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



  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    on the plus side the ML system offers great sound quality, but on my test unit the voice gets distorted at high volumes, the mids lack details somehow, and theres still that lack of bass punch. as for the Bose, mid is really smooth, but also lacks decent high-low details or also known as "flat"

    im currently still searching around for a decent sound system, HK Logic7 being my current favorite (considering an x5 right now), but im sure a better aftermarket system is out there somewhere.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    For another perspective, we picked the MDX over the GX470 in January. We have two kids and were coming out of a 5 seat Isuzu Trooper, but wanted the flexibility to carry our kids friends, as well. The GX lost out due primarily to it's dysfunctional third row set-up. It did have an off road capability advantage over the MDX, but the MDX won out in on road handling. The other serious contender for us was the XC90 V8 that has exceptional safety features and excellent performance. Unfortuanately, it's third row seat, while better than the GX, was still behind the MDX.

    As far as the RX goes, it was never in contention for us, but we have a couple of friends with them. First thing I have noticed with all Lexus' is that they favor a soft, almost wallowy ride over tight handling and steering. That's not my preference. Second, try as I might not to let my male ego come out, 95% of the RX's I see in our area (Washington DC) are driven by women. Not quite as bad as a VW Beetle, but pretty close. It's not a vehicle I would want to drive for 2 years, before turning it over to my wife. I have no problem handing my wife the keys to my Acura TL 6-speed and taking over the MDX on occassion, but I think I'd be anxious to get the TL back with the RX for both of the reasons listed above.

    Have you tried the XC90 V8? Very impressive and useful for a "younger" family.
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    I did check out the XC90, albeit, the V8 version never really came up (have not test driven either). My wife is somewhat environment conscious and this model gets worse gas mileage than my Nissan Pathder, plus I think its emissions are higher than the RX (more on par with the X5). Next, we really have no need for a 3rd row seat. The styling isn't really manly either, but it would be doable.

    I am upgrading from a Pathfinder, mainly because the gas mileage is lousy and I never tow anything nor do I do any serious...or semi-serious offroading. Although luxurious, the XC90 V8 doesn't up the gas mileage and it is more torque than I require. Granted, you are about as safe as the gold in Ft. Knox in the XC90 though. I will relook at the smaller engine models.

    For the RX, I did see a black one roll by, and IMO it looks fairly manly. The black tied in the black rear spoiler, and SEEMS to give the vehicle a more slick and lower profile.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I have to ask, if (1) your wife is "environment conscious" and (2) you are looking for decent gas mileage and (3) you don't do any serious or semi-serious off roading, and (4) you don't ever anticipate having a need for a third row seat and (5) you don't even have kids yet then ....

    ...why are you getting an SUV? My Acura TL 6-speed has taken my family of four on 750 mile round long weekend trips trips when we weren't loading up on luggage. The TL gets nearly 30 mpg on the highway, is fun to drive and is equiped with all of the latest safety features. And fully loaded it's $5,000 less than either the RX or the MDX.

    I'm not trying to throw a guilt trip at you, but although the RX is a reasonably efficient SUV, it's still a hog compared to any sedan. You may have other reasons, but I think 5 seat car based SUV's are often candidates for a sedan repalcement. Certainly the X5 with less space than a 5 series is.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    My family consists of my wife and me. I am seriously considering the X5 4.4.
    Being 6'2", I don't have enough legroom in most cars. The X5 front seat really has a lot of travel giving me all the room I need.
    Also, it's if you can't beat 'em join 'em syndrome. I'm tired of parking in parking lots surrounded by these giants on all sides. I can't see a damn thing when I try and back out with my tiny 325i.
    And when a ute comes in front of me on the interstate, my view of the road is blocked.
    So, I need one for the room and defensive purposes.
    Also, I feel BMW's best interior is found in the X5.
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    I definately see your point, but just like the post above, I just prefer the looks and the extra cargo space. I have really enjoyed my previous SUV, and I just want to step up. I am in the military, and I have already moved twice in the past year. I will move at least 2 more times in the next 3 years. No, this is not the norm-even for the military, but it is my situation for now. It helps to have the extra cargo space to haul my gear, and the necessities to a new well as boxes of my old stuff that my wife makes me give to Goodwill. :)

    We are actually considering a TL as our sedan of the future, but we will not look at purchasing that for at least 18-24 months. My wife has a little car that the two of us can take on trips if we want, so I do not see a need to have two "cars." It also allows us to stagger car payments a little since my wife's car will be paid off in two months.

