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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I'm new here and I am looking to buy a 2011 or 2012 MDX Elite and was wondering if the Elite is offering a better handling and/or cornering than the NON-Elite?
I tried a premium (base) model today and was not impressed when I did few agressive turns with this MDX. It is not bad but was wondering if the Elite could be firmer...

Thanks!
Remi
 

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Elite offers bigger sway bars so it should give you a lil bit higher g-cornering forces at the very limit but I am hard pressed to guess you didn´t drove the MDX like you should using SH-AWD Torque Vectoring, It is not easy to master at the first test drive so no worries. The MDX (Base) will out handle almost anything in its class including the BMW X5 and the AUDI Q7, Only if you know how to use SH-AWD to your advantage otherwise it handles like crap.

FYI: Base Shocks are often sportier than the Elite "Sport Setting" for some users the main advantage of the Elite is the Sway Bars which really add up off the power handling..

FYI 2: The 2G MDX Base has way WAAAAAYYYYY Sportier suspension than the 3rd Gen MDX in all its trims.
 

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Hi everyone, I'm new here and I am looking to buy a 2011 or 2012 MDX Elite and was wondering if the Elite is offering a better handling and/or cornering than the NON-Elite?
I tried a premium (base) model today and was not impressed when I did few agressive turns with this MDX. It is not bad but was wondering if the Elite could be firmer...

Thanks!
Remi
Remi,

I own an Elite and think that the ride is very good. A friend had a base that I test drove and there is a slight difference but only ever so slightly - the vibrations are felt a bit more pronounced in the non-Elite. But then again, it could all be in my mind - but the difference could be contributed to a ton of other factors. Agree that the MDX is far better on the corners than an X5. I test drove a Q7 and the only thing that impressed me was the interior, which is very good. The drive was...meh.... But the MDX is fabulous for ride quality.
 

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You are correct Gazelle!
The Elite "Sport Setting" is actually less aggressive than the Base Shocks Tune, So the Base shocks are harder than the "Sport Setting". While the Elite "Comfort Setting" is a heck ton Softer than the Base Shocks...

At least you have that dual setting, Us with the Base Shocks are screwed with a permanent "sport suspension" hahahaha but I guess our shocks don´t cost 900 bucks a piece XD.
 

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Another advantage with the Elite MDX is the magnetic struts/shocks in sport mode. They help reduce lean in a turn, squat in acceleration, and dive with braking a little better than the non-ADS base/tech MDX to help keep the Elite/Adv level. The larger 19" rim/wheels might also help depending on the type of tires. Comfort mode feels like a pogo stick at low speeds over bumps compared to sport mode (I always keep it in sport).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow Thank you very much for the useful infos and link. I have to say that my current car is a lexus is350 AWD with upgraded coils, sway bars, chassis brace and so on so I guess I can't push the MDX as hard as my current car or maybe it is just because the road test was too short in time for me to appreciate how the MDX handle but from what I heard and read, the SH-AWD seems fantastic !
 

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You have to keep this in perspective....it's a very good handling SUV. Keyword...SUV. No matter the model, it is a very heavy vehicle with a higher center of gravity. It may handle better (to some degree) than many low-rent cars, but anything with a reasonable suspension under it there will be no comparison. The IS350 with factory suspension is a very good handling vehicle so I highly doubt even with unlimited funds could you ever get an MDX to perform on par. Go drive a similar sized SUV (Explorer, Pathfinder or even a smaller RX350, Grand Cherokee, etc) and you'll notice a drastic difference. I just had a rental '17 Pathfinder for a week and jumping back into the MDX at the airport it was like night and day.
 

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^ Your response make it seems like the MDX has a terrible handling for an SUV? Perhaps I am reading it wrong skinny2? The MDX has superior handling to a BMW X5 and Audi Q7 (I touge´d both of them and hands-down the MDX destroy them under power in corners). The IS350 is simply not match to it in handling, its Not even on the same ballpark.. The 2G MDX is top 3 best handling SUVs in the market for sure.

The only times the X5 or Q7 win over the MDX was interior quality and 0 to 60... Not in cornering ability. So any advantage the MDX can get in corners to those cars get nullified in a straight line.
 

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I'm not exactly a Lexusophile, but I think IS350 is a relatively low-slung sporty sedan. So physics are in its favor, even given the usual Lexus cush over sport bias ( IMHO ). And Borderline commented on "upgraded" suspension on his IS350 sedan. IS350 should not be confused with RX350, which is a relatively softly sprung crossover.

The higher center of gravity of an SUV/Crossover comes at a cost in terms of handling. SH-AWD and other electromagnetic magic can try to reduce this effect, and it's really pretty amazing what some of that stuff does, but it's like trying to make a jumbo jet fly like a fighter. Don't trade in a sport sedan for a crossover and expect to get better handling. Unless the sedan is a land yacht, it's just not gonna happen. There are other benefits to driving a crossover, and you need to decide if those outweigh the real differences in handling, fuel economy, etc.
 

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The 1st Gen RDX is the best handling CUV/SUV in the Acura line-up past and present if that is the #1 factor for a decision. My RDX would slowly leave my MDX Adv in the rear view mirror on the straights and curves on a head-to-head comparison. You will not get the extra Elite features in the RDX like the step up in luxury, room, and safety tech like ACC, BSI, CMBS, and ADS. The RDX combo of lighter weight, low rpm Turbo torque, sh-awd, and lower center of gravity makes it one of the best handling CUVs with having a "M", "S-line", "AMG", or "GTS", on the rear bumper.

Unfortunately, the RDX is a hammer and have to drive it like you only see nails to appreciate the platform. The RDX is a little harder to live with if you need a vehicle with more tools in its toolbox. The MDX has a lot more tools in the toolbox and much easier to live with for many different situations.
 

