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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading this forum for over a year now and have learned a great amount of info about the MDX as well as other SUV's, thanks to all of you. Excuse me for this long post, but this is my first and I'll keep any future ones short.

I've test driven about 15 models including the MDX. Some of them were the RX300, BMW X5, GMC Envoy, Toyota 4Runner, Rav4, Highlander, Sequoia, Chevy Tahoe, Nissan Pathfinder, Inifinti QX4, and a few others. I know many of these cannot be compared in the same class as the MDX. But I've narrowed my choices down to the MDX, the Nissan Pathfinder and/or cloned (Infiniti QX4). I test drove the Pathfinder 5 times and the MDX 3 times and I have to say that there are pros and cons with both based on what I'm looking for.
The MDX wins out with better quality materials, build, safety, size and ride quality. The Pathfinder wins out with price, quick availability, a little more rugged for off-road.
From a style standpoint I like both, the Pathfinder body appeals to me for its tapered lines, not as boxy as some SUVs. The MDX appeals to me as clean and elegant with more luxurious appearance. I could go on and on, but let me save that for future discussions. So how am I dazed and confused.... well after some debating about what to do, I went ahead and placed an order for the MDX Touring w/nav with a deposit of $1000 at Hopkins acura in Redwood City, (great dealer experience). They said the wait is about 6-8 months, I said OK that's fine with me. But the next day I found at a Nissan dealer, the exact Pathfinder I wanted right down to the color and accessory packages. The dealer had it on sale for $4000 below MSRP. So I had a thought come to me, buy it now and drive it for a few months and see if I still want the MDX, if so I can sell or trade the Nissan without much loss. So that's where I am right now, I've had the Pathfinder for about 6 weeks now and I'm starting to see the pros and cons with both SUV's much better. I'll summarize that the pathfinder is made with lower quality materials, a slightly less comfortable ride and more I can mentioned later. The only thing I wasn't comfortable with about the MDX was the driving seat position. I couldn't find a comfortable seat setting or where to rest my arms. I still don't know If I want to keep it or go with the MDX when it is ordered, but Hopkins just call me and said they had a cancelation and have the MDX I want ready to go. As I gave it some thought I decided to have them put me on the list for the 2003's and I'll keep waiting. Drive the Pathfinder a little while longer and see how it feels until I have to make my decision again when Hopkins calls me for the 03 MDX when available.

For those interested, I got the top of the line LE Pathfinder for $34600 out the door, the MDX will come in at $43400. Just wanted to share with all of you how confusing and frustrating it can be to find the right vehicle. I know all of you are happy with your MDX's and if I choose to go that way, I'm sure I'll be another one. One last thing, has anyone compared these two vehicles and foiund similar pros and cons?

Again, thanks to this great forum.
 

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Tough delemma

6-8 months seems a little long based on others commmenst on this forum; half that (3-4 months) seems more normal.

As for out the door price I assume you mean TT&L. I would not pay a penny above MSRP and would not accept a single forced option, especially for a 6+ month wait.

Perhaps your decision should be influenced by just how much off-roading you will do and where. The MDX is not really an off-road machine (very light trails only). Since you've been browsing here a while you know where the off-road threads are. Good luck.
 

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Pathfinder vs. MDX

Pathfinder is a nice vehicle but I didn't consider it because it's too small for my needs. Not enough room in the 2nd row for the family; don't know if it even has a 3rd row. Price is good on the Pathfinders though. My youngest bro has one - but he's single and has a dog he hauls around.

I would think you are going to get hit pretty good on the trade. Most Nissans I have seen can be purchased under dealer invoice - sometimes significantly under as Nissan has historically been aggressive with rebates. I helped a friend buy a Maxima SE with auto tranny (pretty well loaded) for less than $20k around 3 years ago.
 

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It's all up to you, If you need more space and 3rd row seating then MDX is for you, but if you are going to do a lot of off roading then keep the Pathfinder, plus they are very reliable and durable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dazed & Confused...

