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Discussion Starter #1
My lease is up in September so I have been looking at options. The plan is to buy our present 2014 MDX (it has been a great X so far), or to lease a 2017 Tech. But I wanted to make sure there is nothing out there we rather drive within our price point ($50K).
So we test drove the Volvo XC90 Momentum Plus. Did not like it much, see below and keep in mind we have been driving MDX’s since 2000, and this is our 4th MDX. We’re staying with Acura by the way.

XC90 likes:
• Nice interior, but nothing to brag about until you upgrade to the Inscription for $10K more (about $63 depending on options)
• Nice exterior - IMO
• Vehicle takes pictures of road signs (speed signs, etc.) automatically and displays them in the dash – how often have you asked your spouse “What’s the speed limit here”?

XC90 dislikes:
• 4 cylinder engine, even with supercharger and turbo it felt weak – the MDX engine feels stronger
• Must use Premium gas - I never have used premium in my MDXs
• Engine auto stop/ start was rough and abrupt – this is also coming to the MDX
• Remote engine system requires a cellphone and a $7 a month cost
• You have to step up to North of $63K to get the really nice interior
• Resale value – we have always been surprised of how well we do in resales, and trade ins with the MDX
• The steering wheel adjustments are manual, no power
 

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What's the MSRP of the one you test drove? I assume it's $50k++ and no power steering adjustments?

Both are nice SUV. I have 2014 MDX tech. Depends on how much you want to spend on a car. Acura still gives you the most bang for the buck in the premium segment.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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I have a 2014 Tech shawd MDX. It only has around 27K miles on it and still drives/looks/feels like a new vehicle. There's no way I'd trade it in or sell it to buy any new vehicle since this one serves my purposes fine and has no reliability issues. Swapping vehicles every 2-3-4 years, whether buying or leasing, is about the most expensive way to have a vehicle because they're on the steepest part of the depreciation curve. I'm always surprised at how much money people will throw away on vehicles in an effort to have one no older than a couple of years - sometimes in pursuit of some fairly insignificant new feature or perceived 'upgrade' - like getting somewhat higher grade leather than the leather they already have, or some new infotainment feature.

You know what I'd do in your position - probably buy the 2014 and keep it for another few years or more.
 

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My lease is up in September so I have been looking at options. The plan is to buy our present 2014 MDX (it has been a great X so far), or to lease a 2017 Tech. But I wanted to make sure there is nothing out there we rather drive within our price point ($50K).
So we test drove the Volvo XC90 Momentum Plus. Did not like it much, see below and keep in mind we have been driving MDX’s since 2000, and this is our 4th MDX. We’re staying with Acura by the way.

XC90 likes:
• Nice interior, but nothing to brag about until you upgrade to the Inscription for $10K more (about $63 depending on options)
• Nice exterior - IMO
• Vehicle takes pictures of road signs (speed signs, etc.) automatically and displays them in the dash – how often have you asked your spouse “What’s the speed limit here”?

XC90 dislikes:
• 4 cylinder engine, even with supercharger and turbo it felt weak – the MDX engine feels stronger
• Must use Premium gas - I never have used premium in my MDXs
• Engine auto stop/ start was rough and abrupt – this is also coming to the MDX
• Remote engine system requires a cellphone and a $7 a month cost
• You have to step up to North of $63K to get the really nice interior
• Resale value – we have always been surprised of how well we do in resales, and trade ins with the MDX
• The steering wheel adjustments are manual, no power
To each his own but there are a couple of quibbles I have with your comparison. Keep in mind I am a former '14 MDX owner and am waiting to take delivery of an XC90.

* IMO, the standard Momentum interior is still leaps ahead of the current MDX in design and materials. This may change with the upcoming refresh from Acura. You are right about the Inscription trim being brag-worthy. It's not a $10K premium though, it costs $5600. (retail). Either trim comes with the iPad-like Sensus display which, quite frankly, blows the MDX screens out of the water with regard to resolution and functionality.

