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



  • Both second row seats fold forward flat. I guess they crawl over which ever side was left folded flat. We bought '02 base, added tow package, door bumper/trim, mud flaps, and rubber floor mats. First saw it in March on a Tuesday, picked it up on Thursday. Paid MSRP for everything. Couldn't even get the salesman to throw in a pen! Seems to me MSRP was $34 something, tow was $750, and the other stuff added another couple of hundred. Couldn't justify all that extra cash for the Touring Edition, and my wife could not care less about Nav, 6 disc CD changer/upgraded stereo, memory seats (I think that's it). I have a portable GPS with moving map that I take when needed. Also, this was immediately available. The dealer was taking orders (in March) for August deliveries. Honda Finance offered 5.09% for 5 years at the time. But home equity LOC at prime minus .5% equals 3.75% tax deductible.
  • fedlawman: You are starting to sound like a broken record. Notice that almost everyone in here provides links so its all out there in the open and there is nothing to hide.


    Check these numbers out, the true cost to own on a 03 Buick RDV thru out the life of the SUV = $44460. Links is below:

    The true cost to own on a 03 MDX base thru out the life of the SUV = $48441. Links is below:

    We had this discussion about comparing the MDX base to the RDV already: But I will stick to my option that the RDV has options that the MDX dont have and the MDX base also has options that the RDV dont have.

    Therefore, if your plan to keep both SUV for 4 or 5 years, the difference in true cost to own is less than $4000 dollars.

    By the way, thanks for the links to the RDV engine update. I truly hope that Buick will offer this upgraded engine with a sports package, because the current suspension and tires will not handle additional power.

    As to the estimated $5000 in price change, I reference that from the Volvo's price difference in the 2 different engines in the XC90. It will be somewhere in that ballpark for the RDV as well. In that case the true cost to own for a RDV will actually be higher than the MDX.

  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Friday, we've covered that point in previous post #187:

    Cut/pasted for you: "Your research on Cost again didn't compare apples:apples. MDX base does not equal CXL. Sorry, look at the features lists to the two for accuracy. MDX Touring is needs to be factored, not base. Furthermore, the Cost to Own doesn't factor in financing (which is 0% right now). This added another $6,000 in difference. Totalling about the $14,000 mark that fedlawman had just mentioned, not $4000."
    Look at the details on how Edmunds broke down the'll explain the difference quite clearly.

    It's not about your opinion that wrong, the ammenities simply don't match MDX base:RDV CXL Plus (see multiple posts above, and no I'm not going to cut/paste it all over again...use the scrool option).

    You're welcome on the engine specs....the engine upgrade will probably be around ~$1400, not $5000; utilizing the Envoy engine upgrade option as a reference guide; imports (esp Volvo) love to jam you with the packages....profit margin galore for them; thus a poor reference for upgrade costs.
  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244
    miks said, " ... isn't the MDX much more luxurious then the others mentioned here? Certainly more so than the RDV!"

    Miks, please help me understand how the MDX is "certainly more" luxurious than the RDV. I'm currently enjoying my heated front seats, heads-up display, dual climate control, 4 wheel ABS Disc brakes, chrome aluminum wheels, 3 rows of supple leather seats that actually fit adults, Onstar, Power Moonroof, great Bose? (see earlier posts) eight speaker stereo with 6 disc in dash changer and dual subwoofers, sonar backup assist, memory seats & mirrors, rear footrests, great ride, AWD, front and side airbags, auto climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated outside mirrors ... what more do you want for "luxury"? Oh yeah, I own a 2002 Rendezvous CXL with Versatrak.

    Miks, your post didn't effectively address your statement about "luxury". Here are my responses to yours.

    Miks said, "I see I hit a nerve with RDV owners." No "hurt feelings" here, just trying to figure out what you define as "luxury", since you stated that the MDX is "certainly more" luxurious than the RDV.

    "Luxury my friend is in the eye of the beholder." Agreed. And thank God!

    "Don't be jealous of plastic wood ...." Puhhhlease ... I'm not. Jealous of Plood?

