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Mercedes-Benz M-class vs Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer vs Buick Rendezvous vs Acura MDX

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Comments

  • Don't get me wrong. If you want the $28,000 vehicle, that's fine. In your example, the cost is $20k for each. Laying out an extra $12k to get what you want is mitigated by super cheap interest rates, and could be totally offset by other costs such as insurance, or how you feel after a crash. A couple of hundred per year in interest is what the $12k should cost you.

    I just don't like it when people assume that the $40,000 vehicle is too expensive. If you are happy driving a vehicle into the ground, then good for you. I personally don't see us doing it because our needs will change over the next 3-4 years, and vehicle changes in technology, safety, and comforts are continuously changing.

    For me, driving an Acura is quite the opposite of snobbish. For someone to assume I am snobbish is irresponsible. It was simply the only 7 passenger, awd, 4,500 tow capacity vehicle with a stellar safety rating that made sense. I didn't want to garage a Tahoe, and the Envoys were not available in 3rd row seating at the time. Seems that lame Lexus SUVs are the snob-set's vehicle of choice.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Has never been about snobbery. Though that was Honda's initial mission in establishing a Japanese luxury brand, rivals such as Lexus and Infiniti were quickly established a luxury brands with snob appeal while Acura has lingered in the near-luxury category, only a little above Mercury and Buick.

    Look at their lineup - the majority of their cars are -/+ 30K (RSX, CL, TL). MDX is just slightly above that and the RL doesn't even sell for its 43K sticker price. The 88K NSX is just way overpriced.

    I don't see how anyone driving an Acura could ever be tagged as a badge snob. I don't see it in a Mercury, Buick, or Oldsmobile owner either.
  • Don't get me wrong. If you want the $28,000 vehicle, that's fine. In your example, the cost is $20k for each. Laying out an extra $12k to get what you want is mitigated by super cheap interest rates, and could be totally offset by other costs such as insurance, or how you feel after a crash. A couple of hundred per year in interest is what the $12k should cost you.

    I just don't like it when people assume that the $40,000 vehicle is too expensive. If you are happy driving a vehicle into the ground, then good for you. I personally don't see us doing it because our needs will change over the next 3-4 years, and vehicle changes in technology, safety, and comforts are continuously changing.

    For me, driving an Acura is quite the opposite of snobbish. For someone to assume I am snobbish is irresponsible. It was simply the only 7 passenger, awd, 4,500 tow capacity vehicle with a stellar safety rating that made sense. I didn't want to garage a Tahoe, and the Envoys were not available in 3rd row seating at the time. Seems that lame Lexus SUVs are the snob-set's vehicle of choice.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    I am a lurker.

    Not any more! Welcome aboard!

    tidester, host
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Agreed on the Lexus. Talk about expensive, snob attitude AND lack of utility. The X5 can fall into that category too, but THAT's a machine that has the WOW factor.

    As mentioned previously, the Residual value is only part of the equation. If you paid MRSP (or MRSP+) then you paid full value of the vehicle base then take a full depreciation hit. If you paid closer to invoice, the realized costs are lower because of the lower purchase price. eg: MSRP: $33,000 purchased $28,000. That's $5,000 in real money not spent, but still calculated into the Residual value (based on MSRP).

    Again, the RV is a statistic that favors cars that have sold at MSRP. see above posts prior. $40,000 is too expensive for over 90% of the population. That's why the MDX wil never sell the amount of the Explorer. Heck even 6 figure salaries with family of 4, 2 college funds, and typical $250,000 home mortgage would find it VERY tight to afford a $40,000 vehicle payment. (see above posts)