    Back to "why an SUV" when all of your points are pretty accurate. The number one reason is because I like the way they look and the way the road looks from the higher seating. But, without me needing V8 power, the ability to tackle the Rubicon or the ability to tow over 3500 pounds, the RX and MDX kind of fits the bill.

    I want the feel of a sedan with the cargo space of an SUV, bottomline. I am willing to venture that 90% of RX owners feel the same way.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    "For the RX, I did see a black one roll by, and IMO it looks fairly manly. The black tied in the black rear spoiler, and SEEMS to give the vehicle a more slick and lower profile"

    Funny, i feel the same, the RX looks pretty (if not very) feminine, but somehow it turned quite manly in black+spoiler+18" wheels, not bad at all...

    hpowers: i also think x5 got the best interior design, particularly the light poplar wood trim in it, i actually want pastel green interior, but its not available for US market, well i guess ill have to order one
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Being 6'2", I don't have enough legroom in most cars.....I can't see a damn thing when I try and back out with my tiny 325i."

    I hope you are not judging "most cars" by your admittedly tiny 325i. Good friend of mine who is 6'4" bought a 545i a couple of months ago and when he is in the driver's seat, there is still ample room for a 6 footer in the seat behind him. It is amazing to me how many sedans have grown in interior space. I consider my TL "cozy" but was surprised how much bigger it is inside than another friend's early Mercedes E class (1989 E300).

    I certainly respect everyone's right to choose whatever fits their needs and preferences. I'm considering trading my TL for a 2006 550i 6-speed and I certainly can't justify that move on any practical or financially prudent front.

    P.S. louiein99: On the cargo carrying capacity of the RX, however, I would suggest a close inspection and "test fit". When we traded our boxy 5-seat Trooper for the sleeker 7-seat MDX, I thought we were getting a lot more cargo space too (in 5-seat configuration). As it turns out, the more sloped rear designs of the MDX, RX, and especially Cayenne and X5 wreck havoc on "real" cargo capacity, forget what Edmunds lists as the cubic feet. For all of the dimensional increases in our MDX, cargo capicity is nominally more in than the Trooper. The RX would be much, much less, unless you pack your goods in trapezoidal boxes.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    true, cargo isnt just about the numbers, its also about the shape of the cargo area as well, imo the sloping roof on the RX will make loading a bit difficult

    and like you said, X5s cargo carrying ability is a nightmare for those looking for utility, and cayenne is no different.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    While it's true that cargo is also about the shape of the area, it also comes down to how one needs to use the cargo area. Obviously if one is putting in tall items, the sloping lid will inhibit what you carry.

    For us, we don't carry a bunch of garbage cans and the like in the back of the MDX, so the sloping hatch doesn't hurt us. The Pilot gets more room by not having a sloping hatch. Where both vehicles excel at is how much cargo room they have below the windowline. It's four feet between the wheel wells and the space is deep, significantly larger than the RX. You can put the contents of a Costco cart and a half in there and still get the cargo cover over it. Certainly more than what you can get into a sedan's trunk, though some larger wagons can get very close.

    That all said, you don't need an SUV to put 1.0 Costco carts' worth of junk away. My 9-3 has a large trunk and I've found that with Tetris-like packing I can usually get a non-overflowing cart totally into the trunk. Though sometimes the pack of toilet paper has to go into the passenger area.

    Of course, the "why get an SUV" question can then go into "why not get a minivan?" Which will hold more cargo and also provide the high seating position that many people buy an SUV for. But it comes down to preferences.
  • louiein99louiein99 Posts: 33
    Well put, but on the last point...even my wife points would still be driving a minivan. :D

    In a sense, the crossover (really shouldn't call them SUVs...they aren't) fits because it gives that blend of functionality and style. A Honda Odessey is a nice vehicle...but a 29 year old male with, as the guy before me noted..."doesn't even have kids yet" would not be caught dead purchasing a very functional minivan.