Even though the dealer says 6-8 months, I did get a call from them within 2 months, but went to the 03 list instead. It seems Beige/Saddle is very popular here in the bay area. Actually the Pathfinder was [email protected] - $4K = 30603 + TTL = 33515 out the door. The MDX will be about 43400 unless there is a price increase on the '03's which I would gladly pay. Hopkins is not charging over MSRP and no forced accessories either. Wonderful dealer experience I had with them, very easy to work with. I don't expect to do much off-roading so the MDX wouldn't be stressed in that area. The Pathfinder is better as off-road, but the seating in back is small and as i've said overall build quality is less than the MDX in material and workmanship. I will say that the Pathfinder handles very well and has a nice comfortable seating position, I find it hard to get comfortable in the MDX seat but could eventually.
 

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I was in the same boat...

crete,

Being a long-time Nissan fan and currently owning several Nissan products including an older ('89) Pathfinder SE, loaded 2001 Pathfinder LE model was our first choice SUV.

Like you, I researched and test drove most mid and full size SUVs on the market and the Pathfinder certainly offered a lot of "bang for the buck". 2001 Pathfinder was praised by the automotive press, and was selected by Edmunds as the winner of the comparison test among the 8 mid-sized SUVs. Then, I read reviews for the newly released Acura MDX.

While these two SUVs have similar equipment on paper, in real life, the MDX is a clear winner. After test driving the MDX there was no question in my mind that the MDX is a much better vehicle than the Pathfinder. Although the Pathfinder is a great SUV, I am glad I was able to convince my wife to wait for the MDX for 9+ months. It was definitely worth it.

The primary advantages that the MDX has over the Pathfinder are:

- better ride and handling
- more interior space
- more rear legroom
- more cargo space
- 7 passenger capacity
- beter crash test results
- better gas mileage
- better looks

While MSRP for a loaded Pathfinder LE and a similarly equiped base MDX were close ($35,242 vs. $34,850) I could have purchased 2001 Pathfinder LE for $5K below MSRP (that's couple hundred below dealer invoice). In my opinion, the extra cost of the MDX is well worth it, especially if you are planning on keeping either SUV for 6 to 10 years.

If you do decide to upgrade to an MDX, I am sure you will not be disappointed.
 

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Crete

If the Pathfinder is roomy enough for you I suggest keep it. If you are going to be the primary driver, you want have a comfortable drivers seat and you saved several thousand dollars.

Drive it for a year or so and wait for the 2003 or even 2004 MDX. The MDX has set a pattern for the other manufactures to compete with and they have already started with their 2003 lineup.

You can probaly buy a 2003/4 MDX off the lot under MSRP with a bigger engine and maybe side curtain airbags by 2004.

Tough Decision and Good Luck.
 

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do you make all your decisions that complicated and long? to test all those suvs and some of them numerous times - that would take a lot of effort; i'm surprised that after all that you did not go and get a sedan or a coupe or a minivan or a pickup truck or a crew cab or a harley davidson...

the longer you think and compare, the tougher it gets.

if you like nissan, keep it - it's a good vehicle, also i think QX4 would get a better resale as a luxury (and they cost (4x4 LE) the same - i did my research last year)

if you like acura, trade the nissan, get acura. both are good vehicles with different strengths in their utilities
 

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don't count on it!

papawoolf said:
...
You can probaly buy a 2003/4 MDX off the lot under MSRP with a bigger engine and maybe side curtain airbags by 2004. ...
Have you seen dealers selling Odys "off the lot & under MSRP"... edmund's TMV pegs the Ody AT OR ABOVE MSRP!! It has been out how long?
 

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Now I'm Dazed & Confused

Crete ...

Are you rich and, if so, do you want to adopt me? Kidding aside, I don't see how you can purchase a new vehicle with the "plan" of only owning it 1 year!