    There are differences in length of ownership. The longer, the cheaper no doubt. I actually would put Acura owners in the "privaleged" group though. Not the MB/BMW group so much, but definitely as more snobbish attitude. Which one would a salt-of-the-earth person want: Pilot or the MDX? Obviously the Pilot; but I would gather most of us would say: the MDX, why? Because we're all a little snobbish....that's why we like cars!
  • A refined car is one thats has a smooth power train, quiet, reliable, performs well and many other things. The MDX actually meet all the categories above except for the wind noise at high speed. But law of physic has it that anytime you drive a big box at high speed, the wind resistance increase. The 03 is actually alot quieter. on the highway than pass MDX.
    And Yes I did test drive the RDV. Maybe you should take your own advice and test drive the 03 MDX before passing judgment on it. I spend about 45 mins at the Buick dealer, the salesman was very pushy. I guess he didnt realize he was dealing with a veteran car shopper. He actually took $3000 of MSRP without me even asking. He had quite a few on the lot and I guess he was over stock. You already know what my impression of the RDV is so I wont get you mad by saying it again.
    So you own a Miata too, I knew it. My point is that with the MDX, I dont need to own a Miata for fun. It is the best both world, indeed a true crossover sport utility vehicle. Therefore, if you look at it that way, you are not really saving as much as you think with the RDV if you need a second car to supplement it..
    The Ford Taurus is actually a pretty fast car but not sporty in any sense, maybe the SHO. But it has a 200 HP engine in it and 0-60 mph time is pretty good, If you consider the hp to weight ratio, its about the same as the MDX. Hey heres a though, maybe Buick should use the Taurus as a standard and increase the RDV's hp to weight ratio.
    I agree that the RDV is a fine vehicle, but thats all it is just fine, not one thing spectacular about it.
    And I dont think Acura owners are snobbish, we are more sensible than snobbish, look to the BMW and Mercedes owner for that distinction.
    Lets me give some of you an insight on residual value. I had a 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee and my wife owns a 96 Honda Accord. Both cars were traded in this year for the same blue book value. The original purchase price for the jeep was a little over $25000 with all the factory incentives and rebates and so on. The original purchase price for the Honda Accord was a little over $16000. Now do the math, even some of you guys out there cannot justify those numbers.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Friday, unless the MDX is a convertible and 5 inches lower, then it's hardly comparable. You've owned 2 Bimmers, you know that the MDX doesn't come close on cornering and the driving experience of anything beyond a urban commuting vehicle. If the RDV isn't in the same class, how are you justifying the MDX to a roadster?

    I would dare say that 99% of MDXs will never see more dirt road than an unimproved curb.

    Again, near invoice pricing philosophy (won't rehash) on American vehicles is what dictates pricing as much as overstock. eg: with only two RDV on the lot, I got Invoice pricing in addition to sales incentives during mid month. The pushiness of dealers? Heck, they all do it--even internet salespeople do it!

    I own the Taurus. Sporty, it is not. Capable engine and good off the line? Yes, and will always beat the MDX. The point. Sporty speed driving is NOT SUV--highway or local. The crossover in the near-lux/luxury is targeted toward the people mover family with luxury and safety in mind, thus the constant debate SUV vs. Urban Assault vehicle, etc....ultimately: Crossover segment.

    Sensible is the Honda Pilot (if its the engine that you love, minus the 20HP upgrade from the valve/exhaust that doesn't change the performance numbers measurably).
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    I don't own a Miata nor did I test drive the RDV. All I am saying, and I feel I am objective, is that I detect snobbery on this board. You can talk to me about handling, technology, craftsmanship, etc. until you are blue blood in the face. The bottom line is that a $150,000 vehicle will get you there in the same amount of time as will a base Kia. It is all personal preference and budget.

    I have no need for an urban assault vehicle but that does not mean I will cast disparaging remarks your way because you choose to buy one. Just don't b.s. me with lots of ranting and mumbo-jumbo, cause it ain't gonna work.

    This would be a very dull world if all we had to drive were Honda Civics.
  • I live in the northeast, so I really have no need for a convertible. Beside I have never been a fan of convertible, too dangerous in a roll over situation and the chassis is not as rigid therefore handling is compromised. I agree the MDX does not handle as well as the BMW in corners but it accelerates better than my 91 BMW 318i. And the road feed back from the steering wheel is just as good.
    Most luxury SUV are targeted toward the people mover family with luxury and safety in mind. But Acura and BMW are the only two car manufacturer out there that target performance as well. A Miata the MDX is not, but besides the size, it sure drives like one.
    A top of the line pilot is about 2 to 3 thousand cheaper than the MDX base. Not much more sensible there.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    So if the MDX is refined because of, "smooth power train, quiet, reliable, performs well and many other things", then the Honda Pilot is also a "luxury" SUV in the same class as the MDX.

    The only difference between the Pilot and the MDX is snob appeal and sticker price.

    I agree that Acura is not a "luxury brand" like Lexus or M-B, but it does hold a higher pedigree than Honda. People aspire to own an Acura just for sake of owning one, and to tell the world that they can afford a $40,000 car.

    And Friday, there is no way that the MDX is a substitute for a "sporty car"...it weighs more than 2 tons! Steering feedback of a BMW? ROTFLMAO! The 318i was one of the best handling BMW's ever.

