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Large Luxury SUV suggestions

Hello,

I am married and have five children so am in the market for a vehicle that still has trunk space while seating seven. I don't put a lot of mileage on my car (less than 10k a year) no mpg is not an issue. I currently have an MDX and LOVE it but the trunk space is insufficient for me with all the seats up. I'd like to find an SUV that handles as well (more car like and tight turning radius) and has more trunk space I need. I'm driving my husband nuts because I can't find a vehicle that meets these requirements and we are carless. I've narrowed down choices to the Escalade ESV and the Infiniti QX56. I have two questions. First, are there any other models I should look at? Second, of the Escalade and the Infiniti, which one drives better? I am an awful driver so I need more car like handling so I can do quick u turns, pull into parking spaces more easily, and brake more quickly. My MDX meets my needs in these ways. I drove the Mercedes SUV which was a dream in these aspects but had insufficient trunk room. I'm not sure whether the Infiniti QX56 or the Escalade ESV is much better than the other in these aspects. Also, is one much more safe than the other? I've read the safety ratings but can't decipher the significance of the differences.

Thanks for any advice.
Chrangela

P.S. Any new cars comign out I should hold out for?
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Comments

  • waaaaa!! Cn anyone point me in the right direction? Escalade ESV or Infiniti QX56?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    Have you considered a van?

    tidester, host
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    Which Merc did you drive, the R or GL (I assume it wasn't the ML which is only a 5 seater)? I think the GL is competitive with the Infinity and Escalade in terms of cargo room behind the 3rd row, but I'm not positive. I would suggest you look at the Audi Q7, but if you found the Mercedes to be too small, then the Q7 will be too small as well. You should definitely wait to see the new Buick Enclave, which is coming some time this year. It should fit the bill size wise and will drive/handle much better than either the Infiniti or Escalade while offering a similar or higher level of luxury (but not quite to the level of the Mercedes).

    Based on your criteria, I would rank these in the following order: 1. Mercedes GL; 2. Buick Enclave; 3. Infiniti; 4. Escalade.

    One other point - the Mercedes is the only proper luxury vehicle in this group, although the Buick comes close. The Infiniti and Escalade simply don't have the level of refinement necessary to qualify them as luxury vehicles, something that no amount of leather or techno-gadgetry (or zeros in the price) can hide.
  • Thanks for your thoughts. I -please don't kill me for saying it- prefer not to buy an American made car due to previous experiences with Ford. However, since I need the cargo space behind the third row I can's seem to find any foriegn made canidates. The smaller SUVs abound, such as the Acura MDX, which I love. I don't need a proper luxury SUV as a quasi luxury vehicle will do. The Sequoia is perfect in size but I hated how its quality and how it drove compared to the MDX I have now. The Infiniti QX56 has horrible consumer reports ratings. How much weight do you give these ratings? Why do you rate the Escalade below the Infiniti? DO you think they handle equally well? How do you think their braking and turning circle compare?
    I'm not technical with these things so though I can dig up facts any guidance you can provide is appreciated.

    Angela
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    Again, which Merc did you drive? If you haven't looked at the GL yet, then you should as it fulfills all of your criteria, including not being American made.

    As to the American made issue, I don't disagree with you generally, but the Buick Enclave (and the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia which share the same platform) is the first and only domestic SUV that I would actually recommend.

    If near-luxury is good enough, then you should go look at a loaded Saturn Outlook or GMC Acadia (again - same platform as the Buick Enclave) which is in dealers now. Fully loaded it runs around $42k and is years ahead of most domestic suv's in terms of build/drive/handling.

    How much cargo space do you need behind the 3rd row? What type of items, for example, do you want to be able to fit behind the 3rd row on a regular basis?
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for your offer to help me.
    I looked at the Mercedes GL. I loved how it drove. I could make tight U turns, brake quickly,, park easily and make sharp turns safely without feeling as though the car was going to topple over. I feel this way when I drive my Acura MDX, though the Mercedes drove even better. I'd but another MDX or Mercedes, but there is not enough cargo room in either for me. I have five kids who are with me all the time so I need to seat seven (with husband who accompanies me) along with the soccer mom stuff such as coolers, chairs, gym bags, school books, stroller, etc. I could manage with the MDX fine with four kids since I was able to pot on seat down with the 60/40 split, but not that I have a fifth child I must have all seats up and the trunk space is not enought to even make a grocery trip. The Infiniti has eight seats so I can put down one and have trunk space to go grocery shopping and leave the stroller in at the same time. Right now, I can't do mroe than one errand at a time because I don't have enough trunk space. The Sequoia had a perfect amount of trunk space, but it did not drive as well as the MDX and the Mercedes. I'm not sure what intangibles I am feeling when I test drive so I don;t have any objective criteria to look at. Can you tell from my description what criteria I am "feeling" and should look at? Is it turning radius, braking distance, height of the vehicle? I test drove the Lexus SUV GX and LX but both have a 50/50 split which requires me to keep both seats up in order to seat my family and leaves little to no cargo room. (I loved the GX, btw.)

