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



  • " the X5 is the better SUV, more adverse roadbed capability if needed " than the MDX. I don't think so, both SUV have similar all wheel drive systems. The MDX has the capability to lock in all 4 wheels in really tough situations, the BMW does not. The MDX wears off road tires and the BMW has racing tires. I think the MDX would be much better in the snow and adverse situations. The BMW performs better than the MDX on the race tracks but I think the MDX has the advantage in utility.
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    getting into the SUV game here and have only driven my father's 2000 Lexus RX300. I am going to lease this for my wife. She puts on about 10K a year and because of work, half can be written off.

    Here is where I need help.
    The comparison includes:
    1. Mercedez ML320
    2. Lexus RX300
    3. Acura MDX
    4. Nissan Murano
    6. Infiniti FX35
    7. VW touregg
    8. BMW X5 3.0

    Here are the factors important for her:
    1. Easy to drive
    2. appeal (she loves the interior of the fx and the exterior of the Jeep GC)
    3. No need for a third seat, just a little extra storage
    4. leasing programs (residuals, price, maintenance)
    5. Safety (no need for off road capabilities)
    6. The standard 6 cyl. engines in all of these are plenty

    What should be my first move?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Does the fact that you don't mention a need for wintertime on-road adverse condition, snow and ice, capability, actually meaningful?

    MDX vs X5

    The MDX is predominantly FWD, only AWD up to about 18MPH. Not sure if the manual AWD switch over-rides that upper limit. But what, where, is the torque bias ratio even in AWD?

    Don't know why, but you can't get HID headlamps on the MDX.
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    Yes we live in Conneticut and will encounter some snow.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    it seems like the Volvo should be on your list.

    and isn't this a Cadidlac site? YOu could at least put the SRX on your list, even if you have no intent to buy it.


    if safety and driveability are an issue, a nice wagon should be on your list. Far safer and better to drive. Also, better mpg, likely. Audi A6?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The RX330 will be out in April and if the new VSC AWD firmware is coded to be aggressive then it will overshadow all of the others. Assuming you rate luxury fairly high in your "wants".
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    The base "6" for the '03 ML is now the 350 which actually is a 3.7L engine that replaced the 3.2L after the model year started. If there still are any new '03 ML320s available, you probably could get a good lease deal. And, you left the Honda Pilot off your list.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446,181&- amp;sid=181

    a positive car review from The Car Connection, Feb. 17

    sorry for the re-post if folks have seen it
  • Don't know how it might apply to your situation but the X5 has a gross vehicle weight of 6005 lbs., enough to accelerate the depreciation (big tax write-off) if leased on business. There were a lot of stories in the press in December on how heavy SUVs were bought for this reason. I love my X5 in the snow, not just for the traction but also the heated seats, heated steering wheel and heated wiper fluid jets. Park distance control makes it easy to park. HOWEVER, my wife does not think it's easy to drive. Residuals seem to be a little over 60%.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I dont know who was saying the CTS was a flop but that is inaccurate. The car was projected to sell about 40K units and thats what they sold. I believe it is among the top 3 or 4 entry level lux cars in monthly sales. I know it outsells the IS300 and the X-type. The SRX is projected for 30K units in its first full year which is very conservative number that will keep it relatively exclusive compared to vehicles like the RX300 which is everywhere. To be honest the SRX is directly competing with the X5, Toureg and FX45. Everything else in this class is more biased towards soccer moms and people who like Buick-soft ride quality. The SRX is more performance oriented than the RX330, Pacifica, MDX or XC90. If they only plan to sell 30K units then this vehicle should do just fine, they might even have to increase production.
  • I guess when a car company sets low sales projections it is easier to call the sales numbers a success. So far, I have seen only one CTS on the road, so if eclucivity is the GM goal they indeed have succeeded.

    We drove a loaded CTS when they first became available. It handles well and has a good feel too. The transmission is excellent and the ride comfortable. It could use a bit more power, but that will be fixed in the next model year. Skipping looks, which is different in a take it or leave it way, we found the back seat too small for us. My head hit the ceiling (I'm 5'10") and the seat was not very comfortable either (maybe because I didn't fit). The dash instruments and center stack were unreadable on the sunny day we drove the car unless the car was in the shade. The sun visor couldn't be lowered without hitting my wife's head when she drove the car. Some of the interior is hard rather than soft. The noise level at freeways speeds was higher than expected too.

    It is a good start, but a work in progress and not up to the standards of other cars in the class. Maybe next model year the car will have some of of the deficiencies corrected and will be a real success, with sales well above 40,000.