FIRST: Tax/license/etc. is approximately 10% in CA [I calculate $2,912 using your figures]. Soooo, that is $3,000 gone the second you buy the vehicle [not depreciation, just simply gone!]. This can not be recouped in a sale because the buyer has to pay this all over again!!

SECOND: You got a good price on the Pathfinder but so does everyone else. Thus, the "starting price for depreciation" is what you paid [$30,600], not the list price [$34,600]. Remember, if you go to trade it in, the dealer will be selling a used SUV [even if it only has 500 miles]. If the dealer is selling new ones at $30,600, he can't sell a used one at the same price!! Let's assume that he can sell if for $28,600. Do you think he is going to not make a profit [got a bridge if you say yes]. So add another $1,500 for "recon and profit" [probably will be more]. And the trade-in is worth a max of $27,100.

Soooo, I calculate that the vehicle that you paid $33,515 for is worth a max of $27,100 1 week after purchase with a total of 500 miles on it. That is a cost of $6,415 [and I believe that this is the best case!!]. Also, the above assumes no cost of money!! If you purchased it outright or financed it, either way there is more money lost [intererest forgone or interest paid].

Now don't feel bad about the amount, similar is true for virtually all vehicles. I highly recommend that:

1. You enjoy the Pathfinder [hell, learn to like it even if you don't].

2. Next time you want to drive a vehicle for a very short period, lease the dang thing, don't buy it.

Happy motoring :(
 

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logistics?

originaly, i did not want to share it with the forum, but... i have a friend that in 2 years changed 4(!) cars!!!

the story began when 2 years ago he decided to sale his 1989 legend (in good working condition) - good move, nice car, could sale for over 3Gs easy...

he went to a mazda dealer, got a 36-month lease on a 4-cyl Millenia (not S) and traded in legend. mazda - nice vehicle, good package, little ponnies.

6 months later he broke out of the lease (returned it), and leased 2001 acura TL. good vehicle, nice package, great performance. 8 monhs later he got into a serious accident - i saw the car, he hit the pole straight in the front, yet the engine comparment was unscratched (great design, Acura engineers). the vehicle was restored and naturally did not drive 'the same'.

he returned it and... traded for MDX (did not want to wait, paid the 'premium' at Springfield Acua - same dealer he bought TL from. He also said they sold his 8-mo. TL to some sucker for 2K less the sticker price(!) DO STAY AWAY IF YOU IN THE AREA)

just 2 weeks ago, he traded (!) his MDX... for a Mercedes C320 Station Wagon.

i shell say no more.
 

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crete..I think everyone suggested what to do, but only one person mentioned about the seat! From experience w/ acura driver seats, when I had my '00 TL, I hated the seat! I keep trying & trying to adjust it, not much help. After about 3-4 months, suddenly the seat started to get more comfy. Now that I have an MDX, it seemed uncomfy again. There is more room in the front, which helps, but the seat still seemed wrong. Well, we took a long trip, have driven it almost 3k miles, keep adjusting the seat many ways, and Viola... it's starting to get comfy already. I think it just takes time to "break in" the seats. Hope this helps. Good luck w/ choice;)
 

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some good recommendations.

srpbep- are u an accountant? Excellent analysis!

Crete- enjoy your pathfinder. u lost most of your investment on the pathfinder as soon as u took it off the lot. you won't lose much more in the next yr. wait till the MDX is more refined, and comes with more safety features(2004), then testdrive and see if you like it. then, consider trading in for it. that was my left brain talking. My right brain says-go trade in that pathfinder for the best suv in the world!!!

u only live once.:) :) :D
 

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Bottom line - it is your decision

crete,

As I have mentioned in the post above, Pathfinder is a great SUV. If it meets your interior/cargo space requirements, then there is no logical reason to upgrade to an MDX and take a significant financial hit in the process. If, however, Pathfinder is too small to meet your needs, and if you are willing and able to accept the financial consequences, then the MDX is the way to go.

