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



  • rerenov8rrerenov8r Posts: 380
    The review is almost 100% positive.

    The complaint is odd too, as although there are 2WD SUVs, you cannot get them in the snow belt even if they are FWD. I suppose if one were talking about a RWD sedan it would make more sense, but it isn't like the automakers hold a gun to your head, if you want a RWD at least now you can buy one...
  • wulf007wulf007 Posts: 20
    I must not be looking in the same place you are because when I reviewed it, it shows no data for reliability for any of the 2003 cars. I threw in the Infinity G35. For Initial Quality it looks like the ES blows the others away with Infinity second and the CTS and Acura fairly close. I am sure they are all fine cars. Just depends on your needs and what floats your boat. Neither my 540 or JGC are rated all that high and I know some people have had their problems with them, but (knock on wood) I have not. Initially I was planning on getting an SRX but the price with options ($58K) and looks changed my mind. Thought about the CTSV but again at over $50K it didn't seem like the best choice. So I guess I keep the 540 and get an Escalade. You get more bang for the buck and I need the room and the power to tow.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Guess I was picking on Willard a bit there :-)

    And I think I'm safe in assuming Duluth is in the snow belt?

    Steve, Host
  • Go to this J D Power site:
    Pick " I know what I want "
    Pick up to 10 vehicles
    on step 2 pick long term reliability as very important and all the other category as not important. Although it will not give you a rating, but it will rank the cars that you listed.
    Have fun
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    About your math skills....
    GM predicted 30K sales for the CTS.
    Double hat is 60K... Sixty Thousand units, not Six Hundred Thousand. CTS is on pace to sell that this year.

    So.... FWD superior to RWD? I suppose if you don't care about driving the car in fair weather then it is. Otherwise, Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, etc. have it all wrong.

    FWD has two advantages... in the snow and it gets rid the driveshaft hump. There is an advantage for the automaker - it's cheap (they can use drivetrains out of their high volume appliance sedans) and the make more money if they can get someone to buy it at the same price as the more expensive-to-build RWD vehicle.

    BTW... base DeVilles can be bought for $35K any day, right in the price range of the ES and CTS.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Advantage: Gets you up and going with more traction due to engine weight on the front wheels.

    Disadvantage: More traction on the front on slippery roadbeds oftentimes leads to complete loss of control.

    Lexus RX AWD series, front torque biased 75/25, detects "coasting", slowing, or braking, circumstances and automatically upshifts the transmission to prevent inadvertant loss of control due to compression braking.

    No doubt that RX FWD does the same, probably even more dramatically, but I have no experience with FWD RX.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Here we go again - got a cite to illustrate frequency or do we have to drag out your Montana 4WD stories and my FWD Anchorage ones?

    (for latecomers to this old, running dispute, I drove FWD in AK for 20 years and lost control once. On purpose. In an empty snowy parking lot. And I had to work at it. Absolutely no control when I finally broke it lose, but "oftentimes"? I don't recall seeing any "proof" for that argument).

    Come mid-Oct., let's get Nanuq or Javadoc to park on the six lane during the first snow up there and count the cars in the median. My money says the 4WD/AWD/RWD cars in the ditch will outnumber the FWD ones 10 to 1.

    Steve, Host
  • About your counting skills. CTS's sale number in March 2003 are 4588 units, and that was a increase of 10.5%, March 2003 was one of their better months. They are on pace to sell a little more than 50000, see link below:

    50000 units for a car that is under $30000, I consider that a failure, But considering Cadillac's last 2 attempt at cars under 30K, CTS is doing pretty well. The other 2 Cadillac under 30K from the past fail so badly that I cant even remember their names.
    The only advantage of a RWD in fair weather is if you really push the car to the limit and it starts to spin out while cornering. A RWD car can regain control faster. Most new cars these days have stability and traction controls, so even that advantage of the RWD has been taken away. Just think about it, how many time do you take corners at 80 MPH. This big advantage of the RWD you are talking about might be utilize once or twice during the life span of that car if you are lucky. While the FWD advantage can be utilize every time it snow or rain.
    By the way, you do know that Mercedes, Porsche and BMW have AWD vehicle for added tractions, right?
    I dont think saving money was the reason why so many auto manufacturers are starting to use FWD. The manufacturer may save on the drive shift, but there are extra component in a FWD car as well, such as the vicous coupling. The American auto companies try to design FWD car in the 80s. They had design problems that still exist in their FWD cars today. They cannot design a powerful car with FWD. While Japanese and European cars are up to 200, 300 HP on their FWD cars with no torque steering.
    BTW, the Edmunds TMV for a Deville is $40500, not 35000.
  • this "Slate" column sums up my feelings on the matter:

