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Acura RL vs. Infiniti M35



  • For example, in 2000 I purchased a new Acura TL, despite the fact that CR rated the Lexus ES300 considerably better. After a while I wished that I made a different decision. The TL was a good car, but not a great car. Everything that I grew not to like about the Acura (not obvious in my initial test drive), was shown to be a weakness by CR in their evaluation.

    Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Everything they said would annoy, you probably remembered and started looking out for. You also expected them to annoy you.
    I bet if you had evaluated the cars for yourself you would have had a higher chance of having a different outcome.
    I think you should start buying cars for you and try as hard as possible not to let others influence you. After all it is you who has to drive the car.

    Both the Nissan and Toyota brands seem to have a better ride quality. For some reason, Honda products have a high frequency "tink" sounds over pot holes, while the Nissan and Toyota products, have a low frequency "thunk" sound - giving them a much more solid feel.

    That is because Acura/Honda makes driver's cars. Their cars are made with driving and handling in mind. As such, the ride is not as floaty as you might find in other marques./
    This is not uncommon to anyone who has driven European cars of any make.
    In their older driving culture, the premium is put on the driving experience rather than isolation from the world around you.

    I hope you find a car to like. The M is a great car.
    I would try to avoid CR next time and take your time and test-drive the car several times.
    CR is a poor substitute for proper car testing.

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    By the way, what do you think about the Lexus GS?

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    Have you evaluated it in any way?
    What about the Germans?

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    What is your take? Are they out of your price range?
  • ocimocim Posts: 45
    Happy New Year readerreader!! Thanks for the psychological evaluation But, I think you may have missed my point. I was simply trying to say that CR is much better equipped to evaluate cars under many conditions than most people could by taking the car on a test drive. You would have to spend a lot of time in a car to evaluate the car in such areas as ride/noise under many road conditions, emergency handling, braking, as well as reliability. I live in Western Pennsylvania (worst roads in the world) so ride is one thing that I think I can reasonably evaluate.

    CR’s mission is also to provide an unbiased report. So, I use them as a guide to narrow down my choices. I actually had some issues with my TL before I saw that the same areas were identified as weaknesses by CR. I tend to be sensitive to rattles, squeaks more than the average guy (at least that is what my wife says). The Toyota’s seem to have fewer problems in these areas. Just as a small example, when I turn from the road onto the curb of my driveway, as the front wheels start to climb onto the curb you can hear the twisting noises on the TL. The Camry, on the other hand, even with over 200K is solid as a tank (until its recent demise in an accident). I do think that Honda products are great. I have a 2004 Honda Pilot and I feel it is the best package under 45K. However, it too exhibits those twisting noises.

    Now, on to your other questions. To date I have test driven the M35x (twice) BMW 530xi, Lexus GS350, Acura RL and just for good measure the Toyota Avalon Limited.

    Here is my impression of them:

    The BMW had good handling and ride. However, the car’s acceleration was not as good as the others and it’s not overly roomy for passengers or cargo.

    The Lexus, much to my surprise, had the worst ride, and it also has cramped quarters and trunk. The engine was quiet and the power was excellent, but the handling was not spectacular. I think the Toyota’s suspension engineers have taken a lot away from ride without gaining much in handling. However, its interior is so much nicer than the rest that it makes you want to ignore everything else.

    The Acura RL had the quietest engine. It was fairly responsive as well. The handling and ride felt better than the Lexus but not as good as the BMW or Infiniti. Again, as it seems to be the norm here, the car felt a little cramped.

    The Toyota Avalon is a lot of car for the money. I would probably purchase it if I was looking for a FWD car. It is very roomy, has high quality materials and it seems to be fairly competent in most areas. Not overly exciting to drive and I am not crazy about the exterior styling. However after purchasing my first AWD (Pilot) a couple of years ago, I realized that is the way to go if you live in Western PA.

    The Infiniti seems to match my needs at this point in my life. Its acceleration, ride, handling, braking, and fit and finish are all very good to excellent. And it is the only car that comes close to the Avalon in size. The only thing that I noticed with the Infiniti (and BMW) is that its engine sounds a little louder than the others here. I hope that this is just the manufacturer’s intention to make the cars sound sporty rather than worse engineering.

    I have not purchased anything yet. It does not seem like Infiniti here wants to deal much on these cars. Any suggestions?
  • I don't know if Infiniti M has the same Bose as FX, but Bose in FX is crap. I own FX45 and had to go to a car stereo shop and replace junk speakers, and and throw away tne stock sub. Costed me $3K extra to get decent sound out of Infiniti. Bose is NOT about great sound. Mark Levinson is. Acura apparently also uses Bose. Look in any car audio mag - you won't find much Bose there. Hey, second from the top Alpine CD/FM + two a/d/g speakers sound better than the entire 8 speakers + sub Bose junk in FX45.
  • dano4dano4 Posts: 35
    I owned a 2005 RL for two years and have had a 2007 M35x for 3 months. Following are some reactions:

    --More room in the M. I am 6'3" and I like the higher seating position. For me, the front seats are also more comfortable. There is slightly more room in the back and the trunk is definitely much larger and more useable, although the trunk opening is smaller in the M.

