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I just spent the better part of my weekend shopping for a new SUV, CUV, pickup truck, and mini-van. Basically anything that we could want to replace our 2007 MDX Tech/Ent. My range was wide to start, and my purse was as wide. To understand our thought process, the 2007 MDX was bought under the gun in a pinch and was never our first choice in size. We have always liked larger SUVs and or pickups. The MDX has served us very well since new. Better then either of us expected. It's the only reason we waited until the new one came out before looking for another vehicle. I expected to shell out between $50K-$80K for what we would like. We looked at the following vehicles:

Mercedes GL350 Bluetec with P2, Lighting package, Leather, Park Assist, Pano Roof, Multi Contour Seats, Heated and Active ventilated seats.
Honda Odyssey Elite Touring
Toyota Sienna Limited FWD
Toyota Tundra Crew Cab Platinum 4X4
Ford F150 King Ranch FX4 4X4 Crew Cab
Lexus RX350 AWD F Sport
Lexus GX460 Premium
Lexus LX570 (used, yet a 2013)
Inifiniti JX35 AWD with every option package available
MDX Advance SH

All vehicles were 2013's, except the MDX. That was the 2014.

After numerous hours and conversations with the wife, I am extremely tired. Here are our thoughts and comments, as we took notes and went back and drove three for a second time. Well actually four, but more on that in a little while.

Mercedes GL350 Diesel: Gees, we love a diesel. Drove them in Europe and Japan every time we could. We both detest the price of options, and more than likely the less than reliable electronics we will receive from this beast (past experience with two E-classes). Also, actually finding one that is not already spoken for is basically unheard of. MB has found a niche in this segment and they are under producing to maintain and improve values of new and used GL350s. Three dealers told me to order, as they will not have any stock items at all. One even showed me the whole southeast all accounted for with orders, and port units. I have an in @ MB Manhattan, and called him as well. Same story. If we could have drove one, I'd bet the farm we would have spent the money. However, I do not speculate on $80K that we are going to like a vehicle, without testing it. On to the next.

Honda Odyssey: What a great minivan. Drove beautifully, had almost every creature comfort and configuration you could want. Never owned a van at all. Though this would definitely work if we wanted one. No ventilated seats available. That was a deal breaker on arrival. Dealer offered $40800 with the accessories on it. DOA to me though. Next.

Toyota Sienna: I thought the Odyssey was nice. This one is much better. Drove better, more pickup and road feel, much better fit and finish. Foot rests on the second row! If I hire a chauffeur this could work! Storage and more storage. Again, no ventilated seats. Was DOA on finding out that aspect. Dealer offered $41500. Still DOA to me. Next.

Toyota Tundra: This was the 5.7 liter version. Man, this moves. My daughter and I could do somersaults in the back of the cab while my wife drives. I thought I was in an RV for a few minutes in the back of this cab. End of the day, it was a great pickup truck, cheaply appointed for a $52K price tag though.

Ford F150 KR: Very nice pickup truck. I love the leather. The Sync was miserable. Light years ahead of what Ford had (nothing), yet light years behind Toyota and Honda. Comfortable ride, very capable. The ventilated seats almost made me hover. However, $52K for what? I could not see it. Felt like highway robbery to me. $42-45K this may have been the ticket.

Lexus RX 350 F Sport: Looked at it, while the salesman went to get the keys. By the time he came back, we asked him to move onto the next model. He looked perplexed at us. I explained I already had too small of an SUV that went fast, and I did not need a smaller one that looked like it wanted to go Fast.

Lexus GX460: Biggest surprise of the day after the Sienna's foot rests (man I liked those!). We really enjoyed this ride. While slightly narrower than the 07 MDX we have, this vehicle felt safer than an armored car in Mexico City. The vehicle exuded confidence in safety and movement. Plenty of room for me in the second row with front seats all the way back. Capable third row seating and attempting to be manageable fuel economy of 15/20, while hauling 5200 lbs of curb weight plus me and the wife. Felt absolutely great to be back in a truckish SUV that you felt good in. Down side was the rear door. What heck happened here! I looked at my wife who is Japanese, and asked her if relatives had not heard of pull handles! Really a sideways tail door, so the shorter less weighty people of the world would not have to pull down if their power tailgate failed? What a failure here in my mind. However, we really like the way the SUV drives and feels. And that Sepia interior color is yummy. I did not finalize pricing on this one. I left it open. After some research back home, I believe this one can be had around $59500 the way we want it. Back to this one a few.

