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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, Everyone,

Have a 2009 Honda Pilot EXL right now and looking to upgrade soon. Noticed the perception on the forums and many places online is that Honda/Acura quality has really dropped with the new ZF9 transmission. There are many complaints on the new Honda Pilots as well as the MDX and other Acura models concerning the ZF9 transmission. Many online have even reported selling their car as soon as possible to get rid of the issues. Noticing these cars are getting alot cheaper especially the 2014 -2015 models. Browsing around seems many can be had for under $30,000 especially with higher miles around 40,000-60,000 miles. Am I wrong in assuming that the higher mileage vehicles have been " tested/trialed" and have proven to be good units ? Bought my Pilot at 100,000 miles and it is still going strong so i was quite surprised to see the luxury counterparts having all these issues. Is this due to all the issues with the transmissions ? Any way to ensure you get a vehicle with a good transmission ? Or is this a car you better buy with some factory warranty ? Would appreciate any feedback on your car and any issues you've had with it or are these model years no go until Honda/Acura but a new transmission in newer models. Let me know. Thanks.
 

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ZF9 transmission. Many online have even reported selling their car as soon as possible to get rid of the issues. Noticing these cars are getting alot cheaper especially the 2014 -2015 models.
The 2015-2015 models don't have the ZF9 tranny - they have a 6 speed tranny.

I've had a 2014 MDX for over 4 years now and it's had zero problems and has been a pleasure to drive.

You need to understand that forums like this give a skewed view since most of the posters are either people complaining about something or are enthusiasts. It doesn't reflect the normal experiences. It's worth reading what people post - you just need to be aware of the context and audience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The 2015-2015 models don't have the ZF9 tranny - they have a 6 speed tranny.

I've had a 2014 MDX for over 4 years now and it's had zero problems and has been a pleasure to drive.

You need to understand that forums like this give a skewed view since most of the posters are either people complaining about something or are enthusiasts. It doesn't reflect the normal experiences. It's worth reading what people post - you just need to be aware of the context and audience.
Yes I definitely try to keep that in mind. I'm leaning towards a 2015 or 2016 to get those added features such as lane watch and heated steering wheel and such.

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The ZF9 had some initial issues with the way it was programmed, but after the software fix, it works great. I've seen some reports of failures, but I've seen a lot more about the 6 speed having rough 3rd gear and vibration issues caused by early failure of the ATF. Many more never really experience these problems or just simply don't notice them. It kind of depends how sensitive you usually are to abnormalities (I'm hypersensitive).

Has quality gone down overall on Honda/Acura? Yes, IMO (I've driven Honda products aging back to 1987 for almost two decades now), but depending on what you're looking for in a SUV, it's still arguably a great value.

I'm not a brand loyalist, so I've experienced issues with almost every brand I've tried. The least issues I've had are with Lexus, but they aren't fun to drive. So, you just need to decide what you value the most in your vehicles. I have had more problems with the dealership/warranty experience of Honda/Acura than with the actual car having issues. To some degree, that's the fault of the dealer rather than the brand, but the brand shares the fault by unilaterally listening to uncooperative dealers the majority of the time. I've had the most technical issues with Subaru, but I can wrench most of those problems myself. Then there's also Genesis, but the dealer I went to was extremely cooperative, as was Hyundai corporate. With luxury brands, my experiences with Audi and BMW (and Infiniti to some degree) have been normal, which is basically since you lease the car only for only three years, major problems usually don't exist [except with BMW]. When they do, loaners are always available, and the cycle continues until the problem gets resolved.

Now, that being said, I have noticed older MDXes becoming obsolete due to technical issues with less than a decade of life. So I have my reservations about longevity of the brand's products now. But the early to mid 2000s was a pretty bad generation for Honda products due to failures of their proprietary technologies, so that's just something that needs to be considered.
 

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I heard the transmission literally falls out of like 37% of all MDX's...STAY AWAY!

Seriously though, if an alien came to earth (stick with me here) to consider becoming a human and walked into a hospital they would think it was the worst idea ever...reviews and message boards are a lot like hospitals; a few doctors and nurses around that know better but mostly filled with sick people!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The ZF9 had some initial issues with the way it was programmed, but after the software fix, it works great. I've seen some reports of failures, but I've seen a lot more about the 6 speed having rough 3rd gear and vibration issues caused by early failure of the ATF. Many more never really experience these problems or just simply don't notice them. It kind of depends how sensitive you usually are to abnormalities (I'm hypersensitive).

Has quality gone down overall on Honda/Acura? Yes, IMO (I've driven Honda products aging back to 1987 for almost two decades now), but depending on what you're looking for in a SUV, it's still arguably a great value.

