Last post on Jul 29, 2012 at 6:31 PM
You are in the Volvo XC90
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Acura MDX, Lexus RX 330, BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, Toyota Highlander, Volvo XC90, SUV
Aug 16, 2002 (1:50 pm)
Let's take the top three ..
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.
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.
#259 of 1084 Oh Oh, my daughters recommended the RX 300
Aug 17, 2002 (8:52 pm)
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?
Aug 17, 2002 (10:54 pm)
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 .
#263 of 1084 SRX observations
Aug 22, 2002 (8:19 pm)
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.
#264 of 1084 To pitn1777
Aug 23, 2002 (8:27 pm)
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
Aug 23, 2002 (8:33 pm)
The new RX will have a 3rd row.
#266 of 1084 my first oil change
Aug 24, 2002 (3:24 am)
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?
#267 of 1084 Is the SRX built on the Rendezvous platform?
Aug 24, 2002 (1:30 pm)
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.