2016 RX350 vs. 2016 or 2017 MDX - Acura MDX Forum : Acura MDX SUV Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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2016 RX350 vs. 2016 or 2017 MDX

What is everyone's opinion on the RX 350 vs. MDX? If the third row wouldn't get much use is it a clear choice to get the Lexus? I don't need the navigation so I don't see the value of the Tech package on the MDX minus the blind spot monitor. Anything else that I'm forgetting with the Tech package?

A RX350 with the moonroof packaging (~$48k MSRP) seems like a better value (Right between the Base and Tech packages on the MDX) but I'm trying to see if I should wait until 2017 when the Safety features are supposedly standard on the Lexus and Acura.

What do you all think? Any regrets getting the MDX over the new Lexus RX350?

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 02:30 PM
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What are your priorities? This is a pretty open-ended question asked on a biased board lol
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I figured it would be biased but with all of the posts about the transmission and suspension problems, I'm interested if people are regretting their MDX purchase after seeing the new RX. Plus it looks like the MDX reliability/quality/fit/finish has dropped. I have a 2005 MDX with only 70k miles that has been pretty solid but if that is no longer the case with the newer MDXs, it makes the Lexus a better choice. I was set on another MDX until I saw the new RX design and test drove it. The interior definitely comes off as a lot more luxurious. The handling was ok, and I'm not sure about the real world mpg.

I mostly do city driving daily commutes with a few 5 hour highway drives mixed in. I'm looking for a low maintenance vehicle/low cost of ownership. I would probably keep the next vehicle for 10 years too. If the MDX has fallen into the German, only lease or sell before the warranty expires category, I'm not interested.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 03:26 PM
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Right, but outside of reliability, which Lexus is better at than Acura, what are your priorities with the vehicle? It's really hard for us to provide a true comparison without any requirements. I see perhaps interior quality (Lexus wins), handling (MDX wins, but only if you can stand a stiffer ride), real world MPG (about equal), and build quality (Lexus).
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 04:29 PM
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This is too personal of a decision for anyone else to make a firm recommendation.

For example, I think the exterior styling of the new Lexus RX is hideous, as are the styles of most Lexus vehicles nowadays, since I dislike the 'gaping mouth' front grill look. I think it looks ridiculous and Lexus only designed it that way in an effort to de-feminize the Lexus styling somewhat but in my opinion it didn't work. But - no doubt some others like the look.

I never seriously considered the RX since I wanted a third row seat even though I don't use it that frequently. It's a nice thing to have when one wants to take extended family members to the restaurant or something and at other times the extra space in the back is nice to have.

I think the interior of the MDX is fine so the Lexus doesn't gain anything on that front to me but maybe I'm easier to please in this respect.

I haven't heard of any transmission reliability issues with the current MDX - just some software issues with the shift points that apparently has been taken care of with a software update (I don't have the new 9-speed, I have a 2014 with the 6-speed and really like that tranny). Some people have complained of suspension noises but not everyone has them - for example mine doesn't have any of the noises some have complained about but I've read of enough complaints on here that you should check the vehicle yourself for that possible issue.

You really just need to get out and do extended test drives in both (or more) vehicles. Pay close attention to the ride, handling, acceleration, suspension and ambient noise, etc. Really look at the room inside the vehicle and see if it suits you. Pay attention to the infotainment features/functions and consider how important the various attributes are to you - some people care a lot about certain functionality that others consider not that important. Make sure the test drive isn't just around the block - take it further than that and make sure you hit some bumps, etc.

Don't get too caught up in these online forums. It's good to get some objective points from the forums but you need to understand that far less than 1% of the vehicle owners actually post on a forum like this and the forums tend to attract people looking for resolutions to problems with a few enthusiasts thrown in.

The very things that cause me to like the MDX and dislike the RX (or some other vehicle) might be the exact opposite for you.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 04:48 PM
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I purchased a 2015 MDX Advance awd in October. I drove the BMW X5 , Lexus RX350 and both 2015 & 16 MDX.
I opted for the 2015 MDX for a couple of reasons:

1. It tows 5000lbs which the RX could not do (I have a boat).
2. MDX was much more responsive than the RX in my opinion.
3. RDX has a little smoother ride than the MDX but I was coming from a 2004 4runner LTD 4wd so both rides were much more refined than that.
4. Performance of the MDX rivaled that of the BMW at a much reduced price considering the Advance package options on the MDX.
5. I had not read any bad reviews on the 6sp transmission in the 2015 but was a little concerned reading the reviews on the new 9 speed. Since I tow my boat I did not want to take a chance on the new transmission for towing.
6. I don't care about the 3rd row seating but since it folds completely out of the way it did not matter to me.

