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The wife and I were planning on picking up an MDX in a few months. Last week I read an article in Autoweek on the 2002 ML320 and all of the "small" changes they made. We went and drove one today and it was very nice. On top of that, the dealer said he would order one for me with the 3rd passenger seating and the sunroof package and would let me have it for $500 over invoice. That works out to $37K on a $39.3K list. My Acura dealer is still stuck at the $35.1 MSRP. I was hoping that MDX prices will fall in the next few months as the MDX plant starts making more vehicles now that the mini vans are gone. So, what to do? Should I wait? Will prices drop? If not, I think I would go with the benz. Thoughts? Thanks
 

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I would ask myself 1 question: How much room do I need?

The ML's are very nice, BUT they have no room in the back. If you're a childless couple going to Vail for a dirty weekend with nothing more than a couple of thongs and toothbrushes, the ML should suit you just fine. If you have kids, dog, etc., get the MDX.
 

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WOW, no contest, WAIT FOR THE MDX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Acura is a much better (and better looking) vehicle than the Benz. I know a lot of Benz owners have cruised this site and always act as if they have the superior vehicle, but that is just not true. When they see an MDX they realize what a big mistake they made, they get all green and wish they could start fresh. But, instead they try to make themselves feel better by trying to prove their vehicle is the one.

The MDX is bigger, stronger, more powerful, better engineered, handles better, has a bigger back seat, better rear climate controls, better AWD, etc...

I could go on. The bottom line is that the best is worth waiting for and you won't regret waiting for the MDX. Each day that goes by and then each year, you will be happy knowing you made the right decision with Acura.

I have had mine for over a year and almost 16k miles. My wife and I love it.
 

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It all depends on what your looking for...the MDX will probably be more reliable and have lower ownership costs over the long run than the ML. If you're looking for a status symbol and have a lot of $$ to burn for service at the dealership go with the benz. If you want a car that will rarely break down and keep on ticking go with the MDX.
Do yourself a favior and go to www.carreview or www.eopinions and review owners experiences with the m class. It's scary!!!!
 

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jeff968 said:
That works out to $37K on a $39.3K list.
$39.3K with a third-row seat must mean you're passing up many of the packages? I believe that, including the destination charge, a base M-class (no leather, no power seats) with third row and sunroof is $39,215.

I doubt if you'll find much movement in MDX prices very soon. Plus as you get into 2003, MB will probably offer incentives on the 2002's. Certainly by summer, possibly by spring. Most folks in many areas in the country are getting $500 above invoice on ML320's; the model's been out for quite a while and MB dealers are discounting (though they have relatively thinner margins to discount with).

Without creating another war here -- as you can see, there are plenty of opinions for and against both vehicles here (on a site for MDX enthusiasts). It comes down to what your priorities are in a vehicle. Good luck.
 

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This past September, I picked up the 2001 ML320 and in October the 2001 MDX. In finding out what MB changed in their 2002 models, I've been kicking myself for not waiting a couple months and getting the 2002 instead. They now have standard fog lights, climate control, 17" wheels, more thought-out ergonomics, etc. But you know, more than I regret not waiting for the 2002 ML, I regret not getting two MDX's a lot more. The ML is a fine vehicle but in having the MDX, I have to say that I treat the ML like a "red-headed stepchild." (I hope that term isn't too offensive and if I offended anyone, my wrong/bad.)

My parents have an ML320 too and in all honesty, I think it is a more appropriate vehicle for them than the MDX... I just can't see them in the MDX because I guess it does look more "sporty".:confused: By the way, they love taking the MDX out whenever they get the chance... (Question: How do you tell your parents "no, you can't have the car Saturday night?")

I guess just as there are a variety of people, there are a variety of cars. On paper, there are some things that the ML will outperform the MDX in but IMO, most people (myself included) don't push their cars to the limit where those numbers/stats really make a difference.

Take for instance, the wheel base size. The ML is a little longer but "who cares?" Rear side airbags? Good to have but often people make such a stong point out of this as if this alone should be the basis of a $40k decision. Another example is that, in real life, how often do you go up a mountain and have a Sparklette's Water Truck weave in front of you and have about a dozen or so 5 gallon water bottles fall off the truck and create an instantaneous obstacle course? If that did happen, I would scream a little and wet my pants a little and maybe after I collect myself and put my hair down, I might think, "I wish I had traction control." (Sorry, I got carried away... I just saw that happen in an Lexus RX commercial.) My point is that for the typical driver like me, the MDX is more than enough SUV for me. Yes, there are things that the ML has that the MDX doesn't but personally, the list is longer if you look at the other way around.

