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



  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The MDX is better than the X5 from 30-60 you are right, but 0-30 the X5 smokes the MDX(because the MDX, and Ody's Vtech engine really gets going with the higher revs) 0-30 and the 350 smokes them both.

    Are you sure it's just not a perception? Even a conservative publication like Consumer Reports timed the 2003 MDX's 0-30 as 3.0 seconds, and the 2005 X3 3.0 at the same 3.0 seconds. The MDX was faster 0-60 and 45-65, as expected.

    The new M-class is much improved but it's the first year, and first year models can be very dicey for any brand, especially Mercedes. If you do get it, make sure you get the Airmatic suspension as quite a few reviewers and test drivers have found the difference to be night and day.

    The XC90 V8 won't handle as sharply as the M-class or X5 but it should give you plenty of low-end torque.
  • Yes I saw that as I was doing research this evening and was surprised because in the MDX it really does not jump from a stand still like the X5 does and I could not safely enter traffic in the MDX that I could with confidence in the X5 or the M350 (here is another twist, the edmunds first drive review says the 2006 Merc is lacking low end torque so I am not sure what I am talking about when I am talking about performance from stand still now as he M350 jumped off the line even faster than the X5 does). Yes the airmatic is one of the options I would get.

    The XC90 V* looks like it will fit the bill very nicely and while it doesn't have all the gadgets that the Merc does it seems just as safe and the seats very comfortable (I have found that Volvo's seats are the most comfortable), and visibility seems better too. I just hope it is quick off the line or I will have to pass on it and pay at least $10K more for the Merc. Look forward to test driving it tomorrow. Thanks again for the suggestion.

    I agree with the 1st year worries with the new model but it may be my only option.
  • Tried the Volvo V8 and it was a nice car (certainly a nicer looker than the Merc which I still contend looks a little too similar to an explorer) but pick up was still not as good as the M350 or the X5 but slightly better than the MDX.

    Braking not as good as the Merc and surprisingly the seat ws not as comfortable either and I did not feel that the seat gave me enough depth either and also visibility was not great as the top of the windshield was at my eye level even with the seat all the way down (great visibility if my eyes were 6 inches lower). The interior was very nicely laid out but didn't feel as luxurious as the Merc.

    The worst part though was that it bounced around all over the place at the slightest yaw, when breaking and cornering (the Merc standard has quite small bounce but with the airmatic system virtually eliminated, X5 is very good in this regard) and felt like almost as bad as the older Landrover Discovery's were. I bet it is a very good off road car though but my needs are on road.

    So I will be getting the Merc (unless there are other suggestions that people have that I should try) and will keep my fingers crossed that relaibility holds up. If it doesn't the new roomier X5 comes out fall of 06 and I will trade in the Merc and get one of those. I am taking the M500 out tomorrow and will post my impressions vs. the 350.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Sounds like you have convinced yourself that the Mercedes is your vehicle of choice.

    Obviously, a lot of the attributes you are looking at are subjective, since I found the ML350 to be below both the X5 and XC90 V8 in terms of handling. We test drove both the X5 3.0 6-speed and Cayenne V6 6-speed because of our preference for manual transmissions. (The MDX is the first automatic that either my wife or I have owned in 28 and 30 years of drivien respectively). Unfortunately, as much as we liked the X5, it was just too small. And I found that the X5 3.0 needed a manual transmission to keep up with the MDX, so go figure your different impression of "off the line" speed. I admit I am used to and comfortable with the V-tech engine characteristics, having owned a Honda S2000 and Acura TL 6-speed.

    The only other vehicles that I would suggest, with some reservation, are (1) GX470 w/ sport (KDSS) package. The 2005 is improved over the previous model, with a 270 hp (vs. 235) V8 and the sport package helps take some of the body roll out of the suspension. I doubt you would find it better than the ML in driving dynamics, but Lexus is far superior in reliability, build quality and resale value.

    The other suggestion is off topic. Since you seem to want to use an SUV as a sporty commuter car, have you considered a new BMW 550i 6-speed sedan through European Delivery?? This is about the safest sedan you can buy and it will nearly match the old M5 in performance. The price you could get through discounted ED might not be that much more than the ML350. Obviously, you won't have the cargo capacity of a larger SUV, but the 550i damn near matches the X5 in "utility" and even the renowned Cayenne TT won't come close to it in "sport".

    Sorry to get off topic, guess my recent shopping for a Boxster S has clouded my thinking.

