I've always made the keep or trade decision based on what my repair and hassle history has been with a car over the past few years of ownership. If I had a lot of expensive repairs, or some really inconvenient experiences (like wife stranded somewhere) then I tend to unload the car at the first opportunity.
So here's the question I have: As I approach the end of lease for my '13 S60, which has been trouble free, is it rational to believe that it's a better car than a similar used vehicle on the dealer's lot?
If I buy it, I will finance for 4-5 years and hopefully keep it several years longer. If I return it I will try to replace it with another Volvo of similar age/miles/features, hopefully CPO if I can locate one, again financed 4-5 years.
I know there are a lot of folks on here who buy and sell a lot of cars, and I'd be interested in hearing whether you think that all reasonably good used cars offer the same risks, or if one with a known good history is always a better choice. For the sake of the discussion, I would only be considering purchase of 3 year old Volvos purchased from a reputable dealer with clean CarFax and at least some maintenance records (should only be 3 scheduled maintenance visits plus any problems by 36k).
Am I being superstitious thinking that my S60, after its "extended test drive" while leasing will continue to be a great, trouble free car? Or should I get real and accept that I just got lucky and there's nothing special about my car versus other similar examples?