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Just curious if anyone can give me their driving impressions of any of the following. They were on my short list to examine before my wife fell in love with the Pathfinder.

* Mercedes ML350 Bluetec
* Volkswagen Touareg
* BMW X5 xDrive 35d
* Audi Q5

I realize all those vehicles are much more expensive, but I was looking at some earlier years that made the prices more comparable.
 

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Just curious if anyone can give me their driving impressions of any of the following. They were on my short list to examine before my wife fell in love with the Pathfinder.

* Mercedes ML350 Bluetec
* Volkswagen Touareg
* BMW X5 xDrive 35d
* Audi Q5

I realize all those vehicles are much more expensive, but I was looking at some earlier years that made the prices more comparable.
Mercedes - Nice car, but expensive to maintain after service plan...if any is offered...runs out. Poor economy and needs premium fuel.

Volkswagen - Earlier models were prone to electrical problems...has improved some. Not the best bang for the buck also not very economical unless you opt for the diesel model.

BMW - Nice car but expensive....starts at over $55,000.

Audi Q5 - Not much cargo space. Controls are kind of confusing.

My second choice, if I were to chose other than the Pathfinder, would have been the Accura RDX...even if its slightly smaller. Its well built and a good value.
 

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Top direct competitors in my opinion are:

1) Honda Pilot 2) redesigned '14 Dodge Durango (doesn't get the respect it deserves, its a great vehicle but is quite pricey) 3) Chev Travers (again underrated, but it has very good reliability and build quality ratings after a '13 refresh)
 

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Top direct competitors in my opinion are:

1) Honda Pilot 2) redesigned '14 Dodge Durango (doesn't get the respect it deserves, its a great vehicle but is quite pricey) 3) Chev Travers (again underrated, but it has very good reliability and build quality ratings after a '13 refresh)
Honda Pilot is boxy with uninspiring styling inside and out, Dodge Durango...no Chrysler product built in the last 20 years has aged well, Chevy Traverse is pleasant looking, but all plastic inside, Ford Flex...boxy on the outside, but you're right...it has comfort and space.
 

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Everyone always mentions "Honda Pilot is boxy", that's exactly what makes it the number vehicle in this class. It does not compromise on practicality, the boxiness gives ample passenger and cargo room. And there are so many attributes of this vehicle to pay attention to and appreciate, but most people ignore all that substance and simply say "its boxy". Yeah, and.....??

It doesn't matter to me what people buy, but if you're unbiased, you have to look at the Traverse, all of the interior issues were solved with the refresh at 2012 or 13. The interior is on par with Pathfinder and it has much more interior space, its all very reliable with a proven powertrain thats been around for years and used all across the GM and Chev lineup. It's right up there with the Pilot.

But if you want to just buy a vehicle based on styling alone, fine, the Pilot and Flex is boxy and the Traverse is boring looking, I agree.
 

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2013 Pathfinder SL, Connecticut, USA
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just curious if anyone can give me their driving impressions of any of the following. They were on my short list to examine before my wife fell in love with the Pathfinder.

* Mercedes ML350 Bluetec
* Volkswagen Touareg
* BMW X5 xDrive 35d
* Audi Q5

I realize all those vehicles are much more expensive, but I was looking at some earlier years that made the prices more comparable.
I might add that the reason all of these vehicles were on my short list was because they all met two criteria: 1) EPA City of 18 mpg or better 2) Can pull at least 4500 lbs.

All the above models are diesel (that's how they achieve the good EPA rating) except the Q5, which indeed needs premium fuel.
 

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Everyone always mentions "Honda Pilot is boxy", that's exactly what makes it the number vehicle in this class. It does not compromise on practicality, the boxiness gives ample passenger and cargo room. And there are so many attributes of this vehicle to pay attention to and appreciate, but most people ignore all that substance and simply say "its boxy". Yeah, and.....??

It doesn't matter to me what people buy, but if you're unbiased, you have to look at the Traverse, all of the interior issues were solved with the refresh at 2012 or 13. The interior is on par with Pathfinder and it has much more interior space, its all very reliable with a proven powertrain thats been around for years and used all across the GM and Chev lineup. It's right up there with the Pilot.

