Here's some more info on the competition.....
............yes, I'm one of those converts who initially was in the market for the MDX (fit me like a glove, except for it's WIDTH) and now will be buying the GX 470 when it comes out in Jan 2003.
I just got back to L.A. from my "one-day" trip to Detroit where I'd gone just to see the GX in person and I REALLY liked what I saw!!!. While I was there I had an interesting and informative conversation with a Lexus marketing person who gave me a good amount of info (There's of course detailed info on the GX now available at the Toyota/Lexus website - link posted below)
Here are some of the highlights of what this guy had to say and why I've decided to go with the GX
The GX is
aimed to compete with the MDX, the ML 320 and the X5 although not necessarily on a price-point basis, but more in the "size and type" classification. Price for the base GX he said will start at around 45K and a FULLY-LOADED-TO-THE-GILLS GX 470 stickering around 53K
It's length is almost identical to the MDX (188.9 inches) vs. 188.2 inches for the GX. Width is 2.4 inches narrower than it's bigger brother the LX and 3 inches narrower than the MDX - MAIN REASON FOR MY DECISION TO SWITCH
- this gives it plenty of room inside (in fact it's 8 passenger capable) without going overboard and hampering manuverability in tight situations such as driving on narrow twisty two-lane roads, narrow congested city streets and those "compact"
that are becoming all too common nowadays will not be a nightmare. and BTW the GX will weigh about 4600lbs - 200lbs heavier than the MDX and a whopping 800lbs lighter than it's lower powered (230bhp) bigger brother the LX 470
Here are some of the advantages the GX has over the MDX
There's a killer 11-speaker Mark-Levinson audio system available as an option
Very high quality leather - same as that used on the LS 430
Using extremely high-tech engineering they are able to achieve true off-road ability (low range, body-on-frame/live rear axle) with the TYPICAL Lexus-sedan-smooth ride
- Lexus claims that over the years and a lot of experience with the LX 470 they have managed to perfect this design to be as RIGID as a unibody construction!! - It has independent front suspension and a rear air-suspension with ADAPTIVE VARIABLE shocks at all 4 corners which can be set in several different levels from "maximum comfort" to "sport". Although the GX 470 will be somewhat lower than the LX it has slightly more ground clearance than the MDX - an interesting feature associated with this is ADAPTIVE HEIGHT CONTROL - the body can be raised or lowered 4 inches so that it exceptionally performs the 2 seemingly contradictory fuctions: be it crawling over rocks or refined, streamlined cruising at high speed on the freeway
The GX will have an optional factory installed DVD entertainment system available for rear passengers which neatly folds in when not in use ( I have a strong feeling the 2003 MDX might offer this to be competitive)
HIDs (xenon headlamps) will be available, as will VSC(vehicle skid control), SIDE CURTAIN AIRBAGS are standard-a very very very important safety feature!!!!, daytime running lights, Brake Assist with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
Interior is likely to be "TOMB-QUIET" as Car and Driver likes to say (LX 470 is currently one of the quietest vehicles
, let alone SUVs)
genuine 6,500lbs towing capacity!!!!
ADVANTAGES THE MDX (and predicted for 2003 MDX) will likely have over the GX
Better fuel economy from the V6 (I don't expect really good fuel efficiency from the V8 - probably much better than the LX, but less than the V6 MDX
The 2003 MDX will probably be around 260bhp and have a performance advantage over the GX at 235bhp (expected 0-60 times of around 8.5 seconds for the GX) - MDX will likely be in the mid to high sevens
I've heard rumors the 2003 MDX will have some sort of a rear parking assist using a TV monitor to display the rear area
Better "Navigation system" support from Acura (people are getting the runaround from Lexus about obtaining DVD updates- including my brother who owns a 2001 RX 300 w/Navi)
Better price point (good value) - provided this "MSRP" and "over MSRP" saga does not continue for too long as production volume as well as competition in the market increases
So from the above it can be seen that it basically boils down to really what one's needs are. Before the GX 470 came along the MDX most closely matched what I was looking for: Reliability, Quality, good performance, Fantastic Navigation system and a good level of luxury packaged in an at-least "moderately off-road" capable
machine - and even though the MDX's width was always an issue, I was willing to reluctantly
"live with" it, until the GX 470 came along, and at a whole 3-inches narrower, instantaneously sovled my problem - while giving me the options of some more goodies at the same time!
BTW here is the link to the toyota website giving compete detailed specs on the GX 470