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Narrowing down my choices for an SUV

chandra0102chandra0102 Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Acura
I am in the market for a medium-sized SUV and have narrowed my choices down to three that I am trying choose from - Acura MDX, Honda Pilot and Volvo XC90. I know this is a forum for MDX but I was wondering if I could get some informed opinions on some Pluses and minuses among these three in terms of quality, maintenance, repairability, etc, not considering the obvious of course, i.e., the price. Would appreciate any comments/opinions.


  • I recently went thru the same process. I found the Volvo to be "clunky". The Pilot was a very good value [the best of all I looked at]. I decided to splurge and got the MDX with the Tech pkg. I enjoy it, but I'm not using many of those complex features yet. I think driving safely takes too much attention to deal with all of those things. I do like the nav system.


  • We have been looking at the MDX and XC-90 for a while now. I didn't look at the Pilot because its way to vanilla for my tastes. Good value I'm sure but offers little in terms of excitement. We drove the both the MDX and the XC90(V8) and I thought for sure my wife would fall for the MDX. She didn't. From the driver's perspective the MDX is a little nicer but sit in the back seat and take a spin then do the same thing in the 3rd row and the Volvo wins hands down. Now - we have kids and the fact that while they are in the 3rd row their heads are farthest from the glass makes a big difference. Also in the Volvo you can drop the seatback of the middle seat so you can have a conversation and also watch the kids in the way back. Its funny because I never thought I'd say that someone did a better job engineering something than Honda but that XC90 really is better for the passengers from my perspective. We still haven't purchased one because I still have concerns over the reliability and they are expensive. One other to think about that just got onto my radar is the new Toyota Highlander. The previous version was didn't appeal to me because I though it was alot like the Pilot (vanilla) but the new one has a style that appeals to me so take a look you might like it to.
  • dms9dms9 Posts: 137
    If it matters at all, my son loves being in the "way back" and the MDX got the highest crash test results for rear collisions for individuals in the rear seats. It was requirement for me.
  • What about the 2008 Highlander Ltd or Sport? I have purchased the 2008 Highlander Ltd. (black exterior and black interior)and I am quite impressed with it. I just have a couple of minor quibbles with the interior ceiling top material and some may not be enamoured with the fake wood trim. The vehicle rides beautifully, lots of power and very good built quality so far. The bluetooth and other tech features on the Ltd are excellent. I did not purchase the Nav package but have the back-up camera with the smaller screen which has excellent color picture quality.
  • Have not looked at the Toyota Highlander but isn't that a bit smaller than either the MDX or XC90. I would think Toyota 4-Runner or Sequoia would be in the same size class. Going to take a look/test drive 4-Runner this coming weekend.
  • We just settled on the '08 3.2 AWD XC90 because my wife liked the outside better but I really liked the Nissan Pathfinder SE 4x4 with all options. It priced about 7k less than the Volvo @ MSRP and the elase was about $60/month less.

    The Pathfinder has a much nicer interior, including dash layout and has a significantly better engine.
  • The 2008 Highlander is quite a bit bigger inside than the 2007 model. It has a lot of leg, shoulder and head room in the first two rows. For a five seater SUV it is excellent. With the third row used there is limited cargo space in the back. With second and third row seats folded down it has more cargo room than the MDX for some reason. I suppose the Highlander makes good use of interior room. Depends if you need to use the third row and carry cargo often. If so the MDX may be a better option.
  • Hi, I was in the market, too, and I test drove all 3 of the vehicles on your short list. Here's my perspective:

    Honda Pilot:
    Shift lever mounted on steering column - lots of space between front row seats
    Best of the 3 in passenger capacity (8) and storage area
    Small wheel size (16") compared to the other two
    No HID headlights offered (a must have for me)
    Soft suspension, lots of body roll in tight corners

    Volvo XC-90:
    Fun to drive (the V8 models, 315HP)
    Leather quality (on seating surfaces) is better than the other 2
    Split liftgate doesnt take too much space, opens up a seat
    Poor reliability record
    Seating space is small for a vehicle this size
    3rd row seat for kids only (max height is 5'3")
    Too poor gas mileage (15/20) for my taste, and that too with premium gas

    Acura MDX:
    Great engine power (300HP) from a V6
    Excellent handling
    Bold looks with that shield shaped grille
    Spacious trunk and cargo space
    I expected rain sensing wipers like Lexus - it's not offered
    Access to 3rd row is poor
    Some cheap plastic on dash for a $40k+ vehicle
    That 3rd row seat is meant for kids only
    Ridiculous option packages - to get a power liftgate you need to buy DVD entertainment system!

