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

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  • hallinihallini Posts: 13
    I am considering the RX 400h, the Acura MDX or the Honda Odyssey Touring model. I currently drive a 1997 Toyota Landcruiser but want to buy something new. I want it to be fun to drive, peppy, better on gas mileage than my Landcruiser, sharp looking, and comfortable. My husband drives a Lexus SC 430. We are a family of 4: our two boys are 11 and 13 and the 13 yr. old is tall so I want plenty of leg room in the second row of seating. Cargo room is a concern too. Primary use is for the two boys and I going to and from school, to the grocery store, etc. but it will also be our family car going out to dinner and our car for occasional family trips. What do you think?
  • hallinihallini Posts: 13
    I am also considering the GX 470 -- except the gas mileage wouldn't be much better than my Landcruiser -- in addition to our family of 4, we also have a standard poodle. Which choice would be a better fit: Lexus GX 470, Lexus 400h, Acura MDX or Honda Odyssey? My boys and husband would be embarrased to be seen in the minivan but I find it practical and convenient.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,990
    You need one of these:

    BOW WOW (Inside Line)

    I could see myself cruising around town in an Ivory Ody with a black standard poodle next to me. :-)

    Steve, Host

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

  • hallinihallini Posts: 13
    My standard poodle is white (although her parents are both black) so what color Ody should I get, black w/ ivory interior?">
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,990
    Since poodles don't shed, I suppose you could get a black Ody with ivory on the inside (have fun keeping all that black sheet metal clean though, LOL).

    I'm just partial to black standard poodles myself -- I used to borrow my neighbor's all the time to walk. :-)

    Steve, Host

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

  • hallinihallini Posts: 13
    All of my cars have been white (just like my poodle) so I am ready for a change (in my car, not my poodle) but a big black van does sound like high maintenance -- the desert rock looks very nice and I think my Sophie Rose would approve too!.
  • The good news is that the lease on my 2002 JGC Overland HO (High Maintenance) is coming up. Based upon its recent unreliability and the 2005s downgraded (plastic would be rejected by the little tikes toy company) interior, it will be my last of 3 in a row JGCs. Jeep couldn’t even get the Commander right. How can you offer the same vehicle with the same components in a price that ranges between $17K and $43K? It no longer is feasible to go high end with Jeeps and it becomes apparent that their new competition is Scion.

    The bad news is the wife has decided she now wants either an SRX AWD (3 row w/ ultra view) or 06 ML350. The worse news is there seems to be no competitive offers on either. There are no 2005 SRXs to be had for a deal and the 06 leases worse then the ML (residuals). Cadillac offers an Escalade at far better deals then the SRX. The residual is sweet on the MLs but the prices seem unmovable and the MF is usurious. To add insult to injury the dealer told me that once the MFs come down in the winter (along with the residual) he would continue to sell them like hotcakes at full price because “MLs sell themselves in snow months”.

    So the questions are:
    1) Has anyone seen any competitive pricing on either in the NY-NJ-CT area?
    2) Is the situation going to get better or worse (should I wait)?
    3) Should I get something else? (she was already kind enough to rule out VW, Infiniti, Acura, Volvo & Lexus).

    Thanks for any help you can give…
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    “MLs sell themselves in snow months”.

    I wouldn't do business with anybody insulting your intelligence with such a comment. Love the new ML, but they certainly don't sell themselves. You may want to find another dealer, or explain to the Sales Mgr that the salesperson has you walking out the door with such insulting commentary. I'm sure that he/she knows there are options for your business.

    Regarding the SRX, your bride may find ingress/egress a bit challenging due to the wide rocker panel trim under the doors. She would get her clothing dirty on a rainy day unless she was 6'4" tall with long legs to match :D
  • Thanks for the advice. It seems like they fixed the rocker on the 2006. Besides the mentioned dealer, I have been through a few MB dealers. Nothing close to competitive.

    In the meanwhile the Jeep service claim to have finally found what is wrong with my JGC Overland that has been in the dealer's service shop as a regular on & off since May. And finally, the dealership's GM has stepped in and offers to take me out of my lease 4 months early. Great. (isn't that the point of the "drive ahead" program") And get this he will give me a GREAT price. Wow.

    Limited 4x4 with Navigation (thats it for options). He offers me a rock bottom sales price of a $37500 for a Base 4X4 Limited w/ Navigation.

