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SUV Buying Guide 2005
Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino, Feb-March, 2005 by Lara Santiago, Gil Zafra

As one of the trendiest elements of current American culture, the modern Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) is becoming more of a symbol of status and less of a utilitarian mode of transportation. With its rising popularity, the SUV has cornered the auto sales market and forced automakers to rethink their products and marketing strategies. Keeping up with the rising demand, traditionally high-end brands have developed models that can effectively vie for a share of the profits. Here are some of the top SUV models for the year 2005.



Volkswagen Touareg V6

Price: $37,140 MSRP (Base)

Safety: Child locks and air bags standard, ABS brakes. Motor Trend describes the Touareg as a most competent vehicle; 24hours a day Road Side Assistance and Electronic parking assistance.

Technology: All models come standard with an illuminated keyless remote control entry system. Stability Program. a power glass moon-roof, aluminum alloy wheels, on board computer. Hill Descent Control, and rain sensing intermittent windshield wipers; optional adjustable air suspension.

Luxury Interiors: Interior Trim, walnut wood, heated bucket seats, steering wheel (leather wrapped tilt and telescoping with touch controls), flood/foot well/glove box/reading lights, consoles with overhead storage.

Power: Engines range from 240hp V6 to 310hp Turbo Diesel

Gas mileage (V6): 15mpg/20mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Lease and purchase options available. You may finance (take out a loan) for a VW and pay it off in monthly installments. A third option, called the "Driver's Option" is also offered by VW. In this payment plan, there is no security deposit or acquisition fee The car is placed in the driver's name but payments are made as if the car were a lease. At the end of the contract period, the client has three options: keep the car and pay the balance, keep the car and refinance the balance, or return the car. This option is subject to credit approval and may involve additional fees based on mileage or damage to the vehicle.

www.vw.com

2005 Land Rover LR3

Price: $44,995 MSRP (Base)

Safety: ABS, airbags, Park Distance Control (PDC); Terrain Response[TM], an application which allows you to tackle difficult surfaces with absolute confidence. Electronic Air Suspension (EAS), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Four-wheal Electronic Traction Control (4ETC); Active Roll Mitigation (ARM).

Technology: The LR3 has numerous luxury amenities, including a DVD navigation system, fold-flat seats, adaptive headlights, 6-CD changer, and a nearly entirely open three-panel glass roof. Available options include a rear parking assist system, rear air conditioning, and a specialized exterior paint job. Among the option packages are a Third Row Seating Package, a Towing Package, and a Cold Climate Package.

Luxury Interiors: Console with storage, steering wheel, leather wrapped tilt with touch controls, leather bucket seats; Panoramic Alpine Roof; integrated Bluetooth[R] Phone System.

Power: This seven-passenger vehicle is powered by a 300-hp 4.4L V8 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Other standard mechanics includes an electronic air suspension, a full time all-wheel drive system, and Terrain Response traction control.

Gas mileage: 14 mpg/18 mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Monthly payments are available on a 12-60 month financing plan, with down payment or trade-in options. Lease options available. Special tax advantage offers may be available for small business owners wishing to acquire a Land Rover. Subject to varying interest rates and the availability of any special offers.

www.landroverusa.com

Mercedes-Benz ML350 SUV

Price: $38,670 MSRP (Base)

Safety: Air bags and ABS brakes are standard; optional integrated safety seats. IIHS Crashworthiness Rating; Good

Technology: Communication system, TeleAid with 1 year of service and 30 minutes of air time, illuminated keyless remote control entry, remote control fuel door release, garage door opener, remote control tailgate release, cellular telephone pre-wiring.

Luxury Interiors: Interior trim, buried walnut wood, steering wheel/leather wrapped tilt, floor mats, console with storage, cloth bucket seats

Power: engine V6, 227 hp, 18 V, SFI (3.7 liter). 232 hp

Gas mileage: 15mpg/18mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Purchase or lease with option to buy, a 24-84 month loan period for financing. Retail balloon financing (lower payments, large portion of payments deferred until end of lease term) is an option.

www.mbusa.com

Porsche Cayenne

Price: Price: $41,100 MSRP (Base)

Safety: ABS brakes, air bags, child safety seat columns, outside heated mirrors, tinted glass. The vehicle shell uses a triple-skin structure with robust three-box section construction.