    "...many luxury vehicles today have plastic instead of wood." So does my wife's Hyundai Sonata, my old '94 Nissan Altima and my '01 Isuzu Rodeo.

    "I don't feel the vehicles compare." I know, what I'm asking is how they *do* compare luxury-wise.

    "Does the RDV have climate control the rear passengers can control? I know the MDX does." The RDV has dual climate control, not front/rear climate control. Does the MDX? Does the MDX have rear stereo controls so that the rear seat passengers can listen to and control different music sources than the front seat passengers? The RDV does.

    As for Onstar, your cell phone cannot automatically notify authorities that your airbag has gone off in an accident. Your cellphone cannot track a stolen vehicle. And your cellphone cannot unlock your car doors if you're locked out. Finally, your cell phone cannot run remote diagnostics *while driving*. Pretty "luxurious" in my book :)

    "JK27- MDX has most of the amenities you mentioned and even some you didn't. Here's the kicker... didn't have to pay extra for each of them. The MDX comes with most." I got these features with the CXL package and didn't have to "pay extra" for each of them. I simply purchased the CXL with the 3rd row seat, the 6 disc indash CD changer and the moonroof (3 options, nothing more). All the rest were standard features. Here's the real kicker: I paid only $30k after rebates, total.

    "Again, didn't mean to rile you up." Don't worry, you didn't. I'm an attorney by trade, and it takes quite a bit to "rile me up". Sorry if I ruffled *your* feathers.
  • Yes we did discuss comparing the MDX based with the RDV before, and I believed that we did not agree as usual. The MDX base has options that the RDV dont have. Plus it has a much more powerful power train, VSA system and locking differential. Those 3 major items alone should add up to the cost of all those extra little options that the RDV has over the MDX.
    I just got 3.5% financing on my MDX, that comes out to about a little over $3000. Therefore, the $6000 figure should be cut in half and that $3000 you save from 0% financing will not even cover the lower residual price of the RDV after 4 to 5 years.
    As far as what Buick will charge for the upgraded engine. We will just have to wait and see, will we. If they package the upgrade engine with a upgrade transmission and suspension like they should. Then the price will be much higher than your $1,400 prediction.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    diploid, thank's for the link. Very good resource.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Come on, friday.....those 3 options, aren't even options between the base/touring. Ammenities are traditionally options, you know that from being an owner of two Bimmers. Apples:apples.

    CXL plus: Heads up display (not even in touring), Onstar (not even in touring), reatined accessory power (not even in touring), Dual-Zone climate control (not even touring has, but touring does have back seat climate),

    memory seats (touring only), power both sides (touring only), heated front seats (touring only), Back up sensor (touring only, camera at that, not even sensor), 8 speaker system (touring only)....

    So, how did you secure 3.5% financing? Not offered nationally. 3 or 5 years? Down payment? Arrival at $3000 savings over...what?
  • $6,000 in interest on the MDX?? What kind of credit risk are you?

    What is missing from the base MDX that the Buick has?

    The MDX lacks driver/passenger side climate, but man that AC/heating system cranks out some huge BTUs. Our black rig cools in a NY minute on those hot summer days. Heats up plenty fast too. My Audi has driver/passenger side climate control, and wouldn't you know, both are set for about the same temp - and my wife is always very cold. Not a big deal especially with heated seats, directional vent control, and windows that open.

    Our MDX comes with rear seat CD players in the form of portable units that most kids have. Doesn't really define luxury. Also a DVD player with a 6.5" screen - also the portable variety. Both are easily transferable to the A8 (with REAR heated seats).

    All in jest. But just trying to help provide honest information to the potential buyers out there.

    Good luck.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Actionman, you may have missed my #345 post while typing. Paragraph 2 for what MDX lacks in both editions.

    The dual climate is important for me. My darling wife is from Miami, and can't stand anything below 80F. That means until dual climate, I always sat in a sauna. Being from Michigan, 68F is much more pleasant. Thus, my setting is inevitably bluish, and hers is cranker far right to hot hot hot. That's a major point that dinged the MDX for us.

    I agree, 19,000 BTU is stronger than many AC units (most Yorkers don't even know what AC is!). Great for the AC in summer. A good change from those Honda air blowers in the '80s.