    Clueless,
    Chrangela
  • I just reread my post. I was in a really big rush when I wrote it and it seems really difficult to understand. Below is my repost.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your offer to help me.

    I looked at the Mercedes GL. I love how it drives. I could make tight U turns, brake quickly, park easily and make sharp turns without feeling as though the car was going to topple over. My Acura MDX's drive feels similar, though the Mercedes drives better. I'd buy a Mercedes or another MDX, but there is not enough cargo room in either for me. I have five kids who are with me all the time so I need to seat seven (with husband who accompanies me now and then) along with the family stuff such as coolers, chairs, gym bags, school books, stroller, etc. I could manage with the MDX fine with four kids since I was able to put a seat down with the 60/40 split, but now that I have a fifth child I must have all seats up and the trunk space is not enough to even make a grocery trip.

    The Infiniti has eight seats so I can put down one and have trunk space to go grocery shopping and leave the stroller in at the same time. Right now, with the MDX I can't do more than one errand at a time because I don't have enough trunk space.

    The Sequoia has a perfect amount of trunk space for my needs, but it did not drive as well as the MDX and the Mercedes.

    I'm not sure what intangibles I am feeling when I test drive so I don't have which objective criteria to compare. Can you tell from my description what criteria I am "feeling" and should look at? Is it turning radius, braking distance, height of the vehicle?

    I test drove and loved the Lexus SUVs but both have a 50/50 split which requires me to keep both back seats up in order to seat my family and leaves little to no cargo room. (I loved the GX, btw.)

    Clueless,
    Chrangela
  • I put in a call to the Infiniti dealership and plan to pick up my new QX56 tomorrow. Does anyone have any advice to give me regarding options, etc? I was really hoping someone would tell me the QX was awful or great, so I am still really unsure.

    Any last minute help welcome.

    Chrangela
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    plan to pick up my new QX56 tomorrow

    If you are taking delivery tomorrow (today?) then haven't you already decided on options? In any case, you will probably get a quicker reply from those who already own a QX in Infiniti QX56.

    tidester, host
  • Hello,

    Thanks for your reply. I was hoping someone might urge me to consider something else, but it seems that the Infiniti is the closest thing to my needs on the market right now.

    Does anyone know how the trunk space of the Infiniti with one seat down compares to the Cadillac?

    Chrangela
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    If you re-read , my posts, you'll see that I have urged you to wait for the Buick Enclave or look at the Saturn Outlook. I'm not sure if you've decided not to because of the domestic issue, but again, if you re-read my posts, you'll see that I don't think these models suffer the same problems as other domestic suvs have.

    Finally, I would STRONGLY recommend that you bring to each car dealership the full complement of cargo items that you would routinely need to fit behind the third row and see how they would actually fit in each suv that you're considering. Cargo capacities are very hard to gauge by eye, and you might find that one that looks too small is actually fine (GL maybe?) and one that looks bigger than the others isn't. I did this a few years ago when I was shopping and the results were surprising to say the least.
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    I would also add that if your inclination is that it's too much trouble to bring all that stuff to each dealership and actually test each suv's cargo space, remember that you're going to be driving this vehicle every day for at least a couple years. One day of lugging stuff around is a small price to pay to get the right suv for you.
  • This is truly helpful advice. I've been stuck for some time and as I said, have bene carless and driving my husband insane. I did what you said, I took my cargo to the dealership of cars I was entertaining buying. The GL did not have much room for anything but a stroller. I also did this for the Honda Pilot (too small), the Sequoia (just right but did not like how it drove), the Infiniti (barely enough room), and the Escalade ESV (a lot of room, but not as much as I thought.) Do you think my perceptions are off base? I did this over the space of several months.
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    Hmmm, have you looked at any minivans? The Honda Odyssey in Touring trim will drive better than any of these (excluding the GL), will offer similar levels of luxury (again excluding the GL) and will have more cargo capacity than any of them. The only real downside (which may or may not be one for you) is that it is a minivan. If you don't like minivans because of their looks/image (I don't either), you have to ask yourself if you'd rather drive a good looking but unwieldy SUV with insufficient cargo space, or an ugly minivan that drives more like a car, that has more than enough cargo space and that makes it much easier for you to get your kids in and out of their seats (sliding doors and walk though second row seats).