    about 1/4 of the way down.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Viscous couplings are only common on AWD/4WD or sometimes rear LSD for RWD. I don't know of any FWD (only) "passenger" car/SUV that uses a VC.
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    If you go down to your local Cadillac dealer, I guarantee you will not find a CTS that stickers under $30K, most are in the mid '30'Ks, loaded lux sports can go into the $40'Ks.

    BTW... Edmunds TMV is wrong about the base DeVille. $35K prices right on the windshields at local dealer, even before the haggling begins.

    And, GM cannot design a powerful FWD car? They were the first ones to do it, been building 300 hp FWD cars since 1993, long before anyone else.

    Math.... I say 60K, you say 50K, so its going to be in between somewhere. Regardless, it's the 2nd best selling near-lux sports say it's a failure is to say that every other vehicle of its type except for the BMW 3-Series is also a failure. This is obviously not the case - the C-Class and G35 are successful as well as the CTS.

    Mercedes, BMW and Porsche do use AWD for added traction... not as a band-aid to make up for an inferior FWD design.

    Greenlatern - that column says it all!!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I think you may be missing my point, but thinking about it, that's likely my fault.

    Because I know the "flaws" associated with FWD in slippery roadbed conditions, then I, like you, could probably drive one for thousands of miles and many years without incident or accident.

    But what about the person(s) who have driven one for many years without ever encountering roadbed conditions that matter one way or another?

    Think about your own natural instincts, without prior knowledge, experience, or training, what would be your first reaction (no clutch) when the front tires of a FWD first lose traction with the roadbed?

    The slate article is very good except it needed a word or two about inadvertant compression braking on the front driven (and steering!!) wheels on throttle lift.
  • GM have been makeing a 300 plus horsepower production front wheel drive car since 1993? Would you like to share the name of that GM automobile?
    Option happy is another problem I have with the CTS. Why price a car at 29000, if one wants a FM radio, some normal wheels and perhaps bucket seats, the price goes up to 35000. Japanese and European car dont cheat people like that. That is false advertising in my opinion. Most of the time with Japanese and European car, the base price would buy you a car with acceptable options.
    Mercedes, BMW and Porsche do use AWD for added traction, for people who do not drive exclusively on dry roads and race tracks.
    Greenlatern - that column was totally bias. This was a guy that drove a FWD car in the 1980 and didnt like it when he lost control due to his driving. BTW the Camero is dieing just like the T bird, and the Camero have RWD, hum. Even the author admited that FWD has better traction. He also admits that the reason why he like RWD car is that he like to power slide when he floors the gas. I hope he never buys a car with traction control.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I believe I'm supposed to say "let off the gas" but I really think my first reaction would be to steer. Maybe my bias stems from my early driving years on lots of gravel roads in a GMC pickup. All too easy to lose the rear end, and none of the fun of any of those Slate cars.

    Good post though and your point is well taken.

    Steve, Host
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    No problem.... the first FWD GM car with 300hp was the 1993 Allante, the only year that car got the Northstar engine. The STS got the Northstar in 1994 and has had 300hp ever since.

    So now, why don't you name for me the car on which options can be bought ala carte? No such thing... everyone sells these option packages that drive up the prices.

    Yes, Mercedes, Porsche and BMW offer AWD for a number of reasons.... but if you don't want the added weight, cost and complexity you still will have an dynamically excellent RWD vehicle, not a cheap FWD appliance.

