Last post on Sep 17, 2007 at 5:06 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Ford Explorer, Buick Rendezvous, Acura MDX, Car Safety, Fuel Efficiency (MPG), SUV
#45 of 473 Stang....sigh..
Jun 06, 2001 (9:23 pm)
You just keep giving me more ammunition..
Yes..I've driven 2002 Explorer, not the 2001. If you want to compare, drive them both..treviews are quite subjective. Test drives are free.
The Explorer Sport is a COMPLETELY different vehicle. Its a two door version of the 2001 model. The "sport" has a solid rear axle, different transmission, and has none of the safety or handling improvements of the 2002 Explorer...no comparison.
There is NO manual available in the 2002 Explorer.
Crash tests? I was using the IIHS figures, the 40mph offset crash and rollover test..far more "real world" IMO.
Why would you pay more for ML than for Explorer Limited? Drive one and find out. Same reason you'd pay more for a Porsche when a Mustang Cobra is just as fast. Same reason you'd buy a Lexus versus a Toyota.
Why the lower sales numbers?
1) Its a luxury vehicle...fewer people can afford em. Using your example, how many Explorer LTD/EB models sold vs the ML? Direct comparison please. The base model isn't even in the same class.
2) People (like you?) haven't driven the ML and don't know any better
I seriously wonder if you've actually driven the ML..take a look at Thor's pic above if you want to see an example of the design and quality of these vehicles. I suggest you actually drive the Mercedes before making comparisons.
Oh.. a final point...The free market seems to agree with me on Mercedes durability vs Ford. 4 year lease residuals are at 52% for ML320, and 40% for the Explorer (alg.com).
Jun 06, 2001 (9:35 pm)
Good point on those seats. To allow access to rear seat in MDX however, the 40% section slides, and seatback folds. However, that section does not tumble forward like on Expl, ML, or Rendezvous. The entire 2nd row of the Rendezvous (and ML) slides forward to allow more legroom for rear occupants. Like this, you can fit adults comfortably in the back, while still enough room in 2nd row. The ML probably has the most comfortable 3rd row, however, also the hardest to configure. Unlike the others, the ML 3rd row does NOT fold flat into the floor, and you have to use the supplied floorplates to get a flat loadfloor with 2nd row folded down. Its basically like most german cars...hard to use, but works beautifully when you do.However, if you plan to change configurations often, ML is not a good choice.
Just as an aside, I was in the same position as you. I came into this completely objectively. I've owned 1 Ford before (happily) and no GM, Mercedes, or Acura vehicles. I've driven and researched all the vehicles talked about here, and basically..I just call em like I see em. While I may upset some of the diehard "Ford Truck" purists here...so be it. I loved my Taurus SHO...Ford still sells quality cars..unfortunately they stay in Europe and never seem to make it over here..(Mondeo...sigh).
Jun 06, 2001 (11:10 pm)
Although I'm not gonna argue the EB vs Limited vs Benz deal, I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth.
We just picked up our 2002 XLT tonight. V-8, tow pack, 3rd seat, premium sound (the one mistake the dealer made...we didn't order it), and side airbags. Got it for invoice, but had to wait 6 weeks. It was just a tad over $28K out the door, and given our needs and choice of finances, it was the best vehicle I could find to meet them. Now for my impression.
Fit and finish are excellent. Not a Benz, but I didn't expect that. Ride is very good, although admittedly I didn't take it over anything challenging. Acceleration felt very good...took it on the freeway, and although I didn't romp it, it got up to 70 quickly. It was very quiet...no squeaks or rattles. Handling and driver input/feedback were impressive. I noticed a little hesitation shifting occasionally, but have read it is common when they are new. Stereo is good for a factory unit, but I'm used to the tunes in my F-150 and Legend which are fairly high-dollar aftermarket units. But I guess the thing that suprised me the most was the 3rd seat. Although I had looked at them before we ordered, I had never actually sat in the rear seat. I was impressed. I'm 6' 2", and though the seat sits low, there was adequate legroom. My knees did not touch the 2nd row seats. I wouldn't want to ride in it for 1000 miles, but it's a good design for occasional use to carry more than 4 people. And as far as I'm concerned, the 2nd row tilt-forward design is very good.
Overall, I'm very impressed with the new design, as well as the build quality. This is my wife's car, and she likes it so far also. It will tow my boat, her hoss trailer (in fact, probably both at the same time), and a gaggle o' kids once or twice a year to birthday parties or Whitewater Bay. I can't say I drove a Benz to compare it to...it simply didn't meet our needs, nor would it fit my budget. I could afford it...I simply chose not to. Now for the killer...
