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Tips on Buying Cars/Volvo vs Volkswagen


Hello Roger,
I have a 2003 Jetta and need to upgrade with safety being the overriding concern.  I have a baby daughter and my commute time has increased from 20 min per day to 1 hour per day.  

The three cars I am looking at are the VW Tiguan, the Volvo XC 60 and the Volvo S60.  I live in Texas and people have told me I don't need an all wheel drive however we get ice here once or twice a year, and when we do get ice my job requires that I still have to go to work and I know I will be driving in it every time it happens, sometimes late at night or very early morning.

I tend to keep my cars for a long time and would like to buy a good, safe car to last me and my family for years.

I am leaning toward buying a Volvo XC 60 AWD, probably the T5 rather than T6 because it is is a little cheaper.  I am willing to pay the extra cost if I am convinced that this would be safer than the Tiguan, but do not want to pay all that extra money for a similar product.  I like driving the Volvo S60 better than the XC 60 (have test driven both) but I think I can get used to the XC 60 and again would opt for that if the increased size and weight increase safety.  It is a little harder to find an AWD in Texas however my Jetta is a front wheel drive and I have had several difficult commutes even before switching to the further away job: if the AWD will make my icy commute safer even if only a few times a year every year I would go for it.

I am also considering going for certified pre-owned rather than new if I can find one.

Please advise--thanks very much.

Hi Dina,

Sounds like you have been doing your homework and that's good. The good news is that all 3 of the cars you have chosen will do the job fine. An AWD is nice but if you hit a patch of black ice then you are going to have a problem regardless of what you are driving. That said, the XC 60 is one of the absolute safest cars made and is considered to be the safest crossover SUV on the road today with some of the lowest costs of ownership numbers.

My advice out of those 3 cars is the Volvo XC60 for all of those reasons and more. This car has won a grundle of industry awards and in the whole scheme of things the pricing is extremely reasonable. If I were you this is what i would do:

I would spiff up your Jetta asap and get it on Craigs list and sell it yourself (you will get several 1,000's dollars more for it this way than you would trading it in) while it is being advertised I would throw out a 200 miles (or whatever it takes) search net and find the car you decide on is a hint: Volvo dealers are required to put volvo service customers out in loaner cars that are also Volvos. That means that those dealers have a constant supply of very well maintained late model service loaners going through their system all the time ...those are alot of the cars that they roll into their CPO program and are very very nice cars that they have both written back and received incentive money from the factory to support. I would not hesitate to put my own mother or daughter out in any of those cars and they represent a great value because you can easily shave 10k off the price of a comparably equipped new car. These cars generally get rotated out at around 20k miles but they can be taken out of the program at anytime (as far as I know) ...ask the volvo dealer if he has any service loaners you can look at to buy. Otherwise get your financing secured thru a local credit union and check your local craigslist private party ads ...I promise you there are some really good buys out there if you take the time to look.

ask me as many follow ups as you want email address is and i would be glad to stick with you on this thru the entire process and can show you how to beat the dealer and save lots and lots of $$


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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. HERE IS THE LINK TO MY OTHER ALLEXPERTS CATEGORIES WHERE I HAVE ANSWERED LOTS OF QUESTIONS HERE IS A LINK TO MY BLOG


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Atheneum Partners, Expert 360, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

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