Last post on May 01, 2013 at 5:19 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, SUV
#7266 of 8197 ML350 vs. 500 vs. MDX
Dec 01, 2003 (1:53 pm)
I keep going back and forth between the Acura MDX and the Mercedes ML 350 and 500. I would like to keep the car at $47,000 and below, so the ML500 is pretty much ruled out unless I can get a phenomenal deal on a 2003.
The MDX loaded has pretty much everything I need and fully loaded with the NAV and DVD entertainment system it offers more options for about $3000 less than a comparably equipped ML350. But I drive a Acura now and while it is a competent car, it just isn't exciting, nor would I consider it luxurious. The ML's scare me with their reliability records, although I am not sure if the kinks are worked out in the 2004 models. Any advice would be appreciated!
Dec 01, 2003 (3:35 pm)
The MDX is a fine car, but in my test drives, it really felt more like a tall car than a true SUV and the steering was very numb. I found the interior to be "Japanese luxury car" with nice fit/finish, but overly plasticky and flimsy.
I think it really boils down to personal preference - I much prefer the more professional German feel to the ML. I also think the the ML has more utility in things like towing, off-road capability, and room inside.
But in most other areas, you have to give the nod to the MDX. And if you're into the nav systems, there is absolutely no comparison - the Acura navs are about the best and the MB navs about the worst. All the electronics and controls of the ML are relatively poor compared to the Japanese - for example, the CD changer is a big clunky thing mounted in the cargo area that is difficult to get to unloaded and impossible to get to if you have stuff piled up back there. The Japanese got rid of trunk-mounted changers five years ago.
I assume you are taking the heavy, heavy discounts of the ML's into account in your pricing. Many are going below invoice with dealer incentives.
Yes, the ML is a bit scary on reliability. I think they've generally turned the corner to be an OK car on reliability, but the MDX is one of the very best, so there is no match here. If dealing with problems now and then bothers you, I'd go with the Acura. MB does have free service and a good warranty, so at least for 50K miles, there is no monetary hit to any ML problems you might have.
So it boils down to whether you like the ML's "german nature" and utility enough to offset the better value and higher reliabliity of the Acura. If I had to buy one today, I'd probably get the Acura - actually I'd probably save some money and get the Pilot which is basically the same vehicle as the MDX but with less luxury and more utility for a lot less money.
Dec 01, 2003 (6:06 pm)
What are you talking about?
My friend, a 2003 MDX owner constantly complains how inaccurate his MDX Navigation is. My 2004 ML350 DVD Navigation has been ACCURATE, FAST and EASY to use. I just spent good 2 full days of driving in downtown LA, and I was NEVER lost. I was able to drive my destinations on time without getting lost even once. Note that I do not live in LA area. All of my passengers and myself were impressed about the DVD-Based ML's Navigation.
Maybe you are talking about the old CD-based navigation that requires 10 CD-ROM's to cover US/Canada.
MDX has a better gas mileage AND does NOT require 91 octane gas. BIG PLUS!
ML's gas mileage sucks. Then we are talking about a 2.5 ton truck.
I really like the rain-sensor windshield wiper. It's raining here in SF now.
So far I've experienced no problem with 2004 ML350. I will let you people know when things break. =)
#7269 of 8197 Well I ordered it...
Dec 01, 2003 (6:46 pm)
The 2004 ML500. I am pretty excited to actually get it now!
Dec 01, 2003 (7:03 pm)
Nds, You did OK, you will realize it drives like an MBZ, you may have a kink or two and I say may because is not guaranteed, but overall you will be satisfied.
#7271 of 8197 Lexus GX beats MDX and ML.
Dec 01, 2003 (7:41 pm)
Dec 01, 2003 (8:09 pm)
You can analyze all you want, but in the end, you need to get the one that puts a bigger smile on your face.
#7273 of 8197 My 2002 ML500
Dec 02, 2003 (9:01 am)
Mouseonline, but the looks of the Lexus GX just don't cut it. It' looks too top heavy; the rear lights are too high on the hip. Also, I've read on the GX site that they have a vibration problem in the drivetrain. It's usually good idea to avoid the new model on all makers. Can we say '98 ML? LOL!
My navigation system is awesome on my ML. I have the 10 CD set up and it works perfectly. The setup is different than on my friends 2001 S500 sedan.
#7274 of 8197 my two cents on GX
Dec 02, 2003 (11:43 am)
I would go with the Landcruiser any day over the GX. They cost about the same with similar options.
Dec 02, 2003 (9:55 pm)
Can't dis the MDX because I know someone who bought one and his family likes it a lot but to be fair, I do not think that it is in the same class as the ML500. I think you'll agree after owning yours that the ML500 beats out the competition in many areas including value (we got the deal you were looking for on our '03, which included Xenons).
The MDX did seem to have a nice NAV unit and it's comfortable to ride in (the ML's DVD-based NAV is improved too over the CD-based unit in our old '00 ML430). The MDX's wheelbase is about half a foot shorter whereas the body is about half a foot longer and yet the cargo capacity is only about the same. However, the ML has a much higher payload capacity--probably by about 500 lbs or more--and that means it will carry more weight and probably will drive and handle much better when loaded down with the same weight, such as when full of adults.
The ML500 has an awesome set of brakes too: huge rotors front and back and the big 275s on all four corners provide excellent wet braking performance. If you haven't already, you'll probably enjoy reading the Wards Auto review about the ML500's engine (one of the ten best in the world) at: http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_wards_ten_best/