My opinion, recommendation, bias is toward the MDX. The reason for this is mostly based on everyday driving convenience; yes the MDX is much-much more satisfying and pleasurable. If I based my decision on hypothetical situations where worse comes to worse, perhaps my chances might be a little better in the ML but then, how do you compare situations with so many "if's" factors?

*Optional 3rd row seating/cargo space question. I was wondering if the ML has changed the seat structure on the 2002. As I recall, when not using the 3rd row seats, they take a lot of cargo room and a little bit of origami training to fold away. And also, did they flatten out the panels that are attached to the back of the rear seats so that the cargo space is more usable in the 2002?
 

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Extremely powerful opinion.

proskunetes said:
This past September, I picked up the 2001 ML320 and in October the 2001 MDX...My opinion, recommendation, bias is toward the MDX. The reason for this is mostly based on everyday driving convenience; yes the MDX is much-much more satisfying and pleasurable.
Jeff,

You're not going to find a better authority than proskunetes.
 

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To wait or not...

This forum may be a bit bias toward the MDX. Being a MB owner, I had a bias for the MB at first. However, after buying the MDX last month, I know I have made the right decision. Here is a little breakdown how I compared the 2 vehicles:

ML Positives
1. Traction control and electronic stability
2. Head curtain airbags
3. More options (ie xenon and interior color)
4. 4 year warranty with free maintenance
5. Larger fuel tank ( I hate stopping for gas)
6. Mercedes name

MDX Positives
1. Bigger (more room in back seats)
2. Better handling
3. Better fuel economy (makes up for the smaller tank)
4. More horse power
5. Better built quality (MB's build quality is just not what it used to be, the ML had many quality issues early on, but it has gotten better. Still is not as good as the MDX)
6. Better navigation system (the MB COMAND is smaller, CD based, and more difficult to use)
7. Less expensive than MB even when MDX at MSRP and MB at invoice with comparable options (I could have purchased the ML at invoice via my dealer)

I think with MDX is worth the wait. I just love driving the MDX. Then again, you really can't go wrong with the ML either. Good luck with your decision and be sure to let us know what you decide.
 

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Tracking down the gas tank capacity was difficult on the ML320; there are conflicting reports but I haven't seen anywhere that the ML tank is larger than the MDX (except the ML55 and ML500)

Consumer Reports:
ML430:
Fuel Capacity- 18.5 Gas Tank
Cruising Range-310 mi.
EPA - 15/19 (City/Hwy)

MDX:
Fuel Capacity - 19.3
Cruising Range-385 mi.
EPA - 17/23 (City/Hwy)

ML320: No consumer reports info avail.

Like VP16 says, the ML is a "can't go wrong" vehicle, but the MDX by comparison is a "love to drive car." You almost wish there was traffic when you drive the X...
 

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proskunetes is correct, the 2001 ML tank is about 19 gal. According to edmunds, KBB and my MB sales rep, the 2002 ML tank got bigger to 22.6 gal. I may be one of those modifications they have made the the new model. Still, the range between both vehicles are similar with a slight edge to MDX.

There are some little things that MB is preferable to the MDX like auto locking doors at 9 mph, electronic ignition, and rain sensing wipers. Then again, I think the overall performance of the MDX makes up for these minor points. Performance like acceleration closer to the ML500, handling, and its just fun to drive. Like proskunetes, I too would prefer 2 MDX's in the garage.
 

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Although I like and respect many cars in the Mercedes lineup, the ML isn't one of them. Don't buy a Mercedes minivan now only to wish you had been patient and gotten the vehcile you really wanted. There's a reason, you know, that Acura can sell the MDX for sticker while they have to practically give away the ML.
 

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jeff, i already gave my opionion on this issue in the comparisons sections.

btw, that whole cost of insurance thing is STILL bothering me:confused:
 

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Jeff, here's a good comparison article in case you haven't seen it yet:
http://www.caranddriver.com/xp/Caranddriver/comparisontests/2000/December/200012_comparisontest_designerutes.xml

Of course, they did not compare the '02 ML with a "thousand changes" or whatever Daimler Chrysler claims they did to make the M Class more competitive with the MDX. But IMO that claim does nothing but make me feel very sorry for the folks who are already driving an M Class, presumably with a thousand things that need improvement. If you check out the latest Consumer Reports new car preview, you'll note that of all the MB's they tested the MClass is conspicuously the ONLY one they DON'T recommend (same is true of BMW and the X5 BTW). On the other hand, EVERY Acura model they tested is recommended, including the MDX :)

Only you can decide what's best for your family after test driving each vehicle, but you should definitely check out the MClass forum over at ( http://www.mbnz.org ) before you make your investment. Be sure to bring a box of tissues cuz you'll find a lot of sob stories over there. I discovered that whenever someone brings up a problem, the regulars will either a) claim it's not as bad as the X5, or b) claim that it's not MB's fault, it's their American suppliers fault. Even if true, I personally would take no comfort in either lame excuse.

