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We are considering the cost-benefit of purchasing an MDX in SH-AWD or FWD. We are looking at the car for our family and would not be driving aggressively. We live in NYC and therefore don't use the car for a daily commute, but use it on the weekends. We'll be using the car for weekend travel to family in the area, but also to support our growing family in taking roadtrips and exploring over the next 10-15 years. We definitely want to have the car 10-15 years, so I can see us during that span both driving a lot more (not sure a growing family will stay in center-city forever), but also am worried about the maintenance and cost of AWD over time.

We wouldn't have a particular need to be out in the snow driving on any regular or desired basis, but we would deal with rainy conditions from time to time; not horribly often. Another consideration is that the roads around NY are horrible so having the 18" tires might actually provide more comfort than the 20" tires over pot-holes and such. MDX is also at the top of our budget to getting it under 50k would be great.

We test-drove the SH-AWD car but frankly I really didn't feel anything with the SH-AWD, but it's possible I wasn't accelerating enough around turns?

I'm just looking for some opinions on if it makes no sense to spend on the SH-AWD given this profile. Any insights from car-people would be very helpful.
 

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I think the difference in cost is $2000 right? I think it's worth it, especially where you live, the winter are bad. I'm in texas and I got awd just for extra. I feel it handles better when you push it hard, but during rains, it helps. I also plan to tow so its a must to have awd.
 

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SH-AWD is really performance oriented First and Weather Aid Second.
If you don´t really get into the corners or drive anywhere "Spirited" and IF you don´t need the AWD for Weather? by all means go with the FWD.
 
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We are considering the cost-benefit of purchasing an MDX in SH-AWD or FWD. We are looking at the car for our family and would not be driving aggressively. We live in NYC and therefore don't use the car for a daily commute, but use it on the weekends. We'll be using the car for weekend travel to family in the area, but also to support our growing family in taking roadtrips and exploring over the next 10-15 years. We definitely want to have the car 10-15 years, so I can see us during that span both driving a lot more (not sure a growing family will stay in center-city forever), but also am worried about the maintenance and cost of AWD over time.

We wouldn't have a particular need to be out in the snow driving on any regular or desired basis, but we would deal with rainy conditions from time to time; not horribly often. Another consideration is that the roads around NY are horrible so having the 18" tires might actually provide more comfort than the 20" tires over pot-holes and such. MDX is also at the top of our budget to getting it under 50k would be great.

We test-drove the SH-AWD car but frankly I really didn't feel anything with the SH-AWD, but it's possible I wasn't accelerating enough around turns?

I'm just looking for some opinions on if it makes no sense to spend on the SH-AWD given this profile. Any insights from car-people would be very helpful.
For what it's worth, a base package MDX SH-AWD has 18" wheels. The wheel size is tied to the package, not the FWD vs. AWD discussion. Tech and Advanced get you 20" wheels.

You likely were't in the gas enough to notice the SH aspects of the AWD. I barely notice any additional pulling/pushing in Normal IDS mode, however in Sport IDS mode the change in torque vectoring to the outside wheels is noticeable, but only if you're actually accelerating through a turn. Again, it's a minimal difference, but it is noticeable.
 

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I live in the southwest and have an 08 RDX and 11 MDX with sh-awd for performance 1st and bad weather awd 2nd (ski trips). The sh-awd MDX will handle better and drive like a smaller vehicle compared to the fwd MDX if you like to push the capabilities of this sporty family hauler. If not, the all new Honda Pilot would be +$5000 cheaper, have more room, same awd system without the "sh" programming, same or more tech available for the $$ (future proof for 10-15 yrs), and more $$ left over for family trips.

Another advantage of the sh-awd is a spare tire+hardware that would cost you around $500-$750 to install on a fwd at a dealership. So you are really paying $1200-$1500 for sh-awd and rest of the $2000 for a donut spare+hoist+jack+install labor if you split hairs between fwd and sh-awd. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking a family trip without a donut or full size spare under the MDX.

I would look into upgrading down the road to winter/summer mix of tires or a really good set of all seasons like Conti DWS 06. The MDX can perform very well in fwd and sh-awd version with the right set of tires.
 
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We chose the AWD for winter driving, has worked great since 2000 (on our fourth MDX). Spirited driving in a three row SUV, really?
 

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I would also recommend SH-AWD, not only for snow but wet weather. It has kicked in several times starting from stop during rain as well.
 

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I am also in NYC and like others I would recommend for you to get the AWD. The handling is much better and the added bonus of having AWD when you need it is a winner especially considering how unpredictable rain/snow is in the northeast. I have the base AWD model and I think you easily get it under $50k including tax/title these days. I did add heated steering wheel, fog lights and remote start later and could not be happier.
 

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We chose the AWD for winter driving, has worked great since 2000 (on our fourth MDX). Spirited driving in a three row SUV, really?

I guess some people prefer the "META Car" but ACURA always advertised SH-AWD for Performance, Rarely for Weather Use.

Also you can drive anything spirited don't let 50 year old costumes ruin your fun.. Nobody will buy a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and say "A 5000lbs SUV for Trackdays? the horror!!!!" Like nobody here is questioning the amazing driving performance the MDX SH-AWD has around the corners.
 

