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



  • mdxlovermdxlover Posts: 18
    In 2006 ML350 can I add third row seat as an option? If so could any one tell us the price for that option?

    -Thanks in advance
  • newmownernewmowner Posts: 86
    No third row option is available in the MB 2006 ML. I just got the new ML 350, and love it. :)
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    A third row seat is not available. For now, MB seems to want to steer you to the upcoming G-class replacement, or the R-class.
  • thock33thock33 Posts: 6
    I can't see how MB will be able to improve their reliability and high maintenance cost for many years, if ever. I bought a new 1998 ML-320 and kept it for six years, and 64,000 miles. The vehicle was a constant problem, and the closest dealer was 30 miles away. It left me stranded twice, and I just couldn't trust it on a trip. Even worse was the lack of desire by MB to make these vehicles right. $700 for a new fuel filter because they decided to change the design of the filter and would not sell the original equipment filter, so extensive modifications were required to fit the new filter, at the customers expense. The "straw that broke the camels back" was a $4000 bill to repair a wiring harness problem. I'm sure the new models are better, but I will never trust Mercedes to do the right thing, and I will never again buy a Mercedes product because of the many weaknesses and failures they turned their back on. Read the book "Taken for a ride".
    It was a happy day when I traded it in on a new Toyota Highlander a year ago. The Highlander has been PERFECT.
  • fun6889fun6889 Posts: 27
    Anyone have the answer for this question?
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Anyone have the answer for this question?

    Which question? Are you wanting us to tell you which car to buy :surprise: Surely you are researching and test driving each :confuse: What do you need? What do you want/desire? I chose the MDX because we needed seating for 7.

    All car purchases are a compromise between the buyers needs, wants, and budget.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    were gonna need more infos from you though, what are you looking for is one of them...

    roughly id say:
    MDX : 7 seats, value for the money
    RX330 : comfort, interior materials and quality, quietness
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    We didn't shop the RX330, but did take a 2005 MDX over the GX470 after extensively considering both..

    Lexus fans seem to think it has a quality advantage over Acura. I must respectfully disagree. Several (5+) of our friends and neighbors bought GX470s over the past 2 years due to the tax write off available for 6,000+ lb SUVs. We could have capitalized on this kick back, as well. However, when pressed to be honest, most if not all of the GX owners expressed some serious dissatisfactions. Several have had a multiple mechanical problems. One negotiated a buy-back from Lexus.

    I believe the reputation of the RX330 is better than the GX470 with respect to reliability and mechanical issues. But if I were in the market for a smaller SUV, the RX330 would still be below the XC90 V8, X5 3.0, Cayenne, FX35 and a few others on my shopping list. I'm just not a fan of Lexus driving dynamics (or, rather, lack thereof), but that's another story.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    But if I were in the market for a smaller SUV, the RX330 would still be below the XC90 V8, X5 3.0, Cayenne, FX35 and a few others on my shopping list. I'm just not a fan of Lexus driving dynamics (or, rather, lack thereof), but that's another story.

    Funny you say that, I've already stated that we own an MDX as our 7-seat family car. Last fall we were in the market for a 5-seat additional car and narrowed the choices down to the RX330 and the FX35. The FX won. :shades:
  • fun6889fun6889 Posts: 27
    thanks for quick response and sorry for not making this clear. Well I tested drove both of them. RX330 seems little better on everything when we test drove, but MDX seems to have a better record. I went to RX330 chat room, almost everyone is bad mouthing about the RX330. And that's something I want to have you guys tell me. For the price, it's only about 2000-3000 different. MDX is bitter (seats 7) but how likly we going to use it? Not very so..
    Inside, MDX looks cheaper then RX, RX has more toys, and suppose services will be better with Lexus. And I sure like the look of RX better then MDX.
    But I am afraid that all those issues from RX will be a big issue down the road. And I have to make up my mind soon. If i am going with MDX, I will need to buy it this weekend. Of cuz if I am going with RX, then I have time to play with. Thanks in advance for all your help.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    ive also heard of some issues with the rx, particularly electronics related, i cant confirm any of them since i never own one. MDX, as many of acura products are well known for its transmission problems , nothing fatal (but annoying for sure), just pointing out that every car has its own problems.
    other than those problems above id say both MDX and RX are the most reliable crossovers available so far.

