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



  • maransmmaransm Posts: 29
    Thanks wmquan for the detailed descriptions..

    I happend to see the pics of new, redesigned 2003 Toyota 4 Runner and it looks greattt!!! I was wondering if I can even compare 4 Runner with MDX and ML320? If so, what would be the difference and which one would be a good choice!

    My Mercedes dealer told me that now they have got 2003 ML320s, but 2003 ML350 would be available sometime in Dec. I dont know if I have to wait and if the wait is worth? He is ready to give 3K less than MSRP for 02 ML320s (38.5K with M1 package)

    Now I am kind of confused to choose from ML350, MDX and 4 Runner !!! Someone please help me to choose one of these 3.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    It really comes down to identifying and organizing your priorities. E.g. how much do you care about off-road capability, do you want the "kitchen sink" in safety, do you want acceleration performance, how much do you value statistical quality numbers, how important is the luxury brand, how important is cargo room, passenger, room, etc. I've always felt that until you can outline which ones are your priorities, and then rank them, it's difficult to arrive at a few vehicles, and then make a choice.

    The 2003 4Runner is a fairly different animal, but, on paper, a highly competent vehicle (at least!).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Is anyone researching the SRX in here? Spring '03 isn't all that far off....

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  • pitn1777pitn1777 Posts: 15
    Been reading about the MDX. My wife's second Grand Cherokee Limited lease is up in a couple of months.

    After driving a number of different SUV's ( I have a Land Cruiser) we believe that the MDX is probably the best for the money. Drive's great, looks better (to us) than Lexus RX 300, etc..

    I have a friend who is a GM at a Acura dealership so I can buy a MDX Touring for a great price (Invoice plus 200).

    My wife is only considering a Jag S type or the MDX. I think the MDX will be a better vehicle in the long run.

    Any last words of advice before I take the plunge?

  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    Sorry I don't have a real advice. I have 00 RX300 and 02 QX4. I only sat in MDX for a few minutes with no test drive that's all. Your friend as a GM can help you with a great deal so price is not an issue, otherwise it's too expensive to me. The MDX interior looks cheaper than either RX300 or QX4. I believe when I slam shut the last door I saw the dome lamp bounced more than the other cars'(who cares, maybe). One MDX owner said he misses the cargo cover that can hide his laptop, etc. Otherwise, just from lots of readings, it's got to be a great car.
  • maransmmaransm Posts: 29
    Thanks again wmquan..

    Followings are my priorities, in order,
    1. Safety
    2. Acceleration performance (no towing though)
    3. Quality
    4. Resale value
    5. Luxury Brand
    6. Off Road
    7. Cargo room and Passenger room

    Since I live in Colorado, I would definitely like to go off road, but that is not a priority.

    When I went for skiing last winter with my wife, my Ford Explorer lost control on the icy road (at 50MPH), my car slipped from the road, I applied break(human tendency), ABS locked the brakes and my car went and hit the shoulders. Luckily we didn't get hurt, but insurance has to replace both bumpers. This incident made us nervous and the safety issue became a mental block.

    I definitely don't want that to happen again if I go for skiing this winter. Someone wrote that MDX is kind of car like driving, FWD and it does not have control if you apply brake by mistake. I was also told that ML320 would greatly perform in such situations.

    Now, Could you suggest me which one would suit me fine in ML320, MDX or 4 Runner?

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Don't you really mean you allowed your Ford explorer to enter a skid? None of the vehicles you mention can overcome the laws of physics.

    There is one you didn't mention that, while more expensive, is head and shoulders above the others when it comes to AWD performance, the X5.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Sorry for the major spam attack, but this one kinda sounds like fun...

    A contact of ours is looking for a group of luxury SUV enthusiasts who would be willing to come to Irvine, CA August 24th from 9am to 3pm for a test drive, focus group and lunch. Participants will be compensated for their time. If you are interested in participating in this event, please send an email with your contact information as well as the model vehicle you drive to:
    Thanks for your consideration!