I'm not a brand loyalist, so I've experienced issues with almost every brand I've tried. The least issues I've had are with Lexus, but they aren't fun to drive. So, you just need to decide what you value the most in your vehicles. I have had more problems with the dealership/warranty experience of Honda/Acura than with the actual car having issues. To some degree, that's the fault of the dealer rather than the brand, but the brand shares the fault by unilaterally listening to uncooperative dealers the majority of the time. I've had the most technical issues with Subaru, but I can wrench most of those problems myself. Then there's also Genesis, but the dealer I went to was extremely cooperative, as was Hyundai corporate. With luxury brands, my experiences with Audi and BMW (and Infiniti to some degree) have been normal, which is basically since you lease the car only for only three years, major problems usually don't exist [except with BMW]. When they do, loaners are always available, and the cycle continues until the problem gets resolved.

Now, that being said, I have noticed older MDXes becoming obsolete due to technical issues with less than a decade of life. So I have my reservations about longevity of the brand's products now. But the early to mid 2000s was a pretty bad generation for Honda products due to failures of their proprietary technologies, so that's just something that needs to be considered.
Thanks for the informative post. This gives me alot to think about.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I heard the transmission literally falls out of like 37% of all MDX's...STAY AWAY!

Seriously though, if an alien came to earth (stick with me here) to consider becoming a human and walked into a hospital they would think it was the worst idea ever...reviews and message boards are a lot like hospitals; a few doctors and nurses around that know better but mostly filled with sick people!
Thanks and a good analogy. This leaves me with alot less options.

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Hi, Everyone,

Have a 2009 Honda Pilot EXL right now and looking to upgrade soon. Noticed the perception on the forums and many places online is that Honda/Acura quality has really dropped with the new ZF9 transmission. There are many complaints on the new Honda Pilots as well as the MDX and other Acura models concerning the ZF9 transmission. Many online have even reported selling their car as soon as possible to get rid of the issues. Noticing these cars are getting alot cheaper especially the 2014 -2015 models. Browsing around seems many can be had for under $30,000 especially with higher miles around 40,000-60,000 miles. Am I wrong in assuming that the higher mileage vehicles have been " tested/trialed" and have proven to be good units ? Bought my Pilot at 100,000 miles and it is still going strong so i was quite surprised to see the luxury counterparts having all these issues. Is this due to all the issues with the transmissions ? Any way to ensure you get a vehicle with a good transmission ? Or is this a car you better buy with some factory warranty ? Would appreciate any feedback on your car and any issues you've had with it or are these model years no go until Honda/Acura but a new transmission in newer models. Let me know. Thanks.
I created couple weeks back a thread about that. I was surprise by the amount of negative reviews on Edmunds.com.
Well, you never know. Most people here have positive reviews. So I will get one by years end. I am looking for the hybrid version. Hopefully that new tech won't create major issues down the road.
 

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I wouldn't buy a 2015 MDX. I have one that goes back from a lease in December and I feel sorry for the person who buys it. I have lived with all the crap for 3 years with Acura telling me it is normal operation. I'm done with them and I have had 7 different Acura's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wouldn't buy a 2015 MDX. I have one that goes back from a lease in December and I feel sorry for the person who buys it. I have lived with all the crap for 3 years with Acura telling me it is normal operation. I'm done with them and I have had 7 different Acura's.
Wow thanks for the response. What kind of issues were you having?

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My 2017 SH-AWD Tech has been "meh". The transmission, while ok, is NOT smooth and at an Acura standard. It is jerky when cold. When warm it is better, but nowhere near what I expected from an Acura. Also, roll-on power is "weird" in that you have to mash on the accelerator or it fails to drop enough gears to really perk up. My Eco Boost Ford Flex BLOWS this thing away in that respect. Also, with the transmission cooler installed for trailering there is a known issue where the transmission will make a "clunk" from 4th to 5th gear. There is no fix available according to Acura. Still, the family likes the MDX. I guess I just expected more from the experience.
 

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Wow thanks for the response. What kind of issues were you having?

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squeaking fuel pump, brakes, really bad informant system ( very outdated). Adding oil to one of these is a real pain in the butt. You have to remove the plastic cover to top of the engine. Really bad design. The thing drives like a tank after just 32,000 miles. You feel every bump in the road. Transmission shifts very hard going out of 1st gear and this is supposed to be the better 6 speed compared to the 9 speed.
 

