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Acura MDX vs BMW X5



  • So... I pose a question to those of you that have carefully compared the MDX and the X5... which is more fun to drive?
  • love2driveinct, I have test driven the X5 3.0si without the sport pkg and an MDX Sport. Based on this comparison, overall I like the drive of the BMW. This was based on the overall experience including brake feel, steering, body roll and driver comfort.

    If driving and styling were the only two factors, the X5 would be my first choice. However I need an SUV that can carry 2 adults, 2 children and 1 dog plus cargo. Now other factors such as cargo space, 3rd row seat access and price become a factor.

    I like the overall design and materials used in the X5 over the MDX. However it is worth another $8k for this? For some it may but I need the cargo space which the X5 simply doesn’t have.

  • Thanks NHman.

    We need space for 3 children and no dogs. (We do have 2 dogs, but we don't really bring them anywhere.) If my hubby ends up with another Pilot, then we would still have a vehicle with a bit more cargo space. He implied that he was willing to "sacrifice" and get another Pilot (great deals right now), if our family vehicle was a bit more fun than the MDX we currently have. My top choices are the X5, XC90, and another MDX when our lease is up. And of those, I think the X5 is the only one he'd consider fun to drive. The question is, is it $8K+++ worth of fun?? :confuse:
  • Compared and test drove both car last week.
    Tested it hard in the freeway and curves.
    Went with MDX because comparably equipped is $14K cheaper and 2.9% financing and has better handling IMHO.

    I also assume that Honda/Acura has much better resale value and far more reliable than BMW.
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    Your assumption that Honda and Acura have better resale value than BMW is incorrect. Several surveys over the past few years, including JD Powers and Kelly Blue Book have ranked BMW at, or near, the top of the list for resale value. It depends on who conducted the survey and how they group vehicles into categories. But generally, BMW ranks higher than Honda/Acura for resale value. Recently, Infiniti has been hitting the number one position.

    As for being "far more reliable" check out the MDX discussions in this forum to see the long, long list of complaints about the new MDX's reliability. Even Consumer Reports does not give the MDX its top reliability rating.

    Look to the right of this posting under "LEARN MORE" and read the reviews of the MDX. Note the most recent post (2/15/08) about the MDX that says, "Bought this car two months ago, sport model with ent-package and other bells and whistles. Supposed to enjoy this luxury vehicle, but having nothing but troubles." Also note that consumer reviews in this forum rate the X5 higher than the MDX in 2007 and 2008.

    In my personal experience as someone who has owned 5 X5s and 14 BMWs, I have had no significant reliability issues with any of my X5s (with the possible exception of the very first model year in 2000 when the E53 X5 was brand new to BMW.) After a year of driving the second generation E70 X5, it never went back to the shop except for scheduled maintenance, which of course was free. Not a single defect.

    Compare that with the one Acura that I owned, which had 8 visits to the shop in the first year and several problems that could not be repaired except by trading it in. That vehicle was a nightmare and it's the reason why I switched to German cars and never looked back.

    These forums are loaded with discussion about reliability, both good and bad, so I judge by my personal experience (which is considerable with BMW). My experience with BMW reliability has been overwhelmingly positive. You'll have to judge the MDX based on your particular experience. Hopefully, it will live up to your expectations.
  • bmlexusbmlexus Posts: 755
    In my personal experience as someone who has owned 5 X5s and 14 BMWs, I have had no significant reliability issues with any of my X5s (with the possible exception of the very first model year in 2000 when the E53 X5 was brand new to BMW.) After a year of driving the second generation E70 X5, it never went back to the shop except for scheduled maintenance, which of course was free. Not a single defect.

    Wow thats a lot of experience with 14 bmw.

    but u did get rid of ur current x5 rite?

    U had no significant reliability issues means there were some issues?

    Since u owned so many bmw never tried getting a lexus?

    lately i heard that lexus electronic is better than bmw and much more refreshing

    any comments?
  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    As I said in my post, "After a year of driving the second generation E70 X5, it never went back to the shop except for scheduled maintenance, which of course was free. Not a single defect."