    Question after researching this site... Isn't that above invoice or am I missing something? & without the $1500 cash back(?)... The Lease #s are $540 a mo. PLUS Tax, tags & 1st Mo at driveoff. This doesn't seem right. Although cheaper then what I was looking at (ML350 & SRX) as I was ready to walk away from the brand (after 2 JGCs in a row 3 total) and was enticed back with an "incredible deal" for a Jeep loyalist & to compensate for me driving a loaner all summer (at Overland prices). I test drove it & enjoyed it but should I be disappointed at the olive branch? What does anyone else think of this.
  • I own a 1999 ML 320 and have had it for about 6 yrs now.
    The vehicle is very sturdy/heavy and it feels really safe to be in.
    But the amount of time it spends at the dealership and the huge amounts
    for maint. make for a very painful experience both financially and otherwise.
    I tried to get it sold, but the dealer offered me $10k for it and it has only 72k miles and in pretty good condition with all bells and whistles (incl a third row seat).
    If you are in the market and considering one of these, please think again and stay away.
    Hope this helps.
  • I appreciate your input on the ML. I have seen a tremdous (almost overnight) decline in ML320-350 values especially since the 2006s were released. A "new" 2005 can be had at a ridiculous discount. I guess that's why they don't budge on the 2006s. Just price alone the ML350 is out the running for me. They just don't want to negotiate on them. The funniest story is a MB dealer calling me (after I specifically told them to email me prices) and tell me that there was an "undisclosed sale" (their words) on the MLs. That's all they would tell me. Apparently the price itself was a secret but I was graciously invited to their dealership 40 miles away for more details and a wine tasting event (huh?). In 1999 I used "Stoneage"(before it became cars.com) and autobytel to buy a car and it was great. my .02 to edmunds is that internet car buying/shopping has actually gotten more difficult and at a minimum more complicated since then.
  • dhdandhdan Posts: 5
    My wife and I are expecting our first two children in March. So I need a new vehicle to replace our Acura RSX. We are looking at getting one of the above vehicles, used (hopefully '05 models depending on price), but I can't seem to decide which would be best. Any comments about the relative merits of these three vehicles would be appreciated. With two child seats does a third row matter? Which has the best second row space? Is the most accessible, etc.?

    Also, suggestions as to when might be the best time to get a good deal would be great. Thanks to all in advance.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You should probably get a less biased opinion on the RX330 than mine. I find it to be the minivan / New Beetle of SUV's (i.e. a "chick" car, if you can forgive the political incorrectness).

    Our decision came down to the other two on your list, the MDX or XC90 V8 (briefly considered the GX470). I decided to let my wife make the decision, since she would be doing most of the day to day driving. She went for the MDX, based primarily on the size advantage, ease of use of the third row and Acura amenities which she likes from our 2004 TL (XM, Nav, Bluetooth phone, etc.). We only have two kids, but she ends up doing a fair amount of carting their friends around. The third row probably gets used once every week or two. And the second row is at least a full 2" wider in the MDX. Don't think that's much? It's life or death if you ever try to sit a real person between the two car seats.

    From my perspective, I am happy with the MDX. Acura build quality and reliability are excellent. The vehicle performs reasonably well and gets decent gas mileage for a 7 passenger SUV. We get 22-23+ mpg on the highway, compared to 18-19 for our old 5 passenger considerably pokier and tipsy Trooper.

    That said, the XC90 is a great vehicle. I particluarly like the high quality European interior, more stylish exterior, and class leading seat comfort. It drives and handles very well, especially the V8. But it also has some Swedish idiosyncracies and missing amenities. (No Bluetooth, XM, Nav system is 2 rungs down from Acura, etc). My wife found the narrower width and more difficult 3rd row ingress/egress a pain. And, although it seems to have gotten better since its introduction, the XC90 still had us wondering more about reliability and long term maintenance issues / expense.

    Good luck and congratulations on the forthcoming arrivals. :)
  • First, you should read the 2006 ML "problems and solutions" forum and decide whether you are comfortable with the various issues owners raise.

    Second, I am not sure precisely where you are shopping, but I shopped a few dealerships in the NYC area over the summer, and just recently phoned one of those dealerships to get a price for a friend of mine, and dealers seem to be taking off $2750-$3500 off the sticker. If you need information, please let me know.
  • Thanks for the input. I actually have been checking out the ML06 issues and the early build catastrophes as well as poor responses do somewhat scare me. As far as price I have had some Long Island dealers discounting from sticker but it still leases poorly due to the money factors in play. I would need dealers to work from invoice or get more competitive with their peers. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it seems that both the ML & SRX are out for different issues. Seems I am destined for a loaded Jeep Commander Hemi if my dealer plays his cards right.
  • After purchasing the 2006 ML and not being all that happy with its performance, I am now less inclined to buy a vehicle a the first year it's out, regardless of an attractive price. To me, it's not worth the headache you get from being their test dummy. As a result, now I am only interested in buying cars that are one to two years old and whose quality is confirmed. Don't mind not having the newest thing on the block for that tradeoff. I think the Jeep Commander is in its first year too right?
  • Commander as a model is in its first year. However all of the moving parts & underpinings are carryovers from the Grand Cherokee which was redone last year. I had a lot of luck with a 99 Grand Cherokee which was also a first year version that year. In fact more luck then with my 2002.
  • adp33adp33 Posts: 10
    It's funny how no one gives an edge to the American car, anymore.