My wife is on her second Lexus ES350 and it is a wonderful automobile. Lexus customer service is the finest in the industry. Fortunately neither of her 350s has ever had a problem and I am hoping the same for my MDX.

Finally I just returned from my first 2500 mile road trip in the MDX and can honestly say it was a pleasure. Extremely comfortable ride, great gas mileage and incredibly quiet. For me it was the right decision.
Good luck because I don't think you can go wrong either way you decide.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 05:37 PM
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It really does come to you for what's more important.

The 2016 MDX is in its third year and it's likely the reliability/quality is improved from the 2014's and 2015's. Not a valid sample size (but no one's anecdotal one is), but we had a 2014 loaner that had badly aligned panels. Inspected our 2016 like a hawk and it was way better. We don't have any odd noises from the rear suspension, and the transmission -- with the update already on the vehicle -- shifts fine for us.

That said, the Lexus's quality/reliability will still likely be better even if it's in the first model year of the new generation. Toyota/Lexus is probably the only brand nowadays that I'd trust for really high quality in the first year. Honda/Acura used to be great there but has clearly slipped.

We considered the Lexus as we don't really need the third row. So these are items from our situation:

- When we were purchasing, the Lexus had just came out and dealers were gouging. I'm sure now the prices are more reasonable. But you should get excellent prices on the 2016 MDX, in its third model year, and with the 2017 announced and supposedly shipping in the summer.

- The MDX isn't a sports sedan, but it still handles better than the Lexus, even in the F-sport incarnation. The trade-off is a firmer ride that only you can decide if it's worth it. Let's face it, some people enjoy the traditional Lexus ride -- soft, little feel, cushy. Others can't stand it.

- While the 2016 RX has improved cargo room, the MDX still kills it there. We take some cross-state trips and pack the vehicle.

- Power/acceleration on the MDX is noticeably better. It's not even that close. The Lexus is by our standards "adequate," but we like quick acclerations onto ramps, passing on mountain passes where we have to get into the oncoming lane.

- Styling on the MDX is okay to us, we liked it better than the 2nd gen with its more pronounced beak. The Lexus is controversial -- I can probably get used to it, my wife actually likes it.

- The luxury quotient on the Lexus is noticeably better. The cabin feels nicer, the MDX isn't bad but it's definitely a level or two below. Materials just feel better on the Lexus. That said, did you notice some hard dash pieces on the side of the steering wheel? Surprisingly cheap for a Lexus.

- The vehicle we really wanted was the XC90 Inscription. A lot of the positive assets of both except I'd never buy a first-year (and maybe second year) Volvo. (Then again it's probably gotten to the point where I wouldn't buy a first year Acura either!) But I doubt you'd be interested since you're looking for higher-end quality/reliability.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 07:08 PM
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The 2016 RX350 interior is stunning, material quality exceeds the price tag. That said, no third row, "interesting" styling and reduced cargo space would be its knocks when compared to the MDX. That said, the interior quality of the RX is outstanding. The MDX interior is like a Quality Inn and the RX350 is like a St. Regis.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 08:00 PM
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No third row, no care. Shopped the new XC90, new Q7 sorta (hate the look), Toyota Highlander and new Honda Pilot. MDX gave us handling we wanted with a third row and fewer long term cost of ownership concerns than the XC90.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BrianV View Post
The 2016 RX350 interior is stunning, material quality exceeds the price tag. That said, no third row, "interesting" styling and reduced cargo space would be its knocks when compared to the MDX. That said, the interior quality of the RX is outstanding. The MDX interior is like a Quality Inn and the RX350 is like a St. Regis.
That was the first thing I noticed when I hopped in the lexus. The interior blows the mdx out the water. I honestly was set on the MDX since the 2015 RX seemed really dated and had (in my opinion) an ugly interior. Especially the weird dash mounted shifter. But I was left feeling like there wasn't anything very luxurious about the mdx. I guess since I have a 2005 mdx I felt like I could sacrifice that for reliability. Seems like the lexus would be the safer bet now though.

