V70 vs Highlander vs???

pilotpatpilotpat Member Posts: 18
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I need a car that will hold the 5 of us (2+3 kids 7yrs on down), with occasional extras, and get reasonable gas mileage. Will suplement our 2000 Odyssey.

As I continue to boil down my car choices, it's narrowing between the V70 2.4 and the Highlander 4cyl 2wd.

- Nearly identical MPG (mid 20s avg)
- Nearly identical passenger spacing
- Nearly identical cargo (with 3d seat folded)

Where the Highlander is starting to win for me:

Cost, I can order a loaded HL for about $4k less than the V70 Mil Sales price.

Reliability - The Toyotas just have a better record.

About the only significant option I get on the Volvo vs. the HL is the Nav system (on mil order 2.4s), and it would be more of a "luxury" car, but I'm just not sure it's worth it.

By the way, the 4cyl HL gets about identical real-world MPG as the hybrid... it just doesn't burn 7 second 0-60 times (but I can get my speed fix flying jets by myself instead of in a car with my family onboard).

C'mon Volvo enthusiasts - tell me why I should get the V70 (aside from it sort of being a family tradition to have Volvo Wagons)!


  • toyotabotoyotabo Member Posts: 13
    I would take the wife and test drive each as long as you can . spending 4k or saving 4k is not the question, it's what you and your wife really want. good luck
  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    Don't overlook the Freestyle.

    More room, similar MPG and based on Volvo platform. I know it is Ford and this may deter some import owners but this vehicle is getting very good response from its owners. I have a Saab and V70 and just leased a Freestyle. Also have 5 in the family and haven't driven a domestic for 10 yrs.

    oh - and less $$ than either Highlander or V70.
  • pilotpatpilotpat Member Posts: 18
    Toyotabo - Definitely good advice on long test drives. Our problem is that we're overseas in a location with no nearby Volvo dealerships (though my brother has an older V70 and similar family size, so we've got a pretty good handle on it), and Toyota doesn't sell the Highlander here. Our solution it looks like is to have my Dad and brother do a test drive of the two models.

    Oh, by the way, what they do sell overseas are some things I think would sell VERY well in the states right now. Evidently, the marketing gurus don't agree.

    - Turbodiesels by just about every manufacturer. The Volvo V70 turbodiesel gets nearly 50mpg on the highway, high 30's in real-world combined driving. XC70s are available with the same/similar motor, and I think XC90s also. I asked the Volvo military sales rep in Germany if there were plans to sell them overseas - nope. Converting a European model to US standards very expensive and not a "sure thing."

    - Mini-minivans (like the new Mazda5), including turbodiesels.

    - Entry-level Mercedes sedans and wagons (again, with diesels as options) at affordable prices (very popular taxicabs), lower option classes. But there's no way that MBUSA will do this - would wipe the US side of the Daimler-Chrysler market off the earth. By the way, I rented their "minibenz" on a trip to Germany that seats 4 very comfortably and safely, 5 in a pinch, with luggage. I averaged 16-17 km/l (39-41mpg) with mixed driving, and that was with autobahn speeds usually between 130-160 kmh (80-100mph)!
  • toyotabotoyotabo Member Posts: 13
    Hope the 4k wasn't shipping? I would set my eye on something local (avoiding the shipping / converting) My brother was in Germany and wanted a Mercedes which the military would have shipped home for almost nothing but coverting it was way out there. good luck
  • poiuyt1poiuyt1 Member Posts: 3
    I've been driving a V70 for 5 years and I'm about to ditch it in favor of a Highlander Hybrid. Why? The V70 has been in and out of the repair shop for most of its short life (not even 38K miles yet). Just had to drop $2,000 to replace big parts of the emission system. That on top of replacing other major components and I'm fed up with Volvo -- for life. Ford has taken it and made into just another Ford.

    I have high hopes for the Highlander, but only time will tell. At least Toyotas are built to last.
  • poodlgalpoodlgal Member Posts: 13
    My husband had a 98 V70 and just got rid of it due to constant numerous piddly repairs. He loved driving it but ended up happier with his new Outback - says it corners very nicely - and it was WAY cheaper. The darn Volvo was hard to sell as it had been on the Consumer Report "bad" list, and we ended up only getting $6500 for it. If you haven't already purchased your car, go for the Highlander Hybrid. I got mine a month ago and like it very much so far.
  • bob259bob259 Member Posts: 280
    Ditto for the wife's old V70.
  • bruceeppbruceepp Member Posts: 2
    Anyone have any opinions on a comparison between the Volvo XC70 and Highlander Hybrid?