Technology: Porsche Communication Management, and Porsche Active Suspension Management, which includes an electronically adjustable air suspension, self leveling suspension, and ride height adjustment. Options include upgraded leather, a six-disc CD changer, and a powered, glass moon-roof.

Luxury Interiors: Leather bucket seats, titanium took trim and electric adjustable front seats, 12 way.

Power. The Cayenne is available in a V6, 247 hp, S, 340 hp, and Cayenne Turbo, 450hp models. The Cayenne S model features a 4.5L 340-hp 32-valve V-8 engine, all-wheel drive, power steering, Porsche Stability Management, Porsche Traction Management, and a 6 speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with manual mode. In addition to the Cayenne S features, the Cayenne Turbo includes a twin turbo 4.5L 450-hp 32 valve V8 engine.

Gas mileage: 15mpg/19mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Whether new or used, Porsche offers a variety of options: Preferred lease, retail financing, Porsche options, Direct Pay program, and the Porsche European Delivery program.

www2.us.porsche.com/usa/

Volvo XC90

Price: $35.290 MSRP (Base)

Safety: ABS brakes, air bags, child safety locks, standard, NHTSA and IIHS crash tests give a good collision rating.

Technology: New standard features for this year include rain-sensing windshield wipers and the Homelink system. The Standard windshield wipers have also been upgraded to new flat blade wipers. Also, a new tire pressure monitoring system is now standard on all models. Options include a DVD navigation system, a six-disc CD changer, Bi-Xenon headlights, an Interior Air Quality System and a subwoofer.

Luxury Interiors: Floor mats front and rear, Steering wheel with Leather wrapped tilt and telescoping w/touch controls; leather surfaced bucket seats with dual 8-way power, driver's memory and split folding rear seats.

Power: It is available in three models the base 2.5L turbocharged model the V8 mode and the T6 AWD which includes a twin-turbo 2.9L engine featuring 208 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque.

Gas mileage: 15 mpg/20 mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Lease or buy. 24-60 month financing terms are available, flexible odd-term leases an option. Volvo offers a recent graduate financing program, whereby a graduate who can snow a a diploma, proof of income, and pass other financial requirements may De granted a Volvo financing agreement.

www.volvocars.us

Hummer H2

Price: $52,285 MSRP (Base)

Safety: ABS brakes, child locks.

Technology: The vehicle is equipped with a myriad features: A locking rear differential, traction control, skid plates, and heavy-duty suspension top the list. The H2 can be equipped with a suspension package featuring air springs and an air compressor for off-road driving. A Vehicle Navigation system integrated into an optional CD player is an available option.

Luxury Interiors: The Hummer's interior is touched with brushed metal appliques, white-faced gauges, and eight way power seats with two-position memory.

Power: The vehicle includes a 6.0L V8 engine producing 325-hp and 365 lb-ft of torque combined with a heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission.

Gas mileage: 12 mpg/16 mpg (city/hwy)

Financing; 1-800-G2-SMART Hummer will calculate your monthly payments based on income and chosen financing plan.

www.hummer.com

Saab 9-7X SUV

Price: $37,000 MSRP (Base)

Safety: Electronically controlled automatic transmission dual-stage front airbags, a rollover sensing system, ABS, and head-curtain side airbags, passenger and rollover sensing systems.

Technology: Advanced sound system, extensive sensor technology, fully independent suspension; All-Wheel Drive (AWD).

Luxury Interior: Leather-trimmed seats, a chassis tuned to sporty driving, and the ignition cylinder in the center console behind the gear lever-a traditionally Saab feature. The new instrument panel's center stack and controls are angled toward the driver. Design elements aimed at Saab brand distinction, while the vehicle actually shares frame, suspension, and seats with Chevy.

Power: The Saab SUV has a 275-hp inline-six, all-wheel drive, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 97X comes with an optional 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8. Backing both 97X engines is the Hydra-Matic 4L60-E.