    I don't like minivans much myself, but I do recognize that for some people they are clearly the better choice (looks and image notwithstanding), and I'm starting to think that you should really be looking at minivans instead of suvs.
  • Hey Klick,

    Thanks for the honest advice. It is very helpful in its sincerity and time you took to evaluate my needs. FOur of my children are older 13, 12, 11, and 7 so I think I can get away from "needing" a minivan, though this was nto true when I was dealing with multiple carseats. I guess this is why I am so opposed to a minivan. For years I was only able to drive a minivan for the reasons you listed, so now I am ready to move on. I just need help fiuguring out which SUV sill meet my needs almost as good as a minivan.

    Angela
  • Hello,

    I checked into my new suv and it sales price is about $48k. The overall cost of the lease for 36 months is about $30k. Does this sound right?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Chrangela
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,955
    Check out the Leasing vs. Purchasing discussion too.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • klickklick Posts: 15
    I think the issue is not so much the age of your children and car seats as it is cargo capacity. It's an unfortunate reality that almost no SUVs can compete with minivans for interior and cargo space. Based on your replies, it sounds as if you need ALOT of space and that anything smaller than an Escalade ESV, Tahoe XL or discontinued Excursion will be tight. That leaves minivans. If you can compromise on space, then the Infiniti will be ok, but it won't drive as well as a top minivan.

    You also have to bear in mind that minivans have come a long way in terms of how they drive, while the big suv's have not come very far at all. I understand your desire to move on, but you need to understand that moving on might also mean moving down.

    All that being said, the Infiniti is a good choice if you're determined to have a large, but not XL, SUV.
  • Hey Klick!

    You are so awesome for taking the time to answer my questions and think with me. I know a minivan may fit my needs better, but as you observed, I prefer to find an SUV that meets my needs almost as well. I have been toggling back and forth between the Escalade ESV and the Infiniti. The dealerships are next door to each other so I took my luggage and filled both trunks. The Infiniti with one seat down seemed to be close to the amount of cargo space the Escalade ESV has with all seats up, but if you have looked at the cars I'd like to know if you think my observations are correct. (In the Escalade I cannot put the back seat down because it is a 50/50 split and I lose two seats. The 60/40 split of the Infiniti allows me to keep seating I need for seven while still having a seat down.)
    I'd love to know what you think. I have looked at these cars so much I have lost all perspective. I'm just confused now. Lastly, do you think one drives decidedly more like a car than the other?

    Thanks,
    Chrangela

    Thanks.
    Chrangela
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    I think your cargo observations between the 2 vehicles are more or less accurate, but the issue is not so much how they compare in cargo capacity as whether or not the Infiniti has sufficient space. If it doesn't, there's your answer. If it does, then move on to the next point of comparison and put cargo capacity aside.

    The Infiniti is generally considered to be more user friendly than the Caddy. It should also be easier to drive and maneuver solely by virtue of the fact that it is smaller than the Caddy. As to which one of these drives more like a car, well, there's no way to answer that because both of these vehicles are so far removed from cars. Neither one will drive or handle anything remotely like a car.

    If I were choosing between the two, I would choose the Infiniti for the following reasons: (1) the Caddy ESV is too unwieldy to drive because of its gargantuan length, (2) I can't stand the styling of the Caddy, (3) I would have more faith and confidence in the build quality and reliability of the Infiniti, and (4) the Infiniti is significantly less expensive than the Caddy.
  • Hello Klick,

    I am very grateful for your help. I have looked at so many cars that I have become somewhat incapable of making a decision. I have so much information I have lost sight of the main things. Thank you for helping me think through this.

    I agree with all your points about the Escalade. It is more expensive, not as easy to drive, and I prefer the Infiniti make.

    I have thought and thought about whether the Infiniti has enough space for me and cannot come up with a definite answer. Can you help? I'd say the Infiniti would be enough space 80% of the time. On busy days (20%), I might end up with a bookbag or two up front or in the second row at the kids feet. Maybe the kids may hold a throw blanket for the soccer game in their lap. Otherwise, the other 80% of the week I would be fine with the cargo space in the back.

    Once I realized I could not come a definite conclusion on whether I could live with the space in the Infiniti, I thought trying out my traveling luggage in both the Escalade and the Infiniti would yield an answer. Of course, the Escalade holds my luggage no problem. I was surprised that the Infiniti holds all my luggage too. It was really crammed in the car and obscured the rear window, but it fit. We don't take long road trips and the airport in ten minutes from my house so I think we could use the Infiniti even on our biggest trips, which would be to and from the airport, with some cramming.