  • pete51pete51 Member Posts: 20
    I am not sure if this post will help, but I have had some experience with both brands. I owned a 97 Camry for 6years, it was a good car, but not bulletproof. I will say that for the most part I did not have any major mechanical problems, but after 80k little things began to happen (driver window motor replaced, water pump replaced brake caliper replaced small oil leak) and a few other minor things. I have a relative that is driving a 93 Camry with 248k and some of the same type problems. Thing I have found is it's best to repair Toyotas with original parts and bottom line, they ain't cheap. All that said, my wife drives a Mercedes E320 and they have some problems as well, but they all have been minor electrical problems and yes it cost for repair. The difference in the two cars is at 175k, my wife Benz can cruise 85-90 mph for over a 100 miles (just did it ;) ) without skipping a beat. My Camry at 90k could do it for a while, but you could feel that you were making it cry for mercy. I have a Volvo and it has that same feeling of the Benz, it is solid. Even when you close the doors, it sound like you are closing a vault. That brings me to the final thing, recently, I was in an accident (that's why I don't have the Camry) and the damage done makes me glad I was not speeding. It was pretty ugly after the accident. Everything worked like it should, but I think a Coke can could have held up better than it did in the minor accident I had. To me that's what you are paying for when you buy a Volvo peace of mind that you will be safe. For that reason I would have to go with the Volvo.
  • womblewomble Member Posts: 28
    I have a 3 year old v70 which has only had minor problems but I'm also considering the highlander hybrid at the end of my lease. Does anyone know when we'll see pics of the new highlander bodytype expected fall of this year? And will the new model mean there will be great deals on the existing body type towards the end of the summer? The v70 needs a little life injected into it, in my opinion, but it's a solid reliable family car that I feel very safe in. What's less expensive to lease?
  • landdriverlanddriver Member Posts: 607
    Not so sure the Highlander will be redesigned in 2007 -- edmunds says 2007 but Motor Trend says 2008 and a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News highlighting new models for 2007 mentions the Camry redesign but not the Highlander. Also they just came out with the Highlander Hybrid as a 2006 model so it seems they may want to get a little more mileage out of the current design before redesigning.

    (Motor Trend: "2008 Toyota Highlander: Redesigned on the Avalon platform, growing larger in size to make room for the RAV4.")

    (edmunds: "The Highlander will become even more humanized in its next version, borrowing plenty of cues from the FT-SX concept vehicle.")
  • larryallen707larryallen707 Member Posts: 174
    We want a car with a third row seat. Volvo and Highlander are choices. What about Honda Pilot? Chrysler Pacifica? Anybody have good/bad exp with any of these?
  • crissmancrissman Member Posts: 145
    No experience with them, but be aware the V70's third seat is rear facing and kid friendly only.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    My wife and I were in the same boat 3 years ago. We were set to buy the Highlander, because I liked Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability, and because the Highlander was affordable and good-looking.

    On a whim, my wife and I test-drove a V70 one day on our way home from test-driving a bunch of crossover's (Highlander, Pilot, Forrester). We immediately knew we'd found our next car. It was much more comfortable to sit in (seats and ergonomics), quieter/smoother riding, the interior plastics and switchgear felt much higher quality, and the safety engineering/philosophy is unmatched. This is a car that pampers as well as it protects.

    Yes, the V70 was a little pricier, but we got it for $200 over invoice and took advantage of an end-of-year promotion (free Premium Package - leather, dual auto climate control, driver seat/mirror memory, moonroof, wood trim).

    We've had no real problems with it (just 2 burned out lightbulbs (common problem) and a reflash of the trip computer) and looking back now, we are still glad we didn't get the Toyota. I'd make the same choice again if I was shopping today.

    Good luck!

