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



  • I just opted for one over an Acura MDX, mostly because of the safety factor (MB makes one safe damn car).

    The comparisons were very close - but ultimately, the pricing, included maintenance, safety features, luxury and the service of the Mercedes beat out the Acura.

    If you're looking for a 2k1 - ML320's are serious discounted right now ($2k off invoice, factory to dealer incentive). You can score one fairly cheap, although there were some nifty improvements to 2002 that made me switch to a 2002 instead.

    I'd say try them all out first though. The MB had the more rugged, truck like feel. The Acura had the more car-like feel. Acura's acceleration was better, but nothing beat the MB's stability control, excellent sportshift transmission, and real full-time 4WD.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Go for the Mercedes ML55 AMG.
  • I entered the SUV market in May and test drove the Acura, Mercedes and Lexus. I preferred the MDX for reasons I'll outline below but waited until now to finally purchase--I wanted to see the MDX safety numbers and hoped the price would come down. I have now put a down payment on a 2002 MDX. I gave each of the vehicles very aggressive test drives and preferred the MDX hands down. The Mercedes steering was hard and unresponsive--I had to ask the salesman whether the steering was utterly unassisted. I felt like I was driving a tractor or golf cart. Although the MDX has been widely criticized for its lack of interior polish and faux wood finish--the only sign of true luxury I was sure ofwhile test driving the MB was the emblem on the grille. The Lexus clearly had the nicest interior of the three. However, as a tall person I felt cramped, the ride was minivan-like, and the exterior look--tall station wagon. The MDX handled extremely well during medium grade off-road test drive (I took a Highlander on the same route and my wife who came along with me for the ride hit her head on the roof during the Highlander test drive). The bottom line is that my wife lobbied hard for the MDX and we decided to go for it--we liked the ride, look, and safety specs of the MDX but only the safety specs of the MB and Lexus. This is admittedly the biased view of a man who has just spent more than 16k for a new vehicle for the first time--not necessarily because of a lack of money but because of a general lack of interest in cars (or SUVs) or driving. I have to say, I am sincerely looking forward to driving our new MDX--when/if it finally gets here.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    the others. This was my first luxury purchase as well - but at no point did I feel that either the M-class or RX-300 weren't heads above the MDX. The MDX was essentially a Honda Accord with leather seats.
  • donlinodonlino Posts: 26
    If you didn't like the handling and ride of the M class and RX300, did you try the X5 3.0?
  • were great! The handling was superior but the ride was a little less smooth than the MDX. In terms of overall performance and exterior appearance, I'd clearly give the nod to the X5 over the MDX. However, I was less sure about X5 reliability and its interior finish was more spartan sport than luxury. The bottom line was the bottom line--I couldn't get myself to pay the extra $$ for an X5 similarly equipped as the premium MDX.
  • BOBPUTBOBPUT Posts: 22
    I bt my MDX in March and am very happy that it is the choice gives the very best combination of performance, utility, safety, luxury and value! Most complete 7 lux. SUV comparison test was in the Dec. 2000 Car& Driver: MDX #1, X5 3.0 #2, RX300 #3, ML320 -tie for 4th ("trucklike").
    Exterior styling is too subjective for me to address, but the MDX simply does everything VERY well, and can actually be called "fun to drive" to an extent remarkable for its size and weight. Luxury is NOT a list of expensive options, but more the ability of a car to do what is asked of it with responsiveness, comfort and simplicity--at least to me . BTW, I also own a BMW 7, a couple of older Porsches, & a M-B 280 SL --so hopefully I understand the concepts of luxury and performance without too many prejudices.
    Hope your wait isn't too long!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If the MDX wasn't predominatly a FWD vehicle, or if it had TRAC (to make up, partially, for the FWD bias), VSC and HID, I would definitely put it on top of the SUV list.

    I noticed not just a few posts comparing the RX300 to a MiniVan. Good point, that's really all it is, the Chrysler T&C AWD Limited is priced about the same although not nearly as luxurious. Both are basically FWD with a viscous clutch coupling to carry some minor portion of engine torque to the rear. The major difference is the RX300 only routes about 5% normally whereas the T&C has a much more tighter and "robust" viscous clutch coupling, so much moreso than the RX that it must be by-passed with an over-running clutch during braking.

    I have little doubt that the X5, except for pricing and the BMW nameplate, belongs at the top of this list, head and shoulders above the rest.

