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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I am close to buying an SUV with a third row, and have narrowed my options down to the Lexus GX470, Volvo XC90, and the MDX. Please tell me how useable you find the third row to be. Can adults use it? How easy is entry/exit? Does it truly "disappear" when not using? Please sell me on the MDX!! Also, any enthusiasts with pics of their MDX tripped out with nice rims/wheels in the 18"-20" range? Are dealers dealing? How is the stereo? Please advise. Thanks in advance for the info. I currently drive an RX 300 and love it, but need third row becuase of another child on the way.
 

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I've never sat in the GX470, but I can tell you that there's more room in the MDX 3rd row than the XC90. No way I'd put adults in the back of the XC90! There's plenty of info comparing the GX470 and the XC90 in the Comparisons forum.

I'm waiting on delivery of my MDX, but my wife and I extensively compared it to the XC90. Needless to say, you can tell what our decision was! :2:
 

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I'll confess to never having actually used the 3rd row - but that's one of the things that influenced my decision to get the MDX. The 3rd row truly folds flat. You honestly can't even tell its there. Not true for the competition (although I've not looked at the new Lexus).
 

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Third Row---I used the third row for the first time twice over the holidays. One time we loaded up 6 adults to pick up the 7th at the airport. We thought we may have to hold a bag on someone's lap. To our surprise there was even room behind the third row for a few bags. The two (smaller ones of our group, 5'2", 5'4") in the third row on the trip back said they were comfortable. Even the third row seats has shoulder belts and headrests. I would not advise having larger adults in the back row for a long trip. Seat does truly disappear and is very easy to take down or put up.

Dealers Dealing? They are starting to come off MSRP but not by much. At one time even forced overpriced options were common but even that is not happening very often now. Recent Kelly Blue Book predictions (MDX in top 10) make paying close to MSRP not that painful.

Stereo---Many on this site have upgraded the OEM speakers although I think it sounds great the way it is. You should take your favorite CD with you to the dealers and try out the sound system in all the vehicles you are interested in.

18-20" Rims---Do a search in the gallery (dubs) and you will find pictures of aftermarket rims.
 

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considerMDX said:
Hi all, I am close to buying an SUV with a third row, and have narrowed my options down to the Lexus GX470, Volvo XC90, and the MDX. Please tell me how useable you find the third row to be. Can adults use it? How easy is entry/exit? Does it truly "disappear" when not using? Please sell me on the MDX!! Also, any enthusiasts with pics of their MDX tripped out with nice rims/wheels in the 18"-20" range? Are dealers dealing? How is the stereo? Please advise. Thanks in advance for the info. I currently drive an RX 300 and love it, but need third row becuase of another child on the way.
I've found the third row to be very useful, even though I've used it only 4 or 5 times so far. Average size adults should have no problem entering and sitting in the third row.

Feel free to use the search function for wheel pics, stereo, and other topics...
 

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The third row won't fit large adults but it will fit your kids
 

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laborlitigator said:
The third row won't fit large adults but it will fit your kids
I'm large 6' 2" 220 lbs (20 lbs overweight thanks to McDonalds, started eating there in the 50's when it was only on E Street in San Bernardino) and fit into the third row. But don't make me sit there for a long trip...
 

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no comparison!

what i mean by "no comparison" is that even though all three of these vehicles are suvs, they are so different/fill a particular niche, that the 3rd row comparison is really a very minor issue.

to get it out of the way, in order of size/practicality of the 3rdrow:

MDX then volvo then GX

the cost difference is a big issue for most people, but if they are all within reach then consider the following summaries:

ratings 1-10 with 10 being best, and are relative to the other two suvs but are not absolute...

on-road performance-MDX 10, xc90 8, gx470 8
off-road performance-gx470 10, xc90 8, MDX 8
engine and drivetrain-MDX 10, gx470 10, xc90 8
amenities/luxury/fit and finish-gx470 10, xc90 9, MDX 8
handling- MDX 10, xc 90 8, gx470 8
safety-xc90 10, gx470 9, MDX 8
fun to drive-MDX 10, gx470 8, xc90 8
value new- MDX 10, xc90 8.5, gx 470 8
reliability-gx470 10, MDX 9, xc90 7.5
resale value- MDX 10, gx470 9, xc90 8.5
dealership experience- gx470 10, MDX and xc90 variable depending on specific dealership

specific pluses for each suv...

MDX- ideal size for most families, not too big. arguably the best navigation system available. minimal-brainer 4wd system. most car-like.

gx470- best luxury. real off-road capability.

xc90- best safety, most handsome IMHO.

specific negatives...

MDX- luxury details should be better, i.e. real wood, heated steering wheel, 3rd row leather.

gx470- it's very tall, 3rd row an afterthought/ less practical. most owners are paying for true off-road capability that they will never use. expensive. design of rear door and lights contrast with the rest of the suv.

xc90-mediocre acceleration/engine/drivetrain. surprisingly feels smaller/tighter than MDX. reliability an issue.

if all three of these suvs are on your list, you really can't go wrong with any of them.

overall,my choice is the MDX.

good luck,

chris

:7: celebrate life!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Guys, this is such helpful information. A few more questions based upon your comments. First, is the fake wood required, or does Acura offer a chrome-type of insert option. Also, how is it to manuver one's self back to the third row? Also, you have mentioned the big deal of the third row in the Volvo being leather - what is it in the MDX? Leatherette? Finally, would you highly recommend the DVD navigation system? Do u use it often? Do other controls, like audio or HVAC incorporate into the screen? Just wondering if u feel the nav is a wise option. Please keep the comments coming. I very much appreciate it.
 