    --The handling on the RL was slightly better. Better directional stability (i.e. the steering is a little "nervous" on the M) and the SH 4WD cannot be beat. The RL is normally more in FWD, while the M is normally more in RWD. Makes a difference and is personal preference. I believe the ride is better on the M, although a little firmer.

    --RL had better mileage. I regularly got 28mpg on the highway vs 23 on the M. This is due to the much lower 5th gear and closer gear ratios in the M. The M has smoother acceleration and better shifting as a result, but the penalty is the gas mileage. Both cars need a six speed or maybe, in the case of the M, the Nissan CVT.

    --The NAV systems are a toss-up. The M's system is faster, has fewer annoying warning screens, and has friendlier views. The RL had the ability to call up a longer list of destinations, complete with phone numbers-really handy for calling a hotel from the road.

    --The quality of the M has been perfect to date. I was really put off by all of the recalls on the 2005RL. It never left me stranded, but dealing with all of the recalls was a real pain. It was not an Acura-like experience. Both the Acura and Infiniti dealers are 50 miles away.

    --Depreciation experience is yet to be determined for the M. My RL dropped 35% in value-trade vs. MSRP-in two years. Much was due to the rebates necessary to move the 2006 models. Not as bad as most American cars, but worse than my 2002 Lexus LS 430.

    --Styling. The RL does strongly resemble a Honda Accord. This was a major mistake in restyling the RL as was shortening the wheelbase by nearly 2 inches. On the other hand, the M is pretty non-descript as well. I am OK with the styling on both and am more interested in the drive and quality.

    --Mechanical. Both engines are works of art and smooth as butter. Same for the transmissions, with a slight edge to the M on upshifts, and a bigger edge to the M on downshifts. More engine sound with the M, which I like. It is closer to a BMW in character, while the RL is more like a cross between a Lexus and a Honda. Why can't American manufacturers build engines like these?

    --Miscellaneous. Like the push button start on the M. Like the back-up camera on the M-now on the 2007 RL. Dealer experience for both has been great. it's really nice to be treated well vs. the low quality at most American car dealerships. A few more standard electronic toys on the RL, none of which mattered to me.

    In summary, these are two great cars and you can't go wrong with either one. Preference should be largely based on the test drive, the price, and the proximity and quality of the dealer.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    --Mechanical. Both engines are works of art and smooth as butter. Same for the transmissions, with a slight edge to the M on upshifts, and a bigger edge to the M on downshifts. More engine sound with the M, which I like. It is closer to a BMW in character, while the RL is more like a cross between a Lexus and a Honda. Why can't American manufacturers build engines like these?

    Actually they can and they do. But most people who purchase in these classes are such dash strokers and badge snobs that they're put off by the American cars since they aren't squishy and posh enough. But GM's Northstar V8 and new 3.8L V6 are smooth. Ford's modular engines are smooth (when used in some applications) and its new 3.5L V6 is said to be smooth. Chrysler's HEMI V8 is smooth as butter and its 3.5L V6 is smooth (when used in the 300, at least it was in the 300M).
  • I rent American cars all the time and one of my latest rentals was the 300M- a piece of crap compared to the M35 and the RL! The seats are like my grandmother's couch, there's no road feel,the inside parts feel like cheap plastic, and these Amercian cars that you refer to are not reliable. Who wants to have their second biggest investment in the shop getting fixed all the time.

    It's a darn shame because in so many other business areas we lead the world. I'm all for supporting American companies, but it's seems that Detroit is incapable of making a great product. Hondas, Nissans and Toyotas and all the Japanese vehicles have a large percentage of their cars made in the US anyway- so we who buy these cars are supporting ourselves as well.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    ... and these Amercian cars that you refer to are not reliable. ...

    I'd love to see some proof of that. The 300M for one, during its production, was rated as one of the most reliable cars in America (by CR, I believe). Did it leave you stranded when you rented it? Also keep in mind you're (for whatever reason) thinking an older, out-of-production $30K car should have an interior comparable to modern, $40K+ luxury cars. :confuse: I've been in and driven all three cars, and I definitely wouldn't say the 300M is a "piece of crap" compared to the M35 or RL, ESPECIALLY not the RL. Have you taken a look at that boom-box looking center stack of the RL with its hard, cheap plastic? Glass houses and stone throwers don't mix. Outside of electronic gimmickry, the 300M is on par with the RL, despite being older; and don't even mention interior space. :surprise:
  • Thanks for the great review dano4! Very nicely done.
  • Just test drove the RL and the M35X back to back and took a long look at both.

