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Mercedes-Benz M-class vs Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer vs Buick Rendezvous vs Acura MDX



  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    1. The MDX, while arguably sportier than the Buick, still weighs over two tons. The laws of physics just don't allow the MDX to be "sporty." Heck, a Toyota Corolla can eat the MDX for lunch!

    2. You do have to compare the "CXL Plus" with the "MDX Touring" because the MDX base model doesn't include a trip computer, roof rack, reverse tilt passenger side mirror, keyless entry with remote linked 2 driver seat/mirror memory, touring tires, or power passenger seat.

    As far as pricing goes, the CXL Plus package already includes leather upholstery, roof rack, chrome wheels and third row seats. Don't add them again. Simply add a sunroof and you have all of the features found in the MDX Touring, at an invoice price of $31,100. Add $500 dealer profit, then take the $3000 rebate, subtract $260 for alloy instead of chrome wheels (they look better), and get a $650 discount for the leather trimmed interior. Now you have a loaded 2003 RDV CXL AWD for $27,700...considerably less than "over $30,000."

    3. The reason why the RDV has incentives is because all domestic cars have's simply the way they do business. Buick sells an average of about 5000 RDV's each month, and they make money on every single one of them.

    Hopeitsfriday, I have truly enjoyed this opportunity you have given me to discount some false myths and brag about the Buick Rendezvous, but alas, I have run out of breath.

    Before I go, let me tell you what I think is your perfect solution. I have found a way for you to have your cake (plush SUV) and eat it too (sporty and fun)!

    Buy a RDV for $28,000, and with the $12,000 you save, pick up a two-year old Miata to go with it!
  • Since you are out of breath, I will get the last word in then lol. Have you seen the 0-60 time on the 03 mdx, ITS ABOUT 8.2 SEC. I dont think any corolla can beat that or buicks as matter of fact. And please dont forget what SUV stands for, Sport and utility vehicle. Cannot be too sporty drving around in the RDV and a corolla blows you away now can you? I will say no more, I hope you enjoy your Buick and I am sure your grandparents thinks you made the right choice too. So whats your next car, a oldsmoblie????
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    Disclaimer: I settled on the RDV.

    America has finally woken up after suffering with a truck-like ride when we all wanted the sedan with a truck look: hence the crossover!

    M-B, thanks for getting in early with the ML320, but the $$$ and asthetics just don't work for most Americans (unless you are a purely status symbol person).

    Mercury, sorry, but you're still a truck.

    So, that leaves the 7+ people hauling, sedan riding, sporty/truck look to: MDX, RDV, and the newly arrived Pilot and XC90.

    So, why RDV over the MDX? Price for what you want out of your car. If anyone buying these cars want to rough it, find a truck, not a crossover. They machines are built for asphalt-only in mind. If you bring a 30k+ offroading, it better be a LandRover.

    Now the meat: MDX touring (not base) = RDV CXL plus. You have to compare interior upgrades alike, and that's esssentially it. MDX has a slightly higher grade leather, but both are utilatarian, not Natuzzi grade. RDV has definitely more 3rd passenger leg room than the MDX, plus you get in on either side and don't have to remove the headrest everytime.

    MDX has the horsepower, but does it REALLY matter if you're lagging behind a corrolla anyways? These crossovers are minivan replacements, not your sportcar replacements. I live in the Central Valley without hills, so torque is the main issue for city travel. 185HP is enough for the city. Everyone travels 75+MPH on the freeways, so passing is minimal. The only time I wish for a stronger engine: getting onto the highway and over over the Altamount Pass (moderate grade incline).

    The shifting on the RDV is MUCH BETTER than the MDX. GM has the best transmissions in the world (ask Volvo, a FORD company putting a GM transmission in their XC90!). Not to mention about the heavy rumors of Acura transmission issues....

    Styling: Acura/Honda: plain vanilla. Doesn't hit you either way, but purely mainstream and desirable. RDV: you can't beat the central console. The one style point loss: Back latch can be only opened by remote or inside---stupid. I would like to shoot the designer on that one.