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I live where it never snows and rarely rains (like 'skirmich' above) yet I made sure to get the sh-awd. I got it because I don't ever want 'less' performance and I do drive spiritedly at times - there are lots of mountains and twisty roads in the area. But I also like it for the times I've driven cross-country and have driven through some of the horrendous rainstorms you people have back there (and elsewhere in the country) and was glad to have awd for those times - I could actually see it working on the display inside the vehicle where it indicates the vectoring it's doing between the corners. I haven't used it in snow yet but it'd be something I'd want when in snow/ice. A number of people have posted here that the awd on the MDX worked well for them in the snow.

If you couple those points with a plan to own the vehicle a long time then it makes even more sense to go ahead and get the option if you think it'd be useful to you since your ROI or cost per year decreases the longer you own the vehicle. It's true that there are more components that could fail in an awd system but that doesn't mean they 'will' fail and cost you money. Other MDX owners, including those who have owned previous gens (which were 'all' awd I think) can chime in on the likelihood of a failure in the awd system long term but I don't think this is a big trouble area.
 

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The Pilot is really, really well equipped.. Sadly Honda is eating a lot of market with it Vs the MDX and the build quality that used to separate both is no longer abysmal the Pilot is a great deal and if you are looking for a FWD model? the Pilot is the better buy for sure... Get the MDX if you are into the looks or SH-AWD.
 

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We are considering the cost-benefit of purchasing an MDX in SH-AWD or FWD. We are looking at the car for our family and would not be driving aggressively. We live in NYC and therefore don't use the car for a daily commute, but use it on the weekends. We'll be using the car for weekend travel to family in the area, but also to support our growing family in taking roadtrips and exploring over the next 10-15 years. We definitely want to have the car 10-15 years, so I can see us during that span both driving a lot more (not sure a growing family will stay in center-city forever), but also am worried about the maintenance and cost of AWD over time.

We wouldn't have a particular need to be out in the snow driving on any regular or desired basis, but we would deal with rainy conditions from time to time; not horribly often. Another consideration is that the roads around NY are horrible so having the 18" tires might actually provide more comfort than the 20" tires over pot-holes and such. MDX is also at the top of our budget to getting it under 50k would be great.

We test-drove the SH-AWD car but frankly I really didn't feel anything with the SH-AWD, but it's possible I wasn't accelerating enough around turns?

I'm just looking for some opinions on if it makes no sense to spend on the SH-AWD given this profile. Any insights from car-people would be very helpful.
Yes. FWD drive vehicles suck. SH-AWD works awesome in the dry, snow and wet. If you are buying your car, you will get some of the added cost back in the resale value. If you lease, what is the extra cost? $15 a month? Why not then.
 

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So in 14 I purchased a FWD and regretted for 4 years! The front wheel pull when you set on it was crazy.. it pulled towards the direction I was turning. You don't get a spare tire on FWD plus the tires wear more on front wheel drive MDX! Go to Kelly blue book.com and put in a 16 MDX FWD tech and see what the value is and the repete it buy change it to AWD and see the difference in value! You will be surprised to see the AWD the difference here in Arizona is $4400.. I'm glad I trade my 14 MDX FWD tech and got a 16 MDX AWD tech..
 

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So in 14 I purchased a FWD and regretted for 4 years! The front wheel pull when you set on it was crazy.. it pulled towards the direction I was turning. You don't get a spare tire on FWD plus the tires wear more on front wheel drive MDX! Go to Kelly blue book.com and put in a 16 MDX FWD tech and see what the value is and the repete it buy change it to AWD and see the difference in value! You will be surprised to see the AWD the difference here in Arizona is $4400.. I'm glad I trade my 14 MDX FWD tech and got a 16 MDX AWD tech..
What he said. As I said, FWD vehicles suck. Especially in an SUV.
 

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I guess some people prefer the "META Car" but ACURA always advertised SH-AWD for Performance, Rarely for Weather Use.



Also you can drive anything spirited don't let 50 year old costumes ruin your fun.. Nobody will buy a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and say "A 5000lbs SUV for Trackdays? the horror!!!!" Like nobody here is questioning the amazing driving performance the MDX SH-AWD has around the corners.

When 1st-gen MDX was released Acura made a big deal of the tag line "Defeat Winter". That was VTM4 AWD, and all MDXs had it. I think the move to make AWD optional was mostly to boost fleet average MPG. Effect on new vehicle price is modest and easily recoverable at resale. If you keep up with fluid changes, these AWD systems are pretty robust and trouble-free.

True that the advantage of SH-AWD over VTM4 is performance, and I think Acura makes a bigger deal about that now because this market segment is much more crowded and torque vectoring is still a relatively unique feature. MDX pretty much invented the crossover segment when it was first released, and owned it for years. Now, not so much.
 

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Funny thing is that SH-AWD has been superb as an Off Road AWD System too... I don´t get it to use for Weather? since it rarely rains here and never snow but for Off Road? Jesus SH-AWD has been rock solid even on loose beach sand.
 

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Due to your location, there will be less demand for a FWD MDX at resale time. Most buyers will likely want SH-AWD where snow is prevalent. I also agree that if a FWD MDX is being considered, it might be better to get a Honda Pilot instead. The SH-AWD, to me, is the feature that would make me consider the MDX over the Pilot.
 
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