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2001 Ml320 Vs. 2001 Mdx

2930 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  davegood
2001 ML320 VS. 2001 MDX

I know there is a somewhat heated discussion about a 2002 ML320 and 2001 MDX going on, but I thought I would share my experience with a 2001 ML320 and 2001 MDX.

First of all, we got both 2001 ML and MDX less than 3 weeks apart. Though we wanted to purchase them at the same time, the MDX has a wait time as many of you know. Before purchasing, I did spend about a month surfing the net for to find any and all information available on different SUVs not just these two. We needed two cars and through a grueling process of elimination, we chose these two cars.

Major reasons the competition was eliminated from consideration.
1. X5
a. The dinky thing in the rear that they call cargo space (I'll try to tone the cynicalism down.)
b. The price!!! What you get for the money IMO was not worth it; but also, I probably couldn't afford it.
2. RX300
a. Too many of these around.
b. Most of them seem to be driven by women.
i. Yes, I do see men driving them, but I'm under the impression that they are just running an errand for their wive's.
c. It looks like an egg with wheels... he he.
3. Passport, 4 Runner, Montero, Pathfinder, etc...
a. Be honest... Given theses choices, how many would choose these over the X?

To compare both ML320 and MDX, I guess I'll start by stating that my preference is for the MDX. In fact, I've mentioned before in a previous thread that I use Zaino on the X and the ML gets the supermarket stuff that I have leftover from previous cars. For those of you who may be shocked at my bias, let me say that cars are not like children, and having a favorite is okay... Not only do I give the X the Zaino, I also gave Stainless Steel Sidesteps (instead of black), and whenever I wash the cars, I even make sure that the X gets 100% cotton towels.
This is not to say that the ML is inferior in every aspect but there are some negative just as there are some positives. With that being said, let me start by telling you the features and benefits of the ML, that stands out.

The "Kudos to Mercedes" list:
1. Autolocking doors.
a. The locks seem to know when they are locked or unlocked so it you don't hear needless clicks and engages.
i.For instance, if you drop someone off and they pull the lock open to get out or use the auto lock, the car knows to relock.
b. This feature can be easily disengaged/engaged by holding the unlock/lock down.
c. For those who do not live in a rough metropolitan area, you may not understand the need for this feature.
2. The key.
a. I like the way the key portions flips out from the remote.
b. The only drawback I can say about this remote is that you almost always have to look at it when you unlock it whereas on the MDX remote, you know which button is what without looking.
3. Measuring/guessing the length of the car when parallel parking.
a. The front is difficult to measure just like the MDX, but the rear is so much easier...
4. Rear seat comfort.
a. The seats in the rear are longer and passengers have stated that they are more comfortable because of that.
5. The gear shifter -TOO COOL!!!
a. It has P, R, N, -D+
i. Once you shift to D, to shift down or up a gear, you tap left or right...
6. Body Side Moulding.
a. It's standard and not a DIY option.
7. The dead pedal area...
a. I know, I know... I'm 5' 7" (5' 8.73" with thick socks and Nikes) but I have difficult time with what to do with my left foot in the MDX...
8. Available Skyview option. *This was a major factor for us that made the ML so appealing.
a. Instead of a sunroof, we opted for this option. It is 9 panels that open up from the front of the car all the way to rear antenna.
b. I'm sure the MDX sunroof is standard size but it seems so small for that car.
9.Front windshield size. (Laziness factor)
a. It's not as slanted and so it's shorter than the MDX... I like this cause it means less rubbing putting on Rain X.
10. No need to carry spare key.
a. If you lock your keys inside, a telephone call can unlock the ML.

The "Kudos to Acura" list:
1. The sunglass storage compartment - it sure makes up for the lousy dead pedal area...
a. You don't know how convenient this is until you don't have one.
2. How easy it is to folding down seats to use extend the cargo space.
a. On top of that, almost all of the space is useable.
3. The size of the glove compartment.
a. It fits the owners manual, flashlight, disposable camera, Thomas Guide for L.A. and Orange County (used by us that couldn't afford the NAV), envelopes for ATM deposits, and then some. *. If only they had made the glovebox flushed...
4. Ergonomics.
a. Volume controls on the steering wheel.
b. Compass - I'm one of those people that feels almost claustrophobic if I don't know which way is north.
c. Better use of the LCD screen for those without the NAV; however, I don't think the gas mileage visual had to be so prominent on the display.
d. Ease of controlling climate. I did read someone complain that they are located too far but once you set it, that's that being automatic... and in comparison to the ML, the reach to the climate controls is about the reach of the volume control knob.
5. Child safety locks on rear door.
6. Ease of changing C.D.s
7. The little "beep" when you push lock twice on the remote.
a. However, the ML alarm is more "intelligent"
i. ML - Has window and tow sensors.
ii. ML - Able to disable alarm by Inserting the key in ignition.
iii. ML - Pushing unlock on the remote doesn't needlessly engage the unlock if the vehicle is already unlocked;however, it does turn on the interior lights for a set duration of time. Same with pushing lock when the car is locked, you don't hear click.
8. The standard 3rd row seats. *This was the reason we got the MDX, if not, we've probably have gotten an Oddesey instead.
9. How fast the windows and sunroof opens and closes compared to the ML which is slower than molasses.
10. The ride.
a. You do feel the pebbles in the road more (from the firmer seats/suspension?) but the overall feeling in the MDX is that you are sitting tall in a luxury vehicle instead of a SUV.
b. Transmission is smooth as a babies bottom and silent as ...(I can't think of anything right now.)
11. Gas Mileage
b. Perhaps compared to a another car, the mileage stinks but compared to another SUV it is very effecient especially for the power you get.

*I drive mostly city and in So. Cali. with MTBE and A/C on, I think I'm getting about 2 mpg on the ML320. probably not, but it feels like it
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Originally posted by proskunetes
b. Transmission is smooth as a babies bottom and silent as ...(I can't think of anything right now.)

How about, silent as:
- The Red October
- the lambs
- the time between the joke and the laughter
- the Chihuahuan desert

Great post. I learned a lot from your owners experience.

The 2002 ML320 attempts to solve a few of the issues on your "what were they smoking" list. But you'd have to live with it the way you have to see whether their remedies really work.
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