Lexus LX570: Ok, even though our budget was varied and high, this one new is way over the top for us. They happened to have a lightly used 5K mile one that was a CPO. I figured negotiable might get it to where it would be acceptable to me. We drove it. I had not had a feeling like this since I was pre-natal. Truly a womb like sensation. I forgot just how good these gussied up Land Cruisers are. Speaking of Mexico City, I'd take this down there and dare a carjacker to try. This thing is the Epcot Geo Dome on wheels! 12/17 MPG Rating however was terrible. Considering its curb weight, I guess its actually good. Very pricey and capable of things I would never dream of doing in this (dare I say again pricey) SUV. If money and fuel prices were no consideration, say I owned a refinery perhaps? I would get this in a heartbeat! Out the door used for $76500.

Infiniti JX35AWD: I'll start by saying I understand how CVT's work and what they do. They are a mechanical wonder that makes sense. They are not to be thrown upon the mainstream likely though. My wife kept waiting for the slipping in the torque converter to stop (She knew what this sound and feel was from our 2007 MDX having had two failures). The salesman almost died when he heard her complain about the transmission whine and hang. They put together a nice product though. Every bell and whistle you could want or need. Unfortunately they all lead through an antiquated theater package road, that you have no choice but to drive down on and purchase in order to get the rest of the packages. If you put it in sport mode, you get simulated shift points, that basically make it tolerable. The 18/23 MPG is nice though. Unfortunately, this vehicle just does not hold its value. The dealer's first offer was invoice minus $2K in rebates. Essentially $50K. It had a lot of accessories already on it too. I hate when dealers do that. We did like it though. More on that in a moment.

2014 Acura MDX Advance SH: My hopes were good for this one. Unfortunately they were not met in reality. What a disappointment from what I had hoped for. It is roomier in the second row, however they cheaped out on everything in the finish department. This MDX drove well, yet lethargic. We did not like the touch screen for basic functions. The angle of it is not pleasing, and the sub menu pages are a nuisance. The salesman kept stressing the voice control. The point for me being in the car is solace to and from work. I'm not looking for another conversation, let alone with my car. I can envision family drives up the east coast with everyone asleep and now I have to change something and use the voice control while they sleep. Not a good execution.

After all this we went back and drove the Sienna, GX460 and the JX35 AWD. While at the Lexus dealership, I grabbed the LX570 one more time. Damn I like this SUV/Truck. Just can't get past the price and the fuel consumption. But man I like/love this truck. Kind of like lust and love for me as a teen. Some foolish adult had to explain the difference to me and my world shattered. (Matrix reference coming) In this instance NEO, I'll take the blue pill. This is one heck of a truck! That being said, the GX460 is a superb second/first place finisher for us. I could not do the Sienna or the JX. The JX seemed fake and trying to impress too much. The resale values were horrible on it as well.

So, fire away if you like. This was our experience this weekend. We just didn't dig the MDX at all. Our 2007 has served us well. It just never fit. We had had Expedition 4X4s for years, and when we lemon law returned the 2007 we had to find something in a pinch. The MDX was it. And boy did we choose right at the time. This time however, I do not see Acura in our future.

Randy B
 

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Our list is: MDX, Audi Q7, Lexus GX460, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX9.
Yesterday we took a look at MDX, Q7 and GX460.

MDX is a clear front runner right now. Rather than describe what we liked about MDX (pretty much everything), I'll tell you what we did not like about the others which disqualified them.

GX460: it's an upgraded 4Runner, which comes with all the 4Runner pros and cons.

Pros - this thing is a tank, and can clearly handle the offroad better than any other in the list.
Cons: gas mileage, agility, and most importantly for us: when you raise up the third row, there's zero space in the trunk. Not even a little, it's just not there.

Audi Q7: I had high hopes for this one, given that I'm partial to German cars, and have a BMW myself. But when we got inside one, I was very underwhelmed by the interior. It would have looked revolutionary five years ago, but compared to MDX, it's like your grandfather's plane compared to a Dreamliner.