    In the crossover realm: In the right/darker colors, the RX can be a manly vehicle with a unique look. The MDX is very nice, but the exterior look is somewhat bland. Even with its sloped rear door, it seems like it could handle a load better than the RX. Some of the others use V8 engines to move the bulky frames, and they boast about being the quickest vehicle in their segment. Lets be honest, 0-60 in 6.something seconds is quick, but it is by no means fast...well until you get to a Cayenne turbo, which by performance car standards isn't all that fast either...and is closing in on $100,000.

    No, most of us don't NEED to tow anything or take these puppies offroad. We want something SAFE that looks cool, and would rather spend the extra money on a few extra feet of unusable cargo space than a second or two shaved off our quarter-mile time.

    Not really sure where I was going with this ramble...but thanks for listening :)
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The funny thing about style is that's it's, of course, subjective. Obviously as you noted, there is a segment of buyers who won't be caught dead driving a minivan. Manufacturers don't help, by making it difficult to buy AWD minivans. E.g. the Sienna AWD may be the most capable, but it's quite expensive and uses run-flats that a number of folks don't like. The Chrysler minivans don't have top-notch crash scores and reliability numbers. The Odyssey doesn't come in AWD.

    Styling is also subjective when it comes to the RX. I'm okay with the styling myself, but I know plenty of people who hate it and think it's a "chick car" no matter what the color. That's why we don't all drive the exact same vehicle, personal preferences always win out.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I won't be caught dead driving a suv. I drive sienna awd which is less boxy than suv.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    truly subjective, the only minivan/wagon i ever considered was the japanese market odissey, really sharp looking imo, and quite roomy despite its short height.

    btw what do you guys think of the new Range Rover Sport? im still looking for an suv and its now down to 2 choices: X5 or RR sport, i considered the cay s before, but the overly firm ride really blows...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    I got my first minivan at age 36 since they were the most practical ride for canoeing and skiing, etc. (for me anyway), even if I do wish for more ground clearance occasionally. But let's divert the manliness thread over to the SUV vs. Minivans discussion.

    As far as the Cayenne, the air suspension offers a comfort mode doesn't it? And 18" wheels help too.

    highender, "Porsche Cayenne" #1116, 13 Jul 2004 2:01 pm

    Steve, Host
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I haven't been able to warm up to the RX styling, past or present. It looks, to me, like a tall hatchback/wagon. Viewed from the back, it has kind of a "bird" styling --- roundish body on skinny legs. Looks kind of tipsy. I think they need to widen the track and/or use wider wheels and tires. Test drove on with my brother recently, and both of us were underwhelmed by its supposed vaunted luxury and quietness -- we knew going in it wasn't the most rugged of SUV, by the luxurious ride wasn't really anything to write home about either. Maybe we had set our expectations too high.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    "As far as the Cayenne, the air suspension offers a comfort mode doesn't it?"

    True, but even the ride in comfort mode (the cay s has air suspension + 18" wheels) still cant match x5 with standard suspension.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A TV reporter is hoping to talk with someone who wants to purchase a Cadillac. Please respond to with your daytime contact info by May 31, 2005.

    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    We are on our second MDX (an '04 and the wife's daily driver and the "family" car), and consider it the best vehicle we have ever owned. Last Sept I got an FX35 as my daily driver after givng serious consideration to the RX330. While I really like the RX's exterior styling I could not ever warm up to its interior. From what I have read in previous posts regarding your needs I don't think you can go wrong with the MDX - good luck with your decision.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    recently test drove a new MB M-350, its better than i expected, roomy, comfy seats, and nice interior, though it doesnt handle or accelerate as well as the x5. Anyone got any other comments?
  • cabluecablue Posts: 48
    I'm interested in hearing more about the new MB M-class. This suv and the X5 seem to be the only ones that I've looked into that have the rear side-impact airbags. My kids ride with me all the time in back. Most, of course, have the window curtain bags but not the side airbags. I was seriously considering the Lexus 400h because of the gas mileage but then noticed they don't have the side airbags in back. Also impressive in the MB is the large amount of leg room in back. My kids are getting tall with long legs so this is important to me. I'm partial to BMW so comparing the two, did the MB feel a lot larger inside? Also, the MB is a new body whereas the BMW will be getting a new body very soon. I don't like the gas mileage of either, though.
  • I got my ML350 on Saturday after test drove Lexus, BMW, Acura, Sequoua. We decided to go for ML350. Leg room is very good comparative with Lexus and interior is better than X5. I felt that I am driving a big vehicle when I was test drove the ML 350 but I felt like Toyota camry driving when I test drove the lexus but It has the technology more than ML350. Even the Lexus exterior(body shape) looks like it is ford Wagon.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Since high levels of safety equipment seem to be high on your list (because you want to make sure you get rear side airbags for the thorax), the new M-class should be significantly ahead of the X5 in that regard. It's a much newer design from a manufacturer that usually produces safer vehicles than BMW, even when the models start at the same time.

