My dad is buying an SUV soon. He has narrowed his choices to MDX and Highlander. He leaning more towards the Highlander. But I want him to get the MDX. I would like some things that would convice my dad to get the MDX over the Highlander.
I was in almost the same situation, but not for a long time ;-)
I quickly realized that as long as I put into the HL all the options I want(fog lights, roof rack, sun-roof etc.), the price becomes quiet the same. Even when I negotiated almost $3K it was still pretty close to Premium without Navi at sticker. At least in my case I couldn't get $5K difference that I wanted to get at least. Then when I got a final price I compared what I'm gonna get and at that point it was clear to me that only one good reason to get a HL was - much faster delivery. Okay, second one was - it's built at the same factory in Japan where RX is built so quality has to be very good.
In term of features - no comparison for such a small difference in $$:
1. less powerful engine(I even did not consider 4 cyl - 2WD version, since to me this is a BS);
2. no 2 zone A/C
3. no 3rd row seats.
4. less cargo space.
5. less comfortable seats
6. no Navi(was) available.
7. better warranty for MDX + TLC
It doesn't mean everybody has to agree with me, but to me it was enough.
I was in a similar situation and would agree with most of the points made by dfroim. Also, it was tough to get an HL with the options I wanted (VSC, Priv. glass, sunroof) without getting the limited package (which I didn't want). While there was a substantial price diff. (about $3-4K) I felt the HL was somewhat "vanilla" and not fun to drive. I know the MDX is no sports car but I just felt the the options and the driving experience justified the extra cost.
I drove both the Highlander and the MDX several times before deciding on the MDX. If you are looking at similarly equipped vehicles, there isn't all that much difference in price. The MDX seats are far more comfortable than the Highlander. There's more leg room for the driver in the MDX. The MDX has a more powerful engine and feels more stable when driving. The Highlander feels like a minivan on the road, inadequate power, mushy steering. Talk him into the MDX.
Some selling points for your dad:
1. Tell you dad that "women" dig the X more than the Highlander...
2. The prestige of owning a vehicle that takes premium gas...
3. You'll wash it for him every week...
4. If that doesn't work, offer to pay the difference in price...
But seriously, my neighbor works for Toyota and just purchased a Highlander for his mother and we've been talking which has led me to read several reviews. I must say that highlander is a not a shabby vehicle;in fact, it is a leader in it's class/level... but then again, it does not fall into the luxury suv category which the MDX does.
By the way, what's the reason for him getting the SUV? Practical purposes such as cargo? The third row seats that easily transforms to cargo space was a big feature for most people...
i have the mdx and my wife has a highlander. We love the MDX. We use it more than the HL. Reason?: Navigation and luxory. Her HL is the limited(all goodies included) And mine touring/Nav. Our price difference is 7 grand. To be honest, I envy some of HL features like VSC And traction control, DRL, better radio,front seat that can fold all the way back and you can seat in the 2nd row and have an instant lazyboy chair!,full size spare,les wind noise, intermittent rear wiper, power lumbar,. BUT THEn I have the navi, luxory image, 3rd row seat, bigger overall, handles better. SO my choice is still the MDX. Your dad will break-in that MDX faster than Jeff Gordon driving in Indiana 500.