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2004 Ford Escape vs 1998 Volvo V70

Hi, trying to chose one of them, both are in excellent shape. both are have 114k mileage.
Based on your experience, which one would you chose and why?

I would have two concerns about that '98 vehicle.
One concern would be about its safety, relative to a newer vehicle.
Despite what may have been true about a '98 Volvo when it was manufactured, its occupant crash protection would be VERY much inferior to that of even an econobox of recent vintage. The incremental improvements every few years in the area of occupant crash protection have been…incredible.

My other concern would be in regard to maintenance. That Volvo was driven–on average–only a little more than 6k miles per year, and that makes it a very good candidate for problems such as a build-up of damaging engine sludge. Also, that type of usage takes its toll on the exhaust system, the battery, and the alternator.

No matter what you choose to buy, try to be sure that you get to take it to your own mechanic–prior to purchase–in order to find out about underlying mechanical problems and rust in chassis areas that are not visible when viewing the vehicle on the street.

Seeing–and analyzing–maintenance records is also important. Unless that Volvo had its oil changed twice every year, I wouldn’t consider buying it.

I agree with VDC. Also check for proper timing belt change (if the vehicle has one), which should be changed every 100k miles or 10 years. (or less, depends on model and year). Usually included with the timing belt change is a new water pump and tensioner. Ask to see receipts.

I would avoid both. The Volvo for reasons stated by other posters. The Escape because it is a less than sterling vehicle with respect to reliability. There are much better used vehicles out there.

If I was a buyer, I’d look for something else. If I owned them both, I’d sell them both and buy something newer.

That is what Volvo owner wrote in the ad:

What really sets this car apart is the mechanical condition. Come by and take a long careful look under the hood and you’ll see that almost every degrading part has been replaced. This includes the hoses and lines, as well as the water pump, top end gaskets, wires, plugs, maf sensor, air filter housing, etc. Timing belt replaced at 104k. Just replaced several vacuum lines. Replaced rear brake pads. Also replaced the ABS/traction control module. The car needs nothing and is ready to pile on another hundred thousand miles.

Someone has to buy these used vehicles and at those ages who knows how long they will run. 3 things can happen 1: either one could give decent service 2: You could choose one and wish you had bought the other 3: Both could turn out to be a waste of money

What someone says in an ad is not to be trusted. You need to take it to your mechanic to be checked. If he refuses to allow that, walk away.

Given the low mileage, replacing the timing belt at 104k would be after 15 years, well past the spec. If he followed that (using only the mileage spec, not the time spec) for other maintenance, the car maintenance has been poor. Ask to see the receipts, specially for oil change. As noted above, it should have been changed every 6 months or so.

The long list of things he replaced would make me suspect the overall reliability of the car.

I had to laugh at that ad. ‘ready to pile on another 100k’. HA! The car’s almost 20 years old, and has no reputation for long life. I wouldn’t give it another look.

I would advise OP to at least look at Kelly Blue Book. I feel that both of these vehicles are overpriced. Another thing if I am selling a old vehicle for at little money as these should be if you ask to take it somewhere or want oil change receipts I will say either buy it or go away.

wow, i thought i finally found two really good cars for under 3500. Now i’m stuck again. What decent van/suv/wagon can i get for under 35 hundred?

@coopersan A Mazda Protégé or Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra can be had in very good condition for that amount. A friend is selling his wife’s 2002 Malibu for about $1500 with only 49,000 miles on it.

You have to look in the classifieds, supermarket billboards, and everywhere else to find these bargains.

Older people downsizing to one car often do not have computers; they communicate the old fashioned way!
The two cars you are looking at are bottom feeders in terms of reliability and ease of repair.

$3500 is a pretty low number. Did you budget for insurance and maintenance. For the latter, I’d budget $1500 per year, unless you can perform major maintenance yourself.

The OP should begin his used car search by buying a copy of the Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide, which is available at Barnes & Noble and some other large news stands.

That book contains historical reliability data, as well as safety ratings for older cars, and lists of the best models in various price ranges. In this case, the OP would be looking at their “Best models under $5,000” category, because nobody would make any bets on the desirability of anything selling for $3.5k–but at least it’s a very good way to start the process.

My experience with a '98 Volvo V70 XC was awful regarding repair frequency and cost per repairs. This goes back to 2004 - 2007. Driving about 10k miles a year I’d have 2 repairs per year at $2000 each. Beautiful car to drive, great body and paint, nice interior with excellent seats. But wow those repairs! It was a budget breaker and I sold it.

Of the two, I’d go for the Escape.

@coopersan You really do not need to click on like for every response.

@coopersan, you chose a luxury car and a midsize SUV. Those vehicles have to be old to justify the low price. If I had to choose between the two, I would first inspect them myself. If they look good inside and out with no obvious problems, then I would pick the best one and pay a mechanic about $100 to inspect it. Subtract the cost of any needed repairs from the asking price. This is the max you should pay for it.

@docnick gave you good advice concerning models to look at. They are all small economy cars and started out inexpensive. They can have a lot of life left in them for $3500. Check them out and see if they can meet your needs.

I’d go with the newer Escape. Cars age not only w/miles, but with time. Rubber and plastic parts especially degrade with time more than miles. So you’d be looking at more possibilities of vacuum leaks, oil leaks, coolant leaks, brake fluid leaks with the 98 vs the 2004. Likewise for rubber belts, especially if either uses a timing belt. If it remains a “leaner”, here’s something that is easy to do. Check how much a part replacement would cost. Say a starter motor. For both cars, compare the price. Parts and labor.

I think I’d pick a RAV4 or CR-V over the Escape

And I’d pick a top of the line used Accord, Camry XLE or ES300 over the Volvo V70

Heck, you could probably buy a very well equipped Sonata for $3500. It would be several years newer than the Volvo, but it would still have a timing belt. Something to keep in mind

If you’re not mechanically inclined and given the time to really look a car over pre-purchase then it’s all a crap shoot with odds in favor of the house.

Even a thorough inspection by a great mechanic does not guarantee you a problem free ride for the next 5k miles much less a 100k.

A mechanic can’t even guarantee a 5 year old car with 50k miles on it is going to make it around the block. That’s a dismal outlook but unfortunately it’s the truth.
A thorough inspection helps swing the odds your way a little.