Tiny nav screen, buttons, that look like they have not changed in a decade. Ugly shifter... Space-wise it felt a little narrow on the sides, but no complaints about leg room. Access to the third row from both sides and second row slides back and forth.

We did not do a test drive, because all they had was Prestige line on the lot, and we are looking at Premium Plus.

All in all, significantly more money for significantly less value.

We'll take a look at Highlander and CX9 this week, but I think we'll settle on the MDX.
 

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Paulney & Randy --

The GX460 might be worth another look. Its design is pretty much a rip-off of the Land Rover Discovery (right down to the side-open barn door). We've had a Discovery for 10 years, and my wife (also Japanese) has never had problems with it. It doesn't have some of the flexibility of the split tailgate, but it's never really been an issue with us.

I strongly recommend you also check out the Land Rover LR4. The reliability of LR4 is significantly improved over the Discovery, and the LR forums I follow show all owners to be very happy. The box shape delivers tremendous capacity, and this was one of the reasons we kept our Discovery when we bought our MDX. The LR4 has loads of power, lots of room and is fun to drive. Gas mileage leaves something to be desired, however.

Good luck in your shopping!
RedAustinIX (Ed)
 

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We had been practically set and sold on ordering a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel when they come available, but they have been pushed back and back over and over so I felt we needed to look around.

We test drove the 2014 MDX yesterday and loved the drive and the interior space - the size feels just right. Nice and quiet, etc. I had a 2007 MDX and enjoyed it a great deal. I liked the way Acura tends to be slightly upscale but seemingly less snotty than some other brands.

After driving the MDX we immediately went to Jeep and drove a gas powered Grand Cherokee. Felt so heavy and cumbersome compared to the MDX ... I mean I know it's apples and oranges but it was such a difference we both were asking why we'd even consider the Jeep anymore. We don't off road, would like a softer more car-like drive and more space etc. The diesel would weigh even more ... The fuel cost is probably break even considering the MDX requires premium. The Jeep likely would cost about $8k less after considering the deal I could make on the Jeep versus the accessories I would add on the MDX plus the likely sticker pricetag.

We will likely check out the Audi Q7 (likely too big), Audi Q5 (likely too small), and Infiniti Q whatever they're calling it (will check out gas and hybrid when it's out). I would like to check out the BMW X5 when released as well but the diesel will be a late arrival and not likely out until early 2014 at earliest. Not sure I would go for the BMW or Mercedes price tags either. Maybe a touch too pretentious?

Concerns about the MDX include - the center stack layout (just looks clunky to us), the less sporty look, the cost for value after adding on accessories etc ($60k+), required premium fuel, not caring for the wheel choices, the fake wood look (would like something a bit less garish ... Why not offer the wood they offer in Canada on top model?), and the requirement of rear DVD to get other high-end options (although most manufacturers are doing this). Gonna have to keep looking and take our time. Would love everyone else's input.
 

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Randy: Very entertaining read, thanks for posting. I always like to read about others' comparison shopping and thoughts. I recently test drove the Odyssey and Sienna back to back and funny enough thought the Odyssey drove better. The Sienna has pretty good pick-up but the steering was a bit numb to me. Our next vehicle will be a 2014 Odyssey to add to the MDX (she'll get the van and I'll get my MDX back!).

paulney: Vehicles are different now but my final list in 2008 was the MDX, CX-9, and Highlander. Good luck in the decision!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Paulney & Randy --

The GX460 might be worth another look. Its design is pretty much a rip-off of the Land Rover Discovery (right down to the side-open barn door). We've had a Discovery for 10 years, and my wife (also Japanese) has never had problems with it. It doesn't have some of the flexibility of the split tailgate, but it's never really been an issue with us.

I strongly recommend you also check out the Land Rover LR4. The reliability of LR4 is significantly improved over the Discovery, and the LR forums I follow show all owners to be very happy. The box shape delivers tremendous capacity, and this was one of the reasons we kept our Discovery when we bought our MDX. The LR4 has loads of power, lots of room and is fun to drive. Gas mileage leaves something to be desired, however.

paulney: Vehicles are different now but my final list in 2008 was the MDX, CX-9, and Highlander. Good luck in the decision!

