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Discussion Starter #1
While I like my 2001 MDX, I can't say I love it as much as many of you love yours. Consequently, am considering selling it so that I can drive something a little cheaper. Does anyone have any views on AWD vehicles in the $25k range? I don't much care about "luxury" but do care about safety, comfort and reliability. Thanks for any assistance.
 

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Replacement MDX

I am just selling my 96 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon that I bought 6 years ago, and has 96,000 miles on it. I had absolutely no problems with the vehicle and Consumer Reports rates it as a good vehicle. When I bought it the sticker was around $24,500, and I got it for around $21,000. It is AWD and so is the smaller Forrester - also made by Subaru. I would guess that you could get a fairly good price reduction and maybe get decent financing. It's no MDX, but nothing else is either. I was considering the Mazda Tribute (same as Ford Escape, but nicer looking), and although it is very popular, Consumer Reports gave it some digs that caused me to wake up and buy the MDX.
 

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My final decision was between the MDX and the Eddie Bauer Legacy wagon. I decided on the MDX and have no regrets. The Subaru just was not large enough to fit the bill for me.

The Outback is a very good second...comfortable, very safe, great in bad weather and the model has withstood the test of time.

I would look at it, if the MDX is out for you.
 

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I just rented an Outback for 4 days last week/weekend. Nice car. It was the HSC 3.0 or something like that, which I think is the "base" version -- tho it did have leather and lots of amenities.

No snow driving, but it handled well and was surprisingly fun to drive -- pretty spry handling although it could use a bit more steering feel. My only disappointment was that despite a 3 liter 6cyl and claimed 200+ hp and torque, I found it just adequate w/power and it didn't have the low-end grunt the MDX gives you off the line. Might be that the auto tranny liked to shift gears, even under moderate to heavy accel, at 2000-2500rpm and the redline is way up there at 6500. Not sure what their torque curve looks like, but it ain't like the MDX's.

Only other annoyance was if you've got childseats to install (we had 1), the tether anchors were above the rear window. This resulted in a high-mounted seatbelt blocking part of the rearview and the tether itself blocking more -- and it was significantly more noticeable than the MDX's roof-mounted center belt.

The diff in storage space is obvious.

What about the Honda Pilot -- aren't they starting in the mid 20's?
 

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Honda CR-V

What about MDX's little brother, Honda CR-V. You can get a nicely loaded All-wheel Drive EX model for about $22,000.

My in-laws got one a couple months ago and they are very happy with it.
 

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Consumer Reports just released this month's issue with a review of *smaller* SUVs. I believe the list included the Honda CR-V, Land Rover Freelander (edit), Jeep Liberty, and Saturn VUE (I'm missing one here..Suzuki XL-7 (edit).). While the CRV was tops in this selection, it still trails the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester (as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe GLS (edit)) on CR's master list. (And the Passat and Outback wagons)
 

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I think a base model Honda Pilot may be in your price range. That will give you the safety, room, performance and the reliablity of an MDX.

You might want to visit your local Honda dealer now should you decide on an Pilot. The Pilot is due out this June and I suspect there may be an wait list.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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May I suggest a Subaru Forester, particularly a 2003 model (which will go on sale in a month or two)?

The 2003's have been updated and the styling is better. Has a bit more rear legroom, though not as much as a CR-V. However, you mentioned safety as a requirement, and it should be excellent, even better than a CR-V. It's based on the new Impreza, which just had stellar IIHS crash test results (just as the CR-V is based on the Civic, which had crash test results just about as good, though IIHS gives the tiniest edge to the Impreza). The Forester has head-protection airbags for the front occuptants. Not side curtains, but it's one of the few compact SUV's with any kind of head protection (Saturn VUE has side curtains for front and back).

Performance will be okay but nothing dramatically fast. There is a strong rumor that there will be a 2004 Turbo Forester. Foresters are very reliable. You can buy one with a leather interior.

Another suggestion -- Subaru Impreza WRX. Might be too small for you, but the damn thing can fly, and, for its weight class, does great in the IIHS crash test. It is a relative bargain at its price, a real pocket rocket.
 

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Count me in as another Subaru Outback fan. We owned a 1999 Limited previous to our MDX and in some ways I liked it better than the Acura. The upgraded stereo sounded better than the Bose/Touring system and the user-friendly heating/AC controls win out over the MDX's uncontrollable climate control. Handling in the snow and ice was excellent and when I gave the car to my Mother at 30,000 miles it hadn't had any problems and still drove like new.
Before I get labelled a traitor I will say that size was one reason for the upgrade to the 'X, as my wife and I were expecting our second child. Also, the power of the old 4-cylinder was pretty inadequate, to say the least. I expect the new 6's are O.K.. If Subaru made a mid-sized SUV in Limited trim I would probably have one in my garage, but I can honestly say that I have no regrets concerning our MDX.
 