    "Lexus fans seem to think it has a quality advantage over Acura. I must respectfully disagree."

    i think they both have the same quality, but comparing an MDX with lexus GX? GX (aka Toyota Prado) is well known as the less reliable toyota replaced by the new toyota Sahara if im not mistaken...
  • mikenjmikenj Posts: 25
    Has anyone cross shoped RX330 to FX35, what are your + and - ?
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Inside, MDX looks cheaper then RX, RX has more toys, and suppose services will be better with Lexus. And I sure like the look of RX better then MDX.

    Thats exactly the kind of subjective opinions that make recommendations to others difficult. I do not like the interior of the RX at all; the center console and the shifter is awful fugly (to me). As far as toys goes the MDX has all I want and need (many of the RX toys the MDX does not offer will jack the price difference well above $3000). I have received nothing but exemplary service from my Acura dealership.

    We need 7 seats and to me the MDX has been the best vehicle we have ever owned and the first time we have ever traded a car in for another one.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Has anyone cross shoped RX330 to FX35, what are your + and - ?

    I did last summer and bought an FX35 last September. I recommend that you browse the Lexus RX330 and the Infiniti FX Forums. Bottom line I deplore the RX interior (center column and shifter are butt ugly) and the FX35 loaded with Tech offererd everything I wanted (including Smart Key not available on the RX) for a lot less money.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Even though the FX and RX have similar exterior dimensions, the FX sure seems a lot bulkier. I sat in an FX and as I was looking over that massive hood, I imagined parking the thing would be a fairly daunting task. I think the RX is more user-friendly in that regard. My one criticism of the FX is that given the amount of interior space, could they not have made it less bulky? :confuse:
  • fun6889fun6889 Posts: 27
    thanks for the reponse and m4d_cow thanks for your input too....
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I commented previously that we chose the MDX over the GX470 for a variety of reasons.

    Yesterday, I took a look at the interior of a neighbors RX330 for the first time. I have to agree with msu79gt82, the entire center console, shifter and dash layout was ugly, in my completely subjective opinion. The MDX may not be as clean and sporty as a Cayenne, but the ergonomics and layout of the RX330 is closer to a GM mini-van layout, albeit with nicer materials.

    On the RX330 vs. FX35, I have to believe the driving experience is night and day. I have yet to drive a single Lexus that wasn't near the bottom of their peer group in handling, steering feel and overall driving dynamics. They have clearly prioritized "quiet" and "insulated" over "crisp" and "fun to drive". On the other hand, the FX35 is in the same handling league as the Cayenne and X5. Meaning that it handles better than Lexus' wannabe sports car, the SC430. If I only needed 5 seats and limited cargo capacity, actual driving dynamics would be a more important factor in my purchase decision than which one looks like it would be easier to parallel park.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    rx and fx are on 2 completely different sides, rx being the comfier choice with more gadgets, higher material quality, and soft ride, fx is on the sporty side w/ great handling and performance, but lacks almost everything else.

    i like rx styling and interior better, but as one of the younger ones here id choose the fx35 (not 45, cant stand the ride on the 20" wheels)
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    rx and fx are on 2 completely different sides, rx being the comfier choice with more gadgets, higher material quality, and soft ride, fx is on the sporty side w/ great handling and performance, but lacks almost everything else.

    What does the FX lack? Mine has everything: Navi w/ RearView Camera, Laser Guided Cruise Control, Preview Brake Assist, TPMS, Intelligent Key (keys never leave my pocket), etc, etc, ...

    On of the reasons I got the FX was because of all the technology gadgets not available on the RX330 :confuse: And a lot cheaper than the RX :shades:
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    ah sorry, i forgot about the tech package, my bad, but i thought lexus offers the same package...or is it toyota harrier....hmm i guess i need to update my lexus-infiniti knowledge :D

    btw, keyless unlocking is pointless imo
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    btw, keyless unlocking is pointless imo

    Its not a must have, however its a nice feature to have and is useful when you have your hands full. Full hands is a fairly common occurance; briefcase, jacket, coffee mug, etc - I would think women would appreciate not having to get keys out of their purse, especially in a dark parking lot.
  • #940 of 940 X5 3.0 by safeperfsnowsu Jul 11, 2005 (11:21 pm)
    Is the MDX for me?