Good luck in your shopping!
RedAustinIX (Ed)
Red,

Thanks for the thoughts and comments. I have strict rules when it comes to English and French cars, only own them in their homeland!

You are quite the Trooper for holding onto that Disco. The LR4 is way to Volvoish for me (Boxy but safe). And in general, I;d take a chance on another MB, before putting myself through British Leyland/Ford/TaTa Motors electrics.

I'm hoping at this point I can find a worthy GX460, or cheap clean LX570 and lie to the wife.

Randy: Very entertaining read, thanks for posting. I always like to read about others' comparison shopping and thoughts. I recently test drove the Odyssey and Sienna back to back and funny enough thought the Odyssey drove better. The Sienna has pretty good pick-up but the steering was a bit numb to me. Our next vehicle will be a 2014 Odyssey to add to the MDX (she'll get the van and I'll get my MDX back!).

paulney: Vehicles are different now but my final list in 2008 was the MDX, CX-9, and Highlander. Good luck in the decision!
HoDog:

I must say, I could of cared less how the Sienna drove or felt, after finding those foot rests and reclining back rest lever. It made me wonder if I could hire a college intern to serve drinks, food and massages while my wife drove us around. I quickly woke up from the dream though.

Back to the GX I believe.

Randy B
 

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Today I drove the '14 MDX Advance and then went 1 mile down the road and drove a new '13 Q7 TDI Premium Plus followed by a new '13 Q7 S-Line Prestige. My wife did a similar comparison but had a few weeks between the Q7 and then last week the MDX.

Coming from an '04 MDX and obviously the new one has many enhancements that would be more apparent to us versus someone with a newer MDX. I did sit in the Technology but drove the Advance. I found the seats comfortable in both with a slight preference for the Advance. My wife had a stronger preference for the Advance seating. While I appreciated the technology that the MDX is bringing to the table, I did find the interior to be more "plasticy" than I would have preferred. Even the overhead slide for the sunroof was less substantial than on our current '04. The "wood" continues to look fake which is probably why it is best that they didn't use more of it, but that lack of other materials made the plastic nature of the interior even more pronounced. I cannot comment strongly on the controls as one really has to live with it for a while to get a sense of how easy it is to use. There is indeed a lot going on with both displays and some hard buttons. I am further disappointed that one is forced to get the ancient entertainment package in order to get features of the Advance package. In today's world tablets offer superior flexibility for a fraction of the price and the single screen low resolution and cheap uncomfortable headsets don't add great value in my opinion. Storage inside the MDX is a great highlight especially for my wife. The center console offers several options and is exceptionally deep. Also the setup and placement of a device such as an iPod, etc., is well located with a nice holder as well. The Advance offers rear sunshades which is a nice feature as well as heated seats which my kids will likely enjoy. 3rd row access is much improved and my 11 year old son was able to get comfortable with some easy adjustments. Exterior styling is an improvement to my eye although in an evolutionary and not revolutionary way. I don't care for their hiding of the exhaust as if this were some kind of electric vehicle.

Driving the MDX was familiar even coming from an '04. It has good punch and will have no issue in stop and go acceleration or high speed passing. There is a please exhaust note when you put the gas to the floor. The brakes are linear and competent. Despite the various settings for sport, comfort, and normal, I didn't actually notice a big difference. For my money I'd leave it in sport. Taking a high speed sweeper getting onto the freeway I was able to produce some minor tire squeal, but overall it was well controlled. Steering was reasonably well weighted and overall offered a more sporting driving experience. I was not disappointed but nor was I hugely impressed. It did everything well but nothing extremely well. The nannies were fun to play with but the lane assist did get confused from time to time. The value of all of these nannies is hard to gauge for now and might be better quantified after living with them in various scenarios.

