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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been a member here for years but this is my first post. Not long after we joined, we sold our Volvo. We had a '88 240 and '99 xc70 - AWD. After the xc70 fiasco - timing belt broke approximately 10k miles after replacement, all 4 tires had to be replaced at the same time on the AWD models, etc, etc - my husband swore we would never have another Volvo. We now have 2 Toyota SUVs, which we love. They've been nearly perfect - one has over 200k and the other is approximately 180k and they should both make to least 300k - with very few unscheduled repairs. Ahhh, but Volvo keeps trying to get back in the game. Now we're trying to decide if the xc60 is a good buy.

My mother-in-law thinks my daughter needs her own car so she's given us a lump sum to buy her safe and reliable used car to finish her last year in high school and get her through college plus a few years after - approximately 10 years. We want to spend approximately $16 - $19k.

Unlike me - who was my grandfather's shadow every time he picked up a screw driver - my 17 year old daughter can barely pump gas. That's about to change! Even so, we cannot expect her to change belts, hoses and do all the work we've done on our cars. So we reliability ranks high as a need. As well, we're in a rural area and breakdown could a leave 17 year girl on the side of the road waiting for hours for help. Not acceptable!

Hubby & I are looking at another Highlander but my daughter wants the xc60. We thought some research would give us the answer but it's left us more confused at this point. T5, T6, 3.2 (on the older models), FWD, AWD, ugh? We've read many reviews on multiple websites but one thing sticks out as just wrong about these reviews: most of the time, the writer does not identify whether s/he is writing about T5, T6 or 3.2 and FWD or AWD. It's bewildering that no one on these reviews sites (like Edmunds) seems to be raising this issue. Same for Consumer Reports. They rate the xc60s fairly low but they don't distinguish between the trim levels. I asked our independent mechanic who worked in a Volvo-only repair shop for years. He has his own shop now and works on everything. He said No to Volvos too. But again, he did not distinguish between the trims.

Please help us decide. Which is the best engine? Which year for the price we can pay - $16k - $19k? What's the life expectancy of these cars now? Which trim levels have timing Chains; not belts? What electrical problems should we be aware of? Whattoher issues should be pay special attention to when buying used? AWD or FWD? Or ditch the idea of xc60 and go with Highlander?

Thanks so much!
Robin & Dan
 

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For a used SUV, buy the Highlander. If a Volvo is require, buy the AWD T6, 3.0 6 cylinder. It is rock solid and avoid the 3.2 but, nothing beats reliably of the Toyota.
 

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We have a 2016 Highlander V6 FWD and a 2012 XC60 3.2 FWD. I buy 2WD vehicles to minimize complexity and therefore headaches down the road. In the Volvo the engine and transmission have given us zero issues. While the HL has been flawless, the Volvo has required some weird repairs like the fuel filler pipe replacement ($1250). As Volvos age they become expensive to maintain compared to any Toyota.
A Highlander might be too big for a kid. I suggest a Rav4 for your daughter, XLE or higher trim. Great on gas, bulletproof, and good JBL sound system on the top trim Platinum.
 

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If you've had really good luck with Toyota then maybe that's the way to go. Agree on the RAV-4 - good size for a new driver.

We've had our XC60 T6 for three and a half years and after a half dozen issues the first couple of years it's been pretty bulletproof. Most of the XC60's in your price range will be 2012 to 2015 3.2 or T6 powered vehicles. The 3.2 is a naturally aspirated (ie, non turbo) inline 6 while the T6 in these model years was a 3.0 inline 6 with a turbo. These two motors have a timing chain so no belt to worry about. There are no particular problem areas on these cars - just basic stuff like brakes, tires, make sure that transmission and AWD system are working correctly. But all that said, when something breaks on these cars out of warranty it will be pretty expensive to get fixed, probably more expensive than getting a Toyota fixed. Service and maintenance records on higher mile used cars are important and by all means have anything you're interested in checked out by a mechanic familiar with the brand.
 

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Interesting responses here. I own a 2017 XC60 and I'd have to go with a Highlander also. Toyotas are just more reliable, way easier to maintain, especially if you're doing your own maintenance. Also not a fan of the windshield slope in XC60--too much glare. All newer cars now have more sloped windshields for better mileage, but I feel it's worse with European cars. XC60 isn't that roomy either, really just like a raised wagon, with little room in the back seat, and not a real SUV. And few, if any at all, options for an aftermarket stereo system with the Volvo.
 

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For comfort and safety, XC60. For economy and long term reliability, Highlander. Agree, the cargo size of the XC60 is smaller than the Highlander, too.
 

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I can't help you with any pricing info, as I've never looked into them. I'd suggest going the Certified Pre-Owned option through a Volvo dealer. This way you get all the benefit of the warranty should something expensive fail. Personally, I would never buy my kid a Toyota, especially about to enter college.

My 2010 XC60 has been the most reliable vehicle I've owned, and my first European auto.


Which is the best engine? 3.0L T6 (up to MY2015.5)
What's the life expectancy of these cars now? My 2010 has 172,683 miles as of today. At 150,000 an oil seal on the turbo failed and leaked oil into the breather box. At the same time, one of the hood releases failed. Both repairs were $1500. At 165,000 miles, I replaced the AC compressor with a used one that only had 35,000 miles on it. $400
Which trim levels have timing Chains; not belts? All of the 6 cylinder have chains. You want the 3.0 T6
What electrical problems should we be aware of? After 8 years, the bluetooth phone audio seems dull. Passenger front speaker is blown.
AWD or FWD? AWD
Or ditch the idea of xc60 and go with Highlander? I vote XC60, but I'm biased obviously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for your well-thought, informative responses. We've decided to go with the Toyota. While the Volvo seems capable of reaching 200k miles or more, the repairs are too excessive, especially when compared to most Toyotas.
 
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