    P.S. We have the rear-facing 3rd row seat and use it all the time. When our kids (9 and 6) aren't back there, it serves well as a grocery/shopping bag supporter, equipment compartmentalizer, and secret stash area.
  • rsorganizersorganize Member Posts: 131
    Unexpectedly back in the market for a wagon that will last a long time (30,000+ miles/year), be fun/comfortable to drive and makes me feel/be safe in winter New England driving. Last 3 vehicles: 99 Volvo XC70 (great drive, huge repair bills), 2005 Subaru Outback VDC (fun/great vehicle, felt a little small-ish as the miles piled up) and Acura MDX (nice ride, lots of toys, pleasant/comfortable but kind of dull - and, oh yes: what was I thinking on mpg??!!).

    Looking to get smaller/better mpg, but have expectations - again: fun,comfort, safety and some of the 'toys'.

    Hope to act soon. Right now, looking at leftover 2006 Volvo 70R (reliability/repairs??)...2007 Subaru Outback XT (lots of fun to drive, now has VDC and a few tech upgrades new since 2005)...VW Passat (reliability?)...9-5 Sportcombi (what-no side curtain airbags??)...and, 9-3 Sportcombi (biggest concern is lack of AWD - even with stability control, will it match the other awd models in the huge amount of winter driving I do?).

    All thoughts and experiences will be much appreciated.
  • twobigdogztwobigdogz Member Posts: 14
    We needed to replace our minivan about 9 months ago (it got totaled) and bought a 2005 V70. So far we are very pleased with purchase. On the reliability issue, Consumer Reports shows improving reliability over time for the V70, with the 2005 getting very good marks (at least last time I checked). I have owned Volvos before, and can confirm that even though they may be costly at times to maintain, they give a rock solid ride at well over 100,000 miles and many years on the clock.

    We also had some specific reasons to get the V70. We have 2 80 pound dogs and needed room in the back for them. The squared off rear made the V70 the best choice in a wagon. We also wanted a low jump in/out height, again for the dogs, so didn't want a higher vehicle like the Highlander, or even the XC70. Just goes to show that choosing a vehicle can be a very personal matter that statistics/specifications can't always capture.

    Finally, we love driving the car. Its mainly for my wife, and it puts a smile on her face every time she drives it - which is good for me too.

    All that said, we have friends with Highlanders who love them - for their needs.
  • jim314jim314 Member Posts: 491
    We have found that a V70 is great for carrying dogs. The low floor (compared to SUVs) is easy ingress and egress for large dogs who aren't leapers.

    We have had canine auto restraint harnesses for years and I think this is an advisable safety measure both for the dogs and for the humans in the car. Almost always we have the rear seat folded down flat and we tether the large dogs to either the stout U-shaped catch that holds the rear seat back or to the cargo tiedowns. I wonder if the cargo tiedowns are designed to hold an 80-lb dog in a 10g or 20g collision.

    My wife recently bought a 2007 XC90 and, because of the higher floor height, it is considerably more trouble to get our 13-year-old 70-lb border collie into and out of the XC90. The collie reaches up to the level of the floor through the left rear door and then I lift her hindquarters and she scrambles in. For the last year or so I have had to do the same thing to assist her into the V70.

    Egress is more difficult. I detach her tether from the auto restraint harness and grasp the top of the harness with my left hand. I put my right arm under her abdomen and swing her out head first by rotating my body CCW (to my left), but this strong-willed border collie struggles everytime. She cannot stand not being in control.

    Our fit 35-lb 9-year-old mix breed can get in and out of the V70 easily and, if he has secure footing even, from the XC90. But in the cramped confines of the garage I assist him a little entering and a lot exiting the SUV. When I grasp his harness and support his abdomen he just goes limp and lets me place him on the floor. I don't want these dogs to jump to the slick concrete floor of the garage from the height of the XC90.

    A good additional tether point for a medium to large dog would be a tether diagonally up from one of the cargo tie-down loops on the back of the front seat track (i.e., near the floor). This might limit motion of the dog in case of a rear or side impact. I'm not doing this yet, but I'm thinking about it.

    Our smallest dog, a 6-year-old 15-lb Russell terrier, rides on a pillow on the armrest between the two front seats and is tethered to his auto restraint harness to the inboard seat track loop of the front passenger seat.

    I don't for a minute think these restraints are protecting the dogs to the same level as the human occupants, but I think this does a lot to protect them and us. Put it this way these canine restraints would almost certainly save the dog in a 5g crash and might work in up to a 20g crash.
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