Gas mileage: 15 mpg/20 mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Buy or lease. The lease option allows for a choice of returning the vehicle, leasing or purchasing a new Saab, or purchasing the leased vehicle. A program called Saab Avantage Balloon Financing Program is available only in Texas, and for clients whose garage address is in New York or Rhode Island. This option is a cross between buying and leasing: the car is in the client's name while the payments are similar to these of a lease. Subject to special fees and credit approval.

www.saab.com

Lexus 2005 RX

Price: $36,425 MSRP (Base)

Safety: Rain-sensing wipers, roll sensing curtain airbags, available Adaptive Front Lighting System, ABS, airbags, child safety locks Good crash rating from the IIHS.

Technology: The optional DVD navigation system has been upgraded with the addition of Bluetooth wireless capability, voice activation, and updated software. More options on the RX include a six-disc CD changer, dynamic laser cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels and heated seats. There are standard, eight-way power front passenger seats and a power rear lift gate that works with keyless entry remote control. A backup camera aids the driver to see what is behind the vehicle.

Luxury Interiors: A wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel and sniff knob are now standard. Automatic dual-zone climate controls with smog-sensing air filtration ensure passengers have the opportunity to pursue climate perfection.

Power: Engine V6, 202 hp, 24V, WT, MFI (3.3 Liter), 230hp

Gas mileage: 19 mpg/25 mpg (city/hwy)

Financing: Lease or finance (purchase) options are available. Leases are "closed end", meaning there is no obligation to the vehicle once the lease term ends and the car is returned in acceptable condition. The driver may choose to return the automobile or lease/buy a new model Finance options vary according to pricing and interest rates. Finance option implies the repayment of amount financed plus a finance charge over a period of time.

www.lexus.com

BMW X3 SAM 3.0i

Price: $36,300 MSRP (Base)

Safety: Anti-look braking system (ABS), Head Protection System, airbags and supplemental restraint system, computerized deployment of safety systems, double look features, front seat belts with force sensors and force limiters, daytime running lights, pre-writing for alarm system, battery safety terminal.

Technology: Among the many optional amenities are a power glass panorama moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, remote entry, park distance control, an on-beard navigation system, and rear side impact airbags.

Luxury Interiors: Cargo mat, console with storage, interior trim/dark wood, steering wheel, leather wrapped tilt & telescoping with touch controls, multi-function steering wheels, leatherette bucket seats, dual power seat adjusters,

Power: A 3.0L V6 225-hp engine powers the 3.0i. The BMW's come with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Optional are available for both models, including a Sport Package, Premium Package, Cold Weather Package, and a Light Package (available only on the 2.51).

Gas mileage: 15 mpg /21 mpg (city/hwy) on automatic model

Financing: Traditional financing and lease options are available. A special financing plan is available for recent college graduates on certified pre-owned vehicles. The BMW Select financing plan is also an option. The car is put in the driver's name and payments are made on a lease-type plan. A balloon payment is due at the end of the lease term, after which the client can choose to refinance the balloon payment or complete the purchase with one final payment. This option is not available in CA, IL, NH, NV, PA, and TX.

www.bmwusa.com

Cadillac Escalade

Price: $54,700 MSRP (Base)

Safety: ABS brakes, airbags, child safety locks. Good NHSTA crash test results for frontal collisions (passenger and driver). Stability Enhancement System

Technology: Standard amenities on the SUV include front and rear auto climate control, the OnStar communication system, heated leather seats, and a Bose sound system, Options include a power glass moon-roof, a rear entertainment system, a navigation system, and chrome aluminum wheels.

Luxury Interiors: The Cadillac has a redesigned instrument panel, an interior wood trim, a new round chrome exhaust tip, and a revised lift gate.

Power: 327hp engine, V8. The Escalade is available in both 2WD or AWD, and is equipped with either a 5.3L V-8 or the more potent 6.0L V-8 that produces 345 horsepower.