    I also love the LCD/DVD idea. Same thing for our RDV. 8.5" portable for $350 on eBay sure beats the $1000 6.5" option. Looking to install the DVD/Nav by Pioneer in the near future for $1300.

    Have an that's a nice one to tool around with the fam. Seems like the MDX is relegated to weekend towing and soccer practice.
  • bgsntthbgsntth Posts: 76
    I have been lurking here for awhile now, as much for the information as entertainment. Thanks. My wife and I have been looking for a replacement for our Grd. Cherokee Ltd. w/ a V8, Quadradrive and the Upcountry suspension. A seriously sweet machine that we will both miss. Dead reliable (honest), a beast off-road, and a lot of fun to drive on the road as well. We have another son on the way and needed more back seat room and easier egress/ingress. I refused my wife's desire for a large SUV (e.g., Sequoia, Tahoe, Expedition), as I think they are ridiculous unless you are hauling big boats and draft horses. She wanted something smooth, with good power, luxury amenities, and a badge she could be proud of. FWIW, I drive a WRX wagon and before that an R-package Miata.

    Even though we value different things in our cars we finally settled on the MDX after a lot of agonizing and screaming. The MDX met all our needs except that of true off-road capability. I also think it lacks any real character or driving fun, but it is functional. Close candidates were the new Disco, Pilot, and Sequoia. A strange lot I know. I'm 6'4", so a lot of choices got rejected right off the bat due to a lack of head room (e.g., Explorer).

    We chose the MDX, but buying one was another thing altogether. I was working with every dealer in NorCal, but had a difficult time finding the one my wife wanted. Not to mention trying to find a dealer who did not demand you pay over MSRP or buy their miserable running boards. To get one at MSRP with decent lease terms meant we would have had to order via John Bruno at Oakland Acura, but I did not have a month to wait. If your looking for an MDX in NorCal go to John via the internet, and save yourself the aggravation I went through. He is a straight shooter who will give you a fair deal. Unfortunately I did not have the luxury of time.

    Anyhow, I called the MB dealer and asked if they could get me an ML350 for MDX money. Not only could they do it, but actually get me a fairly loaded one with the Inspiration package. Wow, I didn't even think we could afford the ML. The wife is happy, I have a low-range and true manual-shift capability, we have a roomy back seat with big rear doors, and free maintenance with MD loaner cars.
  • miksmiks Posts: 33
    Hopeitsfriday, sorry to start this man and leave you out there. Been a little tied up. Thought I would jump in and mention one thing understanding of course we will never agree. Let me just point something out that maybe is just to obvious. MDX, X5, QX4 GX470, RX300, LX470, G CLASS, M CLASS, XC90 - ALL considered Luxury vehicles. NOW... Rendezvous, Blazer, Durango, Explorer, Envoy, Pilot - All considered Midsize SUV's. Why have we changed the name of the Rendezous to RDV? Is it to make it appear to fit into the Luxury category or simply because the name is too long to keep typing for these message boards. You can argue where it belongs based on magazines, articles etc. Bottom line is once you ride in both the "RDV" belongs in the Midsize category and the MDX belongs in the luxury category. Edmunds obviously agrees that's why it has been placed in the Midsize category. If price was a determining feature with all the add on's that are mentioned for the "RDV" it should be placed perhaps in the luxury class as it has a pretty big price tag. The difference between the two became quite clear upon actually seeing and driving the 2 vehicles. If you are satisfied with what the "RDV" aka Rendezvous provides then buy it! If you want/need more then look at some of the luxury line to satisfy your needs. The price is pretty close. You can't compare base line to base line because there are different levels of what is considered base and neither vehicle has the same on any vehicles. But lets not get pouty about the category Edmunds and others have placed the Rendezvous. Merely accept it and be happy you got what you considered a good deal on your opinion of luxury. If you really don't like it then petition Edmunds to change the category. I stick with my initial reaction both before and after checking out said vehicles up close. Nice ride, not quite luxury. Hopeitsfriday, my friend, didn't mean to get them on you again. Thanks for taking up my slack. Wow, one comment! Happy motoring all and whatever you drive, it's obviously luxury to you regardless of what others call it!
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    RDV certainly is shortened because we hate typing Rendezvous all over's pretty hard typing that one....hands all over the place.