    It sounds like your definition of "sport" is 0-60 in 8 seconds. Do you know what an apex is?
  • If you read my last posting, I mention that the top of the line pilot is about 2 to 3 thousand cheaper than the MDX base. Also the top of the line pilot is not much less luxurious than the MDX. The Acura badge is not a much higher pedigree brand as you mention. If you look at the Acura line, half of their models are under 30 thousand.
    And I didnt say that the MDX is a substitute for a "sporty car". Its merely a combination of both sportiness and utility. It has the best of both world. Where the BMW X5 is more sporty and less utility. Yes the MDX is over 2 tons, but weight has nothing to do with it, its the weight to HP ratio that counts. Look at the new Volkswagon SUV, it weights over 5000 LB and it out performs many sport cars.
    I have own two BMW in my life, their handling has gotten better through out the year. Back in the early 90s handling is not as good as it is now. The BMW 318i is a poor man's BMW, by the way thats me a poor man. The BMW 318i is not one of the best handling BMW ever made. That distinction goes to the M3, M5 or the Z4. I was comparing my 03 MDX to my 91 380i. The MDX is as sporty as the 318i except while cornering. So please dont hurt yourself while laughing on the floor. Since you probably never drove either one before.
    Sportiness is acceleration, handling and road feedback. The MDX performs well in 2 out of the 3 category and the RDV performs well in none. I would say 0-60 in 8 sec. is a time for any car or suv. Some are better and are worst. If the RDV could use that as their benchmark, then they may have a better SUV on their hands.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    How much of a test drive did you take on the RDV? The handling/road feedback clearly outperformed the MDX. Slalom testing testing confirmed this too. Accelleration-wise, that's the MDXs strength, not it's vanilla interior WOW factor that you claim.

    A much advertised idea of a "sporty car" is zipping along Hwy 101, hugging along curves....zoom zoom (although I highly doubt the Mazda MPV can REALLY deliver what they adverstise in their case, I digress). I would cringe to do this is ANY SUV, including the new VW. There is absolutely no comparison of a SUV feel to a sports car. Even off-roading is a totally diferrent experience than a sports car drive experience along a road....thrilling the same.

    So, in the spirit of sportiness, when are the MDX (or RDV at that) going off-roading to show its "sportiness"....take a picture for us and post it of your MDX spinning away, kicking dust up and slogging away through the banks of the Hudson.

    One could argue that a loaded Pilot is excess in itself, if you will, a moderate trying to feel snobby ;)

    The point: Pilot is more mainstream affordable. Even $33,000 is pushing for many incomes out there. BTW, owning two Bimmers and MDX currently clearly puts you above a poor man's budget.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "the top of the line Pilot is not much less luxurious than the MDX."

    Could you clarify this (ie: what does the Pilot lack?)?

    "(the MDX has) a combination of both sportiness and utility. It has the best of both world."

    Actually, it is less sporty than a typical $25,000 family sedan, and has less utility than a minivan. In other words, it excels at neither.
  • Are you sure you two are not of the same person, I swear I am talking to the same person because both of you do not listen to facts, in fact, do you guys even read what I write before you response. All right here we go again. Frist montreid: My RDV test drive was about 20 minutes, the steering was soft and did not offer any road feedback. By the way, if you read the posting I wrote about my RDV, I said I was surprise with how well it handles. Only because it doesnt look like a car that handles well at all. The slalom test number should go up for the 03 MDX because of the VSA system, still waiting for the numbers to come out.
    I would like to take that picture for you but with the new VSA system, I cant get the MDX to do spins out. These new generation of SUV may surprise you as to how it can zoom zoom as you say. It all started with the X5 and the 03 MDX is getting sportier as well. With the Volkwagon SUV and the Porches SUV coming out. I think even the Mazda RX8 will have a hard time keeping up with them. Thanks to Volvo, the anti-rollover system is now on the market, it will make SUV handle alot better in corners. Do you really think owning a pilot is being snobby. My god, does everyone have to drive crappy cars to please you?
    Now your turn fedlawman or should I call you montreid: The quality of the front seats are better in the MDX, the MDX also offers auto headlights and auto wipers. Also in the MDX is the rear view camera, VSA system, dual piston front brakes, new 5-speed transmission, 20 more horse power and a DVD entertainment system. A typical $25,000 family sedan is what? A V6 toyota Camry. no competition there, the MDX comes out on top. Less utility than a minivan? We can count cup holders or something, but the MDX does everything a minivan can and more. It can goes off road and drive through deep snow. Therefore it has more use. By the way did you see the new Buick Rainier? A nicer looking car than the RDV and more power. Looks like the RDV's days are numbered.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    ... for sniping!

