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



  • My first response is to cwjacobsen. With comments like that, you don't deserve a response. Since your statements are merely personal remark and they are non-related to cars, specs or facts.

    To fedlawman and montreid: I do agree with one of the statement you guys made, the fact that I should test drive the RDV before I pass judgment. Being a man of my own words, I will try to test drive one this weekend or next. And I will post my option of it. I want to apologize for some of the remarks I have made in the prior inserts. Its just that I am a very passionate car guys and like fedlawman, I find debating a lot of fun. By the way fedlawman, the only things on that list you claim I said, I have actually stated only the last 2 items.

    Let me start a new debate, The four best SUV on the market right now 30K to 50K range. These are not in any particular order. BMW X5, Acura MDX, Volvo XC90 and Lincoln Aviator. With Volkswagon Touareg and Porsche Cayenne on the horizon.

  • For my mission, the Exploder is the only one on that list that works. The RDV and MDX have really feeble towing capacity. The M-Class can only pull 5,000 pounds. An Exploder with a V8 and the towing package can pull over 7,000 pounds.
  • daveghhdaveghh Posts: 495
    I keep seeing 240 HP for the MDX, it is now 260 HP. Keep that in mind.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    No doubt about the towing and trucking. The explorer line really shouldn't be included in this bunch. It would be better compared to the Envoy/Trailblazer class and other truck based chasis that fit 7 people.

    Anything more than your weekend boat tow, you should be looking beyond the crossover segment.

    Being a past unibody truck owner (Pathfinder), even that shaked/rolled too much for my daily needs--thus a converter to the crossover segment.
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    You defend the RDV well. I have really enjoyed the debate with Friday, with facts getting cleared up and comments staying above board.

    My personnel choice was I liked the MDX, but not enough to finance the extra 10k.
  • I am glad someone enjoys these debates besides fedlawman and myself. Again, the idea is to bring forth two very strong options and let the readers decide, at the sametime, everyone can actually learn some facts about the subject. There is no winner and loser really, automobile is very subjective to personal taste. It is so true of the saying that: One's automobile is really an extension of one's personality.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    We are all here to voice our love for our vehicles, and thank Edmunds for allowing us to share in our opinions and experiences. Just imagine what it would be like without these boards and shopping at the dealerships, carrying our little KBBs around! I do regret that things got a little low, and should have controlled some earlier remarks.

    Friday, I hope that your test drive will leave a better impression of the RDV. It doesn't have the engine that of the MDX, but it is a capable one that will allow avoidance and escape, especially at 185HP. It does have quite a few fine things to offer at it's price point.

    As for the 30-50K, I would kill for the VW Touareg. What a machine; but alas, I need a seven seater. :(
  • That is how I bought my last car, with NADA book in one hand and the Edmunds book in the other.
  • Acura dealer told me that the 3rd row seats are not real leather, but vinyl, and the wood trim is not real wood when I was test-driving a MDX Touring earlier this year. Does anyone know if this changed in the 2003 model?

  • I love these debates. I can't read them all but the spirits here are high. I have not driven a lete model Xplorer and so I can't talk about it's performance. The MDX's design is not exciting enough for me. The Bimmer has no 3rd row. So, I ended up with the minivan looking, highly underpowered 2002 ML320. Man do I love the choice I made. Those 3rd row seats are heaven sent (I have 3 young ones) - cumbersome to operate, but you've got to have one to appreciate it. Other than the ULEV rating, the thing about the ML for me was the 4yr/50K FREE SERVICE including 10K+ service (oil change) intervals, the "lifetime" tranny service and the fact that I get a free loaner car (MB) anytime I bring the truck in for anything - and I have had to take it in 3 times for minor things-, and the crash test results. And, BTW, that touch shift tranny is a "learning" type and is actually designed to be driven as a manual. I don't know about the Xplorer but brake assist, traction & stability control, superior 4WD system, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming mirrors, tilt passenger side mirrors on reverse, touch shift adaptive auto tranny and more are unbeatable. Add to that the Xenon lights, etc, etc. I think it's a great deal. I frankly don't like the power and the "cheap" plastic amterials and it's very Minivan looks. But, it works so well (for now) that I'll get another one next time.
  • Yes the 03 MDX is the same, third row seats are vinyl and wood trims are not real. There are very few cars out there that are offering real wood trims for one reason or another. May be due to price or maintenance reason.
  • Recently I saw a MDX and a Rendezvous parked near each other, and noticed how similar their tailgates were. So I went on to superimpose the Rendezvous and MDX drawings(obtained from their respective websites). The profiles seem to be nearly identical. MDX has a 6 inch shorter wheelbase, but all other angles and proportions are very close.