The Q7 certainly looked more substantial and to my eye has always been more pleasing. The interior is much more austere in the very minimalist German fashion. The wood is real and the materials are a cut above the Acura. However, whether it is the minimalist nature or the age, the Q7 interior does come off somewhat dated. Interestingly it really has all of the same features as the MDX, but where the MDX makes sure you are fully aware of them with multiple bright screens, the Q7 does its best to hide them. Which is better is highly subjective, but I will say the Q7 does a better job of toning down all of the plastic. I would have preferred and expected the Q7 to make better use of woods and other materials to really give the interior a rich feeling. It simply does not. Where I wish the MDX would have toned down its interior a bit and offered more upscale materials, I wish the Q7 would have jazzed up its interior and showcased more of the rich materials it has. I found the seats in the Premium Plus and Prestige to be competent but preferred the softer perforated materials of the Prestige. The second row was clinical in its understatement and the 3rd row offered less width and leg room compared to the MDX. Access to the 3rd row is also not via a push button but rather a manual process similar to our '04 MDX. Without question the 3rd row is better in the MDX. Also not as impressive is the second row armrest which my son compared to a brick. The second row cup holders are a bit of a pain to get to. Interior storage overall is much less than the MDX and is really disappointing in the front with a very shallow center console (shockingly shallow) and the location of an attached iPod or other device inconveniently located in the glove box.

Driving the Q7 offered several surprises. First was the TDI which, unless someone told you, never reveals itself as a diesel. It gets off the line well as you'd expect for a diesel, but it also had plenty of power to pass at highway speeds. I expected that the TDI would be an obvious improvement in the low end over the S-Line, but it wasn't. As much as I enjoyed the TDI, I liked the S-Line a little more. I felt it was very competent off the line and of course passed with ease at speed. Overall it was just a bit more sprightly than the TDI but of course at the cost of MPG. Impressive though that the MPG of the S-Line is not different than the base gas engine. The most shocking surprise for me though was with handling. I expected the Q7 to handle like a large truck but I found exactly the opposite. The same high speed sweeper I mentioned above with the MDX was handled even better with the Q7. It stayed planted and never squealed. I also took it in a parking lot making a lot of quick turns in multiple directions and I found the Q7 again to be shockingly nimble. I never expected the steering and response of this big boy to be anywhere near as good as it was. The brakes were also absolutely fantastic. I don't have complaints about the MDX, but the Q7's were very noticeably responsive with fantastic bite. Although I would love to now go back and drive the MDX again, I have to say that the Q7 was a more pleasing driving experience overall although not hugely so.

The MDX offers tremendous value although the difference between the Advance and a similar non-entertainment equipped S-Line Prestige is not nearly as big as one would think at MSRP. In the end this is a race that has my wife and I totally baffled. There are gaps in what both cars offer. I wish the MDX had access to some better internal materials and I wish the Q7 made better use of what it actually does have access to. We are going to be making a decision within the next week but as if this moment I really don't know what we are going to do....
 

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^^Sadly, most people don't care about handling. But handling is where the MDX shines the most.

I'd love to see times on the Top Gear test track with all these SUVs and the STIG driving. :)
 

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You are quite the Trooper for holding onto that Disco.
Yes, Randy, you said it. There's a Discover owner "self-help" forum (landroverforums.com) I'm frequently on, and it's definitely a love-hate relationship at times.

I just re-read my original post, and need to make an important correction: we've had the Discovery for over 10 years, and have never had a problem with the rear "barn" door. As for the truck itself, well, it's been an adventure ;) It's an absolutely fantastic truck when it's working, but it'll have you crying when you're working on problems.

Seriously, though, it might be worth (just for fun) checking out the LR4. Everything I've read states that most of the gremlins have been squashed. And... like I said, when a Land Rover is running properly, they're awesome!

GX460 would be my second choice though (kind-of wish I'd gone that route instead of the MDX)

RedAustinIX (Ed)
 

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Randy. It is always interesting to hear what observations others have had. Everyone has a different bias and different perceptions. I came from a Lexus (2010 RX350) because I wanted something a bit larger and because it seem Toyota has lagged considerably in the "tech". I would have preferred to stay with Lexus which would have meant a GX but I hate side-opening doors. I had a Land Cruiser for a few years which I loved so would have considered the LX. Love the ride and the "no fear" when going off-pavement. But the interior feels very dated to me and tech is so-so. And then there is the cost. I will be keeping my eye on a possible update someday.

So Lexus was out. LR4 or RangeRover was next on my list. I live in Colorado and get up in the mountains a lot. And there are a lot of LR/RR vehicles showing up in our neighborhood these days so that has become another of "prestige" vehicles in our area. ;-) Intriguing vehicles. But I don't want to gamble on reliability until they have proven themselves for a few years. So I'll look at them next time.

