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2006 Toyota Prius vs. 2005 Volvo V70 2.4

We have a 2006 Toyota Prius w/ about 75k miles that works fine. We have the opportunity to inherit a 2005 Volvo V70 2.4 with about 125k miles that was exceptionally well maintained, and has already been verified by a mechanic. Our family just grew from 3 to 4, so the safety and bigger car are the pros for the Volvo, the lower cost of ownership is the big pro for the Prius.

2 questions:

How much should we expect for repairs and maintenance for the Volvo, my quick research was only finding data on the first 10 years.

My research tells me that the Volvo is a much safer car. Is that true, given that gov’t standards have forced all cars to be safer these days.

Thanks in advance!

The Prius is much more reliable then the Volvo. Keep the Prius.

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What is the problem? Free vehicle, 12 years old, just put liability insurance on and keep both vehicles.

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I’d keep both too. If you want to know how safe the Prius was in 2006 here is the IIHS summary for that exact car. Side impact depends on your trim and options. Of course, the Volvo has advantages in many crash situations due to its mass and robust construction. I dug deeper at an HDLI database to get a sort of comparison of the real-world safety of these two cars side by side. Sometimes real-world data are surprising. Not this time. The 2006 Prius had a driver death rate of about 52 ( I used the 2008 model year) and the '04 Volvo V70 Wagon ('05 was not listed) had a rate of 26. The metric used is called “Million registered vehicle years.” You can read about it at the link if you like. This data is based on police accident reports. I love this type of stuff. In case you are interested, Toyota/Lexus is the clear leader in real-world safety currently. Volvo has no cars with a zero driver death rate and Toyota/Lexus many in many different styles. The Lexus RX midsize crossover is the safest, with the longest run of zero drive death rates.

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Generally, larger vehicles are safer. The IIHS and NHTSA crash tests look at what would happen if a vehicle hit another of the the same type. The tests tell you how safe a vehicle is within its category. As an extreme example, a large SUV is safer for the occupants than a compact car in an accident that involves both of them. That does not mean the Prius is not safe, just not quite as safe as the Volvo would be when driven by the same person.

That brings up the second issue, how safe the driver is. Either car will be a safe ride for your family as long as you and your spouse drive defensively. I would also keep both cars. Check with your insurer to see how much it would cast to keep both. If only one of you commutes, designate one vehicle as the commuter (probably Prius) and only use that one for commuting. The commute time is prime time for accidents and that will increase insurance costs. If the commuter drops off the children at day car or school and picks them up after work, use the Volvo for commuting if you want the safest vehicle to carry the kids.