* '14 MDX has 290 hp, 267 lbs torque. '16 XC90 has 316 hp, 295 lbs torque. The Volvo weighs a bit more but not that much, 60-120 lbs overall so not sure why you thought the XC90 felt weak. I thought it felt quicker.

* I always used a quality premium detergent top tier gas in my MDX. With a DI engine you are asking for trouble down the line if you don't. Supertech recommended Chevron with Techron if I recall correctly. Now if you are leasing and will dump a car after 3 years it won't be your problem but if you like to keep a car for the long term you really should use TT gas.

* I don't like auto stop/start either but there is a setting you can engage to disable this. Trouble is, you have to do it every time you start the car.

* Yes, remote start requires a subscription but you get a lot more than just that feature. Given my druthers, I'd rather it be free too.

* No, you don't have to step up north of 63K for the nice interior. I've got every additional tech and safety feature package sans the fancy B&W sound system and am under that figure. Inscription level too.

* I couldn't agree more about Acura resale values. Depreciation is very low on the MDX. It's really amazing. I'm certain the Volvo will pale by comparison. This won't matter to me as I keep cars a long time. Only reason I'm not still driving my MDX is because it got totaled.

* Manual steering wheel is weird and unexpected at this level. At the same time, Acura had to replace my entire steering column for a minor issue with a motor or gear groan. I said to the SA, why not just lube the part? He said you can't since this is a sealed unit. What happens if that starts once you are out of warranty? SA said it would be extremely expensive.
 

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I just pulled the trigger on the MDX after waffling between the MDX and XC90. At the end of the day I struggled buying a fully redesigned car in its first year of production. Also, if you browse the Volvo forums there seems to be a litany of issues with the new model. The other factor was the superiority of the SH-AWD system compared to the Volvo AWD system.
 

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A few points from a '16 Advance MDX owner who ditched it and got a '16 XC90 R-Design:

- Auto start/stop on XC90 is smoother, faster and better overall than the '16 MDX Advance's was. Granted, only Advance in 2016 had auto-start stop, the XC90's is better. Even on BMW, these systems are detectable and many people hate them, but the Volvo's is faster and smoother. That said, I like that the MDX allows more variability of throttle manipulation to control it and moving the steering wheel turns the engine on which doesn't happen on the Volvo. Ultimately, I like auto start/stop, I think it saves efficiency, and I thought the Acura's was rough and slow, the Volvo is very fast, so I prefer it.

- Volvo I4 is rougher off the line and has ever-so-slight diesel like chatter which goes away outside of first gear, but the MDX V6 feels more refined and quieter in that off the line moment. At mid-range and high-RPM, I find the Volvo engine smoother and quieter.

- XC90 feels faster, it has more torque on tap at the low and mid-range. The MDX shines in higher revs where refinement is lost. I felt when gunning it, the MDX was very loud and had a lot of NVH, it's less so on the XC90. Overall I find the XC90 power more usable and it's quicker in short bursts. Also, the 8spd downshifts with more authority and more willingly than the MDX 9spd. Since you have a '14 with the 6spd, you may not feel this, but going to the 9spd will result in more delay getting into the right gear, the XC90 8spd is superior all around.

- I believe the Inscription has power steering wheel, so it is available

- Both cars perform best on Premium gas. In terms of outright MPG, the XC90 does better in stop and go while the XC90 may be ~1mpg better on the highway. I only run Premium in both, and I'd recommend the same. Honda engines are generally higher compression and the MDX is tuned/optimized for premium if I recall correctly. It's much the same story with Volvo. All cars can run on 87, they will retard timing accordingly which reduces performance and efficiency.

