Used Highlander or new Edge?


#1

Am turning to the Car Talk community to help me think this through.

Is it better to buy a used Toyota Highlander (2008-2013) instead of a new (2015) Ford Edge?

A used, not new, Highlander because the latest generation has become even more bloated, both in size and cost.

Craigslist in my town (fairly large town, in fact) shows only two 2013 Highlanders for sale.
One has 26K miles and costs $32,000.
One has 38K miles and costs $28,000.

A 2015 Ford Edge, base model (all I need) can be had for the same $28,000 to $32,000.

Why even consider the Highlander? It isn’t because we need its size. We’re empty nesters, don’t go camping. I like the Highlander because of its great reliability record and quiet on the highway, both important to me.

The new Edge – newly designed for the 2015 model year – is supposed to also be very quiet, from reviews I’ve read. It’s just the right size for us, too, “just” a 5-seater. But the Edge’s reliability record according to Consumer Reports is well below average (full black circle). The Highlander’s record, year after year, is well above average (full red circle).

We’re in no hurry to buy. Our current car is a 2007 4-cyl Honda Accord that has never had a single thing go wrong (except for replacing the airbag, of course). If I wasn’t a dope, I’d drive it forever. But its road noise is a bit high, even with quiet tires and, for once in my wife’s life, I’d like her to feel proud of the car we own. We’ve never, in 46 years of marriage, bought a new car. (The Accord was closest, with only 3000 miles.)

So, Car Talk friends, what would you do? Keep waiting for a used 2008 -2013 Highlander and pay the reliability premium, maybe an older one with 60-90 thousand miles, or take a chance on the otherwise great Edge, and hope it won’t do what my last Ford did (a 1994 Taurus), blow up its transmission with about 75,000 miles on the odometer, ie, not under warranty.

Your thoughts, please.

– Steve in San Antonio


#2

Paying the same amount for used versus new with warranty and lower finance rates (if not paying cash) is a no brainer for me. Two choices here 1. NEW 2. purchase what ever your wife wants.


#3

Check the gas mileage, for future concerns. What is the warranty comparison? At the mileage you are looking at


#4

What problems does CR say the Edge exhibits?

I’ve also had problem Fords of about the same age as your Taurus. I know that your past experience is a big deal, even though you bought the car almost 25 years ago. I feel the same way. I’m not knocking Ford so much as saying that past experience, no matter how well aged, will color the choice.

Why just these two cars? Have you considered something a bit smaller than the Highlander, like a CR-V, Rav-4, or Subaru?


#5

I got to thinking about the OP’s statement that there were only two Highlanders on Craigslist ( the last place I would use ). I used Auto Trader.com for San Antonio and it had 107 Highlanders listed. I am sure there are more on the dealers sites. How hard is it to look for a used car?


#6

The Edge wasn’t rated that bad. 2012 was 'much worse than average, all other years average or better than average. The major problem has been the infotainment system, folks have hated it, but the new Edge has a completely new system. We have a 2008 MKX, the Lincoln version, love it.

Have you looked for a Venza? That’s the Edge equivalent. They may have some on clearance, they’re stopping making it. Might find one at a good price.


#7

I’m the original poster, responding to some of your suggestions (and many thanks for them).

Volvo V70 said, “purchase whatever your wife wants.” You’re not going to believe this, but she’s always (but once) left the car buying up to me. (The once was a 1994 Mazda B4000 truck, bought in 1996 and which we still have.) Her faith in me is wonderful, and I don’t want to blow it with what may be our last car. I hope to keep this one for 20 years, driving it straight to the retirement home.

jtsanders asks, “What problems does CR say the Edge exhibits?” and texases says “The major problem has been the infotainment system.” The issue of CR I had didn’t break it down, but yes, I’ve got to look at that. Or maybe not, as the 2015 is a new generation. Reviews of the 2015 said the infotainment system was still broke but Ford added knobs and levers for the radio and heater so that’s no longer an issue.

“Have you looked for a Venza? That’s the Edge equivalent.” Maybe I should go back and relook that. I’d once read lukewarm reviews of the Venza, but it does come with Toyota’s great reliability. I’ll go back for another look.

About there being only two Highlanders for sale, that’s because I was looking at “owner” sellers. I’ve never had a bad experience buying from owners who kept good maintenance records. From a dealer like AutoTrader you don’t know how the vehicle was maintained. Just neglecting scheduled maintenance will have a huge impact on a vehicle’s longevity.


#8

I’m kinda partial to new especially if the previous owners liked to use 10,000 mile synthetic oil changes, but I don’t know anything about either. From my latest visit yesterday to the new car show room though, the used prices seem a little high.


#9

Toyota went to 10K oil changes on just about all their vehicles recently, My wife’s camry is a 10K oil change car.

I’m also biased. I’m driving an '04 4Runner with 222K on the clock, and the only repair I’ve had to make is one front wheel bearing. It was humming, so I changed it out. Everything else is jut preventative maintenance. I wouldn’t hesitate to hop in it this afternoon and drive across the country (and back). The reliability of the Toyota line is almost legendary, and I see no reason not to choose it.