    I agree with your assesmenet that you have to load the "RDV" (like the BMW X5, Volvo XC90), to be able to compare like amenities. But as stated on the price, in my previous 5 posts, the difference IS significant: $9500 between the RDV CXL Plus and MDX Touring. "The price is pretty close" if you're playing horseshoes or with hand grenades

    When someone crashes in and makes an unsupported statement like: "Does the MDX actually fit into this category? The MB M class is smaller and isn't the MDX much more luxurious then the others mentioned here? Certainly more so than the RDV!", then you lose credibility yourself.

    Per Edmunds: "all-wheel-drive-equipped Rendezvous CXLs at $28,027, significantly less than *similarly equipped* Acura MDXs ($34,850) and Lexus RX 300s ($36,150). Consumers shopping those vehicles have probably never even thought twice about a Buick, but the Rendezvous certainly presents an interesting package for them to consider"

    Sounds like edmund's thinks these vehicles are comparable
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Miks, wanted to clarify your previous post also, those cut/pasted comparison numbers that you posted were from two completly different comparos. eg. The braking, though in the details show equivalent distance stoppage, the scores of 4 ("RDV"), and 9 (MDX). Why? because different comparisons vehicles used, thus merely looking at the scoring that you did is invalid.

    Won't even begin commenting on your sarcasm.
  • Getting back to the RDV vs MDX base comparison, those 3 options may not be options, even better they come standard, but none the less they are features that the RDV do not have. Therefore they should definitely be counted.
    Lets try to estimate some prices for these options or features from the two vehicles.

    RDV: Heads up display $500, Onstar $800, Dual-Zone climate control $0 because the MDX has rear climate control, memory seats $600, one power seat $600, heated front seats $0 base model has heated seats too, Back up sensor $800, 8 speaker system $0 base has 7 speaker 110 watt system. Total = $2700

    MDX: More powerful power train: I have claim number as high as $5000 and you as low as $1500. Let find a middle number here and go with it $3200, VSA system $800, locking differential $600 and more powerful HVAC system $400. Total = $5000.

    Therefore, no matter how much we play around with those numbers. Anyone one can clearly see that the RDV should be compare to the MDX base not touring.

    By the way, I hope you are not claiming that you can get one side of the RDV down to 68 deg and the other side up to 80 deg. That is totally against the law of thermo dynamics. Unless you have a piece of plexglass between the driver and the passenger sides.

    How did I secure 3.5% financing? It is offered nationally, to people with good credit. Its a 5 years loan from Chase Manhattan Bank. Average rate right now is around 4%. That is all I care to discuss about my finance.

    Miks is right, everyone's opinion of luxury vehicle is different, so is everyone's option of a expensive vehicle. But a bunch of options definitely does not add up to luxury. By the way, what have you got against plastic wood panels? The plood as you call it, on the MDX is very high quality on the 03. My old Jeep Grand Cherokee had the real cheap plood compare to the MDX. If real wood panel is what you are looking for, then may I point out that the Kia Sorento has real wood trims. Does that make the Kia a luxury SUV?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    You forgot:

    MDX: sporty handling - $1000; near-luxury interior - $750; handsome SUV styling - $750; 8" ground clearance - $600; Motor Trend car of the year award - $1500; Not having to be seen driving a Buick - $1400

    Your total of $5000 plus my total of $6000 makes a grand total of $11,000!
  • Dont worry about it, miks my friend, I dont think you start it at all. It all started as a friendly discussion about how much cheaper the RDV is , how Buick can make a SUV for such a low price and rather if it belongs in the same class as the rest of the SUVs on this board. Some think it is and some think it isn't as you can see already. Although pretty much everyone agrees that the X5, QX4, GX470, RX300, LX470, G Class, MDX, M class and XC90 are in the same class and maybe even the top of the line Ford Explorer / Mountaineer . The opinions from this board on rather or not the RDV belongs in this class has been mixed. As we all know by now thanks to montreid, the 04 RDV will have the much needed upgrade powertrain and perhaps some upgrade to its luxury items as well. I hope Buick will offer the larger engine as an option. If Buick offers as standard equipment, it may actually back fires on them. The typical Buick buyer value more in pricing than horsepower. I guess we will all have to wait and see.
    By the way miks, thanks for the backing.
  • fedlawman you are making as much sense as you ever did. Stay with us buddy and try to keep up please.
  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244
    Miks: Don't flatter yourself ... your single comment didn't start off this discussion ;) Welcome to the fray!