    The Slate article was spot on. The guy knew exactly what he was talking about.... too bad he didn't agree with you.
  • Well you were almost right, that North star engine didnt get up to 300 horse power unit 1995, not 1993. And we all know that Cadillac still dont know how to make a FWD that handles well. The Allante was a failure as well, although it was better than that other piece of crap Cadillac put out before that, the Cimarron.
    Almost all Japanese and European car can be bought with none or very little options and still be a very driveable car.
    What you call FWD appliance, I call RWD dinosaur, perhaps you like that 8 track tape player mandatory option that comes with your RWD.
    That slate guy knows nothing about the latest FWD technologies, he know as much about FWD as you do.
    Lets face it, it is alot tougher to lose control in a FWD than a RWD. Once you lose control, one of the reason why a FWD is tougher to regain control is that, by the time you lose control in a FWD, you are going that much faster and be in a much worst situation than a RWD, which would have lost control long before that.
    Look, I dont even know why we are talking about this, with technologies like traction control and stability controls, the only difference between a FWD and a RWD is that FWD have better traction in rain and snow.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The better 4WD(FWD, West) system you have, the deeper into the woods (or other "stuff") you get before you get stuck!

    Traction and stability (and ABS) controls are also available on RWD, although it was the hazards of FWD that first led to their need and development.

    Before you jump on me go out and test that 300HP FWD Caddy on the slippery stuff and see how quickly it dethrottles. NO hesitation!

    The RWD GS430 applies braking first and gives the driver a few milliseconds to react and lift, adjust, moderate, the throttle before dethrottling on its own. Caddy can't do that because with FWD those few milliseconds can mean the difference between life and death

    And do you know that it was the high compression FWD braking torque of that very same Northstar engine that led GM to develop an over-running clutch (driven wheels can't "drive" the engine)to prevent their remaining loyal customer(s) from killing themselves?

    With FWD you cannot, MUST NOT, take any chances on inadvertantly, unknowingly, losing traction on those front wheels. To losing traction on our driven wheels those of us with RWD would say, so what!
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    Excellent accessment.... not only would you not care if the driving wheels lose a bit of traction in hard driving, it's the abiity to hang out the tail in corners that makes RWD much more fun (and faster in the hands of a skilled driver).

    Hopeitsfriday, if FWD is so great for handling, why aren't manufacturers like Ferrari using it? Why isn't it in Formula One? Indy Cars? Stock Cars? If it's better for acceleration, why isn't it in dragsters?

    Are Formula One cars "dinosaurs"? Just the opposite - they're the pinnacle of automotive technology... and RWD. Seems that in any application where going fast is the primary objective, FWD isn't part of the equation.

    What the Slate guy knows is the laws of physics and all of the high tech band-aids aren't going to change them. The fact that FWD cars even need them ought to tell you something... on a RWD car they're an enhancement, not a neccessity.

    The 1993 Allante had 295hp... yeah, 5hp is a really big deal. I'm also quite certain that I know quite a lot about high performance FWD cars. I've owned a SVT Contour since 1998, which has been called by several (including Edmunds) "the best handling FWD sedan in the world".