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No comparison?!

Chris, you did an awesome job of comparing the incomparable. Although we didn't consider waiting for the GX470 - cost/value being among the main reasons - we looked extensivelyyyyyy at the XC90.

Chris's comparisons are dead on, so it really does get down to what you need/want/value/etc. Whatever you do, when you are comparing one to another, try to go from one dealership straight to the other - or, if an auto show is nearby, do a side-by-side there.

The ultimate factors for us were: 1) value: comparably equipped X is $5,000 less than XC90; 2) reliability: established for X; unknown, especially for 1st year, for XC90; 3) sense of spaciousness - VERY noticeably better in the X, with much better direct visibility through windows; 4) MOST IMPORTANT: WE JUST LIKED THE X!

Steve

P.S. We have two young children, and use the 3rd seats - for kids - all the time.
 

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First, is the fake wood required, or does Acura offer a chrome-type of insert option.

Required, limited insert options. Other or more fake wood easily available, others not so. I was very put off by the fake wood initially, but found 1) even REAL wood looks fake (in other cars, available as inserts, etc.); 2) it grows on you - I even (dare I admit it?!) went for the (fake) wood steering wheel, after dissing the fake wood and related items (such as the steering wheel?!). AND the burlwood shift knob. And I'm glad I did - love'em!

Also, how is it to manuver one's self back to the third row?

Very easy for kids, not hard for adults. I have horrible back problems, and I've been back (no pun intended!) many times.

Also, you have mentioned the big deal of the third row in the Volvo being leather - what is it in the MDX? Leatherette?

Some sort of fake leather - who cares?!

Finally, would you highly recommend the DVD navigation system? Do u use it often? Do other controls, like audio or HVAC incorporate into the screen? Just wondering if u feel the nav is a wise option.

We got it because everyone polled on this site loved it (do searches, many links on this issue). So far (1 month of ownership), we seldom use it. However, I would still buy it again because 1) it is a fun toy, and 2) it will be very helpful on trips (we haven't taken any yet!?). "Value" of it will ultimately depend on where you live (good map coverage) and how much time you travel to places that you are not very familiar with.

Steve
 

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I just went through a similiar problem, but I wasn't interested in the GX470, since at $52K with all the options, was just a bit out of my price range. So, basically it was down to the XC90 and the MDX. Well, I've owned two Volvo Cross Country's over the last 5 years, with my lastest one being a 2001. I wasn't very happy with the re-design, and there has been some reliability issues as well as some minor but VERY annoying problems. The dealer keeps telling me there is nothing wrong, but the problems keep occuring. Also, the XC90 looks like the XC70 just raised up. I have had a lot of problems with my Volvo dealer, so I looked at the MDX first. I thought it was a better deal at $42.5k completely loaded, then the $47k - $48k I'd pay for a similiarly equipped XC90. The back seat in the XC 90, is definately smaller than the one in the MDX, and I just like the look of the car. It also drove to me like a little sportscar, compared to my Cross Country. So, I'm now calling it, sorry to all you men, the Ultimate Mommy mobile!!! I'm really looking forward to getting the car and really using it. We decided to get the Nav just for the fun of it!!! I'm sure we won't really use it, but DH and I are both map freeks, so to us this is the ultimate toy!!! Good luck with your decision, I'm VERY happy with mine and I can't wait to really take the MDX out for a true spin!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
ML 320

Anyone had experience with the MB ML320. Just realized that for '03 they are offering a third row seat. Comments?
 

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ml320---->ml350

considerMDX,

i leased a 1999 ml320 and had it for 37 months. it was supposed to have the 3rd row option but it was delayed several MONTHS! we never got it because it was small, did not fold into the floor and each seat folded outwards to the side affecting visibility and cargo room.

i experienced MANY small but annoying problems with it. mb took care of all of them, except one. they gave me a loaner car for any service that was gonna take more than 1 hour, although the loaners were typical rental cars-some dirty, some cheap. i normally wouldn't care but driving into the dealership with a new mb then driving off with malibu is pathetic.

the one problem they could never fix even after 10 visits, was a gas gauge that did not read the correct level of the tank from 1/2 to empty. they blamed the high sulfur content of u.s. gasoline. give me a break-this is the only car that i ever even heard of having this problem. mb brags about its technological superiority and can't design an accurate gas gauge for u.s. vehicles!

anyway, mb has made many improvements recently but the 3rd row remains the same. this is for the same reason that the gx470 has the same design-as a consequence of true off-road rear suspension design the seat cannot be folded into the floor.

two other factors to consider...the ml350 is scheduled to be completely redesigned in 2005 and in comparison reviews by the major magazines it consistently ranks midpack only.

i have heard that mb is discounting ml350s but with the redesign coming soon, the buyer will take a big hit on resale.

i hope this helps.

regards,
chris
 

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XC90 vs MDX

I also considered the XC90 heavily and had actually put a deposit down for one in Nov02. As you know, they are very similar and the primary difference I saw between the two were the side air bags for the second and third row which are standard on the Volvo and unavailable on the MDX. That said, the price difference was significant - $38K for an '03 Touring with wood trim, wood shifter and running boards thrown in vs. $45K for a comparable XC90 (included Versatility, Premium and Climate packages). Additionally, the MDX's good crash safety scores helped me overcome the air bag issue. I signed the paperwork for the MDX last night and am expecting it in mid-Feb. If you decide on the MDX, I would recommend working the dealer hard on price. Acura is facing more competition in the XC90 and the new Lincoln Navigator and I think dealers will be more willing to sell below sticker. Good luck.
 
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