    Thanks, everyone!

    tidester, host
  • Not sniping at all, simply offer counter debate, you seem to be someone who knows automobile, perhaps you can settle it for us, because I am getting tired of talking to these two guys. So what you think, is the Buick RDV a better SUV or is it the MDX?
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Ask Edmunds, they did a comparison test of the MDX against all other luxo-SUV's (the RDV was not included). They tested the RDV against a Highlander instead of an RX300 - kinda tells you what category they think the RDV falls in.
  • Below a few sentences from a review Edmunds did on the 2002 Buick RDV to help you make up your mind:
    The Buick RDV:
    The Buick offers a little of everything, but not enough of any one aspect in particular to recommend it over other vehicles in the class.
    The Rendezvous is a capable vehicle and people mover; its problem lies in the fact that it doesn't excel in any one area or another. It holds seven, but minivans and other SUVs, like the Acura MDX and Mercury Mountaineer, do that, as well. It has a nice interior, but others have better.
    Pulling this rather portly 4,024-pound package is GM's 3400 V6 engine, capable of producing 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. We felt that GM's choice of engine was conservative; the company could have used one of the more potent powerplants in its stable.
    Zero-to-60-mph acceleration runs were achieved in 10.7 seconds, one of the slowest times among V6-powered SUVs and minivans. The engine provided good midrange power, but once revs are taken to the higher end of the tach, a high-pitched tone invaded the cabin; it almost sounds like a turbocharger kicking in. For 185 ponies to pull the 4,024-pound vehicle is a bit of a drudge; those taxed horses get tired out mighty quickly. The Rendezvous can be outfitted to tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is a rather paltry sum, but makes sense in light of the anemic engine and the unibody platform.
    Put it into a corner, however, and plenty of body roll and sway accompanies the movement of the vehicle. It ran our 600-foot slalom in 6.87 seconds at 59.5 mph, a tad slower than most other vehicles in this class. You don't want to tackle curves too aggressively anyway, as the Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring SR P215/70R16 tires tend to protest loudly and fold over during cornering maneuvers.
    Hard braking was accompanied by lots of nosedive, and acceleration resulted in rear-end squat, which is to be expected in a vehicle with such soft suspension tuning.
    a couple of editors noted a backache after driving it for a while. No one liked the halo-type headrests. The instrument cluster was designed with "an expensive watch or a bracelet" in mind, with white-faced gauges and green numbers. While it looks different and classy, the numbers were too small to be easily referenced.
    The carmaker took great pains to point out that extravagant items have been used as inspiration for the interior. The color scheme, for example, was supposed to have been influenced by Louis Vuitton luggage. Well, it doesn't quite work, but the tri-tone scheme (in various shades of brown on our test vehicle) is pleasing nonetheless. Materials used fall short of the luxury mark; the leather on the seats is stiff and coarse, the faux aluminum trim (with a pattern that one editor claimed looked like striated muscle tissue) is mere plastic. Various rattles and squeaks infiltrated the cabin, but we couldn't detect any obvious fit-and-finish mistakes.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Friday, funny you would be asking if we read your posts and ours, we quote your own back to you to show inconsistancies in your comments, ie: yes, we read them.

    I know that you test drove the RDV, but my question was did DRIVE the RDV....a different emphasis on the type of driving.

    1 of your 3 categories defining sporty: handling: utilizing slalom stats (and only 2002 available), you still don't admit to the superior numbers that the RDV outperforms the MDX, only the make excuses...does this make the RDV suddenly sporty? Again, I sporty by SUV is totally diferrent from sporty in sports car....of which I saw that you didn't contest.

    "I would like to take that picture for you but with the new VSA system, I cant get the MDX to do spins out." Ah, you're an engineer AND live in the NE...you should know how overcome these controls.... Dirt and Ice have some surprisingly similar qualities on wheels....they both don't give traction for the wheels. Take any car/SUV (even the Volvo). Speed up, slam the brakes, turn hard left/right until going wheels slip (and they will unless you have chains), then jump the gas....oh yeah, you'll spit up that dirt or spin out....and take that picture.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The MDX rear-view camera only comes with the "Touring + Nav" model, which adds another $2000 to the sticker price. Besides, one can add rear sonar parking sensors to the Pilot for about $500.

    Also, the Pilot has a 5 speed transmission, auto-off headlights, speed sensing wipers, ventilated disc brakes (stops shorter than MDX, ha ha), and an available DVD entertainment system.

    So, the only noteworthy feature you mentioned that the Pilot lacks is VSA. VSA adds a little more stability to the MDX, which is known for it's instability during emergency lane change maneuvers. Well, VSA alone does not elevate the MDX above the Pilot, especially considering that prior year MDX's also lacked it...yet are still in the same "class" as the 2003.

    Therefore, I still must conclude that their is no real distinction between the MDX and Pilot.
This discussion has been closed.