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Volvo XC90 vs MB M Class vs Acura MDX vs Lexus RX 350 vs BMW X5 vs Cadillac SRX



  • greenlaterngreenlatern Posts: 77
    is solid but don't like the minivan look

    If the "minivan look" kept you out of Benz, why'd you find it acceptable with the MDX? Every review I read mentioned the MDX's mini-van look (the MB actually looks more like a milk truck, not a minivan) and I thought the same thing when I drove it. You do know the MDX is a Honda minivan underneath, right? Sure you wouldn't be just as happy with the (MDX clone and) lower-priced Honda Pilot when it rolls out in a few months?

    Regardless, it's a nice vehicle and you should be happy with it.
  • tso2001tso2001 Posts: 11
    thanks, gotothelight, here in PHX it takes 1.5 to 2 months @ MSRP. greenlatern, ML looks too much like an extra large Kia Sportage, IMHO, too much roundness. My sister's ML even has the AMG sport package but that still didn't convince me. I feel comfortable in MDX, like the view from inside, the sharp edges outside, roominess, handling... all these litte things outweight the others. Cost is irrelivant to me since they're all in the same price range. I can tell you that if X5 were larger, it would have been my choice.
  • sjbettesjbette Posts: 11
    I have been talking to some people about BMW and Mercedes SUV's. I am puzzled with the fact that someone can get an ML500 with approx. $800 above invoice, while they have to pay almost full MSRP for the X5(the best i heard in the SF bayarea is $1000 off MSRP) which is still about $3k above Invoice. Assuming this is demand vs. supply, is BMW X5 really that much more popular than the ML500? I have never driven the ML500 so maybe there are some signaficant performance difference between the two?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The ML is in its fifth model year, and supply has caught up with demand. MB has been offering late-model-year incentives on top of the up-from-invoice pricing. The X5 is still relatively new and in good demand.

    You should drive the ML500, I think you'll like the performance. The V8 is quite powerful, certainly more so than the X5 3.0's V6. A well-equpped ML500 can be bought for under $50k which certainly compares favorably with the 8-cylinder X5.
  • sjbettesjbette Posts: 11
    thanks for the info. i started looking for an upscale SUV not too long ago and that's the experience i have encountered. i visited a few BMW lots and I could hardly find any X5's. when I talked to the dealer, they said almost everything is ordered. This is quite a different scene from the MB lots where there are quite a bit of M classes to choose from. i wonder if they would increase the production of X5 to meet the popular demand in the near future.
  • jwagonerjwagoner Posts: 1
    I see a lot of messages with concerns about reliability. My X5 3.0 non-sport auto was delivered in May 2001. I have 19000 miles on it now. The only reliability issue has been with the aux. fan which was replaced twice. Since then, reliability has been 100%. The car is incredible. Performance is great and mileage locally is 18.5. Trips range between 22.5 and 24.5 with road speeds about 75-80 mph on the Interstates. Handling and comfort are tops. Best car I ever owned. Radio and overall sound system are tops. I have added the factory hitch and the BMW CD changer. The X5 hauls my boat better than the Ford Explorer I previously owned. (About 4000 lbs.)
  • greenlaterngreenlatern Posts: 77
    I don't even consider the aux fan to be a "reliability issue" -- the actual probability of a failure was pretty low as I recall. Still, it was nice to let them have it for a day while I zipped around in the Z3 loaner.

    The real problem isn't reliability (which IMO is "starts, goes, stops"), it's the minor nagging issues like peeling door handles, mooing steering columns, and strange key memory behavior. Fortunately the warranty covers everything and it's reflected in the new total cost of ownership calculator (showing $0s for maintenance & repair for the 1st 3 years).

    IMO none of that takes away from the X5's amazing performance characteristics. Mine seemed to really break in after 5K miles -- torque curve feels extremely flat up to 6K rpms. I've taken to driving mine in steptronic manual mode as it gives me more control over engine power, but I always have the option of throwing it over to "D" and letting the software do the work. Pretty cool. I'm with you -- best vehicle I've ever had.

