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I had a 2009 MDX that I really loved. Great power, handling, felt solid, best car I ever owned. Eventually I traded it in for a 2015 MDX Tech and it just doesn't measure up to my 2009 in terms of power and fun to drive. My 2015 is more sluggish (I drive in Sport mode 100% of the time) and the suspension makes a lot of noise when going over bumps. Its as if Acura was trying to appeal to soccer moms with the 3rd Gen MDX.

I see the Gen 2 RDX's had the 3.5 liter engine from 2013-2018. I remember driving an early one and felt it was really sporty. Anyone else compare the 3rd Gen MDX vs 2nd Gen RDX and what were your thoughts?
 

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Its as if Acura was trying to appeal to soccer moms with the 3rd Gen MDX
That's precisely what they tried to do. Can't blame them, that's the target (largest) demographic for these vehicles. That being said, the 3G is still sportier than many other offerings out there.
 

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When we were looking at cars we drove the MDX sport hybrid, regular MDX and an RDX over the same 15 miles of in town, highway and 2 lane roads multiple times, with me and then DW driving and one of us in the back seat. The sport hybrid IMHO is an entirely different animal than the regular MDX. Way better transmission, better feeling brakes, better ride and handling and more power from seat of the pants evaluation. The RDX main drawback was way to much road noise. In the back of the MDX we could clearly hear front seat conversations. In the RDX no way, I don't know how much was due to the large nice sunroof, but lots was just plain tire road noise, especially on rough asphalt. Road noise has always been my complaint about honda's. but the MDX, either version is as quite as the Audi Q5 we drove and just as quite as our daughter Ford Edge and our Denali pickup. (You may say pickup/no noise ? but the denali is a very quite vehicle). And the MDX I felt was better handling than the Lexus RX and the RX hybrid CV transmission really turned us off.

We settled on the MDX hybrid, But if Acura didn't have the hybrid in the lineup, we would have gone with the regular or plug in hybrid Audi Q5.
 

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I had a 2009 MDX that I really loved. Great power, handling, felt solid, best car I ever owned. Eventually I traded it in for a 2015 MDX Tech and it just doesn't measure up to my 2009 in terms of power and fun to drive. My 2015 is more sluggish (I drive in Sport mode 100% of the time) and the suspension makes a lot of noise when going over bumps. Its as if Acura was trying to appeal to soccer moms with the 3rd Gen MDX.

I see the Gen 2 RDX's had the 3.5 liter engine from 2013-2018. I remember driving an early one and felt it was really sporty. Anyone else compare the 3rd Gen MDX vs 2nd Gen RDX and what were your thoughts?
The 2nd gen RDX only came with the 6spd AT, whereas the 3rd gen MDX came with the 6spd AT, 9spd AT and 7spd DCT. Thats the main difference between the two. If you consider the 3rd row to be of any use in the MDX then sure its another advantage over the RDX. Horsepower wise, the difference is in the low double digits. If you like drivers assistance tech it became standard on the MDX prior to the RDX, although after your model year. But then we are comparing a 2 row luxury compact SUV to a 3 row luxury Mid sized SUV. Two different classes with different competitors.

The MDX is less geared towards the soccer mom imo. Most soccer moms tend to drive Escalades, Pilots, Highlanders, Porche Macans and Cayanne, BMW X7, Nissan Rogue, Honda CRV, Fords, Chevy SUVs (literally the Traverse makes the MDX feel like a racecar) and Infiniti. Styling of the MDX is sporty and looks way better than the Grandpa RX 350. As far as road noise, the MDX is a lot quieter than many competitors, but I haven't done a decibal reading yet since I am stuck at home for the past 2 months now.

Since you have the 2015, have you tried out the Sport Hybrid or the regular 17-20 model MDX? These have a better acceleration than the 6spds, and the 7spd DCT feels like you are part of the machine.

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The big disadvantages with the 2nd Gen RDX are:
  • no shawd, it has the CR-V "slip-n-grip" awd system
  • road noise from the rear, Road noise has been an issue with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen RDX.
  • 2nd Gen 6AT vs +17 MDX 9AT or 7DCT. (7DCT is figgin' nice!)
  • 1500lbs of RDX towing compared to 3500-5000 for the MDX
  • pretty much the same mpgs; but, the MDX has a larger fuel tank for more range (16 gal vs 19 gal)
  • Acurawatch became standard on all +17 MDXs
  • Electronic dampers with Sport+ mode is standard on all MDX hybrids
  • carplay is standard on all +18 MDXs
I still have my 11 MDX Adv. The +17 MDX hybrid, +19 MDX Adv with electronic dampers, or the 3rd Gen RDX are the closest vehicles that will drive similar to the 2nd Gen MDX. After a year and +14,000 miles, my 19 MDX hybrid out accelerates, out handles, brakes better, and drives like a much smaller vehicle compared to my 11 MDX Adv.
 