I also do like “new”. Having said that, if you do buy used form a dealer, you can normally get some sort of 10 year or 100K maintenance and warranty. Try Red McCombs (or Universal on I35). I also live in SA. They always take care of my wife.


#10

" from a dealer like Auto Trader " Auto Trader is not a dealer and lists private and dealer sales. There are too many stories about Craigslist scams and robberies for me to even consider using it.


#11

Based on what you want in a vehicle, I’d say you should buy a NEW 4 cylinder CAMRY, which has the same great reliability as the Highlander and uses less gas. It’s also very quiet.

If you got used to the reliability of the Accord, you’ll be very disappointed with the EDGE. A new Camry will cost less than a new Edge.


#12

I subscibe to Consumer Reports but I haven’t always had the same result reported in CR. I owned a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. I had wonderful service and sold it to my son. It now has 150,000 miles with no major repairs. I would have purchased another Uplander when we sold it to our son who needed a better car, but GM quit making minivans. We have two Toyotas, a 2003 4Runner and a 2011 Sienna. For the most part, they have been quite reliable. I did_like @chaissos had to have a new front wheel bearing on the 4Runner.
I would certainly buy new over a used car. One vehicle that might be worrh a look is the 2016_Hyundai Santa Fe. I drove 1500 miles in one we rented–had 200 miles on the odometer when we started the trip. Both Mrs.Triedaq and I were impressed.


#13

Or a new Subaru Forester for about $22k (base model)


#14

If you’re just comparing a new Edge (MSRP 28,xxx) vs. a new Highlander (MSRP 29,xxx), there’s not that much in it. Just get the one you want, and be done with it. Either one should (if maintained properly) last you another 15-20 years, depending on driving habits and mileage.

I see a lot of retired (I almost said “older”, but that’s almost me, too) folks getting Hyundai’s. Far fewer getting Kia’s. A recent visit to The Villages in FL showed me just how many Hyundai’s are being purchased. Seemed like almost half the vehicles there (that weren’t golf carts) were Hyundai’s.

I only list this because it’s an option, not one I’d do, nor recommend: If you’re retired, living on a fixed income, some people actually lease. It’s the most expensive way to go, but if you keep under the mileage limits, you can get another car every 3 years, and never have to worry too much about it. Like I said, I’m not recommending it, but it’s there.


#15

I suspect the Hundais are popular because they are quite a bit cheaper than the alternatives from what I remember anyway.


#16

Docnick said “you should buy a NEW 4 cylinder CAMRY, which has the same great reliability as the Highlander and uses less gas. It’s also very quiet.”

I’ve had Camrys, and like them for the reasons you gave. But they don’t come in station wagon or SUV models.

Once in a while we need to bring home some dirt or lumber from the store. Maybe that’s the solution: just pay Home Depot for delivery and buy a new car.


#17

@SteveK In that case a Toyota RAV4 is ideal for you. Same engine as the Camry and with the rear seat folded down you can carry lots of stuff. The RAV4 is also very economical.

My wife and I are retired and our “station wagon” is a Mazda3 Sport hatchback. With the rear seat down it carried a freezer in its original package home from Costco.

For very bulky item we have them delivered.

Don’t buy a vehicle to carry the largest load you will ever experience.


#18
Toyota went to 10K oil changes on just about all their vehicles recently, My wife's camry is a 10K oil change car.

And I still change mine every 5k miles. Not convinced the 10k will keep my vehicles going 300k miles.


#19

The new Highlander is actually smaller than the older one, just looks big! It is probably not the best in its class IMO, but I digress. If you are paying that much for the used, just get a good deal on a new one with standard bluetooth and rear view camera.

I had a Mazda CX-9 which is the twin to the Ford Edge. It was a great car, but the Ford parts of it are not known for reliability-you can check the Mazda forums. One big concern (unless they changed the design), the water pump is driven by the chain and is internal to the engine. A lot of reports from owners on engine failure from the pump giving out and leaking coolant in the engine. I think this is not the best design-posted about it here, but some feel it is not a deal breaker.

If you need a 3rd row, I encourage that you test drive the new Kia Sorento, it is a nice car, just have to get past the Kia badge (somehow my wife has issues with this).

If smaller would work, then look at the RAV4 or the new Tucson. The Santa Fe Sport with the 2.0 Turbo should be fun, but not sure about the reliability of the Turbo on this make.


#20

46 years of marriage? You want your wife to be proud of her car? Never having bought a new one? Drive all the cars you want to and buy a brand new model of the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and safe and proud to drive. It sounds like you’ve earned the right to make what ever choice you want to make both you and your wife happy.

Reliability? Even if the car of your choosing costs you a few thousand dollars more in maintenance and repair over the next 10-20 years, is that too much to pay for your comfort? What are you saving for? Spoil yourself a little.