    I live in Boston and have a 2 hr total commute each day across town. Lots of twits and turns and zipping in to traffic at rotaries and when a spot opens up on big traffic roads. Lots of people cutting you off on the rotaries too and cutting in front of you in high traffic. So performance means safety, Great braking and immediate and strong response when accelerator is mashed. I tried a passat top of the line with 4 motion and the thing increased my commute time by 15 minutes (on a 30 min segment) in order to drive it safely. It has terrible pick up, worse than most volvos.

    Anyway, I drive the x5 (2003 3 liter auto) for the commutes but also have a 2003 Ody that I use for throwing the bikes in the back and the dog. What I would like to do is to find one car that satisfies all my needs so that I don't have to have two for no reason. I looked at all wagons and basically none had the pick up that the X5 has and the BMW wagon has very poor visibility so that is out and frankly if a huge SUV was bearing down on me I would rather be in another SUV than in a wagon. I should also mention that my 5 year old is in the car most of the time.

    While the X5 satisfies all my driving needs (though could stand to have a little more power in the mid range acceleration from 40-60MPH) it cost an arm and a leg to gas up taking only premium and it is a work out to drive, also you can't fit anything in the back and the poor old dog can barely jump that high. Also as it is my "nice" car i am always worried about it getting dinged and putting muddy boots etc in there are hiking.

    I should also mention that I am 6'4 and about 280lbs so not a small person and have had a bad back in the past so seat comfort is essential for all the bum time I put in. The Ody seats are a joke and so uncomfortable and I am worried the MDX will be similar. The BMW seats are very firm and quite comfortable but not as good as some Volvo seats I have sat in.

    AWD or excellent snow ability is crucial as I have to be able to do the commute even in the worst weather (i always put on performance snow tires late fall and run the Potenza R950s the rest of the year).

    So really my priorities are:
    Performance so that I can safely do a shorter commute and ghet out of that big SUV's way but also stop in tim when that little zippy sports car cuts me off
    Safety features in case I get rammed by a big SUV (including rear airbags which i don't think I currently have)
    Very comfortable seats that will hold up over time (want to keep the car for min 6 years, probably longer as I usually drive them in to the ground)
    Enough cargo room that I can fit a small kids bike in there and a dog, maybe even a small night table or something like that.
    Reduce my running costs.
    Hopefully something that I can get in to under $50K new or late model used if no major model change.

    As I mentioned I tried all the wagons and even the E series 4 matic just didn't cut it (all wagons failed the 1st cut which is performance). I thought about going with sedan (was thinking the VW Phateon because of AWD and massive power from the V* and very comfortable setas) and keeping the minvan for the other stuff but still don't like the idea of being "down there" when that big suv comes knocking on my drivers side window.

    Should I even try the Merc SUV? The Lexus just doesn't seem as safe as the BMW or the Acura should acrash occur. Back to the original question, will the MDX cut it or should I stick with the SUV mini combo? Any other suggestions?

    By the way drove a 300M a while back *rental and thought it was horrible, both in terms of pickup, breaking, sea comfort, and especially 360 visibility (the X5 is just barely acceptable on that score with help from extra mirrors on rear view and sides) so not sure if that Pacifica is worth suggesting.

    Very light off road (logging track something easy like that) only really need good snow performance with snow tires and twoning capacity would be a nice extra but not necessary(have to haul large Hobbie Cat twice a year).

    Thank you for any suggestions.
  • nileshnilesh Posts: 5
    try the new 06 ml 350 or the 500. they are very comfortable and has lot better cargo area than x5.i have one and am very satisfied with my purchase
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "Lots of twits and turns and..."

    C'mon, you're being too harsh on Bostonians. Every town has got its share of boneheads. :P ;)
  • :-) yes I saw that. I moved here recently and love the place and find the people here to be very civilized and considerate drivers for a city this size.
  • Going to test drive the Merc and the MDX today. Hopefully one will work.
  • Test drove the MDX and pick up was very dissapointing as well quality of interior and seat comfort. Not a big step up from my minivan (in fact after having driven one don't know why anyone would pony up that kid of cash when the minivan is so similar but then again I don't care about people seeing me driving a minivan as some do). Struck out a again. Will say this though as a positive Nav system was amazing!