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  • rihoopsrihoops Posts: 91
    Buy the MDX!
    I have had one almost one year and love it. Just averaged 20 mpg for 2000 mile trip. MDX was smooth, comfortable, and engaging all the way.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Let's take the top three ..

    1. Safety

    I think the best in your list of vehicles are the M-class and the upcoming XC90. The MDX is no slouch, however. It comes down to refining what you mean about safety -- do you want a vehicle that should be "very safe", or do you want a vehicle that is as safe as possible in the price range? If absolute safety is your top priority, I think the M-class and XC90 are in the next rung up the safety ladder. M-class offers an excellent true 4WD system, stability control, Brake Assist, a reinforced roof structure, available bi-xenons and numerous other touches. The MDX offers none of these. The XC90 offers a reinforced roof structure, available bi-xenons, stability control, roll stability control, whiplash protection, etc.

    So I think that the MDX is a safe vehicle, but the XC90 and M-class are even safer. Based on the type of accident you're trying to avoid, frankly, I would recommend the M-class. The power-to-all-wheels-at-all-times should help you in severe road conditions, whereas the MDX and XC90 are both primarily FWD until slippage occurs. Then even if you do run into trouble, the stability control system should help pull you out of trouble (obviously it can't defy the laws of physics, though -- it is quite possible your skid was unavoidable no matter which vehicle you were driving).

    I don't know enough about the new 4Runner to comment on this. It should do well, however, and better than the MDX in Colorado.

    2. Acceleration performance (no towing though)

    This makes it tougher. Frankly, I think the ML320 is sluggish. It's torquey but the vehicle has simply put on a lot of weight over the years. Its acceleration is "acceptable" for most driving but it definitely pales next to the MDX, which is noticeably faster at a number of powerbrands (standing start, merging from a ramp, or during highway passing). In fact, as far as pure acceleration goes, the MDX isn't far from the discontinued ML430.

    Rumor has it that the 2003 MDX will get another 20 horses, don't know about torque. However, the ML350 with its 3.7 liter engine should address the acceleration issue (though at a cost of mileage).

    I suspect that the 2.5T version of the XC90 will have somewhat leisurely, but at least acceptable, acceleration. The T6 should do great but that's more expensive.

    I'd recommend you wait for the ML350 in this case. Not sure how the new 4Runner will accelerate.

    3. Quality

    Well, the MDX is going to be better than the XC90 and M-class here, period. But the M-class is finally nearing average quality, and, so long as you don't expect a higher level, you should be fine. It is very, very important that you find a good dealership that will support you. Some dealerships, MB or otherwise, aren't particularly good. I also might suggest an extended warranty.

    Of the M-class, XC90, and MDX, I think that your needs might be best met by an ML350. BTW I own an MDX -- my priorities were, in no particular order, "very good" safety, ride comfort, cargo room, good acceleration, and better-than-average quality. The MDX happened to fit those priorities very well, so we bought it. I did, however, wrestle with the safety issue for the longest time and came very close to buying an ML320.

    You haven't mentioned the X5. I think it's around the same level as the ML320 and XC90, though don't get the sports package if you're going to go on snow! I disagree with Willard, and think that the ML320's near-symmetric 4WD is better than the X5, but that's another can of worms I'm not going to get into. The X5 is at a disadvantage in some other areas, though. It uses sausage head protection airbags which, while excellent and at least available, are not as thorough as side curtains (but I wouldn't make a buying decision just based on this). Also, I have seen some bad photos of two X5 rollovers with plenty of crushing in the roof (to date, I've seen a number of M-class rollovers and only in one accident did the damage look really bad). I suspect the M-class and the XC90 are simply better than the X5 in this respect. The X5 does have good acceleration. Quality is probably behind the ML320 at this point, though it's probably significantly improved since introduction.

    Cargo room is abysmal, even if BMW doesn't call it an SUV. but that might not be important for you.
  • pitn1777pitn1777 Posts: 15
    I was all set to pick up the MDX, when my daughters (we've got 6) all ganged up on mom to get her to test drive the RX 300.

