dealership to work with esp for Volvo. But with current Costco pricing, I will compare lease options between XC90 vs Highlander Hybrid, and if XC90 isnt too off, will go with that.

3 years in, turn in the XC90, and if Subaru Ascend still holds with good reviews, may buy a 1-2 year used model to use over a 10-15 year period. Or else cave in for a minivan if it turns out we need one then.

Thanks for those esp. who suggested trying out the Ascend and also evaluating lease option on XC90. Lets see how this goes.
Any update? How was the MDX ?

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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by sambb » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:43 pm

carguyny wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:09 pm
I know leasing isn't really popular on here, but if you don't need a lot of miles it's worth looking into. Total cost of ownership can come out significantly ahead on good deals.

For example, I know from time to time you can lease an XC90 T5 for $400/mth at 10k miles/year (12k won't be much more). Factor in the $50k earning 2% after-tax a year invested and you're down to less than $320/mth. Car is always in warranty, always get new tech/safety, no repairs at all to cover as it includes oil changes. Just tires you might need to replace once.

I also regularly see heavily discounted leases on the Lexus GX 460.
Agree

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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by sambb » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:44 pm

carguyny wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:09 pm
I know leasing isn't really popular on here, but if you don't need a lot of miles it's worth looking into. Total cost of ownership can come out significantly ahead on good deals.

For example, I know from time to time you can lease an XC90 T5 for $400/mth at 10k miles/year (12k won't be much more). Factor in the $50k earning 2% after-tax a year invested and you're down to less than $320/mth. Car is always in warranty, always get new tech/safety, no repairs at all to cover as it includes oil changes. Just tires you might need to replace once.

I also regularly see heavily discounted leases on the Lexus GX 460.
Agree

02nz
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by 02nz » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:21 pm

I like the XC90's looks, but the reliability reports are not good. I don't always agree with Consumer Reports' assessments of cars, but their reliability surveys are the most comprehensive in the business. They've ranked the XC90 among the least reliable SUVs.

And as another poster noted you're mistaken about 55 mpg on the highway. Not even the Prius gets that mileage on the highway (hybrids do best in the city).

Did you try out the third row on the XC90? Pretty much every SUV third row is unusable except for very small children, or as an instrument of torture. They're there so the manufacturer can call it a three-row SUV. If you need to actually put humans in a third row, suck it up and get a minivan.

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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by inbox788 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:27 pm

pittpirate1985 wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:23 pm
Thanks for those esp. who suggested trying out the Ascend and also evaluating lease option on XC90. Lets see how this goes.
Between the Volvo and Highlander, I've crossed the Volvo off the list for poor value and questionable reliability. To me, the pluses are only slight differences, while the minuses are far more significant. Too many better alternatives MDX/RX350/Q7 if you want to spend more. Or for less, the Ascend is on the top of my list of cars to consider along with the CX-9. Either of these could be viable alternatives to the perennial Hilander/Pilot debate.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by Go Blue 99 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 5:36 pm

02nz wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:21 pm
I like the XC90's looks, but the reliability reports are not good. I don't always agree with Consumer Reports' assessments of cars, but their reliability surveys are the most comprehensive in the business. They've ranked the XC90 among the least reliable SUVs.
If you dig into the reliability data, you'll see the XC90 poor scores are based on software/electronic issues. The first gen 2016 XC90 did have a lot of software bugs, but those have been greatly improved with the last two model years (based on what I've read on Volvo message boards). That being said, someone who has reliability at the top of their list isn't going to be looking at brands like Volvo, Benz, BMW, Range Rover, etc.

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Re: Boglehead guilt with buying a car - Volvo vs Toyota Highlander

Post by Hanksmoney » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:51 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:12 pm
I would not buy a car that had been on the road for only one year and had 20K miles on it.

That use is too heavy.

We almost always buy used, but only vehicles with 10K or less per year.
I'm actually the opposite when it comes to mileage. Something around 90% of engine wear occurs at startup and in the first few miles of driving. The least amount of wear occurs when the engine and oil is warmed to temperature... there is essentially no wear at that point. The point of this is that low miles per year can certainly be indicative of heavy-wear miles...stop-go traffic and/or short distance driving. High miles per year is more indicative of highway, low wear miles. You can't put 30K mi/yr on a car making short trips in stop-go traffic.

You're going to pay less for a car with higher miles with all else the same. I believe this is where the car market is *inefficient* (in BH terms). I look for cars with 20-30K miles per year because I believe their actual wear is just as good if not better than stop-go driven cars AND for several thousand less. Often, I am able to get a newer model. I bought a 3 year old Tundra with 105K for cheaper than a 6 year model with 85K. I am also one that plans to get over 300k miles on my vehicles so I am much less phased by mileage than most.

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