    Note how they qualify that.... as good as it is, they are correct.... it can't touch the top RWD sports sedans.
  • I will say again, GM has alot of work to do before they can put out a 300HP FWD Caddy that is somewhat driveable.
    I have never said FWD handles better, what I say was that FWD have better traction. Handling is nice if I want to corner at 80 MPH, but I can't do that with my 5 year old in the car. Even without my kid in the car, I find drivers like that totally irresponsible for the safety of others. Just go find a race track some where and do craps like that, would you guys? Instead I prefer the FWD for added traction and safety during rain and snow, so what it really comes down to is that if you want to pretend you are Dale Earnhardt on the street, then a RWD is for you, but you better have a second car in the winter if you live near the snow belt. If you want the added safety of better traction, then a FWD is for you. In conclusion, it is power slide on dry road vs better traction in the rain and snow. I think most people would pick the traction.
    You stated " it's the ability to hang out the tail in corners that makes RWD much more fun BTW when the back spends out " that is a funny one. If your back tires are spinning out that means you have no traction and control in the back wheels. Do you think that 18 year kid still thinks power slide is fun after he wrap his car around a telephone pole. We are talking real life driving here, not some fantasy world you live in where you can go down the street at 100 MPH and take corners at 60 MPH.
    Instead of driving an old FWD American saden and calling your self an expert, you should really try driving the latest technology in a FWD sports car.
    You are right about one thing, most vehicles that has more than 300 HP usually prefer RWD for better handling, but give it a few year the FWD technologies will catch up to those 300 HP cars as well. After all, 10 years ago FWD drive HP was only pushing 150 or so, today, they are in cars that have 250 HP and drive every bit as good as a RWD with added benefits. Notice, I didnt include Cadillac, they have way too much engine for their FWD technology.
    BTW, Formula One, Indy Cars, Stock Cars or dragsters dont race in the rain or snow, otherwise they would be using FWD.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Formula 1 does race in rain.
  • That is knida of silly dont you think. The F1 car dont even have windshield wipers or treads on their tires. I am sure it is for finanial reasons to race in light rain.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I am not sure what the reason is now, but is has been that way for as long as I can remember. They do use rain tires, or intermediates, but wipers are useless because 1) With no one in front, drivers don't really need one as it simply runs off their visor 2) if there is someone in front, wiper does not help at all.

    They race in light and heavy rain until most of the cars are off the track, and the marshalls some to their senses and stop the race. Still, I have not seen F1 race being stopped in recent years despite the rain, which at times were down pours.
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    The only reason these cars can't run in the rain is because they have slicks. Put rain tires on them and they could.

    Hopeitsfriday, thanks for conceding to me that FWD cannot run with RWD in fair weather conditions, which is 95% of the time... you claim that FWD is safest, I say the vehicle that has the best balance and handling in emergency situations is the safest. Those vehicles are not FWD.

    The latest technology in FWD cars interferes with performance.... traction controls work by cutting power or braking when the antics start... not desirable when you want to go fast. Turn it off (if you can) and the problems inherent with FWD rear their ugly head. It's a no win situation.

    And by "hanging the rear end out", I'm referring to steering wth the throttle in fast cornering, something you can't do with FWD. It can be done safely on any on ramp.... and I wouldn't give an 18 year old the keys to any high performance vehicle.

    In places where the weather goes bad, that's when the traction and stability controls come into play, plus the high tech snow tires they make nowadays work very well. In other seasons, you turn off the gizmos and swap the snows for ultra-high performance (not all-season) rubber.
    You need only change the tires, not the whole vehicle.

    BTW, ultra-high performance tires don't work in snow, whether it's a FWD or RWD application. For maximum performance, you must do some sort of tire swap. When you're spending this kind of money on a vehicle, sacrificing any capability is unacceptable.

    A large number of people expect high performance at this price point... if they didn't BMW would be out of business. If you want to just toddle around town, you might as well save the money and go buy a FWD minivan
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I have had FWD cars (various 3 Accords, 1 Integra) and when cornering on snow covered street (not on ice) and need to make a quicker turn than available traction would allow, I use the parking brake to lock up the rear and turn the tail around. Otherwise I cannot carry the speed I need to safely make the turn in the traffic and avoid plowing ahead. I did not need to do this often, but came in very handy when I needed to. I have not experienced serious winter condition yet with the new car (RWD), but it has the stability+traction control and a set of winter tires.