    The SRX sounds good, but so did the CTS. Reviews have been good and it will have a third row available, though from what I have read it will be down on luggage and hauling volume. BTW, the MDX does not have a Buick-like soft ride quality. It will be nice, however, if the "S" in SRX really does stand for sport and the vehicle does performs that way too.
  • jrockb4jrockb4 Posts: 5
    I know they are pre-production reviews, but the SRX is getting the best reviews of any GM vehicle in recent memory. They are not getting the "GM car X is a nice vehicle, but...." reviews. It is getting the "The may be the best vehicle in it's class" reviews. Motor Trend, Road and Track, Car and Driver you name it. Of course this could change between now and Sept, but things should only get better. Below is jus tthe latest rave review. 1089872c.html
  • I recall about 2 years ago, right before the CTS was about to come out. Reviewers couldn't stop talking about it, it was suppose to be the car that will save Cadillac. Very much like the Allante 10 years ago, it too was suppose to be the next generation of 2 seat roadsters . Well we all know how those 2 stories turn out. I personally test drove the CTS, it has nice power and handling is average. But the interior material was very cheap and not up to the standards of other cars in the $35,000 range.
    The SRX has a very radical design, it has one of the those like it or hate it design much like the Nissan Murano and the BMW Z3. I believe the SRX will be a little more successful than the CTS, but it can never live up to its hypes. But even if it come close to what reviews are saying, it would be the most successful new Cadillac in a long while.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407

    Listen, I really think you need to review the sales of some entry level luxury cars. There are only a handful of entry lux cars that outsold the CTS last year. I know the Es300 and 3 series outsold it but I cant vouch for anything else. 40K units is very good for a 1st year luxury car that has no real predecessor. I'm not sure whre you live (probably CA) but I have seen dozens o CTS since its intro. I probably see 2-3 every week. I have been in the CTS and my head didnt hit the ceiling (i'm 5'10") and the car is bigger than every car in this class save the ES300 and Acura TL. What are you talking about? What cars in the class are so much better than the CTS? Out of the RWD competition only the 3 series could be considered superior and thats only if size isnt an issue for the buyer. The CTS interior is as good as the LS, X-type, IS300, I30 and TL in my opinion. I've found all of those cars to feel sort of non-luxurious on the inside.

    Also, the SRX is larger than other lux crossovers including the X5. I'm not sure what you've read that suggests it will be smaller than the competition.
  • richw5richw5 Posts: 152
    fndly - I'm 6'0" and own a CTS. Our purchase was the result of needing a second car, to transport our year old (at the time of purchase)grandson. My wife uses the CTS as a daily driver and we take turns riding in the back seat, when we bring the grandson to our house for a visit.

    As long as the front seat isn't all the way back, I don't have a problem with rear leg or head room. As for wind noise, our CTS is one of the quietest cars I've ever owned. It's just a fun car to drive. We've never had a sunlight problem with the dash or instruments. While I feel it needs about 30 more horsepower, my wife thinks it's perfect now.

    While the CTS is priced to compete with the BMW 3-series, it's the size of a 5-series. I've blown away many 3-series BMW's without a sweat and believe me, the CTS is superior.

    A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Chicago Auto Show. The SRX was there and impressed me right off the bat. Some of the harsh lines of the CTS are softened and it's a great looking vehicle. Beyond that, it's roomer then most (if not all) of it's competition and can be configured to meet all of our needs. I was really impressed. My retirement changed the frequency of car purchases at our house, but in a few years, my wife's '99 Explorer will be traded for an SRX.

    P.S. Here in the Chicago suburbs, I normally see two to three CTS's every day. My wife's boss asked if we would be angry if she got a CTS too.
    I just smile and know that we did the right thing. Cadillac has some great cars coming out in the next few years. Just watch.

  • Not knocking the CTS, just reporting what my test drive was like. There appear to be very few on the road in my part of SoCal. I have a headroom problem in a few cars, The front was fine for me, but the back was a minus one inch on the headroom side, but okay for leg room. Even the S-Type Jag that I had at that time (gone for about a year now) had more rear headroom.

    The CTS is big on the outside compared to cars in the same price range, but drove smaller (that's good). Having dash and center stack non mechanical instruments and displays wash out in bright sun is not unusual. Just mentioned it because as a new design I expected better than average.

    Even the dealer agreed the car was noisy. It wasn't wind noise, but sounded like tire noise. Maybe there was a tire problem on the one I drove? But, it rode very well and the handling was good too. The dealer was very good by the way. He gave us the keys and said to take for a good drive but try to be back in an hour or so. We were out about an hour.

    For me the car really competes in the 5 series, A6, S80, E-Class, and G35 size class. Compared to those, the CTS is a good start that needs a bit more refinement. Yes, the CTS price is less, but not enough to make a purchase - yet.

