I just brought my base MDX home yesterday after a 5 month wait. I chose a base model because it comes loaded with amenities that are usually options on other SUVs. The only other major options are the Touring package and the Navigation system. Each will add about $2k to the price of the car so a fully decked out model will run about $40k. I don't think the navigation system is worth $2k. And I don't think the Touring package is worth $2k for options that are slight and few.
The other SUVs I considered were the MB ML320, the BMW X5, the Lexus RX300, the Infiniti QX4, and the Land Rover Discovery. I did detailed research of each SUV and here are my (brief)personal findings:
- MB ML320: Very truck like and suspect reliability. I have a MB E320 sedan and the M-class does not warrant to be a MB. It's truly a wannabe MB that doesn't come close. That explains the relatively competitive price.
- BMW X5: Safest and best handling/performing but not an SUV. It's an SAV as they call it and it may look big front the exterior but is actually smaller on the inside than the Honda CRV. This vehicle is purely for driving pleasure. Forget about functionality and space.
- Lexus RX300: This is merely a Camry wagon with a higher roof. Top-notch reliability but not that roomy. Drives much like the...Camry! It should since it's built on the Camry platform, as is the Lexus ES300. This is also the same as the Toyota Highlander with less luxury.
- Infiniti QX4: This is the Nissan Pathfinder with luxury features. Aesthetically, it looks slightly better than the Pathfinder. This is a good option for those who like Nissans/Infinitis so long as you can get a good price. Figure paying what you would for a loaded Pathfinder but a little more for those extra options unfounded on the Pathfinder.
- Land Rover Discovery: The has the most off-road capabilities but most of us drive SUVs on-road. Sluggish engine for a V8 that guzzles gas. Roominess is not that great but not that bad. Reliability is questionable and expensive.
- Acura MDX: Roomy, versatile, good power, good gas mileage, reliable, safe, has three rows of seats, 2 rows of seats fold flat. This is a Honda Oddessey SUV. The Oddessey is hands-down the best Minivan and Acura built the MDX on the Oddessey platform to make it the hands-down best SUV.
Based on my reviews, it's obvious why I chose the MDX. The only drawback is the buying experience. I believe Acura is creating heightened demand by limited supply but it may be backfiring. In the months that I waited, I was tempted on several occasions to buy something else. And luckily I could afford to wait with two cars already. Not only is waiting a hassle, the dealers are very arrogant in selling this car. No price breaks and in some cases, there is mark-up. The attitudes of the salesmen is really disgusting. They are like the "car Nazis" of Seinfeld. Get in line and take a number because they treat you like a number, not a person. Despite the retail price, it is still well-equipped and a relatively good value. But it still doesn't mean that the dealer can move a little on the price.
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