Purchased: 2016 MDX Advance. This is my second MDX (my wife's car) and while I am big fan of the vehicle, Acura made some horrible tweaks to the car. If I were to buy this car again, I would try to find a 2015 model.
Pros: The interior is beautiful with great materials. The ride quality is excellent and always gives confidence.
Cons: The are 3 man issues with this car
1) The transmission is truly horrible. I am car guy who has owned many cars and have never experienced such a bad transmission. PLEASE release a software update to fix this
2) The auto-idle is poorly executed and there is no way to permanently turn it off.
3) Infotainment system is dated and the GPS in mediocre
Three days after we purchased the Acura MDX, we drove it 500 miles to Lake Tahoe through blizzards! The AWD works better than my 4/4 Toyota Sequoia! We passed cars, trucks with chains. .stuck! We drove right though. At one point in time we were up to our door panels in snow! On the way up we got 24 mpg and on the way home to San Diego, 28 mpg, thanks to a nine speed transmission and half the cylinders shutting down on cruise control! It is unbelievable how well this works with 290 hp to boot. Consumer reports rated this vehicle an 89 rating, tops in the luxury mid size SUV category. To be clear, we looked at SUVs from Porsche, BMW, MB, Lexus but none of them have the top rating and best repair service record as the Acura MDX. BTW, if you are buying a car, "bait' each dealership against each other. That is how we got this MDX for $44,500 when list was $50,250! Do not believe the "dealer invoice" number as it is fabricated. You should be able to beat dealer invoice by at least a grand! As it seems, even Edmunds believes this BS dealer invoice number, too. Oops!
SH-AWD w/Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
Very disappointed, follow up to my previous post, ok my car has been at the dealers 6 times now for a vibration between 55 to 75 MPH 4,900 miles they keep saying they have to confirm the vibration which I have a service order from October stating they confirmed the vibration, they replaced the brake rotors, needless to say vibration still there, they replaced the tires, vibration still there, took it back to the dealer today for 6th time, another test drive with the service manager he said he could feel something but wasn't sure what it was, back seat was vibrating extensively, service manager acknowledged it, said he would take a new MDX off the lot drive it same route we drove mine to see if the road made it vibrate. They called and said they test drove a new MDX off the lot and it vibrates worse than mine so it's a characteristic of the vehicle. They actually put this in writing on the service order. I asked if they were informing consumers of this vibration characteristic when they were looking at the vehicles and they said no, I told them just because the other car vibrates does not make it right, it sounds like a design defect to me, this directive came from the District Service Manager I cannot believe they would actually think that is acceptable, they all vibrate so that makes it acceptable???? Buyer beware I would not buy the 2016 Acura MDX.
SH-AWD w/Advance Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
My wife and I were in the market for our first luxury crossover and we couldn't be happier with our purchase (Advance Pkg, SH-AWD). Let me say outright that we did not consider any German cars for reasons ranging from high price point/high maintenance to poor reliability/longevity. We weren't particular about having 3-rows, but felt it'd be nice to have the option (for trips with family/friends) - the MDX fit the bill perfectly. I've had my MDX for 6-weeks and driven 1800 miles, so its obviously too early to talk about reliability(which the Acura brand is known for) but here are the pros/cons as I see it.
- Drives great. Plenty of power to summon in any situation (esply with Normal/Sport IDS modes).
- Very comfortable seats & ride. You don't feel minor road imperfections & the suspension does a great job of dampening out big potholes.
- Very quiet cabin. Conversation between 1st & 2nd row passengers have never been easier.
- Gas sipper (I use premium 93 octane). I consistently average over 24-mpg in combined driving. Averaged 26-mpg during a recent 600-mile road trip(80% highway) with 5 adults, fully loaded cargo space (3rd row folded). That said, I always use cruise at highway speeds and avoid very hard acceleration/braking. I calculate MPG estimates to be 100% sure though the tip computer is not off by much (-0.5 to +1 MPG off actual).
- Realized the beauty of SH-AWD driving on curvy, hilly wet roads (yet to test on snow/heavy rain). Just when I thought I needed to hit the brakes to slow around a corner, the MDX breezes past with aplomb. It drives like a car - you don't feel body roll, side-to-side weight transfer during turns.
- Love all the safety features, esply the Lane departure warning. I read recently that it received great crash-test scores.
Now for the Cons:
- Depending on the gear you are in, the transmission sometimes seems to lag for a split second before it accelerates. I believe this has to do with dog clutch in the ZF-9 speed design.
- Adaptive cruise may seem hard on braking/acceleration depending on how you normally drive.
- Touchscreen response is a tad slower than I'd like it to be.
- Fog lights are offered only as an accessory (extra $)
- Power-folding side mirrors, panaromic roof, motion-activated power liftgate not available.