As for the Q7 and the MB. On one level they exude quality and luxury. But there have been hidden issues. And I have never found the "functionality" of their interiors to be that good. I felt the same way again.

Finally the MDX. Actually a bit of a surprise to me. I had not been an MDX owner so I had no idea the 2014 was coming. I test drove one 3 year ago but the ride was too noise and to hard for me. But I drove by a dealership on my way back to the MB dealer and learned, from a customer, that I was looking at the 2014. So I said, "what the heck" and took it on a test drive. The Advance package. We went straight to a very curvy mountain road where I drove it in Sport mode with the transmission in S and using the paddles to shift gears. I drove it harder and faster than I ever would in real life. Then we took it to a corner near the BMW dealership. 3 years ago I took an X5 on a test drive there and the sales person had me take a 15MPH right turn at 45MPH. Wow. So I tried it with the MDX. Wow. I wouldn't claim it was as good as the "ultimate driving machine" but it handled the turn at a speed I would never do in real life.

So, surprisingly to me, I began to like the MDX and as the day and more driving went on I ended up buying it. But it is not perfect. Like Scotss2K I am disappointed in the quality and materials when it comes to a "luxury" feel. It feels like "wanna-be" luxury sometimes. Not everywhere but in some areas. Especially after having come from Lexus. Also, especially with the Advance package there is a LOT to learn about. I've had it about a week and am becoming much more comfortable with it. But it took more time and patience than many people will have.

Some concerns remain. I have thought about going and driving some of the other options again. But the more I think about it I would not want to give up the utility and functionality of the MDX for a more luxury feel. I am hoping that in the next three years we'll see a replacement for the Lexus G-series, an update to the Lexus L-series interior or a much improved reliability record for the LR/RR products. For now, the MDX is it for me though I will have to get over the "plasticy", imitation feel of the interior.

Dan
 

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I think you are all missing a vehicle to which you should give very serious consideration.

The GMC Acadia Denali. I hate the looks of the grill and the big GMC, but I have put a few miles on one of those and think it is great. I may soon need a third row with grandchildren and the Denali fits that bill. Of course as we all know the Acura third row is a joke.

The best part is the storage space behind the second row. That is virtually the size of a Tahoe/Yukon.

One big drawback is only a 3 year warranty. But it rides much nicer than my 2004 MDX.

George

George
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You are probably right, but......

George, I wouldn't even consider a GM or Chrysler product. I have always felt they put together a shoddy product compared to a Ford. So if I was buying American, it would be a Ford again. Two months ago, I was hoping the new updated Expedition would be on the move, however mums the word at this point, and it seems as though Lexus GX series is in the crosshairs for now. I'm waiting through September for the GX update to get here. Barring an announcement from Ford on the Expedition that would mean a significant change, I think we have made up our minds.

Randy B
 

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I am torn. I love the gas mileage the 2014 MDX promises but like others not crazy about the interior. IMO My 2007 MDX has a prettier interior as do all models up til this 2014 redesign. I know many complained of the shiny "zebra" wood dash of past but IMO that added to the eye catching interior design. Now it is a sea of plain plastic with a slit of wood as accent. The middle air vents are weird too. I test drove one today and felt distracted by the touch screen more so then the buttons on my 2007. The buttons never bothered me. I also drove the Audi Q7 and hands down it is a beautiful vehicle with the led lights and heavy grill. Very luxurious interior however the center console is shallow and not user friendly as well as only the one center cup holder. It guzzles gas compared to the new MDX. Then lastly I drove the Lexus rx350. It was very user friendly with it's toggle pad for nav and controls. The nav screen was responsive although seemingly smaller than the MDX's. The leather seat were most comfy but I felt overall the interior felt dated and needed a complete refresh. The exterior I do like since they have a new hour glass grill in the front replacing the trapezoid grill of the past so a slight facelift. Gas mileage is so so. If I could make my dream car I'd have the MDX engine inside the Audi. Nothing beats the exterior or interior of the Audi but nothing beats the MDX engine and MPG. I will wait til Fall to see if MDX refines anything like they did in the 2007 redesign mid year when changing the headrests and a few minor details. Sorry if this is rambling. Doing the best I can as a woman trying to share my experience comparing and I am definitely not car savvy but reading and garnering all info to make a good decison for my next car.. Finally I will probably end up buying another MDX. My 2007 tech/ent has served me well and has never been in the shop for anything other than routine maintenance. I hate to part with it.
 