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So I went from a 2nd Gen MDX (2013 SH-AWD base) to a 2nd Gen RDX (2015 AWD Tech) to a 3rd Gen MDX (2017 SH-AWD Tech, now a 2019 SH-AWD Advance). The back story is that I liked the 2nd gen MDX but felt that I didn't need the 3rd row space since kids were now grown, and that I wanted added bells-and-whistles that weren't in my '13 base model. The RDX seemed to check those boxes thus my move. As you can see I then moved back to the MDX, and that's where I'll share my observations.

The 2nd Gen RDX is a quick vehicle with the V6, even with AWD. It got decent gas mileage and was smooth on the highway. The features were acceptable. But to me there were several reasons I wanted to move back to the MDX.

First reason was the AWD system. There is NO COMPARISON for the SH-AWD system to the AWS system in the 2nd gen RDX. IN short, it isn't great. Living in NH showed that it didn't stack up to the MDX, even with dedicated snow tires.

Second reason was the size difference. Even though we typically only had 4 people in the vehicle, the lack of usable storage space in the RDX (as compared to the MDX) started to wear on me over my 2.5 years of usage. It always came up short when I needed it the most. In this case, downsizing from an MDX to an RDX didn't prove to be a good thing, at least for me.

The third reason was the overall feel/handling. The RDX, while stable on the roads, always felt top-heavy in cornering, and would get impacted by external things more than I expected. It was less stable on roads with ruts (bounced, got moved side-to-side), was more impacted by cross winds, didn't handle as I'd like it to in braking or acceleration. It almost felt like the speed of the drivetrain was a bit too much for something shorter, narrower and slightly taller than the MDX was. This is a very subjective observation, but something I just picked up after driving it for a lot of miles.

I'm very happy today with my MDX, and even after driving the 3rd gen RDX, not sure I could go back to that vehicle category, at least with my current needs.

andy
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the detailed comments everyone but Andy I see you are in Merrimack, I'm in your area often, I'm located outside of Boston. To summarize I miss the drive and feel of my 2009 and am looking for a similar vehicle to it. If there are any vehicles you can recommend (non Acura) that would be appreciated. I don't really need the Tech or Advance package options and I don't need a third row.
 

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I've had a second gen RDX as a loaner. I could definitely feel some of the reasons why the MDX cost more, and it wasn't just because of the size. The MDX definitely felt more upscale than the RDX. The interior in the RDX didn't look quite as nice and the displays looked crude in comparison. Maybe I had an early model and base trim? Like mentioned earlier, it was a bit noisier. It felt and sounded more hollow than the MDX. It was almost as if I was driving my mother in law's CRV, but with a different interior and transmission. The ride in the RDX was firmer than in the MDX and didn't soak up the bumps as much, but I didn't find it jarring. The steering was fine, but I preferred the steering weight in sport mode of the MDX. Also, while the RDX is a lighter car with the same engine, it seemed to feel more sluggish in daily driving. I am not sure why, but it may have been how they calibrated the throttle response, or maybe the customers didn't fill the car with premium gas. The one thing I did prefer in the RDX was the braking. There seemed to be a bit more bite at the top end of the brake pedal travel. Overall, the RDX wasn't as soft or refined as the MDX, but I am not sure that I would consider it sporty. I had an Infiniti EX35 in the past. It wasn't as practical as an RDX, but that car was miles ahead in the sport category when compared to the RDX.

I only had the RDX for a day, so take my input for what it's worth.

If you don't need the extra space in the MDX and sportiness is the top feature you're looking for in an SUV/crossover, I'd consider looking at other models and brands. Your options really open up if you don't need that third row.
 

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Thanks for the detailed comments everyone but Andy I see you are in Merrimack, I'm in your area often, I'm located outside of Boston. To summarize I miss the drive and feel of my 2009 and am looking for a similar vehicle to it. If there are any vehicles you can recommend (non Acura) that would be appreciated. I don't really need the Tech or Advance package options and I don't need a third row.
Look at BMW or Mercedes then, if you don't want he technology. The X3 or the GLC would fit your requirements honestly.

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Check out the Mazda CX-9. Good reliability so far (current gen has only been out since 2016), abundant low-end torque, good looks inside and out, excellent value for the money, and it's definitely on the sporty end of this segment. The AWD doesn't torque vector like the MDX which is a bit disappointing. It feels smaller than the MDX on the inside, even though it is actually 3" longer overall. It has a small 3rd row but consider it a 5 seater with flexibility for 7.

If you want a true performance-oriented SUV you're only left with the German entries: X3 , X5, and GLC (especially the 43). I personally wouldn't consider the Audi Q5/Q7 any more sporty than the 3rd gen MDX, but this is subjective.
 

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Is the Porsche Cayenne or Macan worth considering?
Can you afford their high price tags? A well equipped and optioned Porsche SUV goes around $80k to $100k depending on the model, type of motor, etc. You'd be saving money on a X3 M40i or X3 M.

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Discussion Starter #13
I would be looking for a CPO and I've seen some base models under 40k, but you are right the better equipped ones go for much more.
 

