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Acura MDX vs Lexus GX 470 vs Mercedes-Benz M Class



  • Another example of why those MPG are estimated and should be use as reference only. I had a 03 MDX, traded it in for a GX because of the poor workmanship and cheap material used. While I had the MDX, I was getting about 15 MPG driving 95% city. With the GX, traveling the same route, I get about 14.5 MPG, both calculated manually. Going from a V6 to a V8, I was expecting the MPG to drop quite a bit, but to my pleasant surprise, the GX's V8 is alot more fuel efficient than I originally thought. Although the GX's engine is bigger in displacement, they both produce 270 HP, but the GX blows away the MDX in torque, which is really evident when accelerating from stop. Don't get me wrong, I think the MDX has one of the best V6 on the market, but its technology is getting old. It still uses a two stage VTEC system, while the GX has the variable valve timing through out its whole rpm range, which may be one of the reason why the Lexus' V8 is so efficient. One all highway, doing about 70-80 MPH on a couple of long trips, the MDX got about 19 MPG while the GX got about 17 MPG.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    My 02 MDX is a dream. It gets about 24+ mpg on the highway. We can crank out miles between stops and get there with plenty of gas to spare. The MDX aound town isn't great, it is a heavy vehicle and doesn't get much better than 15, however its highway mileage is awesome for a truck of its size. In addition the MDX is a fantastic road trip vehicle, it drives great on the highway with plenty of power to spare and gets awesome highway mileage. It also has great all weather handling, snow, rain, ice...and hopefully sunny.

    I would be interested to hear how a GX does on long trips? We simply love the MDX for doing long family vacations, I have considered a GX for an upgrade, but don't see much reason to at this point, our MDX still drives like new.
  • davidc1davidc1 Posts: 168
    GX is a great road trip vehicle. And you can adjust the suspension tuning depending on speed and surface. But I doubt it gets better gas mileage than the MDX.
  • Hi sbcooke,
    Do you remember me from the MDX forum?
    The MDX does indeed get better mileage on the highway, according to my manual calculations: the MDX gets about 2 to 3 MPG more than the GX on the highway. In the city, it is very similar, only 0.5 MPG differences. This may be due to the fact that the MDX has a lower drag coefficient than the GX. The MDX also spend most of the in front wheel drive mode and has a smaller engine. One thing I did notice was that the GX has better acceleration off the line and on the highway, but most Lexus owner, much like myself, don’t really care about speed that much.
    The MDX is a dream on long trips, the seats are much more comfortable than the MDX's. It also has higher quality leather and has more power adjustments. Handling on the highway is close to the MDX but not as good, but you can cruise at 75 with no problem. The only bad thing I can say about the GX is that it has a large cross section, driving in high wind condition will need the driver's full attention. If you put the suspension in the stiff mode, it improves the handling a bit in high wind condition.
    As far as all weather handling, snow, rain, ice, the MDX does not even come close to the GX, about the only SUV I have driven that is as good as the GX was my old Grand Cherokee, which had off road tires.
    The first thing I notice when I went to look at the GX was how much better the built quality and built material was compare to the MDX. I am sorry to say this, but the Canadians cannot build a car as good as the Japanese can. Both car is selling at around invoice now, one can upgrade to the GX from the MDX for about 7 to 8 thousand dollars more. well worth it in my opinion.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    Yes. Of course I remember. How is your GX? Glad you switched?

    Interersting about the ride qualities. The MDX is like a minivan, but its egg shape is good in the wind. I loved the GX on a test drive, but I am not sure it is worth the $$ over the MDX for a flat out luxury SUV (i.e. all weather to me is 6" snow worst...and the MDX handles that easily, maybe not as good, but there are no worries). Luxury Truck, the GX is probably the best on the market. Here the GX with options is still about $53K.

    I like the MDX seats (I will concede the leather is thin and cheaper than the GX, but pretty good)...I have done 9 hours straight on a road trip with little discomfort except for the whole left foot thing, which you get used to. The MDX is very roomy all around with room for me to sit between the kids in the backseat...that doesn't happen often, but I can. The fold back center console is great for us to put the portable DVD player on...that feature alone is awesome for road trips.