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i had a '99 forester and i grew to despise it... just my opinion.

my coworker love soobies and he has 2 legacy wagons. despite some strange noises, and small problems, he enjoys the cars.

how much is a toyota highlander? i hear good things about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for all of the advice. I am seriously considering proceeding with the sale (or trade) perhaps in favor of a Subaru, the new Saturn (but not likely), or the Pilot.

I have looked at Edmunds.com to get an idea of pricing, but they don't provide any information on adjustments for the extra accessory equipment (Front trim; sidebars; rear deflector; moonroof visor, full size spare, etc). On this site, where all are savvy to Tim's pricing, maybe these aren't worth much. Any thoughts? The truck has exactly 25k miles on it as of today.
 

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SUV's

Howdy. If this link http://www.autobytel.com/content/shared/compare/index.cfm?sectionName=research&action=compareNew&id=4;4&CarsToCompare=R%2C9392%3BR%2C8524%3BR%2C9448%3BR%2C7579%3BR%2C7501&breadCrumbs=hp,Research

doesn't work, it's from Autobytel.com
I compared here, so the vehicles shown are a bit over your requested range. You can easily remove my picks & add others to compare.
Depending on your experience, you may just want to go to the Autobytel homepage & work from there. You can pick the SUV category & find listings & info. Good Luck. By the way, I'm going to lease an MDX. Would you mind telling me your #'s? Final price, down payment, monthly payment, which model (Touring, Navigation)etc. Thanks
 

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my wifes car is a 98 forester. We have had no problems with it, it handles incredibly well in the snow (we cross the mountains routinely in the winter in the pacific northwest), has decent power for its class but it is on the small side. Overall, a good value since we only paid 23K for it. Obviously in a completely different class from the MDX.
 

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I'll throw in another vote for the Outback, we've had a 2000 model since, well, 2000, it's a great car, good reliability, handles great in snow, good AWD system and decent fuel economy. No fair comparing it with the MDX - but it's been a great car!
 

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Options and Value

To: wait4mdx
Re Value of Options

Most non-factory options add little, if anything, to the value of a vehicle. Wheels and CD changers are among the few that offer some residual.

Even most factory options loose value quickly. I suspect that the $2K Nav System will be worth only $1K on a 2-3 year old MDX [heck of a drop, but that is life].

You can see this by looking at blue book or by looking at a dealer's "trade-in sheet". They will take the options, but won't pay for them!!
 

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Toyota Highlander

Great combo of reliability, safety, and comfort (those seats are much nicer than the Xs).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update

Boy, I went back and forth on this ever since my first post. I got very interested in the Pilot. Still think it will be a great vehicle. But, believe it or not I decided to go back to the Expedition (as I had before buying the MDX), and have ordered a new 2003 (so much for the $25k I mentioned). Guess I just missed the space, and with the fold flat third row of seats, it addressed one of the biggest drawbacks of earlier years.

Check it out if interesed: http://www.f150world.com/news/2003expy.asp.

Delivery of some of these is expected in early May, but because of the configuration mine may not be here until August.

So, I guess I'm committing sacrilege on this site, but so it goes. As for disposing of my 'X, I guess I'll just drive it until the Expy comes in and then hope for the best on sale or trade. A little worried because I pack the mile on so fast (26k mi and add about 450 each week). But if I find a buyer sooner I don't know what I would drive in the meantime.

Ok, guys, let me have it!
 

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wait4,

Are you sure about this? Ford? Really, the Subaru seems like such a better alternative, though I didn't realize that space was an issue. And it has those Ford controls that are so...mundane. Well, in any case, I wish you the best...

Rob :cool:
BTW, I sure hope you get good $$ for the trade-in...you'll need some cash for the 9-11mpg in your future (especially with the miles you rack on!).
 

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wait4MDX,

I am having trouble tracking the logic you have presented. I believe that the your original message indicated that you wanted to "save some money" [e.g. wanted/needed to replace X with a less expensive vehicle]. Well I am confused:

(1) How much could you have saved on buying a new Expo? Specifically, when done "trading" the X, how much money will have netted?

(2) What will the operating cost differences be? The X is not cheap to run but the Expo is certainly not more fuel efficient?

(3) Cost of ownership should be viewed as TCO [Total Cost of Ownership]. I don't believe that the Expo holds its value as well as the X has.

Sooooo, please humor me and explain what I am missing!! If you don't like the X, that is cool. If you wanted something bigger that is cool. But, for the life of me, I can't track to your objectives as stated ... Steven
 

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I think a Pilot is your best bet. It's mechanically similar to the MDX and it will be in your price range. If you're happy with the MDX and $$ is the concern, a Pilot is definately the better route than an Expedition.
Just my thought.
 
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