    She drove it, she likes it and I found a good deal on a new 2002 w/ Premium Package, etc..

    I'm really confused (lol), but my wife has to be one to like it. I prefer the styling of the MDX, but I have to admit that the Lexus does ride great, etc.

    Any words of advice again?

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The RX300 will give the smoother, softer ride, while the MDX will have better handling and faster acceleration. In general, Lexus service is usually better than Acura service, though there are variations on a dealer-by-dealer basis. The RX300 can be bought at prices around invoice, while the MDX still commands MSRP (at least in general). The MDX has more passenger and cargo room, while the Lexus should be a notch higher in quality. The MDX will get a few incremental upgrades for 2003, while the RX300 is destined to be replaced by a next-generation model, possibly for the 2004 model year.

    As always, it comes down to what you want in your vehicle and your priorities. If your wife is locked in on one vehicle, perhaps that's a priority :).
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Looks like an edgy (yet very handsome), RWD Buick Rendezvous with the gas cap on the wrong side.

    With a tasteful interior (not CTS!), CTS inspired handling, and high output engine, it will be a great SUV.
  • grumbgrumb Posts: 21
    I have a 2K RX with 53000 miles on it and I love it. The lease is up in Jan and although I would love to replace it with a new one (It is that good a vehicle), I am leaning toward an '03 MDX. The reasons are quite simple. Lexus is leaving the RX alone for '03 and running it for only 6 months or so and then replacing it with the RX330 as an '04 in April. The new RX will not have a third row seat, which I now want. So, due to timing of lease expiration and features; I am probably getting the MDX based on what I read, and the test drive.
    As far as I am concerned, the RX is a phenomenal vehicle. I average over 20 mpg in combined driving and I have had 0 problems since acquiring the vehicle in 9/99. I love the smooth ride and yet have enough room for family ski trips and other outings. So depending on your circumstance, I don't think you will go wrong with either vehicle- Hope that helps
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    The new RX will have a 3rd row.
  • dearadeara Posts: 9
    have 1800 miles on my 02rx-300 fwd and I want to change the oil before my 5000 mile free service. I'm planning a trip this weekend 300 miles each way and I plan to have the oil changed when I return. I read some earlier discussions about this. any updates or thoughts on the need to do this with this model year?
  • whothemanwhotheman Posts: 169
    That explains it's height.

    Caddy claims best in class 2nd row legroom!

    Do the headlights and fog lights have to be made into one big light?

    The 2004 RX is NOT expected to have a third row of seats, as it would hinder sales of the GX470, for those looking for 3 rows, at less cost than a LX470.

  • pitn1777pitn1777 Posts: 15
    Thanks for the information. Although I personally liked the styling of the MDX better than the RX, we did get the RX. After all it's my wife's vehicle and she has to be happy,etc..

    Since the purchase, I'm really pleased with the Lexus service. The dealer is within 10 minutes of the house, complimentary car washes any time we desire; loaner cars, etc...

    And after driving the RX for a couple of days while my wife is out of town, I'm really beginning to appreciate this vehicle.

    Thanks for your input and you'll probably enjoy the new MDX as well. Have you heard about the new Lexus/Forerunner?
  • robh3robh3 Posts: 157
    Closer inspection of the two photo-links of the SRX, provided in the above post, reveals that they are the same photo of the same vehicle, only one of the photos has been "reversed" or miror-imaged. The one on the Caddy site has had the backround edited out. I think that's the photo that is mirror-imaged.

    Notice that square "nodule" on the front bumber(not sure what it's for...radar cruise control maybe?), it's on the right side in one photo, and the left in the other. Notice the same thing with the gas cap door; on the driver's side of the vehicle in one photo, the passenger side in the other.

    So, the question is, which photo is "right side right?"

    Also, wotheman, the SRX is built on the Sigma platform, the same used for the CTS and the upcoming new STS. The SRX has no relation to the Rendevoux in terms of parts/platforms.