- Interior and Infotainment is not even comparable, cars are in completely different classes in this regard, obviously going to the Volvo. Individual customization of every feature is very strong with the XC90, you can change the interior lights to 10 different colors, you can customize so many settings. Also, Volvo gives free updates to software regularly, in May 2016 they just updated the Speed Limit display which you pointed out. Now it shows the current speed limit in the foreground and behind it the upcoming speed limit it's detected. Before it just showed the speed limit you were in and changed only once you passed the sign, now it stacks the speed limits which is very cool and shows Volvo is constantly improving the infotainment stack to the benefit of owners, much like an iPhone or Android improving over time for existing users. That's worth a lot to me personally...

The AWD systems are similar in that they're FWD biased and both have torque vectoring, but SH-AWD is the sportier of the two. Also, the MDX has slightly sportier handling tuning, but if you get the air suspension on the Volvo, in Dynamic mode, I tihnk it overtakes the sportiness of the MDX. Being able to raise/lower the car extremely quickly and signifncantly is nice. Of course, and don't get me started, the dampening of the MDX's rear suspension is functionally broken, so overall ride and ride quality is vastly superior on the Volvo.

Other notes:
- XC90 has more absolute interior space in all rows and overall cargo loading volume, but MDX has more storage capacity in the center console. So if space/size particularly total cargo volume and third row comfort are of value, the XC90 shines there.
 

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Good post, but electronic steering wheel is not an option or available for inscription models. That is one feature that I give the Acura over the XC90, but there are not many more. I agree with the rest of your post. Also, on the Acura you have to push the button to close the trunk then wait for it to close before locking it with either the key fob or the button on the trunk. On the Volvo, you can push a button to close it and automatically lock it when it closes. You can also open the trunk by just waving your foot under it. Very convenient.
 

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On the Volvo, you don't "wave" your foot, it rarely works if you do that. There's a defined kicking motion that needs to be executed, it's a front back motion, no side to side waving. Regardless, it's a convenient feature, and as you said, the secondary close and lock button on the trunk is excellent.

I don't like though that I can't pre-lock the doors if a passenger door is still open with the touch lock button. My Audi's allowed me to lock the doors even if a passenger was still unloading by pressing the door proximity button. I thought I recall the Acura doing the same thing, but with the Volvo, you need to wait for all four doors to be closed before the touch proximity works (or at least confirms it works).

Bummer on the steering wheel, for me I never adjust mine, so it's no big deal. Ironically, my Cadillac has a power adjustable wheel and I always scratched my head considering that on THAT car, I'd rather save the weight. Cars are so complicated now with all the crazy little features that operate differently (how a car lock, what features it has), you'll almost never find something perfect, so it's a game of compromises. Ultimately, the Volvo just rides/drives better with better overall utility and infotainment, so that's why it wins, but as stated in my post, the MDX does a few things better, but the sum of all parts in my opinion are WAY in favor of the XC90.
 

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The only downside of the XC90 is its engine.XC 90 is a much better vehicle overall.The issues with XC90 are being actively worked on by Volvo unlike Acura.
In my case neither of them deserve my money.But if I were forced to pick an option,I would lease the volvo.I would neither lease nor buy the MDX.Again my needs and expectations are different from others.It also depends upon what you have driven in the past.Acura's quality and refinement has gone down the drain while Volvo has improved a lot.I have driven both and agree with the opinion of others regarding the XC 90,the only thing I would add is that the doors of XC0 felt hollow and flimsy unlike the German counterparts.

Good luck,this is a competitive segment with many manufacturers ,yet there is no perfect vehicle.I would prioritize your needs and try to get a vehicle that scores the best.
 

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Also, if you browse the Volvo forums there seems to be a litany of issues with the new model. The other factor was the superiority of the SH-AWD system compared to the Volvo AWD system.

Yes, people come on here and rant about their MDX issues and then others use this forum as reference for how poor the build quality is. But go to swedespeed and you'll see the same type of stuff (worse in the leaking pano roof cases). Its the nature of forums in general, not a knock on the MDX or XC90.

I own a 2008 XC90 that I love and looked hard at the new XC90 before pulling the trigger on the MDX. Long term cost of ownership forecasts on the new XC90 are crazy $$$. Add that to higher upfront price (if you're getting air suspension, inscription, etc you're looking at $65K and up) and you're not really in a comparable price range as the MDX.

