I'm Gifting My Car to My Father-In-Law and Looking for a Replacement! What Should I Buy?

This week's reader is gifting his Volvo XC90 and wants something similar.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled I'm Gifting My Car to My Father-In-Law and Looking for a Replacement! What Should I Buy?
Image: Volvo

Charles wants to treat his father-in-law with a nice ride for the holidays and needs to replace his current ride. He is looking for a crossover/SUV in the luxury space that can tow at least 5,000 pounds, something big but not too big, and a hybrid would be a bonus. What car should he buy?

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.)

Here is the scenario:

I’m looking to gift my father-in-law our current vehicle at the end of the year. He’s been the best to our family for many years and never has been able to treat himself to a nice car. We’d like to surprise him with this vehicle and plan to replace our current XC90 with something new.

Needs a Class III/IV Hitch and tow at least 5k pounds, would like a hybrid for the gas savings, has to be brand new, my wife loves the luxuries of her current XC90 T6 Inscription (Napa leather seats, massage/heat/cool, semi-autonomous driving, etc.) so has to at least have the same or better. We can’t do a full electric. We also don’t want to go too big so full sizers like Tahoe etc..ar out. Price range up to $90,000.


Quick Facts:

Budget: up to $90,000

Location: NYC

Daily Driver: Yes

Wants: Luxury, Tech, Tow capacity

Doesn’t want: Something too big like a Tahoe

Expert 1: Tom McParland - Get Almost Everything You Want… For Less

Image for article titled I'm Gifting My Car to My Father-In-Law and Looking for a Replacement! What Should I Buy?
Photo: Genesis

It’s pretty cool of you to gift your father-in-law a nice ride, and word on the street is that you might be able to get a deal on giant Xmas car bows. As for a replacement, there is certainly no shortage of luxury 3-rows under $90,000. Another Volvo is an easy choice or you can be among the sea of German SUVs in your area.

Or you can go for a wildcard and get something a bit different without giving up quality or features. The Genesis GV80 is a newcomer to the segment and offers all the bells and whistles you want for about $75,000. The top-end cars are equipped with a twin-turbo V6 that will tow up to 6,000 pounds. It definitely looks the part, and we found it to be a compelling “budget” alternative to the super-expensive Bently Bentayga.


The only hiccup is that Genesis dealers don’t have the best reputation, for actually understanding how to sell to a luxury customer so you might need to be prepared for some “old school” dealer tactics that most high-end dealers avoid. The good news is that there are a number of loaded GV80 models actually in-stock, in your vicinity. Some of which are even advertised a bit below the MSRP. I would definitely go with a green one like this.

Expert 2: Collin Woodard - Jeep’s Got You Covered

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid
Photo: Jeep

You certainly have a lot of options with a $90,000 budget, but once you start adding in your other requirements, the list gets pretty small, pretty fast. And while it may not be one that you thought of initially, it’s pretty clear there’s only one brand new, luxurious, hybrid, towing-capable SUV for you: the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe.

The Grand Cherokee 4xe gets an EPA-estimated 56 mpg and offers 26 miles of electric range, but it’s still rated to tow up to 6,000 pounds. Spring for the Summit Reserve trim level, and even though the badge says “Jeep,” you’ll drive away in an SUV with all the luxury and technology you could possibly want. Your Volvo has Nappa leather seats? Well, the Grand Cherokee Overland has those, too. But the Summit Reserve pushes the luxury envelope even further and offers Palermo leather seats.


In addition to the leather and wood that’s all over the cabin, there’s a 19-speaker Mcintosh audio system, massaging seats, parking assist, steering assist, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, air suspension, and so much more. Your wife is going to love it. Unless she doesn’t love the idea of spending $80k on a Jeep.

There are a ton of new Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xes listed near New York City, so I say pick the dealer with the best reputation and just go from there. It may cost a lot for “just” a Jeep, but it’s got everything on your list and 470 lb-ft of torque. It’s perfect for you. Now excuse me while I go apologize to Andy for stealing what inevitably would have been his suggestion if I hadn’t taken it first.


Expert 3: Erik Shilling — Treat Yourself

Image for article titled I'm Gifting My Car to My Father-In-Law and Looking for a Replacement! What Should I Buy?
Photo: Porsche

Charles, I never thought I’d be a person recommending that anyone buy a Porsche Cayenne, given that its resale value is going to plummet immediately after you drive it off the lot. But, on the other hand, money doesn’t seem to be an issue for you, and many Cayennes are firmly within your $90,000 budget.

Further, Porsche buyers — I’m told, I’m not a Porsche buyer — actually seem to like their dealership experience, and Porsche always scores well in customer experience surveys and also in reliability surveys. The same cannot be said, when it comes to dealerships, of Genesis, as Tom notes, though I will also add that, objectively, the GV80 is still probably the correct choice.


Anyway: Cayenne. The E-Hybrid Cayenne starts at $86,500 and can tow up to 7,700 pounds. It has all of the features you would expect in a luxury SUV starting at $86,500. Unfortunately, it means you’ll have to drive around town in a Porsche SUV and not a Volvo SUV but you’re also doing your father-in-law a favor in the process. So, good on you.

Expert 4: José Rodríguez Jr. - Go Big, or Go Home In a Two-Door Defender

Image for article titled I'm Gifting My Car to My Father-In-Law and Looking for a Replacement! What Should I Buy?
Photo: Land Rover

Charles, that Volvo XC90 is a generous gift for your father-in-law! Good on you, indeed. It sounds like towing and luxury are high on your list of priorities, as well as a hybrid drivetrain. I have a habit of fixating, and when I saw the need for a hybrid SUV that can tow heavy loads, I immediately thought of the new Toyota Sequoia. But that’s a lot of SUV, and given the size requirement, it’s not gonna fly. So, let’s go to the other extreme: the 2023 Land Rover Defender.

Because on top of my bad habit of fixating, I also vacillate between extremes! Rather than recommend a huge SUV, then, I’ll recommend a smaller one that makes do without a set of rear doors, like the new Defender. After all, the in-laws can come along on road trips in their new Volvo.


The 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 is over a foot shorter than your old XC90, coming in at around 180 inches long including spare tire (vs. the Volvo at 195). And yet, the two-door Defender can still tow 8,200 pounds, even when configured as an MHEV (mild hybrid), which gets a small electric boost to bolster the power of its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine.

The smaller Defender starts at $55,100. Feel free to splurge on amenities and options, but this is already a Land Rover, so there may not be much need to add luxe packages. Then again, if the Defender 90 is too small, there’s always the hybrid Sequoia, which is nearly three inches shorter than that big Chevy Tahoe you mentioned. I’m just saying.