I've seen people voice concerns on online forums regarding transmission, build quality(as MDXs are built now in Alabama Vs Canada until about a couple of years ago) but based on my experience, I'm inclined to believe most of them are unjustified. There have also been complaints about higher than usual noise coming from under the hood(for someone outside the car) even when the a/c compressor is not running - the owners manual clearly says that is expected as a result of the system checks ! Complaints related to dual-screen is a matter of getting used to - I actually find it convenient. The 3rd row of seating is mostly for kids (or short adults for upto 2-hr ride). In my opinion, this is the most well-rounded luxury crossover offering an optimal mix of comfort, handling, value and safety. Get one - you'll love it !
SH-AWD w/AcuraWatch Plus Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A)
Before buying, I test drove a 2016 Pilot EX-L and a 2015 MDX. In my opinion, the MDX felt more agile and responsive than the Pilot, and I preferred the MDX's interior and exterior styling over the Pilot.
Car handles incredibly well. Accelerates, turns, and brakes superbly. If you're looking for a three-row SUV, I can't think of anything that would come even close to the same level of performance and value, except perhaps a Pilot. The only other option I considered was the Volvo XC90, but it would cost around 25-30% more, and although I greatly prefer the Volvo's interior and user interface, my friends with Volvos have had issues with reliability. Audi Q7 also looks great, but again price and reliability issues steered me away. So, from a price-performance-reliability standard, the MDX is very hard to beat. I took the MDX on a curvy, secluded mountain highway, and it was truly the most thrilling drive I've ever had. I'm happy with the car.
The user interface is disgraceful. Acura's worst yet, and that's saying something. Even though the dealer set up the car for my wife and me, my wife's first solo drive in the car had her near tears because of the maddening user interface. For instance, getting the car to accept her phone's bluetooth connection instead of mine was crazy complex, and you have to go through two entirely separate menus if you want to transfer both the phone operations and the phone's media (e.g., Pandora) from one source to another. Even everyday tasks like turning on the seat's heaters, adjusting the A/C, or tinkering with the audio settings (e.g., fade/balance) all take multiple levels of menus, requiring too much of the driver's focus and attention. I sorely miss when I could do any of those things with a single gesture (flip a switch! turn a dial!) without having to take my eyes off the road. Now, I have to find the 1 cm square on the display panel that takes me to the menu to adjust the fan. Then the menu changes, and I have to navigate my hand to the "+" and "-" icons. Even when I know what to do -- which isn't often the case, because the menu system is poorly laid out -- my eyes leave the road for what'd I guess to be about three seconds... just to adjust the fan!
Speaking of user interfaces, the displays in the car are terrible. Just plain old washed out and "fuzzy." I'm wondering if Acura got a deal on surplus parts from circa 2001. Backup camera quality feels like it's made from Soviet-era parts, and the touchpad was probably made from leftover Microsoft Zune panels. Resolution and clarity are shameful.
The glove compartment light apparently only comes on if the headlights are on. I, personally, tend to open the glove compartment when the engine is off, and even if it's light outside, the back of my glove compartment is still pretty dark.
The chrome trim used all over the center stack reflects the sun like a mirror, creating an annoying and blinding distraction. My wife and I each experienced this independently, so I don't think I'm being nit-picky. Look for a recall on this in future months, where your dealer installs non-reflective stickers over the chrome trim to solve this safety issue. ;-)
With Acura's button-based transmission system, it seems impossible to park the car, turn off the engine, and keep the radio on. There's a ridiculous "car wash" mode that lets you turn off the car and keep it in neutral, but good luck remembering the proper sequence of brake, button, and transmission to put it in this mode, and I'm still not sure how practical this mode is anyway.
Suspension is... bumpy if not jarring.
Too much hard plastic.
Acura dealer mentioned crazy expensive parts when trying to upsell on warranty. Do headlights really cost $1,100!?
Notes on AcuraWatch Plus:
AcuraWatch plus is a suite of features like adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Unfortunately, it does not include blind spot monitoring. I had great hopes for both adaptive cruise and lane keep assist, but neither seem quite ready for prime time. Adaptive cruise is a little too slow to react, especially when speeding back up either when the car in front accelerates or when you change lanes to go around a slower car. Lane keep assist is at times too aggressive while at other times too oblivious of the car's drifting across lanes. It also seems to continually "test" if the driver is actively steering by subtly turning the wheel slightly back and forth. After a couple of hours of driving, my arms and shoulders were sore from subconsciously fighting these small, constant tugs on the steering wheel. On the other hand, I have had at least one successful driving experience where I let the car do most of the steering while I barely assisted. That was kind of fun, but I don't foresee those opportunities arising often, due to typical traffic and road conditions.
Overall: Great car, terrible tech.