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Possible new owner . Looking at a used 2015 or 2016. Close to same miles. 6speed vs 9speed has me worried. Leaning to 6 speed. Tell me I'm not wrong? I see a bunch of posts on the Acura and Honda forums lamenting the 9 speed zf tranny. Are they as bad as they say?
 

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I’d avoid the 2016. My 2017 is pretty good. It’s not perfect — it has its quirks — but i can’t help but roll my eyes at some of the drama queen posts I’ve read.

I think a lot of the drama centers on the ATF warmer, which had a defect, and the ATF cooler, which is either noisy (according to Acura), or causes delayed shifting (according to a couple vocal opponents). Either way, most agree the 9 speed is fine if you get a mid+ 2017 or any 2018+ and don’t install the transmission cooler (towing capped at 3,500 lbs without cooler). 2018+ is probably the safest way to go, just to be sure and you also get the updated infotainment (which also has its quirks, but CarPlay is nice).

The 6 speed wasn’t without problems, either, however. Honda has a long history with transmission woes on their V6 vehicles. I think people just knew what to expect and were used to the type of issues.

So go with 2015 if you want to save the money and are okay with the (ugly, imho) beak. Otherwise I think the 2018+ is the best/safest route to take.
 

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If you're already asking this question, then I'd say go for the 6 speed. Most MDX owners wouldn't know or care about the difference between how they feel or perform, but it sounds like you might.

I have a 2015, and have driven several loaners with the 9 speed. I didn't think the behavior of the 9 speed was anywhere near as bad as a few earlier posts had described. I think that software updates had pretty much taken care of the flaws and quirks. But I still preferred how the 6 speed operated; it seemed a tad more predictable. While I do like having a shift lever, the push button gear selector didn't bother me and doesn't require a degree in rocket science to operate. One of my favorite things about the 6 speed is the ease of maintenance. Fluid changes on the 9 speed do require some type of scan tool that allows you to read the transmission temperature.

The 6 speed wasn’t without problems, either, however. Honda has a long history with transmission woes on their V6 vehicles. I think people just knew what to expect and were used to the type of issues.
Yes, Honda's transmissions on their V6 models were definitely problematic; however, it was the early ones that were particularly troublesome and were regularly replaced. They did some design updates which pretty much eliminated most failures, but there were some issues that lingered.

I don't recall the 6 speed having any major problems. The only issue I can think of off the top of my head is shudder due to premature fluid degradation. Honda did issue a TSB to address it, which calls for multiple drain and fills and a software update. My take is that to keep the 5 and 6 speeds hooked up to the V6's happy, do your best to keep fresh fluid in them. I believe that Honda's maintenance interval for changing the fluid in them isn't quite conservative enough.
 

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I'm thinking about upgrading my 08 RDX with +150,000 miles. I really like the 2015 MDX Adv sh-awd because of the 6AT, Acurawatch suite, and standard rear HDMI Ent w/ heated 2nd row seats. You can almost purchase two 2015 MDX sh-awd Tech/Adv with under 30,000 miles for the price of one new +18 Adv sh-awd version. I don't see +$25,000 worth of upgrades comparing the 15 MDX Adv to the 19 MDX Adv until you factor in the sh-sh-awd MDX as a choice (but you lose all towing). Acurawatch was optional for certain models in 2016 before it became standard for the +17 MDXs. My 6AT in my 11 MDX has been rock solid with almost 120K on her with 1X AT fluid changes every 30k. It sounds like Acura/Honda will reduce the use of the 9AT once they upgrade the entire line-up down the road.
 

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If having a transmission that is one of the quirkiest you have ever run in over 35 years of car ownership is drama, then I'm dramatic. Simply google ZF-9speed Honda and enjoy the reading. Yes, it is serviceable. No, it is not an issue of failure - almost no examples of that. Id drive it and decide for yourself, but if you do, start with it cold.
 

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Sh-sh-awd is weak for off road etc it is designed for cornering performance so it depends what you are more interested in having, my family has a 15 and they are happy with it, I just help them keep on top of maintenance


Hybrid with sh-sh-awd:



Regular mdx with sh-awd:

 

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The MDX isn't designed for 'off-road', what I call real 4 wheeling, so that shouldn't even be one of the variables to consider - i.e. if someone wants to do off-roading with their SUV then they should cross the MDX off the list of candidates.
 

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Sh-sh-awd is weak for off road etc it is designed for cornering performance so it depends what you are more interested in having, my family has a 15 and they are happy with it, I just help them keep on top of maintenance

I strongly disagree ^^ .Sure it is no Jeep or Rock crawler lol. But we have taken our 2007 a lot of places that you would not think possible. .I have read where the earlier models were more apt for 'off roading'
 

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Sh-sh-awd is weak for off road etc it is designed for cornering performance so it depends what you are more interested in having, my family has a 15 and they are happy with it, I just help them keep on top of maintenance

I strongly disagree ^^ .Sure it is no Jeep or Rock crawler lol. But we have taken our 2007 a lot of places that you would not think possible. .I have read where the earlier models were more apt for 'off roading'
He said sh-sh-awd, meaning the sport hybrid.

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I would stay away from the 16. It was the first year of the 9 speed on the MDX.
 
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