I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either. I feel confident I made the best choice for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The steering power I was referring to is the in out and up down adjustment of the steering wheel. It has no power option in any model and has to be done manually. No big deal though. Both vehicles are great, and as mentioned the front screen infotainment system is awesome on the Volvo.
 

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MDX info system will make my decision

I have owned 2002 and 2007 MDX and now drive a 2014 MDX with tech package. I put over 200,000 miles on the first two and have 100,000 miles on the 2014. I have heard that Acura quality has slipped, my brother has had lots of issues with his 2016 TL, but that hasn't been my experience, mine have been very, very reliable. The gripe I have and the reason I plan on looking at the Volvo next year is the MDX info system. If anything, I think the voice recognition has gotten worse with the 2014 vs the 2007. The navigation is aweful to use, the voice commands don't work and even the passenger can't use the system when the vehicle is moving. I actually bring a portable garmin with me on trips, far better and usable IMO. I stunned that no one has brought up the horrible voice recognition and info system, you have to input multiple keys for everything. I liked the 07 with all the buttons much better. Worst of all is tuning the radio. There is no tuning knob, you have to keep hitting an arrow repetitively to tune stations not programmed. I believe the MDX is a great value, but I am buying something else unless the info system is improved in 2018. By the way, I have heard the Volvo info system is one of the best. 7 years and no improvement with the voice recognition and then requiring you to need to use it was a big mistake. The dealer tells me everyone complains about it. Wake up Honda, morwe features that don't work aren't features, they're negatives.
 

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The steering power I was referring to is the in out and up down adjustment of the steering wheel. It has no power option in any model and has to be done manually. No big deal though. Both vehicles are great, and as mentioned the front screen infotainment system is awesome on the Volvo.
yea..it's what car manufacturers call Telescopic Steering wheel
 

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I also cross shopped the MDX and XC90. I really like the interior of the XC90 in any of their trims. I've had both a 2008 and 2012 MDX that were flawless. I have read the complaints on both vehicles and I even looked around at other SUVs and read complaints. What I've seen is that somewhere around 2014 all cars started to receive more complaints than what I was use to seeing back in earlier car reviews. I think part of it is that the internet is becoming more standard to everyone and then also that the electronics being used in cars is advancing quicker and much like our handheld devices manufacturers are now more interested in trying to outdo each other than trying to perfect things. Being that I have owned six different Acura's I really wanted to try something different so I cross shopped the X5 and XC90, instantly realizing I didn't want to go as small as the X5, that left me with the XC90 and even after multiple times visiting multiple dealerships I just couldn't get past some of the issues that can be found on the Swedespeed site. Also, I read the previous response about the voice commands and have to say that when the salesman at Acura did the voice commands everything worked, but two different Volvo dealers with two different sales reps I had them both give up on showing them off when they didn't do the correct thing multiple times. Now, that being said, my new MDX is not listening to me as well as it did the salesman... who must have been trained better at saying things in a way the car best understands them. Acura's infotainment system, with that second touch screen, really could use some work and I already thought of some ways I'd change it up right away to make it more convenient. I do like the Volvo screen that really does work like a tablet, but I could see ways to just improve what Acura has done to make it easier to use. As for the AWD, the Acura's does feel so much better, I can feel back wheels kick in on turns and what not that was clearly missing from the Volvo and makes the Acura feel as though it handles better when accelerating in a turn.

I continue to follow the XC90 forums as I would like to one day own one, but I'm just not sure it's quite ready. I was surprised how little Acura is showing off their semi-autonomous features because their lane keeping actually seems better than what I was shown at Volvo, it appears to do a better job in the curves as well as keeping the car very much centered in its lane. The Volvo did keep it in the lane, but didn't seem to center it as well and sometimes felt like a pinball.

Give the XC90 a few more years and it might be enough to finally sway me... for now, my MDX Advance is my car of choice.
 
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