    I could overlook the price much easier than the nameplate.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Byt you gotta hand it to Honda- the MDX's panel gaps are amazingly tight for a vehicle this size.
  • kojak2kojak2 Posts: 4
    Having driven a X5, MDX, RX300 etc, and having owned assorted domestic SUV's, I recently drove a ML320 and a ML500. I bought the ML500! Ride, safety and now performance! I've had it for a few weeks now and it is the best truck I have owned!
  • I have tried them all. I am convinced the 2002 Mercedes is the best suv for me. I am undecided on the 320 or the 500. I like the power in the 500. Is it worth the loss of 2 miles to the gallon? Kojak2, tell me what you like about the ML500!
  • kojak2kojak2 Posts: 4
    There is no comparison in the driving experience between the ML 320 and the ML 500. The 5.0 litre v8 is a big improvement and the acceleration is effortless and the truck just feels absolutely rock-solid. Secondly, the fit and finish in the 2002 ML 500 is as good as in any MB sedan, it is a nice interior! I really like the saddle interior with the black exterior combination. Thirdly, being 6'2", there is just ample head and legroom in the first two rows of seats. I chose the third row option. The good news is that they can be latched out of the way(its kind of cool) when you dont need them, the bad news is that the only person that probably can use them is someone like me who has young kids or as an emergency type jump seat for adults. Fourth, the standard list of options includes GPS/Navigation which has become pretty easy to use. Lastly, it had the best rating for safety. Steel frame, eight airbags, sos teleaid and so on.
    I did'nt like the other trucks as much because:
    RX 300 too small, LX 470 nice but gaudy and underpowered, MDX was nice but is it really worth $40k+? and in my opinion, a little bit plain jane. X5's ride and performance were awesome but just did'nt have the room I needed, the Escalade was clearly not in the same league as the others in fit and finish.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you are buying an SUV for "survival" in wintertime adverse roadbed conditions then those are more easily and adequately managed with the ML320's lower HP, torque, engine. It is much easier to "soft-shoe" through an area of low traction with this engine. POWERING through these types of roadbed conditions just simply does not work.

    Finesse does!

    You have clearly picked the best of this "lot", the ML series, as far as handling in adverse conditions.
  • We just closed a deal on a Silver 2001 MDX with Touring...MSRP $37,450, selling price $35,200...Too good of a deal to pass up;the MDX is selling for MSRP in Atlanta, where I live, so I have to fly to Florida and drive 500 miles back to town. My wife and I looked at the Mercedes(poorly designed 3rd row seat, ugly) and the RX300 (too small), and we just feel that the MDX fits all of our needs. Cargo capacity, stylish, handles terrifically; yeah, the interior could be more luxurious, but it still is a tough SUV to beat. I feel grateful to have received a $2300 discount from sticker.
  • Well, actually I picked X5 4.4i, will arrive in December.

    I liked MDX alot but the drive is rather plain vanilla for my taste, but IMHO the best value for any luxury SUV out there, not to mention realibility. The ML is not bad, except for 3rd row seat options, by the way what are those 2 flappers covering foot well? ugly solution for not very comfy 3rd row seat. Here is the example of "trying to be evrything to everybody" and going nowhere. MBZ just forgo the 3rd row seat or go to bigger chasis next time around.

    The best SUV will be drive like X5, reliable like a Lexus and value like MDX. I can dream can I? But again everybody will drive that thing on the road and it's not funny.

    Oops got to go, need to install smoke detector in the garage, he...he...he...
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 130
    am wondering -- what made u decide on the x5???

    i like all 3 of the vehicles -- mdx for value/reliability, ML for sturdiness and recent improvements, and x5 for driving. But am concerned about x5 reliability. i am about to ditch my 98 ML -- way too many things going wrong in that thing...
  • Well, I am superficial as well as picky about how the car handles. Take a test drive in an X5, get on an on-ramp to a freeway that's say 25mph then hit it around 60mph. One cautions, bring a duck tape a long before you do so, I am worry your jaw is going to be open for the rest of the afternoon with awe on the handling of this SUV/SAV. Please folks don't do this in any suv if you end up on the wall don't come looking for me to sue. I gave you plenty of warning!

    I've been in the sideline lookign to buy a lux suv for 1 year, been looking everywhere(never couldn't commit to X5 cause of reliability issues) but my guts can;t seems to accept anything more reliable alternative out there, SO.....
    I am waiting for my first BMW next month. Wish me luck.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,007
    Surely there are on-ramps where the legal limit is 55; we wouldn't want anyone to think a Town Hall member is advocating an illegal activity like speeding would we?

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  • dpb54dpb54 Posts: 6
    To those of you considering buying an X5, as an owner of one I would caution you. There are many problems with our car. It has 30,000 miles, and is 18 months old. It is in the shop an average of once per month. It rides and handles great, better than the other SUV's mentioned on this board. But BMW has quality control issues they need to resolve, so wait a year or two and maybe they'll have worked it out.
  • sduvsduv Posts: 2
    My 10 month old MDX (15K mostly commute miles, dealer serviced) had Transmission problems last weekend. The accelerator revs and gears shift but the vehicle does not move. In about 10 miles it went from lurching while accelerating and "shuddering" while revesing to a dead transmission. Shocking. Is now at Dealer and they say it is a manufacturing defect that they will correct with anew transmission.

    Wondering if someone else has seen quality problems..
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