2013 MDX buying experience (not waiting for the 2014!)
Like many of you, I had been aiming to buy a new MDX, tempted by the steep discounts being offered on the 2012 model. I went to the dealer about a month ago, and although they had many 2012's still on the lot and they were offering $7000+ below MSRP, they didn't have the specific combo that I wanted (advance package, palladium metalic, ebony leather), and I wasn't willing to compromise on this. Since then, I became even more discouraged when I read in these forums that the 2013's have a locked navigation system which cannot be fully accessed while driving.
As it turns out, the 2013 navigation system is NOT locked. It has no limitations or grayed-out screens while moving. Even better, without any negotiation at all, yesterday the dealer offered me $3000 below invoice+destination on the 2013 Advance package (final out-the-door price of $48k plus tax). I got the impression that I could push them even lower, but I don't like haggling and I felt like I was getting a good deal. I also bought a 6 year / 70K mile extended warranty from Acura Care (...for $1600 after initially declining it several times).
Why did I opt for a 2013 MDX, rather than wait for the 2014 MDX or go with some other SUV? Several reasons:
1. As most of you know, nobody else offers the same combination of features, utility, looks, safety, and handling of the MDX in the ~$50K price range. Although it's expensive in absolute terms, IMO you get what you pay for with the MDX.
2. I hear that the 2014 MDX may get rid of SH-AWD, and I don't really need or want a bigger car than the existing MDX. The cargo space behind the 3rd row is somewhat of a joke (Acura.com claims "15 cubic feet" of cargo with all seats up, no way, my 2006 TL has a 12 cubic ft trunk and it feels like it's 10X bigger). But I'm not willing to add extra 3rd row legroom or cargo space for a bigger or worse-handling SUV. I love the way the current MDX handles, it feels like a relatively small car and I'm afraid the 2014 will ruin this. The 2013 also has an excellent turning radius and an awesome feeling of "connectedness" to the road, which I'm sure will both suffer in a larger 2014 model. I'm also afraid that the 2014 will be even more expensive, and uglier (I personally believe that the current MDX is the best looking SUV on the market).
3. Although acura is a very reliable brand overall, consumer reports ranks the MDX as the least reliable of all acura models. I figure that the 2013 MDX, now in its 7th model year, will be the most reliable full-sized SUV that Acura will build for many years to come. I assume/hope that the 2013 model has various minor internal improvements in parts or construction compared to the 2012 model.
4. Safety... Our insurance premiums went DOWN after buying the 2013 MDX, even though this $50K luxury vehicle replaced a $9k POS! The insurance rep says that this is because the MDX is safer and tends to get in fewer accidents. I specifically wanted a silver vehicle (studies have show they are safer, although this may not be causal) and also the Advance package because of the radar-based Collision Mitigation Braking System. I spend a lot of time on busy SF Bay Area highways and I've had many close calls where traffic abruptly slows/stops ahead of me. I consider myself a defensive driver and I don't tailgate, but you just never know. Just a few days ago, I saw a Lexus SUV which had crashed into the back of a car on the side of the road at high speed. There were shopping bags and debris everywhere, it was horrible. Later I found out that one passenger was killed and everyone else was injured. I believe the MDX CMBS may have prevented (or reduced the severity of) this type of crash. Why take chances with my family and save a few $ to go with a cheaper car without this feature? It's a no-brainer for me, I will sleep better at night knowing that I have this.