Yesterday, I went to the Dallas Auto Show and I got to see what will finally be some real competition for the Nissan Murano. IMO, competition is always a good thing that will only force Nissan to improve on their product.
The first vehicle I got a good look at was the Ford Edge. I don't have the dimensional specs for the Edge but it did look slightly larger than the MO. This could be because the Edge has more straight lines. Styling is a personal and subjective choice but I really did like the Edge. IMO, it integrates Ford's new 3 bar grill alot better than the Fusion does. The Grill really is a stand out on the front of the car. That said, the MO is still a better looking car on the outside. It is art on wheels where the Ford appears to be more functional in its styling. As much as I like the Murano's interor styling, I have to say the Ford's is better. However please note that this was from about 10 feet away. I'm only mentioning styling and not utility or quality because I couldn't judge that....
Down to specs. Ford is putting their new 3.5 liter V6 into the Edge as the standard engine. The engine is mated to a 6 speed auto and transfers 250HP to the front or all wheels. The engine also produces 240 ft lbs or torque. There hasn't been any mention made of what kind of fuel economy the Edge should get, but it should be noted that Ford is producing these engine numbers using Regular Unleaded, rather than the Premium recommended for the MO. IMO, that is an advantage. All in all I have to believe that the Edge will outsell the MO, but that is because Ford is a volume producer. There certainly will be a large number of them sold to fleets.
On to the Mazda CX7.
The CX7 is based on the same platform as the Edge, however it does appear to be a smaller car. Significantly smaller IMO. Styling wise, the CX7 really does compete with the MO. It isn't art on wheels, it looks more like a jacked up sport wagon, and I mean that in a good way. The CX7 is definately a good looking car and I honestly cannot tell you whether or not I like the MO's styling more. Interior wise, the CX7 is better than the MO. IMO, Mazda took everything that was good about the MO and built upon it. It really does seem to copy the MO in alot of areas. The only thing I don't like is all the faux metal paint trim, where the MO is real metal.
Size wise, the CX7 is 3 inches shorter in the wheelbase and overall length. The CX7 is also shorter and narrower. Interior volume, especially in the cargo area is significantly smaller.....
Power comes from a 244HP turbo 4 attached to the same 6 speed auto used in the Edge. I don't know why they didn't go for the 3.5 liter V6, because the CX7 also requires Premium gas. Its EPA numbers show it to get 19/24MPG in FWD and 18/24 in AWD trim. IMO, when it comes to practicality, the MO wins in spades.
Now on to the Buick Enclave.
Let me note first that the only reason I'm includig the Enclave is because it is a Crossover. A significantly LARGER crossover. The Buick is 15 inches longer than the MO, its wheelbase is 8 inches longer. This is a big car. It also has 3 rows of seats. I guess you could put this closer to the Honda Pilot in the size category.
Styling wise, I'm in love with the Buick. I could do without the port holes in the hood but the rest of it is absolutely stunning. The fender flares give this Buick sexy curves that make you wonder if this really is a Buick. The interior is simply stunning. Just looking at it, you say, "There is no F'ing way this is a GM product" It really is that good. I was beyond impressed, this was a standard setting interior. Bob Lutz of GM has stated that while this is officially a Concept, the production version is pretty much the dead on same car. My advice to Mr. Lutz is to CHANGE NOTHING.
Power comes from a 270HP DOHC 3.6 liter V6 throwing its power through a 6 speed auto in either FWD or AWD configurations. The engine is an upgraded version of the on from the Caddy CTS, so I expect it will use premium gas, like the CTS.
The Enclave will have two kissing cousins, the Saturn Outlook and the GMC Acadia. The production version of the new Saturn will be unveiled on Wednesday at the New York Auto Show. The GMC's unveiling is expected later. The GMC will also be available with a V8. I don't know if the Buick will have that option. It will be interesting to see how GM differentiates these three cars.
Right now, I have to say that when my lease is up on the MO, I will be looking first at the Buick Enclave. That is still almost 2 years away, so I'm hoping that Nissan will have a New MO to market by then. I reserve the right to change my mind