Hi, I am looking to buy an MDX lease return certified Acura, but saw that the 2014 has a radically higher dissatisfaction rate than the 2015. Can anyone offer some tips to get the best 3rd gen for a reasonable price?
I have a 2014 - one of the earliest ones (built June 2013). It's been fine - very reliable and great to drive. As long as you know what you're looking for you should be fine with a 2014 and I'd limit how much faith to put in those 'reports'. The 2015s generally had the same issues as the 2014s. Keep in mind that only a subset of either model year had issues - not all of them.
The major issues I can recall from having been on this forum since the 3rd gen came out (2014 model) are -
- Body panel alignment - some body panels on some MDXs weren't aligned very well. This is easily seen but just checking the gaps between the panels. You should do this for 2015 as well since some of those had the same issue.
- Noisy rear thumps when going over certain bumps. This was resolved by a TSB which replaces the rear shocks. Mine never exhibited this problem. This affects 2015 in addition to 2014.
- Infotainment bugs and general dissatisfaction. Most of the bugs were fixed in subsequent software updates that the dealer can do. The 2015 (most, not all) had some fixes that Acura inexplicably refused to offer for 2014. The general dissatisfaction seems to apply to almost all infotainment systems in vehicles because people naturally compare them to their smart phones and PCs. The best thing to do is to simply try it out so you know what you're getting. You can download the user manual beforehand to get an idea of it. The 2014 and 2015 are almost the same in the infotainment area.
- Some louder noises coming from the engine. These were direct injection noises, which one generally can't hear from inside the vehicle, and fuel pump noises. I've never had unexpected noises like this and can't hear any noise from inside the cabin. The DI noises tend to be common to any vehicle with DI but again, it can't usually be heard inside the cabin. One can keep an ear tuned for a noise like this when test driving. There's no difference in the 2014 and 2015 in this area.
Bottom line - the 2014 is fine. Just be prudent and check any vehicle you buy thoroughly but keep the above points in mind for any model year of the 3rd gen MDX (and any other vehicle for that matter).
Tip - regardless of which model year you buy, make sure the dealer has applied all software updates to it including the infotainment system as well as other software updates. This is easy for them to do, doesn't require materials on their part, and will resolve some potential issues that were in 1.0 versions of the software. Don't assume the vehicle will have updated software otherwise.