    I imagine the X5's lack of cargo space keeps most potential buyers away, although the max payload of the X5 is higher than a lot of competitors with better volume characteristics. I suppose it all depends on whether you're hauling bars of gold or bags of marshmallows.
  • albert123albert123 Posts: 71
    The minor issues are problems no matter you call it reliability or build quality. My colleague's X5 lemon was finally accepted by BMWUSA. And he couldn't believe when he was going to return the X5 this morning, it wouldn't even start. So he had to call the dealer again (hopefully the last time).

    But yes all these won't take away its driving dynamics and my colleague is probably just out of luck. I'm still have my sight on the next 5er and E-class.
  • maabmaab Posts: 41
    Don't forget that all MBs come with LIFETIME roadside assistance; not 50K miles or 5 years.
  • kojak2kojak2 Posts: 4
    I've owned a ML500 for the past 7 months. No quality issues, great engine, good ride, rock solid feel. I dont like the 3rd row seats, even though with lots of little brats around I've used them regularly. Would have preferred a permanent arrangement but they would have had to lengthen the chassis. As far as looking like a minivan, forget about it. This is definitely not a minivan and has a commanding view of the road. This is my third Benz, having owned a E55, E320 and this truck, so I am probably a little prejudiced.
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 130
    i own a 98 ml320 -- looks like you had one before. Is there much difference between the old and the new?? (I know your 500 will have much more juice, but i mean separate from that)

  • kojak2kojak2 Posts: 4
    My brother has a 1999 ml 430. I am not familiar with the ml 320. There is quite a bit of difference in the mechanicals and controls. The body shape is probably the only thing they have not changed in the past 3 years.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,916
    Please note the new addition in the title and compare accordingly - thanks!

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • maransmmaransm Posts: 29
    I've been spending lot of time to check out and test drive and I did most of the SUVs and my final list is MDX and ML320. I did like X5, but my budget is just about 40K.

    I am planning to buy a new 2003 either MDX or ML320. Could someone please tell me which is the best between these 2,considering all aspect like safety, reliability and resale value?

    Thanks in advance.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    The new RX300 should be available in Spring 2003.

    It's rumored to be just a tad bigger, have a 3.5L V-6 and 2 extra seats.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    or RX330...

    ML320 wins every time, hands down.

    MDX is missing HID and VSC, but it's AWD system is better then the RX.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I think the ML320 has an edge in safety over the MDX, though I think the MDX is, overall, a very safe SUV. The MDX actually slightly edges the ML320 in a number of crash tests, but the ML320 is better in more areas (more capable 4WD, ESP, BrakeAssist, available bi-xenons, rear side airbags, side curtains, etc.). So I think the ML320 wins here.

    The MDX has an edge in build quality. The first year was above average according to Consumer Reports and JD Power, while the ML320 still struggles to achieve just "average" in its fifth model year. That said, the ML320's quality has come a long way and odds are you'll be fine.

    For resale value, it's hard to gauge, but right now the MDX is ahead. Check The resale values of the MDX may not stay high in the long-term, but the same holds true for the ML320 (e.g. it is being replaced in about two years with a new generation, plus supposedly this year or next there will be an ML350 that will replace the ML320).

    There are a lot of other attributes positive and negative about the vehicles, but I just wanted to attempt to answer your specific questions.

    Also, you may want to consider the new Volvo XC90. A fairly well-equipped one should sell for about $41k. For safety, while its AWD system may not be quite as capable as the ML's and it won't have rear side airbags, it should exceed the current-generation ML320 in some areas. Quality is a question mark. Don't know about resale value.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Like the RX and HL, is predominantly FWD.

    Can become extremely unsafe at the "edge", that.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    But who actually takes their 40K luxo-SUV to the edge?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    By that I meant the point at which both front wheels have just lost, or are about to lose traction with the roadbed.

    In other words the point at which you wish you weren't relying on ONLY the front tires' contact patch for BOTH lateral and logitudinal "control".
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