    Below is an image of the two profiles combined. You decide whether the shapes are similar indeed, or it's just my subjective perception.



    p.s. hopeitsfirday, thank you for your info.


  • The image doesn't seem to load. Try to open it from

    MDX is shown on designer drawing with 20-inch wheels.

  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244
    That is very cool, tmakogon! And How did you superimpose those 2 images? That's suspiciously similar, imho! No wonder my two favorite crossovers are the Rendezvous and the MDX. I ended up purchasing the 2002 Rendezvous CXL -- loving it so far!
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    What color is that RDV in the image ? I like it !
  • The process of superimposing was:

    1) copy images

    2) rotate and make the MDX image transparent with Microsoft® Photo Editor (part of MS® Office 2000)

    3) paste both images into MS® Word to scale by length and superimpose the two.

    I don't know the color of the Rendezvous - this is on



  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    The Mercedes offers real wood, as well as the Lexus RX300 and BMW X5.

    But they can get pricier than the models listed for this topic.
  • I test drove the Rendezous last weekend and would like to share my experience with some of you. Frist impression of the Rendezous' exterior was so so. Nice fit and finish on body panels and I thought it look too much like a mini van from the back and also the body panel looks too much like Saturn's, the front end was pretty nice looking in my option. Once inside the Rendezous, my option totally change. The leather seat was cheaply made. The dash board looks like something out of a Saturn sub compact. The interior was awful, the dash board needs a total redesign. Next, I look under the hood. Not too impressive, typical GM engine. Did not have the neat appearance I would like from a engine. Everything kind of just thrown in. Finally, I went for a test drive. The Rendezous handle better than I thought. But what ever good feeling I had from the Rendezous' handling, it was overcome by the its lack of power. The engine had to work really hard to keep up with traffic. I can imagine what it would be like with the Rendezous fully loaded. The salesman gave me a deal of $800 over invoice without me really trying. Thereafter, I went home and did some more research on the Rendezous as well as the MDX. The Rendezous' purchasing price is over $10,000 cheaper than the MDX. So I look into the true cost to own category in Edmunds. The MDX base came in at $48441 and the Rendezous cost $44,462 thru out the life of the car. A $4,000 dollar difference. The savings was not as much as I originally thought.
  • cmnottcmnott Posts: 200
    Just to chime in here, I went with a 2002 Explorer Eddie Bauer and test drove all those vehicles and while the MDX and M-Class are fine vehicles, the MDX looks positively wimpy with the wheels it had ( I understand they improved them for 2003) and the interior was a sombre place indeed. The M-Class was real nice only when very well equipped.

    Looks-wise interior/exterior I preferred the Explorer. Looks muscular and inside is very well appointed and well built. The V8 and 5 spd are excellent as well.

    For price and safety as well as overall driveability, I think the Explorer is best.

    In June 2002, Brent Romans (one of the editors) compared it back to back with an ML500 and found the Explorer (in XLT trim) to be superior in just about EVERY category. Stating: "It's not very often that one can drive a Ford and a Mercedes and come away thinking that the Ford is a better choice."

    High praise indeed.
  • If the only reason you dont like the MDX is because of its wheels, then why dont you just change them. It will only cost you about $600. Also, the interior on the Ford explorer is not any better than the MDX if not worst. As far as the ML goes, the interior is pretty similar no matter what interior option you get. Dont get me wrong, I am not knocking the explorer, but fully loaded. It is a expensive car and in my option, just not as refined as some of its competitions.
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