I actually like the new 2016 rx exterior design which is making the decision tough. I'm thinking it's going to come down to whether I can get the mdx for few grand cheaper than the rx because if they are the same price for similar features otd, the RX wins. And it looks like lexus is dealing on the RX finally.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by neoshi View Post
Right, but outside of reliability, which Lexus is better at than Acura, what are your priorities with the vehicle? It's really hard for us to provide a true comparison without any requirements. I see perhaps interior quality (Lexus wins), handling (MDX wins, but only if you can stand a stiffer ride), real world MPG (about equal), and build quality (Lexus).
I think the items you mentioned are pretty much my priorities (in which case it seems like the RX is better overall). I would love to have carplay or a better infotainment system as well but it seems like both vehicles are lacking there. If I could mirror my iphone on the screen for navigation that would be ideal. I might want to listen to spotify through the sound system but I think that would work with both vehicles. The safety features being standard might make me wait for 2017 unless I get an amazing deal. I'm basically trying to stay under $45k. I was able to get that on the base AWD MDX ($41k before tax/tags, ~$43k otd) a few months ago so I'm assuming I could get even better now that the 2017 was announced (maybe get the Tech package $45k otd?).
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-16-2016, 11:46 PM
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That was the first thing I noticed when I hopped in the lexus. The interior blows the mdx out the water. I honestly was set on the MDX since the 2015 RX seemed really dated and had (in my opinion) an ugly interior. Especially the weird dash mounted shifter. But I was left feeling like there wasn't anything very luxurious about the mdx. I guess since I have a 2005 mdx I felt like I could sacrifice that for reliability. Seems like the lexus would be the safer bet now though.

I actually like the new 2016 rx exterior design which is making the decision tough. I'm thinking it's going to come down to whether I can get the mdx for few grand cheaper than the rx because if they are the same price for similar features otd, the RX wins. And it looks like lexus is dealing on the RX finally.
RX is a brand new design, and nobody can discount the Lexus reliability even for a first year model. Since you haven't stated a need for third row or the additional cargo, and you've also stated your LIKE of the RX exterior (which is polarizing), then I'd highly recommend the RX.

For what it's worth, I think the new RX styling is good, but my parents think it's too radical. Too each their own... The MDX styling is very conservative in comparison.

As far as direct comparisons go, if you don't need or desire a 3rd row or the MDX's cargo volume, I personally think the RX is a no brainer. If you need a 3rd row, the RX is out...

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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RX is a brand new design, and nobody can discount the Lexus reliability even for a first year model. Since you haven't stated a need for third row or the additional cargo, and you've also stated your LIKE of the RX exterior (which is polarizing), then I'd highly recommend the RX.

For what it's worth, I think the new RX styling is good, but my parents think it's too radical. Too each their own... The MDX styling is very conservative in comparison.

As far as direct comparisons go, if you don't need or desire a 3rd row or the MDX's cargo volume, I personally think the RX is a no brainer. If you need a 3rd row, the RX is out...
I have probably used the third row in my current MDX 5 times max in the past 11 years so I'm comfortable not getting it but obviously it's nice to have in a pinch. I'll probably kick myself the couple of times I wish I had it. Same goes for the cargo space. I moved a couple of sofas the other day and fitting both of them at the same time in my MDX and not having to rent a truck was nice. Again, nice to have, but I'm willing to kick myself a couple of times. Plus I think the cargo space is close enough between the two vehicles, minus the extreme slant to the rear window that would probably effect real world cargo volume.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 12:38 AM
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Read your own posts here - it looks like you really want the RX so just go for it if that's what you prefer. I still recommend an extensive test drive in each before making the final decision but your responses here come across as if you've basically decided on the RX. Sometimes the gut feel on a decision like this is meaningful.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 12:56 AM
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Reliability? I wonder how many times did the Acura DBW Throttle stuck wide open ala Lexus...
How many died there? Oh wait yes Acura never had those... Geez Acura Reliability right?

And that is not even a BIAS Answer as I would not get a 3rd Gen yet, Wait till the refresh 17" or wait till 4th gen altogether. But in any case, I would never own a Lexus unless its an LFA.

2G MDX Tech & Entert // Sport Running Board // F&R Fender Garnish // Wheel Locks // K&N Filter making a billion horsepower...
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