Rack Hitch on XC90

| by Ken | in Automotive Add comments

The current generation XC90 doesn’t come with a trailer hitch but you can have one added by Volvo.  If you do, not only does it cost a lot, but it also puts a hole in the middle of your bumper.  Strange choice, Volvo.  And as it turns out, many other car companies too.  I shopped around for alternatives and eventually settled on one and did the install myself.  Below I’ll describe what I looked into and what I decided on.  I’ll detail the install in another post.

One of the sites I found that had options for the hitch is etrailer.com.  They have hitches and bike carriers and video discussions about many of their products.  I found those really helpful.  One of the hitches that seemed like a good choice for my car was the Curt Class III.  I liked that you didn’t need to cut the bumper and it seemed well rated.  I watched the video for the install, however, and realized the install wasn’t for me.  I was following along and it was seeming okay until I got to the part about using a step drill to make a huge hole in the frame while the car was up on a lift.  Nope.  No lift, no step drill attachment, and more importantly, I’m not crazy about that kind of modification to the frame.

etrailer also had a Draw Tite option.  I don’t know much about towing or hitches and even I know the name Draw Tite so that had appeal.  But I saw that the install rating was a 10 out of 10 while the Curt was a 9 out of 10 so I didn’t even continue looking into that one.

Some Googling led me to the Stealth Hitch.  It had the same basic premise of the hitch going under the bumper but the install seemed much easier to me.  No lift required and no drilling into the frame.  At $538, it was way pricier than the other two.  And that’s only for a non-towing hitch.  To switch to the towing version would jack up the price even more.

I called a local installer to inquire about them doing the installation of the Stealth Hitch.  For some reason, the price for me for the rack would be $872.60, not the $538 that is shown on the web site.  And that’s was supposedly just for the rack version, not for the towing version.  Then it would be another $150 for the install for a total of $1022.60.  Yikes.  That’s just about double what I thought I was looking at when I first found the Stealth web site.  And for comparison, the Curt installed would have been $330.19.  I hung up thinking that the only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t going to pay to have the Stealth installed.

I took another look at the installation instructions.  They didn’t seem too challenging, actually.  So I decided to get the Stealth and do the install myself.  I hoped it wouldn’t turn into a major thing with the car unusable for days!

The installation went really well.  (See separate post.)  And the look is perfect.  When the hitch receiver is installed, you see the hitch unobtrusively below the bumper.  And most of the time, I’ll pop it out and there will be no visible evidence of a hitch at all.  So while it was $377 more than the Curt, the install was way easier (meaning I didn’t need to pay for install) and the fact that I can remove the receiver most of the time is even better.

I should also mention that Stealth Hitches sent an e-mail as soon as I clicked to order with contact information should I have any problems with the installation.  That’s smart customer service.

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