I just got back from about a 400 mile round trip to So Fla over the weekend and I never once regretted my decision, the MDX performed flawlessly just as I knew it would. While I was down there, the MDX came through in a pinch when we had to unexpectedly haul a 6th family member around in the back row seat. I heard nothing but compliments from any of them, including the one stuck in the back :p
 

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So have you decided to wait or go for the ML? I'm just curious... Given the changes in the 2002 ML, it really does seem like a very tough choice.

Did I ever mention that the one major flaw that I see in my ML is that it's not an MDX. In fact, I mentioned in another thread that my reaction to getting two dings on the ML320 is "I'm so glad wasn't the MDX."

I'm going to the Benz dealer this Friday to get the Driver's side window fixed. I'll check out the new model while there... I'm curious as to seeing all the changes. In case you're interested, I did a comparison in another thread of the things that were thoughtless on the ML...
 

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What are your priorities?

jeff968 said:
So, what to do?
It's always funny reading what people reply to questions like this on each forum. You might want to try posting on an ML forum as well.

Anyways, does "getting a good deal" really mean that much to you in the overall scheme of things? How long are you going to live with the car? Amortize any price difference over those years. Take a deep breath, make a list of your priorities, score each vehicle depending on how well each meets each priority. Come back. Post your results. Post them on the ML forum or any other cars you are considering. Ask owners how they think each their vehicle does w/ your priorities and let them address your thoughts, etc. You'll find interesting tidbits of real info (like the Consumer Reports that Gator is fond of quoting only rates the 98/99 MLs which were hellish) if you choose to shop long enough.

There is no one size fits all, despite what fans of each car might want you to think. Each has positives and negatives. When you ask for an opinion w/ such broad phrasing, you'll find people saying why it fit *THEIR* priorities, and not *YOURS* (it always puzzles me why people try to force their decisions on people like you). It's like saying, "should I marry a redhead or blond?" or "should I get an Armani suit or Gucci suit?" or "should I get a Serotta or Colnago bike?" or ...
(answer: whatever fits *YOU*)

I think I should just save this post and repost it once in a while :)
 

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It is a hard choice but just go with the one you fall in love with. Some people may just like the name.

:p

I looked at the ML before the MDX.. the name of Benz is definitely attractive but my co-work's experience was that his ML 320 had a lot of quality problems.

Personally I feel the ML is like a continuing refinement of a very old car design. No matter how well MB adjusts and refines and makes "thousands of small improvement," it still comes down to the fact that the overall design and ergonomic of the ML is a bit dated. I love to own one ML but if I can only have one SUV, that will be the MDX.

Certainly for me the MDX is just beautiful...
:p :p :p
 

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kenyee said:
You'll find interesting tidbits of real info (like the Consumer Reports that Gator is fond of quoting only rates the 98/99 MLs which were hellish) if you choose to shop long enough.
Ken, while I actually agree with most of what you said, I would like to correct the record with respect to your comment quoted above.

I'm pretty sure that's the FIRST time I've mentioned Consumer Reports cuz I just got the magazine last week. Also, I didn't quote Consumer Reports, I just mentioned the fact that the MDX (like all of the Acuras they tested) was recommended, whereas both the MClass and X5 were not (unlike all the other MBs and BMWs that they tested). Of course, everyone is free to draw their own conclusions from my little observation, but I thought it worth mentioning to someone trying to decide between the MClass and the MDX.

Here's what I actually said:

"If you check out the latest Consumer Reports new car preview, you'll note that of all the MB's they tested the MClass is conspicuously the ONLY one they DON'T recommend (same is true of BMW and the X5 BTW). On the other hand, EVERY Acura model they tested is recommended, including the MDX :) "

BTW, even though they do present historical data in the magazzine, I believe they were reviewing and making their recommedations (or lack thereof) with respect to NEW models, not the 98/99 "hellish" models as you suggest :)
 

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It's like saying, "should I marry a redhead or blond?" or "should I get an Armani suit or Gucci suit?" or "should I get a Serotta or Colnago bike?" or ...
Blonde, Armani, Colnago... :D
 

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Who else is a Cyclist around?

I see some cyclist comments (Colnago or Serotta) within this thread. Who else is a cylist in the forum? I myself is a cylist. I race as a Cat. 3 here in NYC/Tir-state area. Any other?
 
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