Gas mileage: 13 mpg/17 mpg (city/hwy)

Finalizing: Buy or lease. There are two leasing options: SmartLease involves monthly payments, while SmartLease Plus does not have set monthly payments and is subject to credit approval. The SmartBuy option involves financing the vehicle and making smaller monthly payments with a large balloon payment at the end of the contract term. Traditional financing options are also offered.

www.cadillac.com

Our Opinion

BMW X3: If you're looking for an SUV that comes with the backing of as reputable a name as BMW, this is definitely the one for you.

Lexus 2005 RX: The Lexus RX is an excellent example of new Japanese style. We highly recommend it for those who like style, technology, elegance and comfort.

Saab 9-7X: If you are a fashion-conscious person, the new Saab 9-7X will be your best bet. It has European elegance combined with an attractive price and it is already posing itself in the market as a stiff competitor.

VW Touareg: This is a great SUV for the new Volkswagen generation people. Its performance is solid, and it invites to enjoy the classically German style of this car maker.

Mercedez Benz ML350: This is a perfect model for families that love adventure. The ML 350 will let you experience full command of off-road activities and a wealth of luxurious features with the high standards of Mercedes Benz.

Volvo XC90: The XC90 is the best choice of SUV for those who want a perfect equilibrium between price, power and gas mileage. It also has some outstanding safety features.

Porsche Cayenee: If the quality, style, and exclusiveness of the Porsche brand entices you, then the Cayenne is the right SUV choice for you. With the same quality, refinement and elegance of the Porsche line of products, you are bound to fall in love with this sophisticated vehicle.

Land Rover LR3: The Land Rover LR3 will give you perhaps the best combination of power and luxury. If you have any doubts, don't worry. Just take your family along for a test drive ... they'll love it!

Hummer H2: This is the kind of SUVs that most people would like to buy, but few can actually afford to. In a completely different category all by itself, and as a huge departure from models like the Jeep Cherokee, the Hummer is the epitome of SUV power. If you dream about owning the ultimate SUV, then this is your dream come true.

Cadillac Escalade: If you love extremes, the Cadillac Escalade is perfect for you: huge power, extraordinary luxury, and the legacy of one of the best brands in USA: Cadillac.

The bottom line in numbers ...

The following is a comparative breakdown of the most popular elements that are taken into consideration when purchasing a vehicle, in this case, the SUVs profiled. The analysis includes factors such as: price, safety records, technology, luxury interiors, engine power. fuel efficiency and financing.

A Recap

This matrix contains information for the basic models of each of the SUVs profiled.

Gas mileage

Model MSRP HP City Hwy V6 V8

BMW X3 SAV 3.0i $34,848 225 15 21 Y N
Volvo XC90 $35,290 208 15 20 Y Y
Lexus 2005 RX $36,425 230 19 25 Y N
Saab 9-7X $37,000 275 15 20 Y Y
VW Touareg V6 $37,140 240 15 20 Y Y
Mercedes-Benz ML350 $38,670 232 15 18 Y Y
Porsche Cayenne $41,100 247 15 19 Y Y
Land Rover LR3 $44,330 300 14 18 Y Y
Hummer H2 $52,285 325 12 16 N Y
Cadillac Escalade $54,700 345 13 17 N Y

Average $41,179 263 15 19

Correlation coefficient between price and Home Power 0.93

* Yes = YES; N = NO

Engine Power

As the graph below shows, there is direct correlation between engine power and price. In case the SUVs profiled, the more powerful the engine, the higher the price.
Model Horse Power
Cadillac Escalade 345
Hummer H2 325
Land Rover LR3 300
SAAB 9-7X 275
Porsche Cayenne 247
VW Touareg V6 240
Mercedes Benz ML350 232
Lexus 2005 RX 230
BMW X3 SAV 3.0i 225
Volvo XC90 208

Who's who in
Horse Power (HP)

HP average: 263HP

* Correlation coefficient
between price and Horse Power =0.93

* The correlation factor indicates the association between
two variables. If the correlation is 1, there is a positive
correlation in the data, if its is -1, the correlation is
negative, and if it is zero, there is independence between
data factors. In this case, 0.93 indicates an almost
perfect, positive correlation between price and horse power.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Price Comparison

This graph shows the price range of the vehicles profiled. The average price per vehicle is $41,179.00.


