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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I have been the owner of a 2005 MDX with tech package. I've been happy with it. But now with almost 180 000 miles, I am looking into buying a third-generation MDX either a 2014-15 or 16. I have my eyes set on a 2016 with Advance package. Any issues that you guys know about any information you can give me that would help me make my selection. I see a lot of positive and negative things on thos 3rd Generation MDX. any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. I appreciate your feedback.
 

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3 model years of the MDX is very vague for looking for specific advice. What exactly are you looking for in your next car?

The two main reasons you might be looking for 2014-2016 models is either for the lower price or you prefer the "beak" design of the grille.
If you want driving aids like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, you must get the Advance trim for 2014 or 2015 models.
In 2016, the driving aids were made available as an option called "AcuraWatch Plus" on the Base and Technology trims, but remained standard for the Advanced trim.
In 2016, Acura also replaced their 6 speed transmission with a ZF-sourced 9-speed transmission. There are countless threads detailing the new transmission's sub-par design and shifting issues. Most members here would advise you to avoid the 2016 model year, but many 2016 transmissions were treated with software updates that mostly resolved the quirky behavior. Despite the 9-speed's odd behavior, several owners of 2014 and 2015 models with the 6-speed Acura transmission have complained about poor shifting and RPM surges, too. The 2014 and 2015 issues are commonly caused by VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) issues which can be defeated, while replacing the transmission fluid for the 6-speed is much easier to DIY. The 2016+ ZF 9-speed transmission issues are mostly software related. The ZF transmission fluid should also be replaced, but it has a much more complicated procedure so most owners will opt to have it serviced at a dealer (Honda can service this transmission too because it is available on the Honda Pilot).

In 2017, Acura refreshed the appearance of the MDX, gave it an electronic parking brake with brake hold, and made all AcuraWatch features standard.
In 2017, Acura also sold the MDX as a hybrid which has the smoothest and most performance-oriented drivetrain. The hybrid has a 3.0 liter engine and a 7-speed DCT transmission in addition to 3 electric motors, plenty of additional horses, and no ZF transmission. Those who do have the hybrid absolutely love it, though it is not able to tow so that may be an issue for some buyers.
In 2018, Acura installed new infotainment with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
In 2019, Acura introduced a sporty-styled A-Spec variant of the MDX that slots below the Advanced trim, and retuned the ZF 9-speed to start in 2nd gear for smoother starts from a stop.
2020 saw no significant changes.

I personally chose the 2017 model over a 2016 because by then Acura had mostly sorted out the ZF transmission's software, and I personally prefer the new pentagon grille over "the beak".

I love my MDX but some owners regret buying Acura again because it did not live up to their expectations...
Test drive the car you want as many times as you can, and choose to be happy with whichever vehicle you purchase. There is no such thing as a perfect car!
In the "luxury" segment, there are essentially no cars that can compete with the MDX's value... but there are several "mainstream" cars that do offer the same (or better) features, fuel economy, and safety. I strongly recommend looking into top trims of the 2016+ Mazda CX-9, 2017+ Toyota Highlander, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, and 2020 Kia Telluride.
 

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I see you fly the Canadian flag proudly, there are several changes to the Canadian model 2016 MDX which are included as standard equipment with a hefty price, that are optional on the American version (enlarged windshield washer fluid container, heater in lower front windshield to de-ice wipers, headlight washers, heated steering ,remote start,a full set of driver assist features on all models).My last vehicle was a 2016 MDX base model with Nav. It was a great vehicle except for that ZF transmission, but after several software upgrades 90% of my concerns were addressed all but in cold winter weather when first starting out each morning the transmission was very slow to change gears until fully warmed-up .My latest vehicle is 2019 MDX Elite all is great with this vehicle, transmission has had upgrades to both mechanical and software and works like a charm in all seasons also the active damping suspension on the 2019 MDX Elite gives this vehicle a true luxury driving experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I see you fly the Canadian flag proudly, there are several changes to the Canadian model 2016 MDX which are included as standard equipment with a hefty price, that are optional on the American version (enlarged windshield washer fluid container, heater in lower front windshield to de-ice wipers, headlight washers, heated steering ,remote start,a full set of driver assist features on all models).My last vehicle was a 2016 MDX base model with Nav. It was a great vehicle except for that ZF transmission, but after several software upgrades 90% of my concerns were addressed all but in cold winter weather when first starting out each morning the transmission was very slow to change gears until fully warmed-up .My latest vehicle is 2019 MDX Elite all is great with this vehicle, transmission has had upgrades to both mechanical and software and works like a charm in all seasons also the active damping suspension on the 2019 MDX Elite gives this vehicle a true luxury driving experience.
Hi,
First thing first: thank you for the feed back.
I will be trying at 2016 MDX tomorrow. Since you were the owner of 2016, can you tell me what I need to look out for in order to make sure the vehicle is in good standard Acura MDX shape. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi,
First thing first: thank you for the feed back.
I will be trying at 2016 MDX tomorrow. Since you were the owner of 2016, can you tell me what I need to look out for in order to make sure the vehicle is in good standard Acura MDX shape. Thanks.
Any other members can answer as well :) Thank you for your feedback.
 