    Finally: If I wanted to spend 40K on a Crossover, I would buy the XC90. Safer, better performance, better styling, and just a few K more than the MDX. It's no wonder that the MDX is starting to fade in MRSP+ pricing with the XC90 being delivered now.

    Get the RDV. Save the 10K and buy a used sporty car to kill that lead foot monster in you. You'll NEVER get that demon excorcised in a truck anyways. I am now 10K closer to buying a used Acura CL that really will be racing around unlike ANY crossover.

    BTW, American cars always sell near invoice (thus lower residual values) compared to foreign cars. Don't be fooled by pure residual value numbers. If you pay more initially, it better hold the value more! Compare $$$ to $$$. For the $$$, the RDV gets more bang. Remember, this is a people mover class, not drag racing for the 1/4 mile.
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131
    I am seriously loooking at the MDX - currently have an ML. am wondering how other "converts" have fared in terms of driving it day-to-day. The drive on the ML is pretty tight and easy to move around. I have a concern with MDX that i will have a hard time getting used to the large vehicle and less-tight steering.

    comments from others?

  • One can also buy foreign cars, even Acura and Volvo, at $500 above invoice. But only on models that are overstock. The MDX is starting to fade in MSRP pricing because it has been out for 3 years. Frankly, it is a amazing ran it had. I bet by this time next year, one can already buy a XC90 below MSRP. As for the RDV, no comment lol.
    So you really think the RDV looks like a truck?? it looks more like a minivan to me. Why dont you just go out and buy a minivan with AWD, since thats what you are really looking for. Perhaps you will save even more money.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    It's amazing how some people can be so aristocratic sometimes.

    I encourage everyone to do an honest comparison shop and drive prior to buying. That is the only way you'll know your vehicle's worth.

    For those who have disposable income (AKA luxury vehicles), seriously look at the new Volvo XC90. It's a safer and more versatile car than any other crossover out there. You'll have to wait until May right now though!

    Remember, these cars are Crossovers (minus the Ford). They are MINIVAN or car based chasis that give the ride and fuel economy. They are built for asphalt, not offroading. Get a REAL truck for that!

    MSRP/Invoice/Residual values are marketing ploys. Compare your $$$ to benefits of that vehicle and resale $$$. Forget the marketing.
    American companies have traditionally sold vehicles, regardless of supply/demand, closer to invoice than MSRP. The foreign companies work otherwise. Some, like Honda/Acura, purposely limit production for several years, causing pent up demand and full MSRP sales.
    eg: I bought the RDV at invoice despite only 2 vehicles on the lot.
    Different philosophies on marketing, but that's a whole different subject/econ class :)
  • Buick sells about 4000 RDV a month and Acura sells about 3800 MDX a month, must admit those numbers are pretty close. Yet everytime I drove by a Buick dealer, there is rows and rows of RDV avaiable. Since Acura dont have to use marketing ploy like factory rabates, 0% interest rates or Invoice pricing. That tells me that the demand for MDX is much stronger than the RDV. By the way, Its funny how a RDV owner would recommand a Volvo.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    $$$ and reasoning dictate decisions. The MDX simply isn't worth the additional 10K over the Buick. I don't think you'll find anyone saying that the MDX isn't better than the RDV certain areas. The debate really is: Is it worth the 10k Difference....yes, even more with the "gimmicks" that all fall toward the consumer's advantage. Hmm> 27K with 0% x 5 years for RDV CXL. MDX: 38K with NO financing available. Again, with only 2 cars available on the lot.

    Minus the engine issue, there isn't much difference in functionality. I strongly suggest one drive the RDV instead of looking at the 185HP spec. The torque is more than adequate for city driving, shifting is smooth as silk, and the highway driving is fine except for onramp acceleration. Yes, I would like to see a stronger engine, but can't justify 10K for 1.5 secs of drag racing other vehicles. ;)

    The MDX had the benefit of being the only game in town in 7 passenger seating near luxury--until now. Volvo is now "it". Thus, the dramatically decreased activity on the MDX vs XC90 boards on the townhall.