The bottom line in numbers ...

The following is a comparative breakdown of the most popular elements that are taken into consideration when purchasing a vehicle, in this case, the SUVs profiled. The analysis includes factors such as: price, safety records, technology, luxury interiors, engine power. fuel efficiency and financing.

A Recap

This matrix contains information for the basic models of each of the SUVs profiled.

Gas mileage

Model MSRP HP City Hwy V6 V8

BMW X3 SAV 3.0i $34,848 225 15 21 Y N
Volvo XC90 $35,290 208 15 20 Y Y
Lexus 2005 RX $36,425 230 19 25 Y N
Saab 9-7X $37,000 275 15 20 Y Y
VW Touareg V6 $37,140 240 15 20 Y Y
Mercedes-Benz ML350 $38,670 232 15 18 Y Y
Porsche Cayenne $41,100 247 15 19 Y Y
Land Rover LR3 $44,330 300 14 18 Y Y
Hummer H2 $52,285 325 12 16 N Y
Cadillac Escalade $54,700 345 13 17 N Y

Average $41,179 263 15 19

Correlation coefficient between price and Home Power 0.93

* Yes = YES; N = NO

Engine Power

As the graph below shows, there is direct correlation between engine power and price. In case the SUVs profiled, the more powerful the engine, the higher the price.

Model Horse Power

Cadillac Escalade 345
Hummer H2 325
Land Rover LR3 300
SAAB 9-7X 275
Porsche Cayenne 247
VW Touareg V6 240
Mercedes Benz ML350 232
Lexus 2005 RX 230
BMW X3 SAV 3.0i 225
Volvo XC90 208

Who's who in
Horse Power (HP)

HP average: 263HP

* Correlation coefficient
between price and Horse Power =0.93

* The correlation factor indicates the association between
two variables. If the correlation is 1, there is a positive
correlation in the data, if its is -1, the correlation is
negative, and if it is zero, there is independence between
data factors. In this case, 0.93 indicates an almost
perfect, positive correlation between price and horse power.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Price Comparison

This graph shows the price range of the vehicles profiled. The average price per vehicle is $41,179.00.

Our Opinion

BMW X3: If you're looking for an SUV that comes with the backing of as reputable a name as BMW, this is definitely the one for you.

Lexus 2005 RX: The Lexus RX is an excellent example of new Japanese style. We highly recommend it for those who like style, technology, elegance and comfort.

Saab 9-7X: If you are a fashion-conscious person, the new Saab 9-7X will be your best bet. It has European elegance combined with an attractive price and it is already posing itself in the market as a stiff competitor.

VW Touareg: This is a great SUV for the new Volkswagen generation people. Its performance is solid, and it invites to enjoy the classically German style of this car maker.

Mercedez Benz ML350: This is a perfect model for families that love adventure. The ML 350 will let you experience full command of off-road activities and a wealth of luxurious features with the high standards of Mercedes Benz.

Volvo XC90: The XC90 is the best choice of SUV for those who want a perfect equilibrium between price, power and gas mileage. It also has some outstanding safety features.

Porsche Cayenee: If the quality, style, and exclusiveness of the Porsche brand entices you, then the Cayenne is the right SUV choice for you. With the same quality, refinement and elegance of the Porsche line of products, you are bound to fall in love with this sophisticated vehicle.

Land Rover LR3: The Land Rover LR3 will give you perhaps the best combination of power and luxury. If you have any doubts, don't worry. Just take your family along for a test drive ... they'll love it!

Hummer H2: This is the kind of SUVs that most people would like to buy, but few can actually afford to. In a completely different category all by itself, and as a huge departure from models like the Jeep Cherokee, the Hummer is the epitome of SUV power. If you dream about owning the ultimate SUV, then this is your dream come true.

Cadillac Escalade: If you love extremes, the Cadillac Escalade is perfect for you: huge power, extraordinary luxury, and the legacy of one of the best brands in USA: Cadillac.

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