    I am thinking about dumping my Trooper...great truck at $24K and can go almost anywhere...the GX probably has as good offroad ability, but a huge ride improvement. The rub is I don't worry about scraping my Trooper across some rocks, against a tree or filling it with woodchips.

    I am torn between the GX or saving 20K and getting a 4runner and using it in a more truck like fashion.

    I am lucky with the MDX since we have only 28K on our 2002 and those are mostly highway (it is the wife's car and we have very short distances to go), we probably don't have to worry about the higher mileage transmission issues before we trade out.
  • The GX is fantastic, I was very glad I switch, my MDX had alot of problems such as brake cluck, shifting driver seat, rattles when windows were half open, the 2500 rpm drone and the sloshing gas tank.
    I bought my GX at invoice, it was $43000, just a bit more than the MDX. When I bought the MDX, it was still selling at MSRP. The MDX does have nice seats but I agree with you that the leather is cheap and they wrinkle easily. The Lexus' seats are among the best in the industry. Of course you already know that since you had a test drive.
    I had a 06 4runner on order before I bought the GX, the 4runner is a very nice truck, good built quality since it is built in Japan. You can probably buy a 4runner SR5 based model for $20K less than the GX, I was looking at the limited which at that time was only $5000 less than the GX. The 4runners has a $2000 rebate now from what I understand.
    The GX is much too nice to take off road, Although the optional KDSS suspension is great for off road use. The GX are like the Range Rovers, both SUV were design for off road use but hardly ever get used for its true design intend.
  • Having owned both, I would recommend both as fine vehicles. I would like to see what Acura is going to do with the 07 styling, it's time for a refresh.

    Now having the GX, it is just more refined in the ride/fit/finish than the MDX. I guess if you don't want or need 8 cylinders for towing or power, and you don't want to pay the price, the MDX is the choice. I really wish the gx came with 6 cyl, like the middle east version does, but, I drove it, loved it, leased it. It was a purely emotional decision. I will say that the third row in the Acura has 2 pluses...more comfortable, and, third row has side curtains, GX does not have 3rd row curtains and the 3rd seat is only for the smallest, skinniest toddlers.

    On the GX, I was offered such a good deal, it made it easy. My Lexus person offered me invoice and a money factor of .0012, and is selling my friend an RX at invoice as well. Acura has never been willing to deal on price with me.

    I would gladly recommend both, depending on your needs.

    Happy shopping!
  • I would say that the third row in the Acura has 3 pluses, more comfortable, side curtains and it folds down flat. It also has one minus, they are vinyl.
  • I agree with that. I do miss the fold flat seat option, but I guess with the truck layout on the GX they couldn't do it. Made for some great cargo space in the MDX. But, hubby has a Titan, so he we can haul junk with that one, ha ha.
  • Yes, the GX has a real axle connected to the rear wheel unlike the MDX which links the rear wheel by wires. Thats why the 4WD system on the GX works much better in the snow and it can be lock in at any speed. The disadvantage of the GX's 4WD system is added weight and it takes up more space which is why the 3rd row seat cannot be fold down.
  • carguy30carguy30 Posts: 1
    hi everyone...this is a great forum...i'm glad i stumbled across...

    i'm debating between an 04 mdx touring (with nav, dvd, cd changer etc...) or an 04 mercedes ml500 (nav, dvd etc)...both are similar in price...the ml500 is around 32,000 and the mdx is around 30,000...

    any thoughts would be much appreciated...

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    GX is a great road trip vehicle. And you can adjust the suspension tuning depending on speed and surface. But I doubt it gets better gas mileage than the MDX.

    My girlfriend's mother has a GX470...I drove it from Montgomery to Birmingham (Alabama) recently, and was surprised at how numb the controls all were relative to our old 2000 Odyssey (the platform and vehicle the current MDX is based on). The steering felt numb, with late turn-in in response to my inputs. I've driven Suburbans and such, and know how a "truck" drives, and guess I expected better from Toyota. I do realize that it is a "truck" in the literal sense, based on how it is built, but the "SPORT" suspension setting did nothing to make the car handle more just made the ride more jiggly, which really made the rear jumpseat/bench things rattle even louder than they already do (it has 51,000 miles - 2004 model).

    Her average MPG commuting from the suburbs is 15MPG, BTW.
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