    P.S. I feel compelled to mention that, having bought two vehicles in the last year from a Mercedes/Acura dealer, the sales manager privately discouraged us from considering the ML 350 over the MDX purely because of reliability issues. Similarly, the Porsche sales manager who is a friend privately discouraged us from considering the Cayenne for similar reasons. I am now about to award him for his honesty by buying either a Boxster S or 911 Cabriolet. If you decide to roll the dice with the ML350, I stongly suggest you get an extended warranty and make sure they will take care of you in the event of problems (i.e. drive a loaner to you, etc.). Simply covering the cost of repairs under warranty doesn't make up for the extreme pain in the butt caused by a vehicle that has repeated problems. We know at least two friends whose ML is the last Mercedes they will ever buy. Ever.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I, my wife, and my father-in-law used to own MBs, we will never buy MB again. Same with my physician friends. Again good luck to you.
  • I have been reading about the M series and apparently even people with the 2006 are already complaining about reliability issues and the car has only been out 3 months! It is giving me pause as one of the things I read was tranny related.

    I would much much prefer to drive a sedan than an SUV and the 550i is a great suggestion (my father traded his 7 series for one of these) and one of the three that would consider( the other two being the VW Phaeton and the Merc E AMG) but don't want to have two cars (or at least not two if one of them isn't a sports car, DB7 is on my shopping list once my child is a bit older) and need one that I can take the dog and the bikes around in and that will reliably have no problem with a Boston snow storm.

    You have a lot of experience with cars and it surprises me that you feel that the MDX could pull in to traffic as quickly as the X5 auto (remember I am not talking about a highway on ramp but from a stop sign on a side street in to a rotary or from a side street in to 2 lane fast road with practically bumper to bumper with the odd break here and there, also I don't know if this makes a difference but I have the 2003 X5 haven't tried the new ones) . I haven't had the range of vehicles you have but I have been driving for 20 years mostly in European cities (London, Rome, Barcelona) and I just couldn't pull in to traffic with the MDX where I could with the X5 or the 350.

    Didn't look at the cayenne because I surmised that it would be even stiffer than the X5 and not great for a commute, also had read the seats were not that comfortable and the MPG was not good.

    Anyway I do appreciate your suggestions, and your warnings about the M series have sunk in (I was so taken by the 350 because it was the 1st car after test driving so many that impressed me with both its pick up and its comfort and safety and frankly just didn't want to have to do anymore "shopping"). I have decided to hold off for a few more months to give the new M's some time to get some more reviews from owners. Also, I have some extensive hiking and backpacking planned for the summer and frankly don't want to do it in my new car as it will get messy. The more I think about it it might just be worth keeping the minvan for that kid/bikes/hiking type stuff until I am ready to get the DB7 (the 1998 is my favorite year, a truly beautiful car).

    I have a suggestion for you too: go for the 911 unless your wife will be driving it a lot, and congratulations, very nice car.
  • Thanks CT warnings have sunk in. My wife is an ER Doc which is why the ability to deal with the snow is so important.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Obviously, a lot of the attributes you are looking at are subjective, since I found the ML350 to be below both the X5 and XC90 V8 in terms of handling.

    Just out of curiousity, is that the old ML350, or the new 2006 one? Just curious in how you ranked it if it's the new one.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    One plus for the ML (and the X5) is that it should handle Boston snow storms slightly better than the MDX and XC90. I think the latter two will be adequate, but the ML and X5 will inspire some more confidence. Since you seem to be looking for maximum levels, I thought it worth mentioning.

    An odder possibility that you may or may not have already mentioned is the Infiniti FX45. It should have a decent amount of power and good handling, at the expense of some ride comfort and of course passenger and cargo room. Reliability should be impeccable, safety won't be as strong as an MB or Volvo, though.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Assuming you can get past the styling (of the FX).
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Besides looking at the FX, perhaps the RX400h merits a look? I haven't driven one, but supposedly it launches very strongly from a standing stop. This due to the hybrid powertrain's electric motors which provide immediate, full torque
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    " surprises me that you feel that the MDX could pull in to traffic as quickly as the X5 auto".

    You may be right after all. I was driving our MDX yesterday and paid particular attention as to how it performed from a dead stop and the acceleration does lag a bit below 2,000 rpm. After about 15-20 mph, it takes off nicely. But I'll take your word that for your driving requirements, the BMW may feel more confident from a dead stop.

    I have a suggestion for you too: go for the 911 unless your wife will be driving it a lot,

    Didn't quite understand how my wife's driving figures into it?
  • It is just my opinion but the 911 has a much more manly look about it. Then again if you like the look of the Boxster who cares, after all I drive a minivan too!

    Also, compare the Boxster S and the 911 Turbo S Cab, no comparison!