    Then on to the Merc dealership. WOW do they have some nice cars. Anyway after lusting over a little convertible number I see the new 2006 M series and frankly it looks like an explorer but as I could care less about the looks I go sit in one. Now this is quality, even nicer than my X5 and seat comfort was very good. Also much roomier than anticipated (I am a big guy so that was appreciated, in X5 my head is 2-3 inches from column, in Merc at least 5+ and leg, hip room and adjustability of controls much better than 2003 X5 too for a much more ergonomically satisfying driving position) and good head room too even with sunroof package (didn't like the dials for the radio control but again who cares, minor stuff). Still a little on the small side for cargo space but just enough to live with especially with the bike rack accessory that attaches to the trailer hitch. Rear airbags a huge plus and all sorts of safety features, very impressive. So now I am hoping that the test drive will not disappoint so I asked to test drive the 500 but they didn't have any so i tried the 350. Again WOW. It is quicker off the mark than my X5 and does much better than the X5 between 30-60 as well. Far less jerky, a much smoother ride and yet without sacrificing any performance and apparently getting better gas mileage too. It isn't a very exciting car in terms of driving as you don't feel as much as you do with the X5 but for 2 hours commute a day that is OK by me. Also I plan to get the suspension option so you can change from comfort to sport for when excitement is required, should also come in handy for the big snow that they get up here. I took it out for about half an hour and put it through its paces (the poor asistant salesman the head guy sent off with me was a little nervous at times) but everything exceeded my expectations and braking was excellent (apparently where the BMW breaks 20 times a second the Merc brakes 40 times a second) and this was all in the 350 mind you, not sure what the 500 will be like but if it is as big a step up in performance as they say it is then it will be worth the extra $6k, going to try it on Friday when a new one comes in.

    One question I have for those who are lucky enough to have one (kind of a no brainer once you drive it) or are in the know, does the suspension option allow you to lower the car from its standard height as well as raise it or is it all levels of raising it from is standard height? I would need to lower it one inches for it to fit under my old style garage door or take off the roof rails if that can be done (don't need them). Also does it retain its tightness (ie non frame flexing) in the long run, the BMW feel very solid , the Merc a little less so but I think it is because they use lighter materials? Lastly does this business of using virgin steal vs. recycled really make any difference and does BMW really use recycled steel?

    Anyway it will either be the 350 or 500, excellent car.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Far be it from me to want to change your mind, but I find some of your comments interesting. We purchased a 2005 MDX in January. Our runner up choice was a XC90 V8. But we ruled out the M350/500 almost from the beginning based upon the horrific reliability and build quality issues Mercedes has had with the M class. Both objective sources like Consumer Reports and JD Powers, as well as numerous friends and associates, steered us clear of the M-class.

    As far as performance, I found the the MDX's 3.5 liter 265 hp engine to be very adequate - quicker than the X5 3.0, on par with the ML350, and behind the XC90 V8. Handling was also adequate, although I admit the braking could be better.

    I will not dispute that the M350 is an improvement over the previous ML320. But nothing suggests to me that this vehicle will reverse the substantial decline in Mercedes quality over the past few years. A recent business week article listed the worst 10 luxury cars in terms of reliability and Mercedes captured 4 of the 10 spots.

    It would seem to me that, given your priorities of performance and seat comfort, the XC90 V8 should have been on your shopping list. It is not the highest rated vehicle with respect to reliability, but is well above the M-class.
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    If you buy MB, good luck to you. MB is not known for its reliabitiy. Ask previous owners before you buy.
  • Thanks for the suggestion, will give it a test drive. Only reason I have hesitated to do so is that the wagons are so slow off the mark (what I really mean by performance is low end torque to get in to traffic). 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.

    If I didn't have such long urban X town commutes to do and all in heavy slow small street traffic (no highway) then the MDX would be fine, actually the Passat wagon would probably do fine but for my commute I need to safely (quickly) be able to pull in to traffic from a stand still and that means low end torque and the MDX just doesn't have it.

    I can only hope that with the new and completely redisgned 2006 M series they have addressed some of the reliability issues (I understand that the M series are the only Merc's to be built in the US, Alabama or somewhere? X5's built in SC very good build quality). If they haven't and the Volvo (they do have the best seats) doesn't work out then I will stick the M series out until BMW comes out with their new larger X5 in late 2006 hoping that i won't have to deal with too many issues in the interim.
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