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Any other members can answer as well :) Thank you for your feedback.
You aren't getting many responses because all of this information is already available on the board. I'd suggest spending the evening scanning through the thread titles and reading the relevant ones.
 

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Hi,
First thing first: thank you for the feed back.
I will be trying at 2016 MDX tomorrow. Since you were the owner of 2016, can you tell me what I need to look out for in order to make sure the vehicle is in good standard Acura MDX shape. Thanks.
2016 MDX was the first year for the ZF transmission it was not the smoothest shifting transmission that I have driven slow and hard shifts from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd, surging when braking to a stop, in the winter on cold mornings it felt as if the bands were slipping dragging each shift until the transmission would reach operating temperature it was very demanding on this point. After two software upgrades 90% of the problems were corrected all but the cold weather shifting. I suggest that you do a search on this web site on the ZF transmission and understand some of the problems some people have had, also related to the drive train was the transmission warmer which was defective on some vehicles and caused cross contamination of the transmission fluid and coolant many owners required transmission replacements.(on models with trailer towing rated at 5000 lbs) Some of the vehicle safety features are first generation and are prone to false warnings, no major problems just takes some time to get use to.(two lane highway with sharp ninety degree turn, vehicle on opposite side of road coming around turn on his own side forward collision warning will signal to brake when everything is ok. The 2016 MDX overall is great vehicle if buying from Acura dealer ask for the maintenance records and also look at the Carfax report for this vehicles it will show if it has been in accident and any major repairs done good luck with your search.
 

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Test drive 2016 and listen and feel transmission shifting in parking lot speed that will help you to make a decision and make sure try out 3 different modes
I owe 2016 and I personally do not recommend
Try as much as you can full stop and go parking lot speed and see how they shift if you can live with it then its good
Highway shifting is all great
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thank you for the feedback I will apply your the parking lot test today in the MDX 2016 test drive today. also why don't you recommend the 2016? what are the negative things you noticed about it ?
thank you
 

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thank you for the feedback I will apply your the parking lot test today in the MDX 2016 test drive today. also why don't you recommend the 2016? what are the negative things you noticed about it ?
thank you
I own a '16 and it shifts perfectly. Adreamforall is correct, on your test drive do lots of stops to about 45 or so. Pay attention to the shifting and see what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I'm just back from my tryout of the 2016 MDX Elite version (this is the Canadian version and I think it is the equivalent of the advanced or premium version for the US) I am definitely sold to it now I know exactly what I want and it is the 2001. Or later model. Keep in mind that I currently own a 2005 model so the difference to me was immense. I did not feel any issies and no problems on shifting or if there was, it is not something that would bother me. From what I can read on this forum, I think the bottom line for the transmission is that it becomes more of a personal taste issue then a real performance issue. That being said I am wondering if the issue on the long-term could damage the transmission or is it just the way it's made? I did not buy the vehicle as it had little esthetical damage that I didn't want. I will definitely keep looking for the 2016 or later model as I really like the buttons for shifter.
Please keep posting any tips, information or suggestions you may have as I am still shopping and ready to buy when I find the perfect (or almost perfect) mdx.
 

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The Carfax showed a front collision with $2,000 repair so knowing that, i. took a closer look ant the front bumper and notoced the bumper to the hood line had a bigger Gap on one side and the aluminium near the front crest had bubles. this is something that would bother me on the long run. The hunt is on for another one...;)
 

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While transmission is of personal taste to some extent, I do think there are some legitimately bad transmission out there. Too many people are reporting significant issues for it just to be perception.
FWIW, the first transmission on my '16 was fine until it blew up. The second one is just as smooth. 😊
 

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I followed closely on zf transmission issues as I have experienced issues on my 16
Surging downhill, parking lot speed jerking, rough low gear shift, slow acceleration on hwy , searching for gears etc many ppl complained about these
Acura addressed these with software update and improved trans behaviours but still shifting can be kinda off
There also safety stuff with car trans going neutral while driving and ppl had to turn off and on their cars after they stop. Can be very dangerous but its very few cases

Try to change drive to reverse and apply brake you might notice noise from brake as well Acura also changed mechanism of mdx brake on 19 plus models to stop this complaints
Seems like if you can afford 19 plus or hybrid mdx would be much better choice in my opinion good luck

Mdx sh awd is awesome and driving is fun
 

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Currently own a 2016. Off leased from Honda Can. I've not experience any of the issues addressed in previous posts. But I find it a bit lazy until everything is warmed up. Mostly drive in comfort mode city driving. But time will tell. Happy with my purchase so far. Upgrade from 07 elite. Love that model.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
thank you for your post. I'm still looking for a 2017 or 2016 MDX I have not changed my mind on that despite all the critics I've read about the transmission. I guess I need to make sure that all the updates were done properly and that the model I will buy won't have any issue. I have looked at all the review videos of the MDX 2016 on the internet and what comes back a lot is the fact that the two screen display is hard to manipulate and is not very intuitive. although all these reviews are talking about the suv's drivability, it's fuel consumption and all the rest, nobody is mentioning anything about speech command. On my current MDX 2005 I use it a lot to control the climate the temperature the radio and I find it to be very practical I can only imagine how better it must be on the 2016model. does anybody any experience or criticism they would like to share on that?
 
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