    Either one you get congratulations, very nice cars.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    safeperfsnowsu, don't get into any discussion involving habitat's wife's driving skills/style. Don't even hint that her skills may be less than his. Don't even joke about it. That, apparently, is a taboo subject!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Pay no attention to bodble2, joke away all you want!!

    Not to stray too far off topic, but the 2005 Boxster S and 911 (997 model) share the same chassis and a lot of other components, so I don't see that big of a "manly" appearance difference between the two. And I'll blame my daughters for buying it in Speed Yellow, if anyone challenges my male ego. Regarding the 911 Turbo S Cab, it's still the old 996 body and interior. I'll take the new 997 Cabriolet S and nearly match the performance, with a much nicer interior, while saving about $45k.

    Back on topic and the SUV front, perhaps you should try the Cayenne TT? One dealer I visited has a 2005 demo w/ 3000 miles for $79k. I am not sure it would be any more reliable than the Mercedes M class, but you certainly won't be lacking for "dead stop oomph".
  • I have a 5 year old daughter who wants us to paint the minvan pink (NEVER going to happen) so I empathize completely!

    Cayenne seats are not that comfortable and the ride is too stiff for a daily commute, also cargo space is sorely lacking + the terrible MPG.

    The more I think about it I may not be able to achieve what I want with one auto:combination of minvan type cargo space, good performance commuter, and winter reliability. The merc was great but frankly even its cargo space leaves a bit to be desired and I would have to go with the external bike rack that mounts to the trailer hitch for the bikes rather than just being able to throw them in the back like I do with the minivan. Also the Merc with all the options I would like doesn't offer much value and that's without even considering the potential reliability problems and the high cost a Merc would extract for regular upkeep.

    So now I am thinking that perhaps I will be better off getting a late model used MDX to replace the minvan (for hiking/biking etc) and also to do commuter duty in the winter months when there is snow on the ground (when initial pick up is not really the issue that it is when roads are snow free most of the year) and just get a safe high performance sedan or wagon with decent gas mileage as the daily commuter, no need for AWD as I will have the MDX for those few weeks or month a year when it is needed. Question is, are there any sedans or wagons out there that are as safe as the MDX, X5, or M series Merc particularly when sustaining a side impact by an SUV?
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    i doubt it, though id suggest either an audi or a volvo. never drove a volvo, but audi is a nice and decently safe car. i used to drive an a4, it took a direct hit from a tacoma like a tank, though i doubt you can call a tacoma a truck...

    btw seems like we both think that cay's ride is harsher than the x5, some people dont agree though...

    im now considering an x5 or a range rover, still trying to make up my mind :)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It sounds like you have had a premonition of getting T-boned by an SUV?? Hopefully this isn't post tramatic stress from a prior incident.

    I think a BMW 5-series is going to be about as safe as any sedan out there. And it should be of some comfort that a 2005 model would be significantly safer than anything 5-10 years old, both in its ability to sustain and impact and its ability to avoid one (thanks to stability control, anti lock brakes, etc.).

    P.S. If I continue to read about your concerns regarding the safety of a full size sedan vs. an SUV, I'm never going to pull the trigger on a Boxster or 911!!
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    safety is more about the driver than the cars imo. but i can understand his concerns. 2 of the cars ive owned before got hit by a truck. first one was my audi a4, got hit by a tacoma, luckily the kids parents offered to pay for all repairs. i wasnt very lucky with my 330i though, it was totaled by a chevy s10, and the driver was both dui and uninsured...
  • No premonition or past experience thank goodness but it is the rotaries here in Boston, I ma used to them from driving in Europe but not used to seeing some behemoth coming at me like my driver door has a bullseye on it several times a week. If you don't have rotaries where you are you don't have that much to worry about.

    The 5 series and MDX would make a nice combo but I don't like the visibility of the 5 series (I am 6'4") and also not sure if the ride is any smoother than the X5. Merc is out because it couldn't manage a 5 start crash test rating across the board, doesn't offer much value, and ofcourse reliability and maintenance. I am going to look at the GS430 as it seems to offer pretty good value and safety, also apparently has decent power.

    Habitat you are right of course and frankly the commute is too long so we will be moving closer in the next year so that I won't have to apply F1 skills to get in to traffic every day :-)
  • caps04caps04 Posts: 6
    I recently purchased an RX 400h so if anyone is interested in this model, feel free to ask. I have driven an X5 and MDX and still went for the Lexus. Aside from the vehicle, you have to deal with their dealerships (of course there will be some bad ones) to understand why most people lock themselves into Toyota/Lexus once they buy their car.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Aside from the vehicle, you have to deal with their dealerships (of course there will be some bad ones) to understand why most people lock themselves into Toyota/Lexus once they buy their car.