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Lexus GX460: Down side was the rear door. What heck happened here! I looked at my wife who is Japanese, and asked her if relatives had not heard of pull handles! Really a sideways tail door, so the shorter less weighty people of the world would not have to pull down if their power tailgate failed? What a failure here in my mind.
Yup. And it's been like that a long time. We had an '04 GX470 and the biggest complaint was the stupid back door. That and the $4,000 transaxle it needed at 75k miles....just out of warranty with no help from Lexus. I've never liked Toyota and that didn't help.

Infiniti JX35AWD: I'll start by saying I understand how CVT's work and what they do. They are a mechanical wonder that makes sense. They are not to be thrown upon the mainstream likely though.
I liked the JX quite a bit. The performance was ho-hum and the CVT is pretty hard to get over. I have a feeling it's something you would get used to though. I put an employee in an Altima last year and he hated it at first but now says he actually really likes it. But he says if he takes a vacation and drives a "normal" car for awhile it still takes some getting used to when he hops back in the Altima. I've always been quite a fan of Nissan, but part of that was because they were little sleepers for the most part. Now they're cutting performance...so not sure I'll be giving them as much of an advantage in the future.

2014 Acura MDX Advance SH: We did not like the touch screen for basic functions. The angle of it is not pleasing, and the sub menu pages are a nuisance. The salesman kept stressing the voice control. The point for me being in the car is solace to and from work. I'm not looking for another conversation, let alone with my car. I can envision family drives up the east coast with everyone asleep and now I have to change something and use the voice control while they sleep. Not a good execution.
This. I really like the way the NAV and controls work on our '12 MDX. You can control the NAV while driving and don't have to yell at it. If I had to talk with it to control heat or radio or whatever.....I would likely become destructive. I'm more than capable of a button or two here and there. I do think Acura went a bit overboard with buttons on 2nd gen (reminds me a bit of 90's pontiac) but my wife has no problem finding everything since it's her daily driver. I bounce in/out of six or so vehicles regularly and usually have to hunt around a bit in the MDX. I still don't think it requires touch-screens and menus to get this right. One extreme to the other.

After all this we went back and drove the Sienna, GX460 and the JX35 AWD.
Randy B
Surprised you drove the Sienna again since you said it was DOA without vented seats. We had an '11 Ltd and again was thoroughly disgusted with Toyota and traded it after 18 months for the MDX. Those fancy "lazy-boy" 2nd row seats sure seem nice on the sales floor...but keep in mind they really wouldn't be safe to use while driving and are tagged as such. I wouldn't let our kids use them and when I (6'2") tried them out you had to push them clear back to where the 3rd row would be useless in order to use the foot-rest. It could be useful if you pulled over at a rest stop on a long trip...but otherwise I felt they were a gimmick. I swear I'll never buy another Toyota again (i've said that a couple times though....dammit)

I have a fleet of over 200 vehicles for my company (mainly trucks) and I don't automatically discount either GM or Ford. Certain models are better at certain things...but that being said I think the Expedition would have to be a tremendous redesign to compete with this group. The last expedition I bought was an '08 EL (it was a leftover and extremely cheap during the financial crisis). I can't think of anything good to say about it really. It might ride a little better when the air-suspension is working...but there's a note taped to the dash that says "if air-suspension warning comes on, ignore until next regular service". It fails that often.

Good luck regardless. The GX is certainly a luxurious vehicle if you're into that type of thing. I could never stand the top-heavy ride even when cranked to sport-mode. The 4Runner drives far more pleasant and has a normal hatch, but it not anywhere near as luxurious and no V8 anymore. For all the vehicles out there to pick from...it seems nobody really gets it exactly right.
 

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George, I wouldn't even consider a GM or Chrysler product. I have always felt they put together a shoddy product compared to a Ford. So if I was buying American, it would be a Ford again. Two months ago, I was hoping the new updated Expedition would be on the move, however mums the word at this point, and it seems as though Lexus GX series is in the crosshairs for now. I'm waiting through September for the GX update to get here. Barring an announcement from Ford on the Expedition that would mean a significant change, I think we have made up our minds.