    I don't know anyone who is happy with their Mercedes. Which is too bad, since they make such sweet rides. But if they are in the shop every other month, who needs it? I know my time is more important than that, and I don't appreciate being taken advantage of that way.

    All our execs have dumped the DC products for BMW, Land Rover, others. I know I know - out of the fat and into the fire. But they all got soured on DC reliability (and these folks are buying high-end cars, not the $40,000 models).

    Someone above with the family of 4 was looking for advice. My first advice is, do you really need more than a sedan? (I have an SUV with a family of four, but that's because it is a great snow vehicle and it doesn't get a lot of miles during the week).

    I rate the XC90 and SRX at the top of the list, but they are different vehicles. It really depends on what you want. The Lexus 400H (or non-H) would be great, too. I know folks who love their X5s, but the cargo capacity just stinks. If you don't need that, however, then it's a great car. Not up to Volvo or the SRX vis a vis reliability. The Cadillac will give the nicest "ride" but it won't give you any ground clearance, if that matters. The looks have not grown on my, and I really want to like it. But the ride is great. I'm surprised you can't find a deal on one, given GM's dire straits.

    I don't think the Jeep is even in the same league as the XC90 (or the Acura). But buying a car is so much about personal tastes. (as it should be) But don't buy something you don't like just to save $50/month. If you are buying a $40,000 vehicle, you can't really be that concerned about monetary issues. If you ARE, then you should be buying a two-year old SRX or XC90 (or MDX)
  • A good afternoon folks.

    I am fairly new to this board, so help me if I wander in the wrong direction.

    I am considering the purchase of the impressive SRX. I live in Toronto, Canada and there are only a few of these vehicles around. It is really hard to get a vehicle to even test drive and I know I am going to pay big time to get one (sigh, such is the life in a small market).

    I note that Cadillac is agressively advertising the SRX in the financial section of our Toronto and national Canadian papers. It is usually on the opposite page to the Lexus 330. It is obvious that Cadillac considers the 330 to be the competition and the price points are about the same.

    In Toronto, many are "yuppies" and they would never descend to drive a domestic, the foreign is the ONLY vehicle, even with their endless, expensive servicing - I know, I used to be a "vehicle purchasing consultant" for vehicles with "pedigrees".

    QUESTION - I love the aggressive styling of the SRX, but what is the main difference between it and the 330? Safety and Reliability are big with me - I am a daughter of a mechanic after all - I have no tolerance for breakdowns

    QUESTION - Any tips on negotiating the SRX where there is limited supply?

    Any info you could share would be appreciated

    Have a great day everyone

    NascarQueen24
  • Currently have a 2000 TLC and a 2003 540i - wife drives the BMer and now wants something more practical for hauling the baby and the dogs around in. We live in Central Ohio - i.e snow for 4 months of the year, so AWD is the thing she is looking for. Previously looked at the 1st Gen X5 back in 2000, but went with the TLC - have since driven the X5 and the XC90 - both seem nice, but I hear bad things about the XC90 and fuel pump issues (from the other Edmunds boards) - any perspectives?

    Thanks
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Do you really need the V8? The 2.5T is very reliable, costs less and uses less fuel. If you're not planning on racing, it's more than fast enough. ;)
  • Just purchased an X5 3.0 after having both an '01 and '04 MDX for the last 5 years. These are my wifes cars but here are my first impressions of the differences.

    The models I'm comparing are an 06 X5 3.0 w/ premium, cold weather, rear climate, xenon, heated rear seats, heated wheel and 04 MDX Touring, Nav & Rear Ent.

    Obviously the MDX is the value leader, costing 5k less yet having both Nav and DVD system in the price. We did not get the Nav in the X5 due to its poor ratings and the BMW DVD system seemed poorly executed as well.

    I also give the nod to the MDX in the power department. The additional 30-40hp is a difference you can feel in acceleration from a stop and when passing.

    Storage capacity is also on the MDX's size, cargo as well as passenger.