Either way, only you can make that decision. Good luck.
 

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The wait is no longer 6-8 months. I just purchased a MB in the Bay area, and it took one week. I test drove at Hopkins and they were my first choice, but they tolk me that it would take until August (4 month wait). I subsequently found one for delivery in one week in Sacramento. During the week, Hopkins called and told me that they had a MB with touring and Nav available for immediate delivery. Too late, I had already signed a contract with the other dealer.
 

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MDXLuvr,

Nope, not an accountant. Ex computer geek turned manager. So, guess it was simply some basic logic and experience [at my age, have owned a number of vehicles]. Acutually, not that complicated:

Registration/sales tax is expensive in CA [nothing to show for it, at least in the old days, you could write-off sales tax].

Additionally, as you pointed out, as soon as you leave the dealer's lot, you take a big hit [because now you are competing with dealers should you elect to sell]. One of the few exceptions to this "rule" appears to be the MDX [at least for now]. The limited supply has worked to keep resale prices high [I have been amazed by what some have gotten for used X's !!].
 

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Pathfinder vs MDX

I bought my wife a 02 Pathfinder in Dec. (when I ordered my X).
There are neat features on the Pathfinder the MDX does not offer yet. You took a big hit with depreciation already. You should keep the Pathfinder and wait for the 2004 MDX. You have a good vehicle just as fast (240 Hp 245 ft/lb torque). There will be a lot of improvements by 2004, and a lot of, dare I say other hybrid SUV's. The Volvo XC 90 coming out in the fall of '02 looks interesting and don't forget the Honda Pilot this summer. Sit back relax and enjoy your Pathfinder.
:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Less dazed but still confused

Thanks to all of you for your comments and advice about my post. I knew from the start that there would be a great loss in depreciation on the pathfinder if I decided to get the MDX '03. I was OK with that. The only reason I took the pathfinder now was the $4K off MSRP. Otherwise I would've waited for the MDX to arrive. The way things are in the world today I realize that when you want something that you really will love and care about, money should be considered but not the final reason for your decision. Although I paid cash for the pathfinder, I'm not rich. If I get the MDX I'll pay the difference with my home equity creditline rather than auto financing. I figure if I'm paying $44K for a vehicle that I want to keep for many years I want to be as sure as possible this is the one I want. If I waited for the MDX without getting the pathfinder, I would never know if the Pathfinder was a better fit for me. I don't want to turn this into a pathfinder vs MDX comparison, unless the moderator wants to move this to that thread, but I know all the pros and cons of each vehicle. As some of you have mentioned, safety, more room, gas mileage, etc, are pros for the MDX. Thanks for your comments about the seat, if I go with the MDX, I hope I can adjust to a comfort level within time as well. But by riding the pathfinder now for a few months until the MDX arrvies, I hope I can discover which vehicle's pros and cons will win out. So far the cons of the pathfinder are ahead, which is leading me to get the '03 MDX.

Some of you have said I should keep the pathfinder until the '04 MDX comes out, maybe so, but that's a long ways away and we still don't have much info about what is going in the '03 MDX, other than maybe a 3.8L engine. Anyway, maybe I'm a unique fool for getting the pathfinder now, but if the MDX is my final choice and I'm happy with it, it was all meant to be.

BTW, I had an 1988 Acura legend for 14 years and it is the best car I've ever owned. I gave it to my sister for now.
 

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Crete:

You should try to shop like me: Read the MDX review, loved it, test drove the car once, put down $500 deposit on the same day, walked out and waited 9.5 months. Now happily driving the MDX. I never test drove another SUV because I knew all their pros and cons already and had a mental matrix of their scores. Who says women can't shop fast?

Keep the Pathfinder for a few years then trade it in for the MDX if you like. Enjoy what you got, Pathfinder is a fine car too.
 

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Women Shoppers

Sounds like a woman shopper - calling 9 1/5 months FAST;)
 
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