Randy B
Seriously don't overlook the GMC Yukon. My father has one fully loaded and it has been rock solid for 125k. A coworkers wife has 150k on her second one and the first one they traded in at 225k. I drive my fathers 2x a year and I am always impressed with it.

My only drawback on the MDX is that I have been driving one for 11 years and am ready for a change. That said, it has been essentially 11 problem free years.
 

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Seriously don't overlook the GMC Yukon. My father has one fully loaded and it has been rock solid for 125k. A coworkers wife has 150k on her second one and the first one they traded in at 225k. I drive my fathers 2x a year and I am always impressed with it.
I'm in Tahoe/Suburbans all the time and they're terrific vehicles....but they're not luxury grade or anywhere near the level of a GX or even MDX in terms of interior quality. The one I use most of the time is a top of the line LTZ as well and it's still very plasticy/chintzy. he Yukon Denali would be a slight step better (and then an Escalade) but they still are not up to the fit/finish and feel of these other vehicles. I personally wouldn't have a problem with one though as I'm not overly picky about things like "button feel" or "switch operation" (things that GM/Ford are generally abysmal at pulling off). That being said until the Tahoe/Yukon get a fold-flat third row they're off my list for personal use. We go from needing cargo to 3rd row way too often to bother removing the seats. Been there, done that.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No go on a GM product for us.

I'd go back to a Ford before anything from GM.

Randy B
 

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2014 MDX vs. 2013 ML350

I apologize to the moderators if this post belongs in the comparison thread but that thread was closed for posting.
I was waiting for the new MDX. It is the perfect car spec wise. I always looked down on MB as being unkowledgeable about cars and buying them to keep up with the Jones's.
Two weeks ago I went down to look at the Acura and fully expected to order that day. Unfortunately, it did not feel right.
1. I am 6'4 and I could not get comfortable in the seat.
2. Perhaps because of my height the emergency brake seems in my way.
3. I have a difficult parking situation and auto folding mirrors would be a huge help
4. The dependence on the touch screen frightens me. I am not sure if all makers are going this way.
The reasons sound fickle but I am not sure I can get past them.


The price factor would normally be a big advantage for the Acura, but MB is offering huge incentives and the mdx is hovering around the MSRP.

The the things I like about the MB is the truly geat driver's seat (Lots of room for me) , the auto mirrors and the auto emergency brake. I am otherwise convinced the Acura is far superior to me in every other way.

My concerns about the MB are as follows:
Less room: have one 11 month old and plan on another
Less handling, less reliability, less resale value, and I would have less features since MB makes you pay for everything.
I see no prestige in owning a MB, and would much rather be associated with Acura owners.
My biggest concern is safety- I have always heard stories about MB's catching fire or stalling on the highway. I worry about the safety of all those Nanny electronics.
Even with all that, I CAN NOT GET PAST THE SEAT.
Does anyone have any experience with the latest generation of MB's.
I really wanted to like the Acura. I am afraid if I buy the MB I will be a sucker.
I am know leaning towards the ML350-the ML is probably like marrying the drop dead gorgeous shallow mean girl- it will be over in two years and she will leave you broke.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. On paper the MDX seems such a better decision. Any advice would be Appreciated with this tough decision. Thank you in advance.

One other observation about me is that I was originally a Honda owner and was brought up in a Honda family. I had these same concerns when I bought my last car a BMW 3 series and that ownership ended up being a great experience. Is this a similar situation or is buying a MB really going to the dark side.
 

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One other observation about me is that I was originally a Honda owner and was brought up in a Honda family. I had these same concerns when I bought my last car a BMW 3 series and that ownership ended up being a great experience. Is this a similar situation or is buying a MB really going to the dark side.
Depends on how long you plan to keep it and how much you drive. If you only plan to keep it a few years then I wouldn't sweat it. The free service and such makes it a pretty nice short-term vehicle (4 years I think?). I like the GL a lot really but we drive this vehicle 25k-30k a year so I just can't put an MB or BMW into that kind of service. Have you looked at the Lexus GX? Besides the goofy back door it's a more upright SUV and a lot of seat comfort for us taller guys.
 
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