OSD From Out-of-State

We were now in action mode, and hadn't heard from our local dealership in a week, so we followed-up with an out-of-state dealer who specialized in oversea deliveries. Volvo's OSD is structured in such a way that you can have one dealer take your order, take delivery in Sweden, and then have it shipped to a different dealer to prep the car to be collected in the U.S. The second dealer was very responive, but the unfortunate news was that all slots for 2018 were sold-out. Moreover, I couldn't find a single T8 in inventory along the east coast.

What options did that leave us? There were still some slots for a T6. Presumably they've got fewer batteries or other parts of the hybrid powertrain available as they're pricier and probably change more significantly year-to-year and model-to-model. Last year, the 2019 models were available for order in March, with delivery available in mid-June. I didn't want a T6, which lost the extra boost the T8 provided with the roughly 100 bhp electric motor, noticeable in the 0-60 increasing by more than a second and generally feeling underpowered. We wanted to get the XC90 from Sweden, but reaslistically, even if the 2019 models were available on the ideal schedule, and we got an early slot, would we want to be travelling so late with twins? When would that mean we get the car back in the states? There were so many concerns with this plan that reluctantly we ruled it out.

That meant we were now considering options which we had previously eliminated.

Other Options

A quick look at some of the options we ruled-out earlier brought in some interesting options. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio was a new entrant to the market, as was the just-announced Volvo XC40. Our Volvo XC70 wagon worked out well, so I also broadened the search to the Volvo V series (its closest current equivalent) and the Mercedes E-Class wagon.

Volvo XC40

The XC40 was just announced, and has a few interesting elements which surround it. At its core, the XC40 is a compact SUV smaller than the XC60. Currently, it's only available in the lowest, 248bhp T5 powertrain which is able to push the diminuitive crossover from 0-60 somewhere longer than 6 seconds, or 1/4 mile in about 15 seconds. It has 20.7 cubic feed in back, or 47.2 cubic feed with the rear seats down.

The XC40 is an interesting creature. Volvo is targetting this as a first-car purchase, including the option to lease the car with all-in pricing, including service and even insurance for only two years. It offers lots of conveneint storage locations, and Qi charging. It has as options a lot of the items the XC90 offered, although some things have been cut to keep the price down (such as the Bowers and Wilkins sound system being replaced by one from Harman Kardon).

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Selvio came with the one thing Alfa Romeo is know for, its driving-enthusiast spirit. Based on the recently introduced Guilia sedan, the Stelvio was more closely sized to the XC60 with five seats and able to do either 5.4s 0-60 sprints in its base config, or a speedy 3.3s with the 508 bhp Quadrifoglio (four-leaf) performance variant. The performant variant was similar in price to the XC90 T8, and it offered 18.5 cubic feet of storage with its seats up (56.5 with its only rearward row down).

Volvo V60 Polestar

Polestar is Volvo's tuning division. Like Mercedes' AMG, it used to be independent, but in 2015 Volvo bought Polestar Performance bringing the company in-house. The past few years it has made performance-tuned versions of Volvo's 60-series sedan (S60) and wagon (V60). The latter does 0-60 in 4.4s and features 28 cubic feet of space behind its row of rear seats, but only 43.8 cubic feet with the row down.

Mercedes E-Class

The E-Class wagon is the biggest option here, with 35 cubic feet behind its rear row and 64 cubic feed when the row is down. This gives the E-Class wagon a little more space than the XC70 when carrying 3-5 passengers, but a little less when only using the front row. The E-Class wagon does 0-60 in 5.1s, however, which puts it just behind the XC90.

Analysis

The Mercedes and Alfa Romeo came in at approximately the same price point. The Alfa upped the performance ante, but lacks the safety and semi-autonomous featuers to which we were looing forward from the Volvo (and to some extent are present on the other options, at least as options).

XC40 Pricing

The XC40 is not yet available through Volvo's A-Plan, but is available through OSD. Options are essentially a wash, but OSD avoids $995 destination fee, and the base price is $36,200 compared to $37,700 (MSRP), meaning OSD will save you $2,495 off of list price. As spec'd for us, that meant 6% savings down to $41,340; plus the OSD experience in Sweden. Currently the XC40 is only available in the Momentum and R-Design trims; without the Inscription, this made the choice easy, and unless noted otherwise all prices in this section assume the R-Design.

If we didn't plan on keeping the XC40 for more than a few years, options got more interesting. A standard three-year lease at 15,000 mi/year would cost $19,475, while the "Care by Volvo" package including auto insurance would run only two years and cost $15,366 ($12,956 for the Momentum).

I've never considered leasing a motor vehicle before, although when looking at the XC90, one thing was tempting me: the rate of advancement of self-driving technology. Over the past twenty years, not much has changed in cars. They've all gotten safer and more reliable (I drove a '94 Civic until it hit 360k miles at 12 years of age, and then an '06 WRX for another 12 years). With Volvo wanting to introduce full self-driving in three years , a short-term lease seems like a useful way of stepping on the technology escalator at the right place. While leading is optimized to take 3-year steps, "Care by Volvo" offers incremental updates every two years. Ignoring the insurance built into the latter and the ability to buy-out the lease on the former, assuming 2% inflation, 4% interest on the lease, and a depreciation pattern similar to other Volvo cars (like the XC60); I calculated the following two tables to compare exactly how much extra Care by Volvo cost compared to a traditional lease. Talking simple cash, Care by Volvo costs 18% more than a traditional 3-year lease; and while you will have upgraded twice after six years, you'd have paid more than MSRP over that time.

Moving on

After presening these options, and advocating for the XC40 as a stop-gap vehicle until we wanted to replace it with an XC90 in a couple of years, we came to an agreement that all of these cars were too small. They wouldn't allow for a comfortable ride on long trips, where the front passenger would be able to recline (a problem with the XC70, let alone the the WRX). This essentially meant all five-seaters were ruled-out (at least in a 3+2 configuration) as the car seats would prevent the front seats from moving to a comfortable location.