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Discussion Starter #1
Just bought the latest copy of CONSUMER REPORTS and as I consider CONSUMER REPORTS as pretty much "the Bible" on reliability, was waiting to anxiously check out if they'd rated the MDX.......Guess what?... the MDX was rated "VERY GOOD" on the following scale:
EXCELLENT
VERY GOOD
AVERAGE
BELOW AVERAGE
POOR
I am totally impressed!! , The "VERY GOOD" rating is even more particularly impressive for a first year model!!!!. On many ocassions on this board I have expressed my concern about the MDX reliability/quality not being up to par......but looks like I have to eat my own words now.... ;) By sharp contrast the Honda Odyssey received a "BELOW AVERAGE" rating in it's first year!!

......on another note, checked out the 2002 model. Windnoise has definitely been reduced and even overall noise is a bit less.......AND the new color Redrock Pearl.....My God!! it really ROCKS!!! :)....I also thought the Navi system "calculating speed" is really quick too compared to older versions....Am I correct?? Has anyone else noticed this too??
 

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Here's the key question. Was the Consumer Reports grade you saw actually based on ownership responses or their prediction based on Acura history?

When CR reviewed the MDX in the July 2001 issue, they gave it a grade of "above average" (which is very good in your terminology). But it wasn't based on actual ownership experiences. They said "the MDX is too new to have compiled a reliability history, but other Acuras have been better than average."

So I'm curious if the grade you're citing reflects some actual numbers that they've compiled -- still seems a bit early for them to have it but who knows.

It is definitely predictable that the MDX would recover from initial problems much more quickly than the Odyssey. The Ontario plant and Honda designers now have greater experience and better processes now to react to issues in a larger, more complex vehicle, whereas it took longer with the Odyssey. I'll bet that the new Honda Pilot will fare very well as a result.

Definitely not as good as Consumer Reports, JD Power's site does have some encouraging initial quality numbers for the MDX. Higher scores than the fourth-year M-class, but lower than the RX which sets the standard.
 

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Which Issue?

I just got my January 2002 issue and I do not see anything in it. Repair ratings are generally in the April Auto issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To be more specific............

...........it's not one of the issues, but Consumer Reports Winter 2002 (New Car Preview 2002) magazine with ratings, reviews and reliabiity of the latest vehicles, which I picked up from the newsstands.
.......and, yes, they SEEM TO BE actual numbers because it's the SAME reliability "CHART" always used by CR with the "red, blank or black dots" under various components of the vehicle such as "engine", "cooling", "fuel".....etc. etc. It received a "fully filled red dot" for all except BODY INTEGRITY, POWER EQUIPMENT and BODY HARDWARE which all received the "half filled red dots" - which represent an "above average" score as opposed to the fully filled dots representing an "outstanding" score
 

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Vic,

Thanks for the info, we all appreciate it. Based on what you've said, that indeed does sound like CR has some actual reliability (quality) data, not just the "predicted" reliability in the original MDX review they did. If it was the latter, they would not show those individual category scores. I guess they've been able to compile data from the first 6-9 months of the 2001 model year. Thus the numbers could change (e.g. the Odyssey went lower, I think), but Acura will probably keep it from happening.

Thus the MDX, as of now, scores an "actual" above average (also called "good" or "very good", or the half-filled red dot). That does seem to confirm what JD Power (less trustworthy statistics than CR) indicates of first-year MDX's. This is indeed very good news for the MDX and Acura.

One does wonder, in the light of The Thud and weeping mirrors, and other complaints voiced here (e.g. faceplate buttons, side pillar nicks), how the complaints placed here work out in overall statistics. I don't think the "above average" rating helps folks who feel they've been damaged by the aforementioned problems. As well as folks like BellTeck who got bona-fide lemons.

But I trust CR's stats pretty much, though one should augment it when what they hear on this system. And the items that CR did score the MDX as "just" above average do seem in the area of the complaints, e.g. body integrity and hardware.

Now the key is for Acura to drive the MDX toward "well above average" ("excellent") by making those currently "above average" categories higher. What I like about Honda/Acura (and Toyota/Lexus) is that they won't simply sit still to be "above average," they'll try very hard to eventually make it the highest score possible. Some other manufacturers seem content to leave things "average" or "above average," though some of them put the investment dollars in other worthwhile areas.

I'm sure we'll get the usual anti-CR comments, e.g. biased towards Japanese cars. Too bad those folks ignore that CR's top family sedan is the German VW Passat, for almost three years running now, and they consider vehicles like the MB E320 the hallmark of luxury sedans (well, at least for under $80k).
 

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William, Vicpai,

Any thoughts on where/how CR compiled this data? CR is just now preparing to distribute the 2002 questionnaire and I don't recall any interim feedback forms. Except, come to think of it, I *may* have received a questionnaire specific to my SMSA (Boston). I don't recall seeing automotive questions but then again I probably threw it out (mea culpa). Am I dreaming, and (if not) do they use this info for preliminaries?
 

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Don,

I don't know for sure. I am also guilty of getting a survey from them and tossing it into the garbage. I know I got one a few months ago, which would make the timing about right. Because I didn't open it, I don't know if it had automotive questions.

If they're presenting a chart with different quality components as Vic has found in the Winter 2002 issue, it has to be based on real survey numbers. They wouldn't show it otherwise, but I'm curious as you are.