    Clearly, the XC90 shouldn't be compared to the RDV. With almost 15K difference, that's almost an entire car.
  • The RDV is a nice economically minivan, not really in the same class as the MDX. I have not test drive the RDV yet, only because I rule it out for the reasons of Buick's poor relieability records, engine is not powerful enough and frankly, I dont like the way it looks. Giving those 3 big reasons, I would be happy to pay 10k more what what I like, instead of paying 10K less for something I dont like. Pretty simple logic huh?
    All I been hearing is that RDV is as good as MDX, except for this and that. The MDX has set standards for its class, thats why we are comparing other SUV to it, even the Volvo. By the way, the Volvo XC90 2.8T is about 4K cheaper than the MDX touring, I suggest you do some homework before you make a statement about pricing next time. Anyways, the Volvo suffers from the same problem as the RDV, too little engine, too much car.
    Again consumer demand is what determine the price of a car. Since buick cannot drum up enough demand for the RDV, it has to decrease their profile to move stocks. Boy, I wish Acura has the same problem lol.
    Lastly, highway accelaration is the reason why I prefer the MDX. That 1.5 sec of drag racing as you call it can actually save your life. It will get you out of alot of sticky situations and aviod getting into bad situation on the highway all together.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    It will get you out of alot of sticky situations and aviod getting into bad situation on the highway all together.

    Perhaps. But it may also get you into situations if you end up taking chances that you might not otherwise take! :-)

    tidester, host
  • Thats is true, but I rather take those chances with a MDX than a Buick RDV.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Here is some popular import "TMV" data from Edmunds:

    Volvo XC90 - MSRP

    Volvo XC70 - MSRP

    Land Rover Disco - MSRP

    Audi Allroad - $2753 over invoice

    BMW X5 - $3099 over invoice

    Nissan Murano - MSRP

    Lexus RX300 - $3865 over invoice

    And some popular domestic "TMV" numbers:

    Ford Explorer - $404 over invoice

    Jeep Grand Cherokee - $417 over invoice

    Cadillac Escalade - $919 over invoice

    Ford Expedition - $412 over invoice

    Dodge Durango - $525 over invoice

    GMC Envoy - $750 over invoice

    So, all the imports sell at or near MSRP, even the venerable and/or soon to be replaced models like RX300 and XC70.

    All the domestics sell for Invoice +, including the brand new and/or very hot models such as the Escalade and Expedition.

    Reminder: Buick sells over 5000 RDV's each month, not 4000.

    hopeitsfriday, you have cited "Buick's poor reliability records" twice now. The JD Power surveys I have seen indicate Buick has a record of high reliability going back at least 7 years (the 1998 JD Power "long-term durability" survey is the oldest that I have seen). Here is a link to the JD Power surveys:

    Take a look at Initial Quality, Long-term Durability, Customer Satisfaction, Sales Satisfaction, and Service Satisfaction, to name five. They are ALL consistently at the top of the ratings.

    If I am wrong about Buick, I'd really like to know. Could you please link me to the data you are using that indicates Buick's problematic history?


  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    It's like talking to a wall. If you don't know the product, don't compare, eh?

    You just proved to me that you've never really comparison shopped any European vehicle. People know that Volvos (or any European car) never come base only. It's like finding a BMW with standard vinyl seats--now that's LOL!

    e.g.: the XC90 2.8T as previously mentioned, as equipped with the typical Premium and Versatility packages with metallic paint (which would be comparing apples to apples in equipment) tops out a bit over 40K. (Trying to find just the two packages is nearly impossible though). The MDX touring is 38.8K.

    Ah: specs comparison:
    XC90: per Motorweek:
    268HP engine
    1/4 mile: 16.3 sec at 87MPH

    240HP engine
    1/14 mile: 16.1 sec at 85MPH

    I did my homework to include every car, including test drives at Alameda point for the XC90. I suggest that you remain an Acura salesperson, because they don't know beans about the competition either.

