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I know new cars and SUVs are expensive, some brands more than others. With a moderately equipped Volvo XC90 you are looking at spending anywhere from $55,000-$65,000. At what point did you guys feel comfortable spending this much money on a vehicle, or how do you justify it?

My wife and I test drove the XC90, it is a beautiful SUV and more than likely it will be the vehicle we end up purchasing. We currently have a three year old and one about to be born in a few months, so she is gung-ho about all of the safety features. However, the price tag is a hard pill to swallow. I drive a 15 year old Camry and my wife currently drives a 7 year old CRV, to give you an idea of what we are currently in. While I love all of the safety features and convenience packages, at the end of the day she would only be driving it about 14-15 miles a day round trip.

We make about $275,000 a year, so technically we can afford it, but we have only been at this level of income for the past 4-5 years, so our savings and investments could definitely be in a better position. Maybe this is part of the reason I am hesitant to sign on the dotted line.

Anyways, how did you guys justify the purchase of your vehicle, if you don't mind my asking? What got you over the hump to pull the trigger?
 

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To be honest, it's all about priorities. The same way people spend $500 on dress shoes, when $100 ones would be A O K. If it's important for you/someone to drive a nice or expensive car, then that's what they'll do. I was a phone call away from ordering one of these XC90 RDs, but ultimately, I was unwilling to spend the money right now as there is nothing wrong with my car, and I would hate having a payment again. I know this is a Volvo forum, and I love the Volvo products, but many of my friends that have 2 kids 4 years old and under (like myself) have gone to Toyota Highlanders as they are very nicely outfitted for $40K or less. My wife went for the Lexus RX, but it's essentially the same car, just with a different shade of lipstick on it.
 

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Anyways, how did you guys justify the purchase of your vehicle, if you don't mind my asking? What got you over the hump to pull the trigger?
it was $20k less than everything else i looked into and offered almost as much. the options it did not feature were not worth an additional 20k.

judging by your description from the original post you and your wife are not car people and probably would not appreciate majority of the features or joy of owning this vehicle new. i would suggest looking into a moderately used MDX. for more than half of the price of an XC90 you get a well equipped suv with an extended warranty that has most of the creature comforts of a modern day current vehicle. another option may be a used 2010-2012 subaru outback 3.6r ltd. same situation but slightly cheaper than the mdx and more of a raised wagon than an suv.
 

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I wanted to put my family in the safest 7 seater vehicle you could buy. It is a bargain because you get so much more than any other option and I feel Like I did all I could to protect my family on the road and with no compromises. When I needed a 5 seater I bought the S60r for all the same reasons and I will never regret that.
 

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A few things for us, but by far the biggest was safety. One accident can change your life, and change the life of loved ones.

Since our daughter came along 12 years ago, the focus has been on keeping her -- and us -- as safe as possible, both actively and passively. We've had an Audi, a Mercedes and now a Volvo in that time frame, with none of the sport options and all the safety options. And we've kept the cars a long time.

They haven't been 100% reliable. They've been 95% reliable, and very, very reassuring.

If I ever get the call about an accident, I want what comes after "there's been an accident" to be as positive as possible.

The way I think about it is this -- if that ever happens, I will think back on the decision to buy the car, and the compromises made. I could save 20k, or 30. But I'm not sure I personally could forgive myself.

That's me; everyone is different. But I don't hesitate. It's that important to me.
 

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I kept my last car for 10 years, so I wanted to make sure I had some wonderful tech for the next 10. That got me looking to begin with. That wasn't enough to get me over the hump though. Makes more sense to spend 30-40k. In the end it's the safety that got me. I live on a stretch of 95 called Death Valley by first responders. My wife mostly drives. Putting her in one of the safest cars on the road is what got me past the extra 20-30k. It's still a splurge. One that puts a smile on my face daily.


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Our purchase decision was based on a few basic factors.

1. We were looking for a replacement luxury SUV for around $50k (to replace our 2006 SUV that was around $50k) - 5 or 7 seater.
2. We plan to keep this new SUV for 10 years (paying cash)
3. We are looking a good value (luxury, design, safety and performance compared to price - reliability as a lower factor)

The Momentum XC90 really fit the bill on the value meter. We have never owned a Volvo before, but the XC90 sold us because we simply could not find a comparably equipped vehicle anywhere near the starting price point. The value for us, however is on the low end of this vehicle with limited options. We intended to option out at $53k, but ended up just under $54k which is amazingly equipped (20" wheels, paint, B&W, Booster and wood/lighting package). We skipped all the technology packages and LED headlights etc as the price jumps to $60K pretty fast and since our current car is a decade old, we are making a major upgrade without that stuff. Really at base price with no options, the car is an even better value, but we splurged a bit.

We looked at MDX, ML, Q7, X5, T-reg, 4-runner (our low end option) very closely, and also went to the local Auto Show and inspected all SUVs regardless of price. The XC90 was the best looking, had the best interior, and most room of anything that compared, and really was a no-brainer choice for us.

The downside on the XC90 that we are concerned about the small engine size and power being a bit light, and the reliability concerns of a new model. Fingers crossed here.

As far as the financial aspect, I don't believe financing a depreciating asset is a good idea and never would have financed a car this expensive (but that's a personal opinion). If we weren't 10 years into our current car (with some reliability worries) we would have waited 2 years and bought one used or negotiated heavily on a new one.
 