But if you want to just buy a vehicle based on styling alone, fine, the Pilot and Flex is boxy and the Traverse is boring looking, I agree.
even the QX56 is boxy and does look a bit on the ugly side because of this but like the pilot it is a perfect premium full sized SUV, people love them, just look at how many of them are on the road!
 

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I'm not going to lie, this sounds like a classic "which of these does not belong?" question. What a bizarre group to cross shop the Pathfinder with!

If I had to choose between a used European car, ANY diesel car, or a new Pathfinder, I could give about a hundred reasons the Pathfinder is the only logical choice.

If you do prefer a used European diesel, I'm very curious why you would ever consider the Pathfinder in your buying decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I'm not going to lie, this sounds like a classic "which of these does not belong?" question. What a bizarre group to cross shop the Pathfinder with!

If I had to choose between a used European car, ANY diesel car, or a new Pathfinder, I could give about a hundred reasons the Pathfinder is the only logical choice.

If you do prefer a used European diesel, I'm very curious why you would ever consider the Pathfinder in your buying decision.
You have to understand the approach we took to see why this actually isn't as strange as you make it out to be.

Okay, we have this 2002 Chevy Trailblazer EXT that my wife uses as her daily driver. Nice truck. Pulls our 19' Travel Trailer well. Gets terrible gas mileage.

So with gas prices going crazy lately, she thinks: I think it's about time we upgrade. The only two real criteria: 18 or better MPG city, and at least 4500 lbs towing capacity.

With those parameters, where is the logical place to start? I had no preconceived notions of what I THOUGHT I wanted. I wanted to explore ALL of the possibilities. We were looking for a pre-owned vehicle, preferably something Certified. So I thought: Why not start with the Fuel Economy Guide published by the Energy Dept.? (Fuel Economy) After all, they're the ones who test the vehicles and publish the ratings. So I went about acquiring the guides for all the years going back to 2010.

They have categories for all the vehicles they test, so I went to the SUV sections and immediately eliminated everything that didn't get at least 18 MPG City. (All the manufacturers advertise the Highway number, but not many people drive the highway ALL the time, so I felt City was a more realistic figure.) Okay, so that's the 1st cut list.

The next part was a little harder. I attempted to learn what the tow capacity of the vehicles on my 1st cut list was. No one source had all the information I needed. The Trailer Life site had a lot of the figures, but mostly for years prior to 2011. I ended up reading lots of reviews and tracking down specs on car magazine sites. What I found was that 80% or more of the makes/models/years with 18 or better MPG could only tow perhaps 3500 lbs. (That seemed to be the sweet spot.) That wasn't going to work for us with a 3750 GVW trailer. This yielded the short list, which really boiled down to the Euro diesels I mentioned above or 8 cylinder hybrids like the Escalade, Tahoe or Yukon.

The diesel vs. gas debate I'll save for another discussion, but I was ready to seriously consider the diesel. It really is the more efficient engine, and has the low-end torque needed for towing economically.

The wife wasn't. Since this was to be her car, I let her make the decision.

So it came that the Pathfinder was the only real choice, but it had to be a 2013 or 2014 since the MPG for prior years was in the toilet. We might as well keep the Trailblazer. Pre-owned 2013's were available, but now it required the tow package, which didn't seem to be. I scouted ALL the Connecticut Nissan dealers and some in New York State. Certified Pre-owned with the tow package simply didn't exist. After talking to several people, we nixed the idea of adding one from the likes of U-Haul. If we were going to do this, we were going to do it right.

So we started looking at new 2013 SVs with the tow package, and then discovered that we could upgrade to the SL for only about $2000 more, so we went for it. What the ****, we already blew the budget!

So that, in a nutshell, was the rationale. So far, after 86 miles (just got it last night) I think we made a wonderful choice, lol!. If money wasn't an object, and it was my vehicle we were buying, I probably would have gone with the Mercedes ML350 Bluetec myself. I have owned BMWs now for 12 years and just like German cars. They've come a long way in reliability, baby!
 

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I looked at the acadia, and explorer in the same class but these were more money and MPG not as good.

I was considering the ram with the 6 cyl 8 spd trans. Not same class but was pretty good on gas on my test drives. Again price decided for me.
 
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