    How does increased horsepower and straight linear acceleration tests translate to be a safer vehicle, especially on the freeway? The slalom test would probably be a more accurate test for that situation, which nearly all crossovers (including the RDV) beats the MDX.
  • I can sense a bit of frustration in your voice. If you cannot handle the hot debate in here, may I suggest you try your local church debating group. You might have better luck there.
    I am starting to see where all your frustration comes from, Your so call facts are either wrong or old news. You mention the XC90 2.8T and right below it you claim it has 268HP. Those are the wrong specs. Its actually 208HP, the T6 has 268HP that comes with a hefty price tag. And right below that, You stated that MDX has 240 HP. Those are numbers from the 02. The 03 has 260 HP. You know something, When one doesn't know all the fact, he or she just comes off as ignorance.
    Finally, I am a former owner of 2 BMW, so I know my European cars better than you. And you are wrong about having to buy options. One can buy a strip down Volvo or BMW, just have to wait longer. Another thing I like about Acura is that there is no options to argue over with the dealer.
    By the way, I am not a Acura salesman, I am a mechanical engineer, it pays better lol. Lastly, I love getting you guys all work up in here, it brings a little life into the room.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    No frustration, just intrigue how an educated person can sound like an Acura salesperson. Metaphor, not literal.

    Apples to apples. Your comparison included a base XC90 price that wasn't equipped similiarly. You missed the point again. If you asked Acura to credit for cloth seats, would they? Again, marketing philosophies.

    You're correct regarding the HP information, and thank you for the correction, but again the point is missed. You're a ME, explain how pure HP translates into emergency handling situations?

    Since you didn't test drive the RDV, not compare the spec sheet. You, yourself stated, "Again I must advise you to test drive both cars and then we can talk again. Test data cannot replace a actual test drive experience".

    It's sad to see that trying to get a rise out of people actually brings joy to your life. Maybe you should join me at Church sometime ;). LOL.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    You have commented on the RDV's:

    * inferior AWD system

    * lacking interior space

    * sub-standard transmission

    * poor quality/reliability

    * missing luxury features

    * low sales

    * non "green" engine

    * $33,000 price tag

    * non-enthusiast nature

    I remember when you said, "When one doesn't know all the fact, he or she just comes off as ignorance."

    I couldn't have said it better myself (OK, maybe a little better). ;)

  • Now that it's Monday, maybe Friday's history. But I doubt it. As long as someone respnds, he'll continue his obtuse posts and try to get others' dander up with inflamatory openings like "can't stand a hot debate," or "now that you're out of breath." Oh well.

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Of course. You've always been the level headed one.

    It was fun, though.

    BTW, It's good to "hear" from you again. I don't post too often anymore, but you are almost a ghost.

    I just hit 25K after our 3000+ mile Seattle-San Diego-Seattle road trip last month. Mountains, ice, snow, rain, sunshine, and back was "all good."

    How's Gamera doing?

  • and I'm not doing too bad myself. If I'm a ghost, it must be the ghost of Christmas Present. Which I don't mind saying, Merry Christmas, Brian! I hope you and your family are well.

    I was up in your neck of the woods last Month for a conference and was very impressed with Seattle. I had never visited there before.

    I try to post now and again but since I don't log on as often as before I rarely get to a discussion before its past its prime. Believe me, I was ready and willing to help out with "Friday" had I joined in earlier.

    I'll keep in touch. After all, as a ghost I'm committed to keep on haunting this place.

  • My first response is to cwjacobsen. With comments like that, you don't deserve a response. Since your statements are merely personal remark and they are non-related to cars, specs or facts.