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^ Your response make it seems like the MDX has a terrible handling for an SUV? Perhaps I am reading it wrong skinny2? The MDX has superior handling to a BMW X5 and Audi Q7 (I touge´d both of them and hands-down the MDX destroy them under power in corners). The IS350 is simply not match to it in handling, its Not even on the same ballpark.. The 2G MDX is top 3 best handling SUVs in the market for sure.

The only times the X5 or Q7 win over the MDX was interior quality and 0 to 60... Not in cornering ability. So any advantage the MDX can get in corners to those cars get nullified in a straight line.
I thought I was clear that I agree the MDX is a very good handling SUV. Particularly when compared to other big heavy SUV's. But it's still not comparable to sports sedans like the IS350 which is what OP currently owns. I think you're also confusing the IS350 for the RX350, the latter of which is a mediocre handling SUV.

I will say this about the MDX; the suspension tuning (on any model) does not show spectacular confidence at reasonable speeds. It has some wallow built-in at moderate hustle but once pushed hard and the SH-AWD really kicks in you notice the difference. That's where I think the average driver would be more impressed with the X5 or Q7 as they feel a little more composed when piloted as most people pilot big 3-row SUV's. Those two in particular also have a heavier steering feel, at least compared to the '10+ MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your inputs! As for the model year, would you recommend a 2010+ or the 2008-2009 is still a smart choice ? (It is also better for my budget)
I know there is a slight decrease in MPG for the 2008-2009 because of their 5 speed tranny. Anything else I should be aware of?
 

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I thought I was clear that I agree the MDX is a very good handling SUV. Particularly when compared to other big heavy SUV's. But it's still not comparable to sports sedans like the IS350 which is what OP currently owns. I think you're also confusing the IS350 for the RX350, the latter of which is a mediocre handling SUV.

I will say this about the MDX; the suspension tuning (on any model) does not show spectacular confidence at reasonable speeds. It has some wallow built-in at moderate hustle but once pushed hard and the SH-AWD really kicks in you notice the difference. That's where I think the average driver would be more impressed with the X5 or Q7 as they feel a little more composed when piloted as most people pilot big 3-row SUV's. Those two in particular also have a heavier steering feel, at least compared to the '10+ MDX.
Yep I was confusing the IS350 to The RX350.
 

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There really isn't that big of a difference between the 5AT and 6AT. The 6AT will give you slightly faster 0-60 mph speed; but, the 5AT might give you better hwy mpg because of less 1-2 downshifting. MPG probably the same on flat hwy travel. The mpg advantage of the 5AT would be seen in more hilly terrain.

6AT:
- slightly faster 0-60 mph
- slightly faster hwy passing speeds with 1-2 gear downshifts
- paddle shifters, 1st gear is mostly locked out using the paddles
- 10-13 slightly different engine output at [email protected] and [email protected]
- the +10 doesn't look like the front bumper is as aerodynamic as the 07-09 version to me

5AT:
- sport stick shift (no paddles)
- mostl likely 1 gear drop downshifts instead of 2 gears
- 07-09 slightly different engine hp/tq at [email protected] and [email protected]
 

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Thanks everyone for your inputs! As for the model year, would you recommend a 2010+ or the 2008-2009 is still a smart choice ? (It is also better for my budget)
I know there is a slight decrease in MPG for the 2008-2009 because of their 5 speed tranny. Anything else I should be aware of?

The City MPGs difference is hardly noticeable due to erratic shift pattern program in the 6 Speed.
In real world scenario both should give comparable City MPGs but the 6 Speed will edge the 5 Speed on 0 to 60 in a hard WOT. Hwy wise they are the same since 5 and 6th speed are the same ratios as the 4 and 5th in the 5 speed so hwy mpg is the same on both cars. You can check Fuelly.com for more info on MPGs just compare 07-09 to 10-13 and the difference is minimal.

My personal MPGs in my 2007 varies due to different driving patterns..
1.- If I drive it like I love to drive it (SS all the time, shifts in the 3-4K area?) I will get abysmal 11-13mpg city.
2.- If I drive it like I have to keep the same gas tank all year long I can get it up to 16-17mpg city but hipermiling the MDX is really boring, Kills your soul all the way and you will get middle fingers every time you leave a stop light since you have to avoid going above 2K RPM.
3.- On the Hwy my personal best is 32mpgs (Tested on the pump as well) but this is with a perfect low traffic, flat ground and no wind scenario so not your typical Mpgs for the hwy.
4.- On the Hwy driving normally with elevation changes and traffic I can get it to do 22-24mpgs around 90% of the times at 70mph, Above +75mph you will kill MPGs and Fast.

So decidedly the worst Mpgs will always be CITY MPGs on the big fat X unless you drive it really, REALLY SLOW.

2010 and above got a nice bump in tech goodies for me personally Adaptive Cruise Control is a MUST! but then again 2010 and above got horrible oil consumption issues although some members will say otherwise is just a matter of going online and searching for reliability issues on car complaint sites about the 2010-2013 models, Number 1 issue will always be oil consumption issues on all 3 years of the facelift model.. While the 07-09 models will always have the HFL module as the No 1 complaint so pick your poison!
 

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Wot 6spd > 5spd
Manual control 6spd > 5spd
Temporary gear override 6spd > 5spd
Regular auto driving 6spd < 5spd

I find the 6at shifting logic 1-3 a bit annoying. Otherwise I like it and the paddles are nice.

As far as handling, you need to spend some time driving one. Remember, handling can be actual chassis performance or the driver feel of the chassis. The BMW X5 I drove seemed to have better roll control, so you can say it felt better. However once you learn how to bring the Shawd online, I would suggest the x has more handling potential. If I had to attend an all SUV track day, I would feel pretty good taking the X.
 
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