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My rationalization engine had been revving for months, before ordering a fairly loaded T8. Some highlights of the thought process:

First off, I have solar panels, so I wanted a plug-in hybrid for driving around town on the sun. Second, I have a couple of large dogs, and need to be able to take them on road trips with my wife and friends, so there needs to be a lot of room in the back. There are next to no cars other than the XC90 T8 that fit these requirements. The plug-in Prius way too small, plus, it's a Prius. Tesla X is really pricey, plus the rear seats don't fold flat, and I want to go places where there isn't a charger. I needed to buy soon, so I could no longer wait for something cheap and good enough to arrive on the scene, so I guess I had to "settle" for expensive and luxurious.

I spent somewhere in the $40K range in 1991 for a 740 Turbo Wagon, which I'm still driving. According to an online inflation calculator, that's about $69K today. Already at roughly the T8 base price! As an aside, most of my friends have gone through two or three cars in the last 25 years.

Then, for each package I asked myself if there was something included that I would kick myself if I didn't get. If I could have gone totally ala carte on adding features, there are certainly some things I wouldn't have gotten, but each package I ordered had something that I really wanted. If I figure that I'm going to drive this XC90 into the ground, as I've done with the 740 wagon, the cost of each package, amortized over the life of the car didn't seem too bad.

Rationalization complete. YMMV.

One more thing that may seem obvious: Don't fixate on the total price. Calculate the delta price from a car that you think is a reasonable amount to spend, then ask yourself if you are getting the delta price in added value with the XC90.
 

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Good question! It actually all depends on your budget for a good car.

if you want something easily affordable, like my current cars, Ford Taurus X, 7 seater and low cost.
if budget is below $40k, Ford Explorer et la is good choice.
if $50k and 5seater, the best bang of money is T5 + Intro + Convenience pkg, nothing can beat it.
if $60k, T6 is Momentum+ + Convenience pkg is a good start.
if $70k, T8 should be on your radar. :)
 

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OP's family income is $275K year and he's driving a 15 year old Camry :eek: :eek: Sorry I couldn't resist lol

Yes sounds like OP and his wife are not "car" people so in this case if you think XC90 is too expensive which it shouldn't be with your income, buy something cheaper/different! Or go for the basic T5.
 

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Most of the SUV's (or any class of car) look the same "on paper," but I learned this summer that there is a large leap in performance and fit/finish from a mass-market brand to a luxury brand. Acura and Lexus are in-between. In the end it is a personal decision whether the advantages are worth the cost. I'm trying to figure out how to say this sincerely and am giving up: you won't miss what you don't know if you stick with a Toyota/Honda/Ford/etc. Ic0n0clast's recommendation is sound, the MDX is a nice upscale vehicle, with a killer price point. It is likely to raise your expectations for how a car should be, and may lead you to pick a Volvo/BMW/Audi for your next car. That's how I ended up here...

(Disclosure: I was not looking at XC90's, but understand your sentiment as the Volvo was a significant upgrade.)
 

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To be honest, it's all about priorities. The same way people spend $500 on dress shoes, when $100 ones would be A O K. If it's important for you/someone to drive a nice or expensive car, then that's what they'll do. I was a phone call away from ordering one of these XC90 RDs, but ultimately, I was unwilling to spend the money right now as there is nothing wrong with my car, and I would hate having a payment again. I know this is a Volvo forum, and I love the Volvo products, but many of my friends that have 2 kids 4 years old and under (like myself) have gone to Toyota Highlanders as they are very nicely outfitted for $40K or less. My wife went for the Lexus RX, but it's essentially the same car, just with a different shade of lipstick on it.
This guy nailed it, it's all about priorities. Personally I price my families' safty more than anything, plus it really won't ding my wallet that much considering how much a new car cost these days anyway.

Just for some reference, the 2014 median household income is 53k, average new car purchase price is 33k, and BMW 3 series (usually about 5k less expensive than the xc90) owner average household income is 110k.


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We still own and drive our 1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited. It was $40,000 when we purchased it new and is still a solid truck. It's A/C is colder than any of our newer cars. It has proven to be worth every penny over and over again. I'm expecting the XC90 to last just as long.

If you trade cars often I can't get behind buying new due to the depreciation hit. Just keep the XC90 for a decade +.
 

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When we started looking around we opened up our thoughts to just about everything. To be honest, even though we have had several Volvos in the past, they were at the bottom of our list because of the very bad experience we had with the S80 when it was new. My wife wanted a hybrid, so we looked at all available. But after looking around, plus the safety engineered into the XC90, we decided to go that way. We liked some of the features of the Highlander Hybrid, but simply liked the XC90 better for us. My wife tends to keep her cars a long time, and really likes her XC90 T8. She has had it just less than 2 weeks, and we are on the uphill part of the learning curve for all the features, but love it.

It just comes down to price point and what you want to pay. There is more than one good car out there, so do your homework, and decide in the end what makes YOU and your family happy. Then not look back.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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If XC90 is close to your budget, two things for my decision are: safety from the strong cabin and leading safety features, and future-proof with new technology towards semi-autonomous driving. And both of these are available at very low extra cost on the entry level T5 + Intro + Convenience pkg.

And elegant style and luxury are of course bonus on top of it.

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Just for some reference, the 2014 median household income is 53k, average new car purchase price is 33k, and BMW 3 series (usually about 5k less expensive than the xc90) owner average household income is 110k.
what? this statement is confusing. i am not sure what you are saying. are you saying that the average household income for a 3series owner is 110k?
 

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The most expensive item you put in a vehicle isn't fuel or insurance or depreciation or repairs. It is people. Buy the safest and heaviest vehicle you can; take it from someone who has driven nearly 3 million miles and seen all manner of accidents. More importantly, one who has walked away from severe impacts and totaled vehicles with barely any injury.
 
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