    Thoracic side airbags for the rear are pretty unusual, and pretty much confined in the U.S. to MB, BMW, and Audi. But the Audi SUV isn't available yet. VW apparently makes rear thoracic side airbags available in European models but not in the U.S. Pity. I wonder if part of the reason are fears of how they'd be perceived in the U.S. market. There had been some speculation that they weren't safe for children. However, a very thorough NHTSA study demonstrated that they were safe for properly restrained children. Their testing focused on trying to create injuries by seating the dummy in all sorts of ludicrous positions. E.g. unbelted, with the dummy's back against the door! That semed to be the only way they could cause an injury.

    In fact, it's quite possible that rear thoracic side airbags could provide better protection for small children than side curtains. That's because side curtains usually provide the impact protection in the center of the rear window, much taller than the heads of children (even those in car seats). Some side curtains look like they cover the whole window but in fact have little or no padding at the bottom of the window.

    Unfortunately, MB has not yet made available for the U.S. M-class two promised safety items -- active head restraints for the front passengers,. and PRE-SAFE. They'll either come out late this model year or not until the next.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    well, the M is a lot roomier than the x5, though im not sure if its that much safer, and definitely have more legroom both front and rear. if thats your priority, the MB is a good choice.
  • ennaceennace Posts: 1
    The only SUV for my money is the Range Rover and its derivative the Discovery. I'm not sure they're covered in this thread, so don't get upset if I'm in the wrong place (I'm new around here).

    These German and Japanese models amount to pretentious and expensive rubbish with no real off-road capability e.g. in mud/snow etc.

    Stick with the original SUV - LandRover.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Simply not true. There are plenty of Japanese and German SUV that are very capable off-road. 4Runner, Pathfinder, Xterra, GX470, Landcruiser, MB G & M class, Cayenne, Toeureg. Probably a couple more I missed.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Funny post.

    The Toyota Land Cruiser has similar credentials as a Land Rover when it comes to off-roading. Not to mention the other products the poster above mentioned which are good to excellent off roaders also. Let's not forget the Mitsu Montero also, which is a excellent off roader also.

    Also, I bet you a Hummer H1 can crush a Land Rover in off-roading!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "These German and Japanese models amount to pretentious and expensive rubbish with no real off-road capability e.g. in mud/snow etc."

    A Range Rover advocate calling anything else "pretentious and expensive" has got to have a screw or two loose.

    I considered the LR3 and it is an impressive vehicle. But a quick check of Range Rover resale values shows that it is the only make that would have been WORSE than the Isuzu Trooper we were getting rid of. Clearly, anyone that thinks a new Range Rover is worth the $65k+ it stickers for is going to be in for a rude awakening when they find that it has lost 50% of it's value in about 2 years. That's an expensive lesson in the price of a "pretentious" ego.
  • leswlesw Posts: 11
    After a terrible ownership experience with my 99 ML320 I'm surprised that I accepted the invitation to participate in a 2006 ML Road Rally organized by MB.
    The new ML both 350 and 500 are light years ahead of 1998-2005 MY.
    They are roomier, handle better, use far better materials inside and the evolutionary styling is far more attractive. I had a chance to drive 350 and 500 back-
    to-back on a performance track testing handling full speed acceleration and braking. Wow! They are as good as Cayenne and X5, but roomier and more luxurious. I prefer the clean styling of the X5 interior, but its personal.
    The greatest surprise was my observation that I prefer ML350. It is only slightly slower than 500, but more balanced, better handling (w/18") and better suited powertrain to the chassis calibration. If I confirm that the reliability has improved as drastically as the rest of the vehicle I will go back to ML.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    Forget your Range Rover. Go to middle east or africa, that's what I call really off road, the SUV of choice for so many years is the Toyota Landcruiser.
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