    I traded out of my most recent X5 after one year because I get a new vehicle every year and I wanted to try something different. I did not trade it because I was unhappy with it.

    I have driven many Lexus vehicles over the years and hated the driving experience, suspension, seats, and the steering column made of rubber. I also fundamentally object to paying luxury vehicle prices for a car that was built from parts that are designed to be cost effective in a $25,000 Camry. I would never, ever buy a Lexus even though the Mark Levinson stereo is superior and Toyota electronics are easier to use.
  • prazpraz Posts: 163
    I agree with Anon that parts on Lexus are from Camry but not all parts. Also, not all Lexus vehicles are built on Camry, some are. For discussion purpose, let us consider 2007 Camry and 2007 ES. Apart from engine and transmission, I don't see many parts being common including the sheet metal and design. Seriously, how many of you will check the materials on parts? All that matters is reliability, comfort ride, luxury and fuel economy. People buy Lexus because they can afford extra money for prestige and at the same time have the advantage of replacing parts that are not expensive which means less maintenance costs. Going by numbers, RX (6th year model) sold more than 100,000 units last year and ES sold close to 85,000 units and these numbers are high for luxury vehicles that are built on $25,000 cost effective platform. Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Benz and other manufacturers build good vehicles but all depends on one's taste.
  • bcb1bcb1 Posts: 149
    Sorry but there isn't much activity on the "regular" X5 forum (not since last December!), so I thought I might get an answer here. I've always owned large SUV's. My current one is a Yukon that I bought new in 2000 and has been very reliable and trouble-free, even with 150K miles on it.

    I'm itchy to buy a new (used) SUV and the X5 intrigues me. My wife drove one at Carmax and fell in love with it. I had been leaning towards a Toyota Land Cruiser or Sequoia, but now I'm wondering about the X5.

    So I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that owns an X5, mostly about their reliability, annoyances, positive features, etc. If it makes any difference, I'd probably go with the 2003 model year, 3.0 engine.
  • kkelly2kkelly2 Posts: 5
    In December we traded in our 2000 Landcruiser for a 2008 X5 3.0. If it were not for the > $70k price tag and the 3rd row that doesn't fold flat, I would have definitely gone for another Landcruiser. In the 8 years we had it, we never had one problem. But I wanted to upgrade safety features, get a nav and sat. radio and especially increase the mpg. Our search was limited b/c we need a 3rd row for carpooling the kids. As it turns out, I absolutely love my X5. Handling is great. The one-knob technology system (nav, audio, etc) is significantly better than the competition (my husband has an Acura and it's terrible). The 3rd row is tight, but works for the kids. And so far I'm getting over 17mpg with virtually no highway driving (Landcruiser was closer to 11). So no complaints - it's great. Can't speak to the '03, but I'd go for '08 if you can swing it.
  • bcb1bcb1 Posts: 149
    Thanks for your advice. I drove a Sequoia and LC on the same day at Carmax just to get a good side by side comparison. I liked both, but thought the Sequoia might be just a little smoother. But ugh...I've already owned a Yukon for 8 years now and was just ready to try something a little different. And the BMW X5 is definitely a little different. I just hope I don't end up regretting my decision when I go to haul 20 or 30 bags of wood pellets or mulch :) The X5 has a lot of sport, very little utility.

    Re: the '08 vs. '03. Cost is definitely an issue. We try to pay cash for our car purchases (actually we usually end up financing about 20% of the purchase). So we can easily do that on an '03 X5. On an '08....not so much. I just don't like owing a pile of money on a depreciating asset.
  • thstonethstone Posts: 6
    You can ALWAYS pay less to get less. Either you want the best driving SUV (the BMW X5) or you don't. Money is not the primary concern.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Except the X5 doesn't really drive any better than the MDX. At least, not from an overall performance perspective. You can nitpick about the MDX not braking well, but the MDX fans can counter with faster acceleration times (0-60, 1/4 mile, rolling start, etc.). At the end of the day, each has their strong points, but the overall differences between the two are minor.