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squeaking fuel pump, brakes, really bad informant system ( very outdated). Adding oil to one of these is a real pain in the butt. You have to remove the plastic cover to top of the engine. Really bad design. The thing drives like a tank after just 32,000 miles. You feel every bump in the road. Transmission shifts very hard going out of 1st gear and this is supposed to be the better 6 speed compared to the 9 speed.
Some of these statements are wrong, some could have been evaluated before buying, and some may be bad luck - i.e. things that don't occur on every MDX.

- There's no need to remove a plastic cover to add oil or even to do an entire oil/filter change. I detailed an oil change 'how to' thread on this forum. I don't know why you're saying a cover needs to be removed to add oil.

- The infotainment 'date' was a known commodity before you bought the vehicle so if you bought it without accepting the infotainment system then that's on you. The system could be improved, as virtually all infotainment systems in vehicles could be, but I knew what it was when I bought mine 4 years ago. It generally suits the purpose although it'd be nicer if it was better - something people say almost universally about infotainment systems in vehicles. Just know what you're getting before buying it and if it's that big of a deal to you and you just can't stand it then buy something else.

- My 6 speed tranny is very smooth - not jerky and no problem from 1st to 2nd as was described. If this is a solid issue then again, it could have been checked out and known on the test drive. I think most posters here have been quite happy with the 6 speed tranny. There has been a TSB about a jerkiness issue with some but I haven't experienced it on mine. Maybe racer's needs to be checked.

- I think the vehicle rides fine and I don't feel 'every bump in the road'. I don't know what type of vehicle racer's comparing to but this is an SUV with a reasonable handling oriented tuning (for an SUV). It won't ride the same as an Oldsmobile or Cadillac but few buyers would want that. If it's truly unduly harsh and harsher than other MDXs then the dealer should check it including the tire pressures which some people over-inflate out of spec for some reason but which will cause ride harshness. If the ride has always been like this then, again, a test drive would have revealed it and one can opt for a different riding vehicle if they didn't like this one.

The moral of the story is - do a decent test drive in whichever vehicle you plan on buying and pay attention to things like the ride, handling, comfort, infotainment system, etc.

Racer's obviously unhappy with the one they purchased but as a different data point I'm quite happy with the one I purchased (2014 SHAWD) and would make the same decision for it with the 4 years of hindsight I have.
 

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Racer needs a longer funnel. Can't blame the car for that... :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

As for other issues, I think a lot depends on the responsiveness of the servicing dealer. Nobody likes to be told "it's normal" when they know darn well something has changed for the worse.

As for infotainment, that sucked from the get-go. No surprises there. Lets hope the next redesign makes it better instead of worse. In the meantime, it's a good thing most of us have smartphones.
 

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The transmission, while ok, is NOT smooth and at an Acura standard. It is jerky when cold. When warm it is better, but nowhere near what I expected from an Acura. Also, roll-on power is "weird" in that you have to mash on the accelerator or it fails to drop enough gears to really perk up.
I think this is a fair critique of the 9speed...fair is a rare commodity around these parts! The resistance to downshifting is my only real complaint with the drivetrain. This ALWAYS happens to me when I'm getting on the freeway by the house. It's the classic CA short, mid-century design with a sharp corner in the middle that kills your drive. The short merge lane means you need some brisk acceleration but for the life of me I can't command a downshift until I absolutely mat the pedal and then it turns into screaming overreaction to the situation at hand. If it would just drop a gear at 50% throttle it would be plenty to merge.

I'd say overall the driving dynamics where across the board better in my '07 Sport. Handled great with the active shocks, sounded mean when you stood on it, and was eager to show it's sporty desires all while still being refined.

The '17 is a better car overall and my wife (primary driver) and family love it, so it's going to around a while. It's a perfect car for the intended purpose and I understand Acura is trying to appeal to the luxury appliance buyers, but I was mildly disappointed compared to our '07.
 

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Carl123 - why not use the paddles to kick down a gear or two? Might not always think of it but if it's on a spot where you have to do frequently...just part of the routine.

I have the six speed and it kicks down readily when tromped on.
 

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ZF Should really implement the "Hold paddle for maximum gear downshift" from other manufacturers...
Its ridiculous that in a transmission with that many gears you cannot drop more than 1 gear per paddle movement but it can in Full AUTO.
Just doing a simple transmission software update to add that functionality would give ZF Customers a Superb Option when driving in Manual Mode.
 

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I have buyers remorse. 2016 awd. The main thing is the lovely transmission. I've had for one year. Looking for my next car

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^^ More details would be useful to anyone contemplating a purchase of an MDX with the 9 speed - i.e. what exactly the issues you have with it are.
 
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