    Hopeitsfriday: Where in the world do you come up with your off-the-wall numbers? $500 for a heads-up display that is built-in to the dashboard and tied into the speedometer, stereo, lights, turn signals, fuel tank, etc.? (yeah, it shows radio station #'s, track and disc #'s, low fuel message, turn signals, etc.) Did you know that the RDV which has the HUD has a completely separate windshield to allow the HUD to display better? Just the special windshield costs more than $500! Not to mention the computer that runs it. And wiring, and labor, etc.

    Dual zone climate control: yep, it really works. My wife likes it hot and I like it cool -- and no plexiglas between us (although that nice center console does separate the driver from the passenger pretty well. The temperature of the air coming out of the two sides can vary significantly.

    By the way, the Detroit News is the 41st largest newspaper in the United States (based on circulation). It is not "... merely one newspaper out of 200 that are in circulation in the country, hardly worth even mentioning." The Gannett Corporation would differ with your opinion, as do I.

    Max Cargo Volume: RDV 108.9 cu. ft., MDX 82 cu. ft.

    RDV has 2nd row removable seating. MDX does not.

    RDV Mileage: 19/26
    MDX Mileage: 17/23

    Let the games continue ...
  • redline65redline65 Posts: 693
    "Let me just point something out that maybe is just to obvious. MDX, X5, QX4 GX470, RX300, LX470, G CLASS, M CLASS, XC90 - ALL considered Luxury vehicles. NOW... Rendezvous, Blazer, Durango, Explorer, Envoy, Pilot - All considered Midsize SUV's."

    How about this comparo from C&D:

    "The mission statement herein was to evaluate all SUV entries in the so-called medium premium market"

    So the MDX, X5 3.0i, GX470, XC90, and Envoy SLT are all grouped into this category. I guess this could be called the "entry-level luxury" category for SUVs.
  • Boy, you RDV are like a tag team, I have never seen a bunch of owners so defensive about their cars.

    Like I mention earlier, those numbers are estimated. Any how, how much do you think the heads up display is worth. $500 for the special windshield minus the standard cost of a window shield say $200 buck. That leaves us with $300 for the special wind shield. Computer that runs it maybe about $600 wholesale tops. Price of wires not even mentioning. And we did not include labor or design cost for any of the items we mentioned. Total for heads up display $1100, and thats a high number for debating sake. That leaves us with the RDV having $3300 in equipments that the MDX doesn't have and the MDX with $5000 in equipments that the RDV dont have. My point is again, no matter how you spin the numbers, you cannot make the RDV come out on top. All I was trying to do is convince some of you out there that a comparison of the RDV and the MDX base is very fair.

    Yes, Dual zone climate control really works, just like front and rear climate control in the MDX. But not to the extend of what montreid claims. The digital display may tell you that one side is 68 deg. and the the other is 80 deg. That is the output air temperature of each side, it is not the actual temp of the driver and passenger compartment. Take a thermometer into your car and actually measure it where you would normally seat. It is impossible to have a 12 deg difference in such a small compartment like that. As anyone that took physic in college would knows. The hot are will consume the cold air and the mixing of the two air temperature makes it impossible to have such a temperature differential.

    The Detroit News might be the 41st largest newspaper in the United States, but how big is their automotive column department, 2 or 3 people? Compare to magazines such as motor trend or car and drivers which employs hundreds of people.

    Why would anyone want to remove their second roll seats when they can just fold it down?

    The RDV's MPG rating is 18 city and 24 highway. Refer to the following reference.

This discussion has been closed.