    BTW, in general (emphasis on this word), average Germans tend to be more disciplined and skilled drivers than average Americans due to more rigorous drivers' training. Most of them do just fine in winter/dry condition, but they also use the appropriate tires for given conditions, FWD, RWD or AWD.
  • Are you sure you are not related to Dale Earnhardt? Your fascination to take corners fast puzzles me. Just wonder how old you are and how many speeding ticket have you gotten in the past.
    I didnt conceded that FWD cannot run with RWD in fair weather conditions. Given any two 200 HP FWD and RWD, the FWD will handle just as well if not better than the RWD.
    I hope you not recommend to people to turn off their safety feature so they can do power slides. Any one that would turn off these safety features to look cool is just plain old irresponsible, unless you are a professional driver on a test track. You probably thinks that air bags and ABS brake are a bad idea too. BTW, you do know that you should not throttle thru corners, you never know what is on the other side of that corner, a old lady, a kid on a bicycle, but I am sure your father or your driving instructor told you that already.
    If you have a RWD with snow tires, doesn't the snow tires limit your speed and handling? In that case, my FWD with all season tires will out perform your RWD with snow tires on dry road.
    For maximum performance, you should have a AWD vehicle, not swap tires twice a year. You are right about the fact that when you're spending this kind of money on a vehicle, sacrificing any capability is unacceptable, and on a RWD you are sacrificing traction just for the sake of a power slide.
    A large number of people expect high performance at this price, you are right, but most people who buy expensive cars dont want to power slide. We just want some highway passing power and some good acceleration off the line. Cars like BMW and Mercedes are popular because not only for performance, they are popular because of performance, luxury, safety, high quality and engineering. If all you want do is to go fast, why dont you just buy a motorcycle or put nitric oxide in your car.
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    We're seeing 320hp out of RWD high end crossovers now and that's not even the tuner versions. Bottom line is, there's only so much power practically allowed in a FWD vehicle, while RWD allows as much as a manufacturer wants to offer.

    There's an "off" switch on traction controls for a reason.... so that the vehicle's system doesn't intrude when a driver doesn't want them to, Traction controls just aren't necessary on RWD vehicles in fair weather, there's no flawed powertrain that requires controlling other than that which the driver can provide.

    Yes, I have been on the track, because I used to belong to the BMW car club.... and you don't have to be a professional, either.

    BTW, I'd prefer a Mario Andretti analogy, because the tracks are road courses and I didn't wreck myself or others like Earnhardt. I haven't had a speeding ticket in almost 20 years.... I know when to use my power, like on curvy open roads where you can see everything in front of you.

    No motorcycles... they're dangerous. Just ask Jason Williams.
  • So you think you are Mario Andretti huh.
    I dont think anybody needs 300 HP, unless your car is over 5000 lbs or if you are towing. For the 95 % of the drivers out there that dont power sliding thru corners at 80 MPH or thinks that speed is the most important factor when picking a car, the FWD is superior.
    BTW you are talking about crossovers with AWD right?
    I am sure if you ask every guy out there, they all would say they knew when to use the power, and every time they get into an accident, its always the other guys fault.
  • eaton53eaton53 Posts: 356
    Nobody "needs" more than 100hp, but we are indeed talking about high end crossovers and I don't think a $40K+ 100hp vehicle is going to sell too well. And, they don't necessarily have to be AWD (why would you need it in Southern California, for example), unless it's a band-aid for a FWD drivetrain that can't handle real power.

    If 95% of people don't think speed is important, just why are they building these 320hp vehicles that can go 150mph, anyway? I'll bet almost all of the buyers (the ones that actually care about driving the vehicle, not the many poseurs) consider it to be very important.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Boy you guys are having fun, huh?
    I will add my 2 cents then run for cover.


    For the millions of Americans who do not live in the snow belt, AWD is superfluous. It adds extra weight, lowers fuel economy and lowers acceleration.
    The only positive thing about it is that it lowers the center of gravity. Rollovers are less likely to happen in a AWD vehicle.

    I prefer RWD. I like the way it feels. I don't like how FWD affects the steering. There is nothing anachronistic about RWD.

    Also, I will have to take issue with your FWD and RWD 220 hp. cars being equal on a road course.
    Sorry. The RWD car will beat it everytime.
    I know you don't want to hear that but that is just the laws of physics.

    We can take a Formula Ford and make one FWD and the other RWD.
    Which one will be quicker?
    Or a Honda Civic and do the same. Which one will be quicker?

    You are the first person I have heard call the CTS a sales failure. Sales were up again in May.
    31,000 cars will built in less than 6 months this year.

    Also this is not the place to make value judgements about people who buy 320 hp SUVs.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    50 saleable SRX's were produced 6/23-6/27.
    Hopefully we will see them in the dealerships soon.
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