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I would be looking for a CPO and I've seen some base models under 40k, but you are right the better equipped ones go for much more.
We are actually also in the market for a new vehicle, most likely CPO too, and we are dead set between the X3 and GLB (GLC didn't fill our requirements). I've seen 2019 X3 M40i go for like $51k with low miles. But also a 2020 can come for the same price too but OTD though.

I just did a quick search... you could grab a 2017 Cayenne for $40k-$50k range. But idk how much well equipped it is though.

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Look at BMW or Mercedes then, if you don't want he technology. The X3 or the GLC would fit your requirements honestly.

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Those are all more expensive. Especially when you consider the base MDX. It doesn’t make any sense. Less technology for more money.
 

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A comparable x3 would list for $7,000 to $8,000 more. Leather,acc and heated seats aren’t even standard on the x3.
 

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I own a 3rd gen MDX so I can be critical...it is in fact marketed to soccer moms; I'm married to a woman and we have two daughters that play club soccer, she loves the MDX...mic drop.

We've had all generations of MDX and are hoping the 4th gen gets back to what made the second generation so awesome. Honda has a history, particularly with the Accord/Civic, of creating an amazing version of something, then letting some focus group talk them into making a 90* detour and ruining it. The current Civic is a case study of this phenomenon; they totally F'ed it up on the previous two generations and then came back and dropped the hammer on the segment and created the greatest handling front drive vehicle of all time. I think <hope> the 3rd gen MDX is this diversionary mistake and the 4th gen gives is the goods many of us want. I hate our MDX, I mean it looks decent inside and out, but driving it takes a small piece of my car crazy soul (luckily its my soccer mom wife's car, so I don't have to spend much time in it).
 

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I own a 3rd gen MDX so I can be critical...it is in fact marketed to soccer moms; I'm married to a woman and we have two daughters that play club soccer, she loves the MDX...mic drop.

We've had all generations of MDX and are hoping the 4th gen gets back to what made the second generation so awesome. Honda has a history, particularly with the Accord/Civic, of creating an amazing version of something, then letting some focus group talk them into making a 90* detour and ruining it. The current Civic is a case study of this phenomenon; they totally F'ed it up on the previous two generations and then came back and dropped the hammer on the segment and created the greatest handling front drive vehicle of all time. I think <hope> the 3rd gen MDX is this diversionary mistake and the 4th gen gives is the goods many of us want. I hate our MDX, I mean it looks decent inside and out, but driving it takes a small piece of my car crazy soul (luckily its my soccer mom wife's car, so I don't have to spend much time in it).
we drove the sport hybrid and loved it. Then tried the std mdx. IMHO they are nigh and day different. The hybrid shifts great, great brakes, great handling, by comparison the std mdx 9 speed is ok, not great, but neither was the audi q5 transmission. std mdx brakes were way less to my likeing and with only 40 more hp, the much broader torque curve really makes a difference in everyday driving. Even DW set the drive mode to Sport and loves the handling. And we are coming from MB E class sedans and my SL roadster. The hybrid behaves more like a RWD car none of the FWD push and understeer of a FWD car. Std MDX while understeer wasn't terrible, still felt like a FWD car when we pushed it. The 7 speed DCT responds pretty instantly. And either MDX is quite. Course the MDX hybrid can't tow, but for us towing vehicle is a GMC diesel crew cab
 

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Is the Porsche Cayenne or Macan worth considering?
Absolutely! Porsche ranks high on many dependability/reliability surveys too, though they still cost a pretty penny to maintain and repair out of warranty (like most German manufacturers). I have driven a family friend's 2014 Cayenne and the 18 Macan they replaced it with, both drove very well though I preferred the Cayenne because it is far more spacious. Why buy an SUV the size of a hatchback? it negates the purpose of an SUV. (okay it's not that small, but the Macan's steeply sloped roof and small back seat really cut into it's practicality)
 

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Absolutely! Porsche ranks high on many dependability/reliability surveys too, though they still cost a pretty penny to maintain and repair out of warranty (like most German manufacturers). I have driven a family friend's 2014 Cayenne and the 18 Macan they replaced it with, both drove very well though I preferred the Cayenne because it is far more spacious. Why buy an SUV the size of a hatchback? it negates the purpose of an SUV. (okay it's not that small, but the Macan's steeply sloped roof and small back seat really cut into it's practicality)
Absolutely! Porsche ranks high on many dependability/reliability surveys too, though they still cost a pretty penny to maintain and repair out of warranty (like most German manufacturers). I have driven a family friend's 2014 Cayenne and the 18 Macan they replaced it with, both drove very well though I preferred the Cayenne because it is far more spacious. Why buy an SUV the size of a hatchback? it negates the purpose of an SUV. (okay it's not that small, but the Macan's steeply sloped roof and small back seat really cut into it's practicality)
The Macan is based on the Audi Q5, but more focused on performance. The Q5 has more interior storage room and better visibility. The Macan's rear sloped roof cuts into rear seat room and cargo space.
 
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