Perhaps someone who did get a survey and filled it out can pipe up.
 

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wmquan,

Yes, it had automotive questions. They normally ask the owner to report problems which she/he considers serious. Thuds and weeping mirrors probably wouldn't be counted as serious by most owners. Did I fill out my questionnaire? No, just set it aside and forgot about it. Oops!
 

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wmquan said:
I'm sure we'll get the usual anti-CR comments, e.g. biased towards Japanese cars. Too bad those folks ignore that CR's top family sedan is the German VW Passat, for almost three years running now, and they consider vehicles like the MB E320 the hallmark of luxury sedans (well, at least for under $80k).
I have the same '02 New Car preview magazine and I saw no evidence of bias either. In fact, CR actually recommended EVERY MB and BMW they tested, with the noteworthy exceptions of the MClass and X5. Of course, they also recommended every Acura they tested, including the MDX of course :) So maybe they are biased :p
 

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frostyra said:
wmquan,

Yes, it had automotive questions. They normally ask the owner to report problems which she/he considers serious. Thuds and weeping mirrors probably wouldn't be counted as serious by most owners. Did I fill out my questionnaire? No, just set it aside and forgot about it. Oops!
Thank you for the response. Ha, "most" owners, you're right, probably so. Judging from some of the strong complaints here about The Thud and weeping mirrors, I'm sure one reason the MDX didn't score the highest in some categories were indeed complaints about those two items (and others).

Originally posted by GatorGreg
CR actually recommended EVERY MB and BMW they tested, with the noteworthy exceptions of the MClass and X5
Thanks Gator. I remember someone posting here a while back about how MB and BMW owners are more exacting/demanding, so the quality scores in JD Power and CR are naturally lower because of the high level of expectations. It was argued that it probably works the other way around because Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus owners are stunned when their vehicles have problems. But the first idea (MB and BMW owners more demanding) is easily debunked by the fact that the other MB and BMW vehicles score so highly.

That's what's nice about statistical analysis, it smooths out the bumps of highly opinionated and more vocal posters on message boards.

The BMW X5's problems are particularly disturbing because they're often quite serious (the worse being engine fires that have supposedly burned down people's garages). Worse yet, there's no sign of improvement yet and the vehicle isn't in its first year anymore. Too bad, because I still love that vehicle (while knowing it's totally impractical for me).
 

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wmquan said:
...That's what's nice about statistical analysis, it smooths out the bumps of highly opinionated and more vocal posters on message boards.
William,
I agree with this one in spades. The thud and weeping mirrors are adjustment and design issues not quality ones. The thud fix basically involved tightening, which in my case, created a firmer ride and better handling. I suspect that Acura thought a softer ride would be preferable to most, but unfortunately created too much play in the suspension. The mirrors were redesigned for 2002 which confirms your point about continuous improvement. The other two problems I had were quality issues. A loose trim piece above the rear license plate was sloppy assembly. The driver seat rail assembly causing my seat to shift was a faulty part, again a quality issue in my mind. Although anecdotal, my experience is in line with CR's findings even though I never filled out one of their surveys to add statistical data.
 

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GatorGreg said:
I have the same '02 New Car preview magazine and I saw no evidence of bias either. In fact, CR actually recommended EVERY MB and BMW they tested, with the noteworthy exceptions of the MClass and X5.
Gator (or Vic), by the way, what were the final scores on the 2001 X5 and M-class in the winter 2002 preview? You mentioned they weren't recommended, meaning that either they didn't have numbers on them yet and were going off of past numbers, or there were new numbers that weren't good either. E.g. it probably wasn't the "hollow dot" (average) or had any "red" in it. Were there numbers for 2001? Were they half-black, or, worse yet, solid black? Just curious, as M-class quality does definitely seem to have improved (then again, it couldn't get worse).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Both BMW and Mercedes were rated Poor (as expected)

wmquan said:


Gator (or Vic), by the way, what were the final scores on the 2001 X5 and M-class in the winter 2002 preview? You mentioned they weren't recommended, meaning that either they didn't have numbers on them yet and were going off of past numbers, or there were new numbers that weren't good either. E.g. it probably wasn't the "hollow dot" (average) or had any "red" in it. Were there numbers for 2001? Were they half-black, or, worse yet, solid black? Just curious, as M-class quality does definitely seem to have improved (then again, it couldn't get worse).
[/QUOTE

Both the BMW X5 and Mercedes M Class both received the "solid-filled black dot" or in other words a "poor" rating, and I quote Consumer Reports in their own words "......Reliability problems keep the competent M-Class from being one of our recommended SUVs....." for the Mercedes and for the BMW: "........The X5 achieved the highest scores of any SUV in our tests, but its below-average reliability keeps us from recommending it......"

However on another interesting note the Honda Odyssey's overall rating has improved from a "below-average" (half-filled black dot) to only an "average" (hollow dot) rating. Does this mean the first year MDX scored better than the third year Odyssey???????......BUT under the reliability "chart" the 2001 model Odyssey had the SAME EXACT SCORES as the 2001 MDX - i.e. the "fully-filled red dots" for all except BODY INTEGRITY, POWER EQUIPMENT and BODY HARDWARE which all received the "half-filled red dots"
 
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