It's got a V-8, that WONDERFUL new car smell, and I don't get to drive it!!!
#48 of 473 Great discussion.....
Jun 07, 2001 (2:25 pm)
This discussion is a real hoot, and I would love to see more people weigh in with their opinions. I have no standing here to add anything, as I am not in the market for any of these vehicles (in fact I bought a 2002 TrailBlazer in March). I just enjoy reading some of the other discussions on the board for educational purposes.
I have no love for Explorers, don't trust them, wouldn't own one. However, I am beginning to feel a little sorry for them, and wondering how a truck got sucked into a comparison with a bunch of very nice minivans. Didn't seem fair. Oh yeah, that's right, it's because they tried to be something they weren't by adding a third row seat. Oh well, maybe I don't feel so bad for them after all seeing they brought it on themselves.
Jun 07, 2001 (7:52 pm)
I got a hoot too...reading all of those posts from pissed off Trailblazer/Envoy/Bravada owners who's cars were sitting idle for 30 days waiting for parts from GM due to the recall. Especially liked the ones where the GM dealers were taking the replacement parts and putting them on units for sale on the lot, as opposed to fixing the customer's vehicles. As for the 3rd row seat, it will actually work very well for us. It will only be an occasional thing, but it's there when we need it. Too bad the engineers at GM couldn't figure out how to add one.
#50 of 473 Trailblazer/Envoy
Jun 07, 2001 (10:32 pm)
Still trucks, with typical truck quality and build, but they have a damned nice engine. That DOHC I6 is a real gem. Now, if GM would put it in the Rendezvous....you'd have about a perfect SUV. The pathetic 3.4 pushrod dates back from the chevy citation. Someday they'll get it right..
#51 of 473 footballfan777
Jun 08, 2001 (3:49 am)
Footballfan777...I believe GM is introducing a third row seat version later this year, which I personally believe is a mistake. I'll stick by the old maxim "If you want a truck, buy a truck....if you want a minivan buy a minivan". I hate seeing the lines continually being blurred by this melding of different vehicles. I'm afraid the truck version will be a thing of the past before long.
Also, can't deny the recall, it happened. I also got a kick out of some of the posts, as a few people sure didn't take it very well. Personally, I think it was great! The net effect to me was I had to drive a brand new 2001 instead of a 2002 for 21 days, got a free extension of my bumper to bumper warranty to 5 years/60000 miles, and free service for two years to top things off. Sorry, but you are not going to get any defensive reaction from me over the recall.
#52 of 473 proteus456
Jun 08, 2001 (4:14 am)
I can't help but think the I5 in development will make it's debut on the 2003 Rendezvous. It would probably still make it tops in its class for power, and be able to at least maintain the same fuel economy. The I6 would make it a great vehicle, but don't you think it might be overkill. The RDV is 400# lighter than the TB/Envoy, and most people buying it will probably never tow anything. 270HP would certainly make it a screamer, but you might lose a segment of the market over the loss of fuel economy (19/26 vs. 16/21).
Jun 08, 2001 (6:44 am)
Hi all, llloooonngg-time lurker, just recently decided to join in on the posting game. I had to join in after reading the blatantly misleading comments that some have tried to pass off as fact. Proteus, I kindly request that you confirm your facts before posting any further comments about your beloved ML and the hated Explorer/Mountaineer. I refer to your comment that "There is NO manual available in the 2002 Explorer." Actually, the 2002 Explorer XLS comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. Any halfway intelligent consumer can obtain this information on the Ford website, as well as right here on Edmunds. Posting misinformation, especially when you draw attention to it using capitals, only makes you look like a moron. I am glad that you think that the ML is superior in every way possible. I, however, have driven both the Explorer and Mountaineer, and think that they are leaps and bounds above the previous model. I have always owned foreign cars in the past, but these new products are changing my mind about domestic automobile production. An interesting note, when test driving the Mountaineer, I noticed that the engine and transmission come from Germany and France, respectively. Is any vehicle truly American anymore? Does that mean that the Mountaineer is like the ML in that the ML's engine/tranny come from Germany but is assembled in Alabama? Hmm.
Jun 08, 2001 (7:47 am)
After a little bit of lurking I will say this..
Best of the bunch is the Mercedes followed closely by the Acura.
In terms of value, the new Rendezvous wins hands down. Although it doesn't have a sophisticated engine it does have great looks, space and quality (from what I hear). The 0-60 times really don't suffer much from the smaller engine which is surprising and you get the best gas mileage in class.
Since I can not afford a Mercedes or an Acura, I will be looking at a base Rendezvous for sure when our next lease is due next spring.