    I also thought the SRX was to have ride-height adjustable suspension, however it does not say that it does. However, the magnetic suspension whould make it really have a great ride while still handling like a sports enthusiast vehicle (the 50th anniversary Corvette has this sustpension, as will the Caddy XLR roadster)
  • cadman88cadman88 Posts: 75
    The Rendezvous is on GM's U platform, the same as the minivans, (one reason why they have the same engine). The SRX will be availble in both RWD and AWD, maybe that is what you heard about the suspinsion.
  • robh3robh3 Posts: 157
    No, I believe the Vizon concept vehicle, from which the SRX is based, has a height adjustable suspension. That's probably why I thought the SRX would too. Although I could have sworn I read somewhere that the SRX would have it. It's not like it's an impossible or unlikely technology. The Audi Allroad has it.

    I think the SRX will do very well. It's looks are nice, and certainly in line with this vehicle group. With the choice of V6 or V8, RWD or AWD, and three rows of seats, it seems there will be a configuration that will match almost all possible desires among potential customers.

    I am very surprised to hear that the RX330 will not have a 3rd row seat. I think Lexus is probably making a mistake here. They probably will have one too many vehicles in their SUV lineup with the addition of the new GX470 (is that what it's called?). Cadillac had a chance to have a third level SUV in the form of a "Cadillacized" Olds Bravada, and they planned to do it for a while, but then they decided not to, and the Bravada goes to Buick. I think Caddy realized that with the SRX and the Escalade, they don't need anything in the middle.

    Seems as though Lexus maybe didn't think this one through too well, and they'll have vehicles that are competing with one another in their own showrooms, or they'll loose sales to competitors from people who want an RX330 size vehicle but want a 3rd row seat.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286

    "Bigger external dimensions give greater flexibility inside - freeing up more boot space and allowing for the addition of two extra seats. This makes the RX350 a bigger threat to seven-seat rivals such as the Mercedes M-Class and Land Rover Discovery."

    I'd like to see any other sources that say otherwise.
  • maransmmaransm Posts: 29
    Finallyyyyy... I have chosen MDX after spending 4 months to find the "right" one for me. I just put my deposit and ordered for 2003 MDX Touring Silver/Ebony.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing excellent informations here..
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Does the 03 have HID, VSC, or Trac?
  • grumbgrumb Posts: 21
    Diploid: Look at posts 16-19 on the RX330 Board. This was also confirmed by my dealer after speaking to his Regional Manager ( at least that's what I've been told.) I notice your source is from the UK; could there be different release plans then in the US?
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Probably - the Isuzu Trooper is available with a 3rd row in other countries.

    But usually, the UK gets the smaller engine while NA gets the bigger one. If they say 3.5L (RX350) instead of 3.3L, I would assume it's for the NA market.

    P.S. - Where is the RX330 forum? I looked at 16-19 in the RX300 forum, so it's not that one (but I did see postings from host Drew, LOL).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    It's in Future Vehicles (that new board). Here's the link:

    Lexus RX 330



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  • i just completed a 1500 mile road trip with my wife and 2 children in our 4 month old mdx. the leased mdx replaced a leased rx300.

    we never would have contemplated such a long trip in the rx300 without the 3rd row. it made an enormous difference - the kids could sit together in the back row and watch a dvd, or sit separately in the 2nd and 3rd rows when they weren't getting along so well. we folded the 2nd row down and set up a laptop computer to view the dvds, tilting the screen to overcome the incline of the 2nd row. i used a soft kanga pouch on the roof to hold luggage when the 3rd row was in use. one note about the pouch - i was restricted to using the smallest, 8 cubic foot pouch because of the mdx's fixed racks - they really should be adjustable.

    one difference i have noted is the behavior of the cars at highway speeds - i did not feel comfortable driving the mdx above 65mph when it was loaded with people and/or luggage - whereas the rx300 feels comfortable at any speed. but 65mph is fast enough for most situations anyway.
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