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
Jul 11, 2005 (7:25 pm)
#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.
#942 of 1084 Re: X5 and Ody vs MDX [safeperfsnowsu]
Jul 11, 2005 (9:04 pm)
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
#943 of 1084 Re: X5 and Ody vs MDX [safeperfsnowsu]
Jul 11, 2005 (9:51 pm)
"Lots of twits and turns and..."
C'mon, you're being too harsh on Bostonians. Every town has got its share of boneheads.
#944 of 1084 Re: X5 and Ody vs MDX [bodble2]
Jul 12, 2005 (8:12 am)
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.
Jul 12, 2005 (8:13 am)
Going to test drive the Merc and the MDX today. Hopefully one will work.
Jul 12, 2005 (4:47 pm)
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.
#947 of 1084 Re: Merc is it [safeperfsnowsu]
Jul 13, 2005 (12:16 pm)
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.
#948 of 1084 Re: Merc is it [safeperfsnowsu]
Jul 13, 2005 (1:20 pm)
If you buy MB, good luck to you. MB is not known for its reliabitiy. Ask previous owners before you buy.
Jul 13, 2005 (1:49 pm)
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.
#950 of 1084 Re: Volvo [safeperfsnowsu]
Jul 13, 2005 (6:28 pm)
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.