After trying most of the advertised car buying patterns, and realizing there aren’t any strategies where the end customer ever comes out ahead, we’ve settled on buying expensive and nice cars — after the original owners have moved on. In this fashion, we’re able to ride in style without breaking the bank. A vehicle that starts out life at $60,000 drops to a much more manageable $20-30,000 in just a few years, but still has lots of life left in it.
Of course, with a used car comes the probability of repair costs. You dare not go too old, or the repair costs will begin to exceed the monthly payment on a new car. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot, where the financed amount can be quickly paid off, but there’s still a few years before the repair bills start.
Nic’s last vehicle, a 2008 Audi Q7 came loaded with features, and was 6 years and 90,000 miles old when we got it. We put another 50,000 miles and 4+ years on it, but the bit was about to flip. Looming repair estimates exceeded trade in costs, so after nearly 3 years without car payments, it was time to start the cycle again.
This time were were able to afford to go for a little younger luxury SUV, a 2016 Volvo XC90 with 69,000 miles on it. In immaculate condition, and with a perfect service history, it has virtually every hi-tech and comfort feature imaginable, including:
- All wheel drive on a supercharged 2 liter, 4 cylinder, 254hp engine (with much higher fuel efficiency then our Audi’s V8!)
- 3 rows of seating — 2 rows of heated seats (and a heated steering wheel!)
- Pilot assist with adaptive cruise and automatic lane keeping
- Blind spot sensors and 5 cameras, for a 360 view and traffic monitoring
- 9″ touch screen navigation infotainment system, and digital display dashboard
- Automatic parallel parking
- Automatic power folding mirrors and lift gate
- Panoramic sunroof and “Thor’s hammer” signature headlights
Of course its no Saab — we bought my 95 at 100,000 miles and intend to keep it on the road until at least 200,000. But for the family wagon, and its precious cargo, the possibility of being stuck on the side of the highway between Ohio and Ontario is not something we’re willing to consider. The XC90 shares Swedish roots with our Saab, comes with a 5-star rating for every safety scenario, and we fully anticipate getting at least 5 years of road trips, youth group events and Girl Scout meetings out of this one… and look pretty good doing it too!