    The X5 definitely gets the nod on comfort. The seats are softer, and I always felt like I was sitting on top of the MDX seats not in them. Part of the comfort feeling is also in the quality of the materials used. The dash looks much richer in the X5. The MDX's dash materials, while better than most, still are a step down from the plush looking X5. This is expecially true of the faux wood trim on the MDX center consol.

    I also prefer the feel of driving the X5. There are two major reasons for this. One is road/engine noise. The X5 is much quieter than the MDX, expecially at highway speeds. The X5 feels like it is going much slower than the MDX at the same speed. The X5 definitely has a more solid feel and the steering has a much better weight to it. The MDX seems very over boosted in comparison. I also like the fact that the rear wheels drive the X5 most of the time compared to the MDX fronts, which leads to torque steer at times. The AWD systems in both are outstanding, working invisibly. The MDX's only issue is when you hit the gas while turning a tight slick corner, causing some initial push before the system catches up. In testing the X5 on the one snow day it's had, it seems unflapable.

    The X5 also gets the nod for nice extra power features like power tilt/telescope on the wheel w/memory, power reclining rear seats, all windows are one-touch up & down vs. just the drivers on the MDX, the panorama moon roof and soft-touch rear hatch. Also like that the X5's hatch opens in two parts so that things that have moved around don't come crashing out when you open the door. The keys with fob controls included are nice as well.

    In the end, I would not discourage the purchase of either. If your looking for value and utility, go MDX. If your a driver who likes a bit more luxury, go X5, it is worth it.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I wonder why the X5 3.0 carries over the old low power 3.0 liter engine. All of the other BMW models get a 255 hp 3.0 liter engine. That 30 hp difference would have been most beneicial to the X5 and would have at least equaled the MDX.

    We got an MDX for it's size/versitility. But the X5 3.0 6-speed would have been our first choice had we put the kids up for adoption.
  • I'm interested in the 2006 Volvo XC90. However, can't compromise on which engine model. Gas is a big factor to my decision which one would prefer the 2.5T. But how is handling and noise in regards to a 5-cylinder 2.5 liter SUV? I didn't even know SUVs come in 5-cyliner. :confuse: :confuse:
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    It's a 5 cylinder TURBO engine. Handling is fine, noise level is low. You should go on a test drive and see for yourself.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    We considered the XC90 V8 when it first came out and it was selling at quite a premium over the 2.5T. However, it appears that prices have come down significantly - I've seen ads for $6,000+ off the V8. I was very impressed with the V8, save for the rather busy 6-speed transmission. It clearly would have been my engine choice had my wife not gone for an MDX instead.

    If gas is a big factor in buying a $40k-$45k SUV, perhaps you should be looking at a Highlander Hybrid or - heaven forbid - an Odyssey or Sienna minivan. those will give you much better fuel efficiency than either XC90 engine. The fact is the difference of 2-3 mpg would equate to around $200-$300 per year at 12,000 miles a year. That's not chump change, but it's also insignificant compared to the overall price and cost of ownership. Heck, at at a purchase price that's $10k-$15k less, you could drive a Honda Pilot for 5-7 years for free, compared to either XC90.

    The XC90 in either form is a very nice vehicle. I recommend you get the engine that suits your needs and preferences. ;)
  • dhdandhdan Posts: 5
    Does anyone have any hard and fast numbers relative to the actual costs of regular maintenance (oil changes, regular PMs, etxc.) for the MDX, RX330, and XC90? I've calculated the relative costs of gasoline, gotten insurance quotes for all three, read these boards, etc. Just want to flesh out as complete a picture as possible on these three vehicles.

    Perhaps a better question might be "Is the True-Cost-To-Own" which Edmunds provides a good comparative measure?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    No disrespect to Edmunds, but I found their "true cost to own" estimates relative to repairs and maintenance pretty useless.

    I suggest you call the service departments of 1-2 dealers for each of the models you are considering and have them quote or fax you the regular maintenance schedules and prices. You might ask them for quotes on 1-2 specific repairs to give you a sense of relative pricing - like brake rotors and water pump.

    I have found there can also be fairly significant geographic differences, with smaller town dealerships changing 20-30%+ less than larger metro areas.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,990
    In addition to the True Cost to Own tool, the Edmunds Maintenance Guide will break down maintenance costs by the manufacturer's schedule. Your dealer may charge more, but the dealer may be doing more than what's recommended in the owner's manual.

    Steve, Host

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

  • dhdandhdan Posts: 5
    Thanks Steve. The prices may not be dead on but they give me a relative comparison for each vehicle. Of course, none of this has made my decision between the three vehicles (MDX, XC90, RX330) any easier. I guess I'm going to have to take two baby seats and a double stroller to each dealership and see which fits the best.
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