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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm curious how everyone operates their MDX in the mtns. We recently bought a '14 off-lease AWD Tech and we really, really like it.

Prior to this vehicle I had (have) a 5MT Honda CR-V AWD EX. Our "other car" is a domestic sedan with the automatic and D/3/2/1 shifter.

When I climb or decend a mtn around here in the manual transmission Honda I shift as necessary but usually land in 4th gear. The 4th gear helps hold back the vehicle during descents so I don't need to ride the brakes so much.

In the domestic sedan I slip it into 3rd when climbing if the transmission searches too much between D and 3rd. When descending the mtn I slip it in 3rd and it keeps me out of the brakes.

In the MDX there isn't a happy solution that I've discovered yet. I can stay in 'D' and use the shifter flappers to down shift but a short time later it will return to automatic shifting. Great for going up hills, not so much for descending hills.

I can put the transmission into 'S' but that seems to take me to 3rd gear and I don't like force a transmission to downshift that abruptly for longevity reasons.

So is the solution when we're driving to grandma's house to slow down into 3rd gear revs and then shift to 'S' and do all the shifting up and down the mtns?

All I mostly want to do is lock out 6th gear, maybe 5th gear too. Otherwise I'll be facing frequent brake jobs and transmission rebuilds.

I would have been much, much happier had this MDX AWD been available with a 6MT.

Thanks!
 

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I've driven my 14 shawd in the mountains across the country including California, Utah, Colorado, Virginia, and elsewhere, and never really needed to downshift and I'm not a brake rider either (I first started driving in Colorado - used to the mountains). I've downshifted in some other vehicles when descending certain parts of mountain roads but for some reason haven't needed to in the MDX - maybe something related to the gearing or how I always leave it in Sport rather than Comfort/Normal.

When I have used downshifting I've always tried to keep it to a minimum since replacing brakes is way cheaper than replacing a transmission or engine. The main reason for doing so was in the situations where I was concerned about brakes heating up too much for particular descents, which is a safety area.
 

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I would have been much, much happier had this MDX AWD been available with a 6MT.
I'm one of the other odd 6 or so people who would have been ecstatic to have the option of getting an MDX outfitted with a 6MT. If Honda offered an Odyssey or Ridgeline with the same powertrain configuration there would probably be one in my driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks folks for the feedback. MDXstang - I agree - brakes are cheaper than transmission rebuilds.

While climbing a mountain with a traditional automatic transmission I try to wait until the transmission gets into a lower gear automatically and then tell it (using the shifter) to hold that gear.

Same with descending. Let it use whatever gears it wants but not high gear.

One of my common routes has me departing a neighborhood at low speeds and then descending a mountain. In our traditional automatic car I'll often just put it directly into "3rd" since it shouldn't need high gear until the roads straighten out at the bottom of the mtn.
 

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I am very wary of using engine brake on the X specially since SH-AWD 1.0 and 2.0 do not engine brake at all.... This means you only engine brake with the front tires and unbalance the crap out of the car in corners.

When going down a hill I maybe downshift once if at all because cruise control is very smart on keeping the set speed usually unlocking the Torque Converter to help slow down the car BEFORE trying to downshift. In most cases I use my brakes instead of engine brake, just give it a nice and steady depress to reduce 10-15mph in stride and repeat the process until it levels out. This helps reduce brake fade and keeps the momentum going so I don't have to gas it on the whole way down. This is in my 2G though with a 5 speed so your MMV.
 
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