    If you want to take the approach that the X5 offers more amenities, or a more luxurious package, I could take your point. You pay more and you get more by going with the X5. But from the driver's seat, the MDX delivers equivalent performance for fewer dollars.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The MDX has much more interior space behind the front seats than the X5. The MDX is a more practical vehicle. I can put my road bike in the MDX. It won't fit in the X5.

    In a C&D comparo, the 2007 MDX crushed the V6 X5, as it did all the other V6 SUV's in the comparo.

    The MDX totally rocks! :shades:
  • seawolf21seawolf21 Posts: 11
    Really loved the styling on the X5 and wife even okayed the X5...but there's been complains about the X5 camera at night on bimmerfest. That was more of a deal breaker than the $11K premium. I do miss the parking distance control function and the turning grid lines on the rearview camera during the day. :(
  • sloperbsloperb Posts: 2
    I owned an '07 MDX (Tech+Entertainment) and recently traded in for an '09 BMW X5 4.8i. Here are my thoughts on both.

    First, I'll say I loved my MDX and it was hard to trade it in. Unfortunately, I had an issue where smoke started coming out of the center console. Two Acura dealerships and the regional engineers looked at it and declared the car was fine, but the poor customer service we got from the dealership and from Acura headquarters killed any loyalty I might have had to Acura and instead of reassuring my wife that the car was safe, convinced her we needed a new car.

    From a handling standpoint, the X5 in "Sport" handling mode and the MDX (I didn't have the sport suspension on the MDX) seem to handle almost identically to me. I have a steep switch-backed stretch of road near my house and both handled it great. The X5 without sport handling enabled seemed to have a little more tail drift and took a little more micro-adjustments steering at speed to keep it tracking than the MDX.

    The MDX had *a lot* more room in the cargo area. This is the hardest thing to give up as we tend to put stroller+groceries+new plants in the back a couple times a month and it has become a packing challenge with the X5. The rear gate on the MDX will remotely close, is a full gate rather than two pieces, could be closed manually easily, and did the "slow close" for the last 2 inches, protecting things you might have in the back (plants, etc) from damage. I had both in 7-seats, and the 3rd row in the MDX was noticably roomier.

    The MDX was also 2 inches wider than the X5, which given how wide both are in general, that 2 inches actually makes a difference squeezing into parking spots and getting out without banging your door.

    The 2nd-row doors also opened wider on the MDX. The X5's open plenty-wide, but that extra ~4 inches of travel helps when you're loading in a baby like we are.

    The rubber mats in the MDX were also of higher quality and fit cleanly over the carpet mats.

    Finally, the navigation system and entertainments/environment controls were far easier to use on the MDX. iDrive is just painful. The map showed colored traffic speeds in the MDX whereas the triangles on the BMW are ok, they're not as helpful. I also miss being able to just have the map up all the time automatically (I get this in the BMW only if the map is on the smaller right-hand screen) and being able to just move the cursor, click and set as a destination. I found this helpful when trying to figure out how to get on a highway. I'd just scroll down, find any old spot down the highway and let the nav-system tell me how to navigate to the onramp.

    Gas mileage on the MDX averaged a good 3mpg better than the X5 so far. I like the little tire pressure display on the MDX and haven't been able to figure out how to see the actual tire pressure on the X5, though I know it is measuring them.

    The MDX's ceiling-mounted DVD player with built-in wireless speakers and wireless remote were great. Our daughter isn't old enough to enjoy them, so we rarely used them, but they certainly beat the X5's center-mounted screen the blocks access to the center-console compartment and lack of wireless headphones.

    The cup-holders in the side-pockets on the doors are really convenient.

    Ok, so what do I like better about the X5?