    Good luck with your new vehicle and I agree 100% that you have to deal with the dealership as part of the buying/ownership process. Aside from the incredible markeup on Lexus (e.g. ~$8000 on a GS300 vs. ~$4000 on an M35) the local dealership near me is too arrogant and pretentious for me. Hence I have bought 2 MDXs and 1 FX35. My local Acura dealership (3 cars bought) and my local Infiniti dealership (1 car bought) have been great :shades:
  • My lease is up on my Accord, which I love but am moving into an SUV. Right now, the leading candidate is the 06 MDX Touring w/ Nav. My only concern is looks. I am not wild about the look plus I hear the 07 will be re-styled. The problem is my work will lease the car for me, which means I am in it for 3 years. My commute is about to be about an hour each way (thankfully they pay for the gas) and I want something comfortable, works for family (right now wife, 5 year old, dog, hopefully another child soon), and safe in New England winters. Question: do I go with the MDX even if the look will be really old in a year or the RX330 (classy look inside/out and nice ride but a bit boring) or XC90 (questionable track record, not sure about the ride)? Welcome any thoughts.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,277
    Our 03' MDX plows though the N.E. winters great. Tight as a drum and damn reliable (almost 60k runs like brand new). It's my wifes car and she actually compared it to the other 2 you mentioned.

    RX was nice, but didn;t feel as "planted" as the X. Had a lot of front end push in corners (I know it's an SUV but still) and I thought it was too narrow in the back seat.

    The Volvo is a winner IMO. If I was driving the vehicle more often, I might have gone with the XC90. Alot of thought went into it from the seats, to the ergonomics, to the safety. And the appearance inside in out is handsome too. I think the only downfall was the $$$ for maintainence past 50k and I thought the steering felt VERY disconnected, very numb... The front suspension felt fragile, and the tranny (2.5t) was gear hunting way too much for my tastes.

    Our MDX has been excellent though and on the safety front, we survived a rear end collision from some moron on rt128 who plowed into us (full speed, probably 70mph) pushing us up onto the median and into the guardrail... We walked away without a scratch... :D That was 30k miles ago and still to this day she runs like a champ. Very satisfied owners. :D
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    We have a 2005 MDX and, like anthngbutgm, are quite happy.

    However, if I was you and had somebody else paying 3-year lease payments and gas, I might have pushed my wife harder for the XC90 V8 or even considered the Land Rover LR3. We bought outright and intend to keep the vehicle 7-10 years, so the reliability factors, fuel efficiency, standard features, etc all favored the MDX.

    As for the RX330 being a "classy look", I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, the RX's looks have never grown on me. The skinny tires, funky back end, funky dash/console layout, etc. all look like they belong on a GM minivan rather than a Lexus SUV. I am much more favorably disposed to the GX470, which we might have gone for except for the dysfunctional third row seating arrangement.
  • I do like the XC90 but I don't think it will fit in my budget (need to stay under $600 per month) if I want an AWD. Plus, I have heard mixed reviews with reliability. Probably going to do a black 2005 Touring w/ Nav for 36 months, 45,000 miles for $600. Anyone know if that sounds like a good deal?
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    I liken the RX330 to a "Lunar Rover" :) ... A well-built Lunar Rover at that!
  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    While we are at it why don't we call this a "luxury suv" discussion. While everyone seems to like the cayenne and th rx330/400h, lets bring their competetor, vw touareg. its v8 is really luxurious. and is more than capable of driving off road for those who like driving off the pavement once in a while. ;)
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,277
    I would think that the up coming Audi Q7 would make for better competition in this group... Heck while we are at it, might as well add the Volvo XC90. Drop the Caddy, the interior isn't even fit for a Kia Spectra, let alone the price tag it commands...
  • tulegittulegit Posts: 11
    I had a 2004 V6 Toyota Highlander which is the same as the Lexus RX's. It was a piece of crap. Just do a search for Toyota and Hesistation. Both the toyota and lexus shifted like a 100 hp V4. Toyota/Lexus had to issue a new a TSB to reprogram the computers which did not help. And the 5 different dealers i went to, were all rude and ignorant.

    After I traded it in for a 2005 SRX V6, I'm in heaven. It drives and shifts like butter. Not to mention is was the Robb Reports "The Best of the Best". If you are not aware of the Robb Report, it's a magazine dedicated to the ultra luxury, they know luxury. It was also Car and Driver's SUV of the year 2 years in a row. And the styling is one of kind, distintive cadillac style.

    And 3rd row seating is always a big plus for me and anyone with lots family and friends
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