    I expect the SRX to be at a higher level of refinement. If it is, It may be the replacement for my MDX.
  • jrockb4jrockb4 Posts: 5
    I agree that pre-production reviews are iffy at best, but I can always hope that for once Cadillac has gotten it right :-> For once the reviews have all been positive that I have seen so far, without the it is nice but ... comments that were made about the CTS. Just for the record here is another one...
  • I just read the link you have provided, it is in fact a very good review. I was looking at the dash design of the SRX and I see a problem right off the bat. The radio controls are blend into the navigation controls, this make thing really confusing, especiailly if you are driving the car for the first time and unfamiliar with the dash layout. This is a trend I have notice not just in the SRX, but many other automobiles. Its is definitely a negative trend. I prefer a well defined layout. The major parts at the center dash should be navigation system of trip computer, then the radio and the HVAC system.
  • jrockb4jrockb4 Posts: 5
    I agree that it is confusing at first, that is why GM does so much in the way of steering wheel controls. Keep your eyes on the road :-> I look forward to taking all of the competitors out for a thorough testing. The magazines should have a field day.
  • chumsaechumsae Posts: 61
    All ML's qualify for the accellerated $20,000 depreciation allowance if truck is used more than 50% for business and owned (not leased).
    The early ML's have a GLVW (gross loaded
    vehicle weight) of 6,005 lbs (this is the car
    weight plus maximum design load). My 2000 ML320
    has a GLVW of 6,236 lbs.

    Interestingly, the RX300 doesn't meet the weight test (maybe the newer ones do).

    You can check for GLVW on the driver's side doorsill area.

    By allowing an acceleration of $20,000 depreciation, the owner will have a net return
    of $5,000 (assumes 25% tax rate)in the form
    of reduced federal taxes. You will also take
    the usual depreciation allowance which is, I believe 1/5th of the purchase price, reduced by any months in 2002 that you didn't own the car.
    Hence, a $40,000 ML would see a $20,000 plus $8,000 (regular depreciation) and a net benefit
    of $7,000 in reduced taxes at a 25% tax rate.
    You then depreciate the remainder, $12,000 over the next 2 years.

    Of course this isn't manna from heaven; it is simply an accelleration of depreciation you would eventually take in later years. It is, though, a nice cash-flow device that "pays you back" $5,000 plus for money you may not have spent if you financed the truck and put little down.

    The law was written to ease the way for farmers and tradespeople to buy newer vehicles in the over
    6,000 lb class.
  • IleIle Posts: 14
    I think that the law was made so that Bush family can make more money in their oil business. :-)
  • cekscceksc Posts: 20
    Maybe the new Lexus GX should also be a part of this comparison. I had a M-Benz and an X5 and the GX is the best SUV i have every driven.
  • 243243 Posts: 6
    The new Lexus RX 330 is getting rave reviews and should challenge the BMW X5 and MDX ! I am debating between the X5 3.0 and new Lexus 330. Edmunds has a good review of the Lexus below.. let me know what you think. html?tid=edmunds.f.discussions.leftsidenav..1.Lexus*
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    the XC90 is not on your list?

    also - not willing to wait for the SRX?
  • Does anyone know where I can find specs for the new SRX. Looked at the FX35 today and while I love the styling, there really isn't a great amount of cargo room for my needs.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I saw an RX330 in person yesterday. It's rather bland from the front and surprisingly Hyundai Santa Fe 'ish from the rear. The interior is straight from the Kia Sorrento (who copied who, I wonder?).
  • So please remind me, whats the big difference between the RX300 and the RX330, another 20 HP? The RX330 will be the same as the RX300, that it will only challenge the X5 and the MDX in the area of reliability not performance.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Depends how you define performance.

    If it's straight line acceleration, the RX330 should easily hang with the MDX and X5 3.0.

    It is, however, probably softer in the twisties, sacrificing cornering prowess for superior ride comfort.

    Also, at $37,000 it's a relative bargain for Lexus typical quality, luxury, and comfort.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Also note that with the Performance Pkg and its new air suspension and 18 inch wheels the ride is much firmer and remains flatter around bends than the RX 300 or the 330 with the regular coil suspension. I've driven both and there is a very noticable difference; in fact, I thought the Performance Pkg would be a little too firm for many Lexus buyers. Although it's still not an outright performance vehicle (like the Porshe or FX45) I do think it would hold its own with the MDX and X5 3.0. It's lighter than either either of these vehicles and even though it's 150 lbs heavier than the 2003 RX it managed to pick up nearly a full second on its 0-60 time, while at the same time being a little more fuel efficient than the old model and its competition.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    A decent AWD system, potentially.
    Air suspension.
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