    To fedlawman and montreid: I do agree with one of the statement you guys made, the fact that I should test drive the RDV before I pass judgment. Being a man of my own words, I will try to test drive one this weekend or next. And I will post my option of it. I want to apologize for some of the remarks I have made in the prior inserts. Its just that I am a very passionate car guys and like fedlawman, I find debating a lot of fun. By the way fedlawman, the only things on that list you claim I said, I have actually stated only the last 2 items.

    Let me start a new debate, The four best SUV on the market right now 30K to 50K range. These are not in any particular order. BMW X5, Acura MDX, Volvo XC90 and Lincoln Aviator. With Volkswagon Touareg and Porsche Cayenne on the horizon.

  • For my mission, the Exploder is the only one on that list that works. The RDV and MDX have really feeble towing capacity. The M-Class can only pull 5,000 pounds. An Exploder with a V8 and the towing package can pull over 7,000 pounds.
  • daveghhdaveghh Posts: 495
    I keep seeing 240 HP for the MDX, it is now 260 HP. Keep that in mind.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    No doubt about the towing and trucking. The explorer line really shouldn't be included in this bunch. It would be better compared to the Envoy/Trailblazer class and other truck based chasis that fit 7 people.

    Anything more than your weekend boat tow, you should be looking beyond the crossover segment.

    Being a past unibody truck owner (Pathfinder), even that shaked/rolled too much for my daily needs--thus a converter to the crossover segment.
  • cfocfocfocfo Posts: 147
    You defend the RDV well. I have really enjoyed the debate with Friday, with facts getting cleared up and comments staying above board.

    My personnel choice was I liked the MDX, but not enough to finance the extra 10k.
  • I am glad someone enjoys these debates besides fedlawman and myself. Again, the idea is to bring forth two very strong options and let the readers decide, at the sametime, everyone can actually learn some facts about the subject. There is no winner and loser really, automobile is very subjective to personal taste. It is so true of the saying that: One's automobile is really an extension of one's personality.
  • montreidmontreid Posts: 127
    We are all here to voice our love for our vehicles, and thank Edmunds for allowing us to share in our opinions and experiences. Just imagine what it would be like without these boards and shopping at the dealerships, carrying our little KBBs around! I do regret that things got a little low, and should have controlled some earlier remarks.

    Friday, I hope that your test drive will leave a better impression of the RDV. It doesn't have the engine that of the MDX, but it is a capable one that will allow avoidance and escape, especially at 185HP. It does have quite a few fine things to offer at it's price point.

    As for the 30-50K, I would kill for the VW Touareg. What a machine; but alas, I need a seven seater. :(
  • That is how I bought my last car, with NADA book in one hand and the Edmunds book in the other.
  • Acura dealer told me that the 3rd row seats are not real leather, but vinyl, and the wood trim is not real wood when I was test-driving a MDX Touring earlier this year. Does anyone know if this changed in the 2003 model?

  • I love these debates. I can't read them all but the spirits here are high. I have not driven a lete model Xplorer and so I can't talk about it's performance. The MDX's design is not exciting enough for me. The Bimmer has no 3rd row. So, I ended up with the minivan looking, highly underpowered 2002 ML320. Man do I love the choice I made. Those 3rd row seats are heaven sent (I have 3 young ones) - cumbersome to operate, but you've got to have one to appreciate it. Other than the ULEV rating, the thing about the ML for me was the 4yr/50K FREE SERVICE including 10K+ service (oil change) intervals, the "lifetime" tranny service and the fact that I get a free loaner car (MB) anytime I bring the truck in for anything - and I have had to take it in 3 times for minor things-, and the crash test results. And, BTW, that touch shift tranny is a "learning" type and is actually designed to be driven as a manual. I don't know about the Xplorer but brake assist, traction & stability control, superior 4WD system, rain sensing wipers, auto dimming mirrors, tilt passenger side mirrors on reverse, touch shift adaptive auto tranny and more are unbeatable. Add to that the Xenon lights, etc, etc. I think it's a great deal. I frankly don't like the power and the "cheap" plastic amterials and it's very Minivan looks. But, it works so well (for now) that I'll get another one next time.
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