    The X5 V8 accelerates a bit faster than the MDX, but not noticeably at the low range. Presumably the increased weight offsets the additional horsepower a bit. That said X5 really jumps much better than the MDX when driving at highway speeds. Zoom, it just goes!

    Fit and finish on the body panels, etc feel much much better on the BMW. The Acura really felt like an upgraded Honda, not a ground-up luxury vehicle when it came to things like the rubber seals around the doors which would pop out sometimes.

    Visibility is better in the X5. The side-mirrors are bigger and the far-back windows are bigger. The bigger sun-roof is also nice. Comfort-access is better than the big switch-blade key that the MDX gave.

    The bluetooth integration is much better on the X5. I had problems between the iPhone and the MDX when it came to initiating calls with the iPhone or switching between iPhone and car speaker on an active call. Further, the X5 pulls in your full addressbook for dialing through iDrive or voice-based, whereas the voice-based addressbook and scrollable addressbook in the MDX both had to be programmed separately.

    The X5 has iPhone integration and the MDX didn't. The iPhone integration works great. I'm finding Sirius reception to be worse than XM, but I may have an antenna problem that I need the dealership to look at.

    I love the 6 programmable buttons on the X5. Setting a button to speed-dial my wife is far more convenient than doing voice-based access.

    The X5's built-in side-window shades are handy with a baby.

    The turning lines and parking radar for the parking camera in the X5 are really great. I didn't realize how much I'd like them. I do, however, hate the little message that says "do not rely on camera alone" because it creates a blind-spot right where a crazy driver doing 50mph in a parking lot would appear first. I like to see those folks coming.

    I found the front and middle-row seats to be similarly comfortable and spacious in both cars. Both cars seemed similar wrt to road-noise. Cruise control is similar. Garage door access and gate openers both worked fine on both cars.

    Overall, the MDX set a really high bar, but aside from the lack of cargo-space I'm really happy with my X5. That said, I paid a lot more for the X5. Some of that will be made up by the zero BMW maintenance costs in the first 50,000 miles, but not nearly enough to justify the difference.

    So in conclusion... in my experience both are great cars and perform very similarly. I give the edge to the MDX on roominess and accessibility of back seats. I give the edge on fit+finish to the X5. I find the X5 easier to park. The improved iPhone/Bluetooth is offset by the frustrating nav+iDrive. Price goes to the MDX. Thus far, customer-care and service go to BMW.

    Ultimately, the question likely comes down to brand -- do you want an Acura or do you want a BMW?
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    "Ultimately, the question likely comes down to brand -- do you want an Acura or do you want a BMW?"

    As you point out price is also a consideration, especially if you're looking at the 4.8i instead of the base engine.

    One point you did not touch on is the sound systems - which do you think sounds better and which is more convenient to work with?
  • magbarnmagbarn Posts: 35
    Did you consider the diesel engine? That's the X5 I'd get
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    Great write up, sloperb. :)

    No smoke coming from our center stack (was it smoke or steam?).
    Our '07 sport/ent has been fairly bulletproof like our '04 MDX, not real pleased with getting 25k miles out of the OEM Michelins but the Mich's in "sport" mode was a blast, much like the handling on my '05 TL.
  • I have always put a great deal of research into buying a new vehicle and I always end up going back to consumer reports, they are pretty much the bench mark when road testing new vehicle's and reliability, what I have found however is that if you find a car that looks good on paper you still have to test drive it and like it, now getting back to what vehicle is better? it all depends on your preference, I personally have driven both vehicles and in a perfect world if the x5 came with the same track record as far as reliability, and if the two were priced equally it would make my decision an easy one, the people I know that buy the bimmer dump in after the 3 year free maint, according to them your basic oil change , brake pads if you stick with them after the 3 years they will get their money back from you on the exuberant maintenance cost.

    My recommendation is to check with consumer reports first, see what they have to say first and then test drive and compare yourself, but in the newest report the MDX comes out on top, and by quite a margin.
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