    I think part of my problem is that I am terribly disorganized and can't discern how much I should really be keeping the car. Right now with my MDX I have to plan my errands around the space in my car which is unacceptable. I can't go from soccer to the grocery store because there is no room for the groceries with the soccer stuff. I can't leave things I need to return in the car in case I am near the store because there won't be room for anything else I might want to bring home.

    I tried out the Infiniti by going to soccer, Costco and the grocery store and ran out of a little space. The kids had to hold a grocery bag or two and a pie, but otherwise we were fine. With the Escalade I could fit everything in the back, but I really don't have to go to the grocery store, Costco, and soccer at the same time that often.

    What do you think? Should I live with a little less space than I need or with a little more? In reality, I think this is what I need, a bit more than the Infiniti and a bit less than the Escalade. I'd say the Infiniti would meet my space needs 80% of the time while the Escalade would be too much space 80% of the time. Does having a little less space than necessary lead to disorganization?

    As before, your advice is appreciated.

    Chrangela
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    That really is a tough question, but if it were me, I would go with the Infiniti because it sounds like the other 20% of the time, you can still make the Infiniti work - it's just a little tight. In my opinion, the occasional inconvenience of having a few things with the kids or in the seating areas is much less of an inconvenience than the inherent inconveniences of the Caddy that you would have to live with 100% of the time.
  • Hey Klick,

    I'm again grateful for your time. I hope my explanation helped you understand why I had such a hard time with this decision. I did choose to buy the Infiniti, but bad weather in my area has prevented its delivery so I have had time to reconsider. This has been a blessing to me as your advice has made me feel better about the purchase. I hate spending such a large amount of money on something I'm not sure I should be buying.

    Can you clarify something you said in your last post? You said if it were you you would live with the occasional inconvenience of having a few things in the seating area than the "inherent inconeveniences of the Caddy." Can you please specify what these inconveniences are exactly?
    Are these ones you mentioned before?

    Finally, in my understanding the recommended alternatives to the Infiniti are the 1) minivan, which I don't care for, and the 2) Buick Enclave (which isn't available until the summer, and seems like it has less cargo space than the QX) and the Mercedes GL (not enough cargo space). Are these the only alternatives to the Infiniti given my need for cargo space and desire for an SUV that drives as car like as possible? Are there any cars I missed looking at?

    Thanks again, Klick. After you answer these two questions, I think I am done with this process. Thanks again for helping my through the buying process. I feel a lot better about my decision.

    Chrangela
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    The inherent inconveniences are indeed the same issues that I mentioned previously.

    Also, I think you've considered all the viable choices except perhaps the Saturn (upon which the Buick is based), but I suspect that it has less space than the Infiniti.

    Glad I could be helpful.
  • I went back and reread you list of inherent problems with the Caddy. Here is what you told me:

    (1) the Caddy ESV is too unwieldy to drive because of its gargantuan length, (2) I can't stand the styling of the Caddy, (3) I would have more faith and confidence in the build quality and reliability of the Infiniti, and (4) the Infiniti is significantly less expensive than the Caddy.

    I understand everything except number one. Are you speaking of parking issues? What do you mena it is unweildy to drive?
  • klickklick Posts: 15
    It's significantly longer and a little heavier. This will probably make parking and maneuvering in tight places more difficult than would be the case with the Infiniti.
  • Hello again!

    I have had a QX loaner all week while my car gets ready. It is very scary to drive something so heavy. I wonder whether the Caddy would have felt as difficult to stop.
    Oh well. I hope I get used to it.

    I am to pick up my QX today. I weas rereading my leas eagreement and noticed that the early termination fees invovle all unpaid payments. This essentially means I can't terminate early. Does anyone know whether this is a customary term for lease agreements?

    Thanks again,
    Chrangela
  • Hi i'm curious about your comment re american made.
    I have previously leased and had no problems ever with my Acura SUV, Pathfinder or current Highlander Limited SUV, but now WANT to buy American (just for patriotic reasons). I have test drove alot of the SUV's in the last 2 months (all 2007's)(I go by looks and quiet smooth ride). Although I loved the Enclave. I cannot afford it, however, I can get into a LINCOLN MKX 2007 with their current lease special for $1000 down OTD and $403.10 month for 39 month including tax. Should I not proceed? I already put down $500 deposit on a gorgeous red MKX, the interior is light camel leather with blond wood, what is wrong with american made? I could also get into the 2007 Murano with touring package but the MKX is much more luxurious. Should I wait for 2008's to come out?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Patriotic reasons? I believe that the MKX may be made in Canada or Mexico!

    A lot of the foreign manufacturs are actually made here. Mercedes ML is in NC or SC, Pathfinder, Titan, Armada, Frontier in TN, and several others.

    -mike
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