    Good luck on your shopping, - MS.
  • wjzwjz Posts: 3
    I bought a MDX with sports and entertain package. With two months of possesion, I am having multiple repairs already for multiple defects. Defected mirrow, defected gas door, defected steering wheel and defected roof molding. Last, the roof rack cap flew away a few days ago when I was driving on highway. Very poor detail work on the car. For a suppose luxury car with so many defects is not acceptable. Better to buy other model.
  • If you do a side by side comparison the HL has more front headroom (2") and front legroom, 2nd row legroom also but the MDX has more hip and shoulder room for 1st and 2nd rows. The 3rd row is a wash IMHO. I have owned 3 HL and am ready to replace my 2004 HL and the more I look and read on the forums the more I like the MDX. Highest crash rating and if you are looking to get a HL limited with comparable options it is within striking distance of the MDX. prob about less than 2K.

    Now some people are turned off by the premium gas req of the MDX, but if you use a Shell credit card you get 5% off and that makes it comparable to regular. Even so the extra fuel cost comes out to $500/year which is not that hugh a difference in my book.
  • We looked at MDX, a new HL, BMW X5. Audi Q7 (I lease an A6) and XC90, ended up buying two XC90's. I agree there is a reliability risk with Volvo, but it is in 6-7th year of production, the plastics are top quality, nonturbo, simple in line six engine (adequate acceleration) and a Japanese (read high reliability) transmission. I have owned them for two months. All cars are safe, but Volvo still exceeds Insurance Institute and government ratings, while many mfrs. only meet them, thereby getting five stars. Two examples of Volvo's superior safety: full whiplash seats (others may have whiplash head restraints only) and 3x times weight steel structure in a rollover. I believe the other makes have only 1x rollover, which to me is a HUGE deal. If I were running marketing at Volvo, I would be spending advertising $$ telling the buying public that there still remain significant differences in safety, although the gap is less than before. I cannot find any manufacturing/assembly defects on either of my XC90's and I looked hard. The Volvo will also run on regular.

    I am not a Volvo saleman, just a satisfied customer...
  • vaughn4vaughn4 Posts: 106
    Well said - I have had and still have MULTIPLE issues with this new model MDX. Would NEVER buy again!!!
  • Can't those of you with the multiple issues on a new car invoke the lemon law to at least have the car replaced. I see your posts on every thread. Maybe you are indeed pissed about the issues or maybe it's something else altogether. Either way I think we get the point.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    I am curious on what people think of the MDX with kids. I have a big SUV right now, a 04 Yukon. I getting rid of this and can't decide if I want another big SUV like Tahoe or whatever or a MDX. We have 3 kids, 13 and under. We also have a 80 lb dog that goes with us to the beach or snow probably about a dozen times a year. I really like the MDX but just not sure if I am going to be complaining about it with not being enough room. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • Hmmmm... 3 kids and 1 big dog, pretty tight I would say. The 3rd row seats are no really for long rides. Besides, with the 3rd row up, there isn't enough cargo room in the back for all the stuff for road trips. I would take a look at the Buick Enclave and the Mazda CX-9.
  • slamtazslamtaz Posts: 55
    Yup! We had a 360 mile trip (i.e. one way) to and from San Diego and there were six of us with a combined weight of about 850 lbs, seating two persons each row. My 2 sons (15 y.o. & 11 y.o.about 300 lbs combined) stayed at the third row and claimed that ride comfort was even better than the Toyota Previa we used to have :shades: . We were even able to contain all of our baggages for the 3-day trip plus a stuffed cooler behind the 3rd row. And as i've mentioned in another thread, the added bonus was the 23 mpg it gave us :)
  • steveinvtsteveinvt Posts: 17
    My wife picked up her XC90 yesterday. We looked very closely at the MDX, but were put off by an arrogant dealer and the fact that the MDX seems to drive bigger than it is. By contrast, the XC90 feels more manageable and the interior is better looking (IMHO). I also like the safety features.

    We also looked at the Enclave (concerned about 1st model year issues), SRX (bit too loud), Highlander (pretty pricey for a mainline brand). We were able to knock nearly 10k off the MSRP, which put the Volvo on par with a Highlander and well below the Enclave and SRX.

    I am concerned about Volvo's reputation for reliability, but I think the above post is right: care has been in production for years, so hopefully the gremlins are worked out. Time will tell.
  • jmpage2jmpage2 Posts: 268
    The biggest problem with the Volvo XC90 is not reliability (although that might become a concern if you keep the car long term... pretty much any upscale European marquee is going to cost more to maintain over the long haul).

    The real problem with the XC90 is that the V6 is seriously underpowered. I feel like I can avoid trouble more easily in a vehicle with more acceleration than in one with a stronger crash cage, etc.

    Additionally the price of the V6 AWD XC90 is somewhat ridiculous (priced $1,000 higher than the MDX for a comparable equipment list and SHORTER warranty).

    It's a nice car, but I'm not sure that it competes well with the Acura. The only thing that makes the Volvo really attractive at this time is that they are doing a nice 24 month lease promotion that includes a discount from MSRP and an artificially inflated residual of 60% on a 10.5K mile per year lease.
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