    RL positives:
    SHAWD- drive system
    On the fly navigation system
    Better fuel economy
    MP3 player is incorporated with the car's audio system
    Quieter Cabin
    Smoother Ride
    Wood steering wheel option
    Run Flat tires option
    Proven good local dealer

    RL Negatives:
    No DVD player for playing movies while car is in park
    Worse resale value
    2005 had many bugs
    Consumer Reports didn't give it a great recommendation
    I see old ladies and old men driving it
    No birdview navigation

    M35X Positives:
    DVD player plays movies while in park
    Better resale value
    2006 Consumer Reports Top Pick
    Men drive the car
    3D Birdsview Navigation
    Much better lease rate

    M35X Negatives:
    Worse fuel economy
    noisier cabin
    bouncier ride
    MP3 Player doesn't interact with the car audio system
    Navigation can only work when car's in park
    No wood steering wheel option available
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    RE the M series and the nav system; you can adjust things via the voice commands while on the move.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    Good summary. The M (and the G) get beaten up consistently over their mileage numbers. These cars desperately need a six gear automatic with sixth being a serious overdrive to get the revs down while cruising on the highway. This would also help get the noise down. Infiniti has opted for high (numeric) gears to enhance acceleration - it works, but kills mpg.
  • valueboyvalueboy Posts: 7
    Carfan is pretty accurate in listing pros and cons - I have to declare my prejudice - I bought a 2006 M35x, so I agree that the fuel efficiency and some cabin noise (the BMW, not the Lexus is the bogeyman for Infiniti, after all)are top negatives for the M. But the M's status as the best buy in Canada at least got better when Honda Canada announced an end this year to its price rip-off (about $10K of indfensible 'goudge' over the fair price on either side of the border). They've finally squeezed enough 'early adopters' (not me, thank God) to start reducing the "price goudge factor" for their 'valued customers' - by dropping the price about $6K this year. This is a 'negative' for the RL because you've got to ask yourself: Would I buy a vehicle from any dealer that admits it diddled "valued customers" for the past 2 years? The 'poorer resale' plus the 'moving target pricing' mean the RL is a bad deal, regardless of the pros and cons of the vehicle itself - price extortion is a comparo factor, no?
  • pharrickpharrick Posts: 2
    I've read this string of e-mails with great interest. I may have missed it, but here is an interesting comparison of the RL, M35, and several other competitors in class (MotorTrend Road Test: 2005 BMW 530i vs. Jaguar S-Type 3.0 vs. Audi A6 3.2 quattro vs. Cadillac STS V6 vs. Infiniti M35 vs. Acura RL): [I'll save you reading... the M35 edges the RL for top dog by a hair]

    Most of the cars in the M35 - RL class are marvelous machines. To help sort the pack, I began with Consumer Reports, but I know from personal experience it is not the be all end all. Motor Trend, Road and Track, and Edmunds are among many who provide excellent reviews, as are owner forums such as this. I also consider the reputation and distance from my home to the dealership where it will be serviced. There is no substitute for driving the competition, as I did, because the differences between these cars are not that great and for every plus there is a seeming trade off. I set out to purchase the M35, based on Consumer Reports high marks, but after driving the M35, and a Lexus (I didn't even bother to test the BMW 5 series, given its sorry reliability record), frankly found the RL more to my liking... just a personal comfort zone and a good fit for me and my wife. Perhaps age is a factor, because V-8 power - which is what most seem to think the RL lacks - is not a matter of great significance to me. The RL's 300 hp V-6 offers plenty of power for most drivers. When cars are this closely competitive, price comes into play. Infiniti did not seem interested in serious negotiating, and despite what I read in the forum about Honda gouging (in Canada), I purchased my '07 RL at a very nice 20% off MSRP. I couldn't be more pleased with it. Solid, great road holding characteristics, comfortable, quiet, decent mpg. for an all wheel drive vehicle, and more than adequate acceleration. Its not perfect ... my biggest complaint is that the trunk is relatively small, but it is adequate for my needs. Most contributors to this forum hit the nail on the head - you can read all you want, but in the final analysis, you have to test drive and decide for yourself. I don't think you will go wrong with either car.
  • blov8rblov8r Posts: 567
    I don't think you will go wrong with either car.

    I drive an M35 and have been reading reviews and threads such as this one for over two years since getting my M. Your post hits the nail on the head, and once someone sorts through all the palaver the bottom line is that all of these cars are superb. It's the ice-cream issue all over again: chocolate v. vanilla. Bart :shades:
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    I am considering a gently used 2005+ RL or 2005+ M35.

    It seems like both can be had for low 30s.

    Any opinion on which is the better bet as a used car as far as the owner experience goes and what you can expect on resale to the third owner?
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Both hold their value farily well, although it appears that while the list prices are similar, the Acura probably went out the door cheaper. For me, it was no choice - I'm fairly tall (and long-waisted), so I just couldn't drive the Acura comfortably.
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    I have to say I see more M35s than Acura RLs in central Ohio. And more Acura TLs than either of those.
  • I test drove the M35X and liked the look of the front end and really liked the interior but as soon as I started driving I realized I could not tolerate the excessive noise the engine made .I think you can have a car with good performance but it should not sound like the engine is on its last legs.So the M35 is not for me.I guess I am spoilt I drive a Lexus. ;)
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    A lot of that noise is from the Goodyear tires they put on them. Even my snow tires are quieter.
This discussion has been closed.