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So after a hiatus of 2 yrs I decided to revisit Acura and test drive the 16 MDX.I must remind that I had looked at the 14 when they came out and was disappointed.I have a 2011 Advance which I used as a comparison.After that I went and test drove the Touareg as I was considering one to replace our MDX.I hope my experience might be useful to someone cross hopping these both.I apologize for the rather long post.Excuse my mistakes[if any].

First the MDX,The dealer was good enough to toss the keys for an advance MDX black on black and let me test drive by myself.I took it around the city roads and freeway.

The Good

1. The new mdx is much quieter than the 2011 and a tad bit quieter than the Touareg.The Touareg seems to become louder on acceleration but then becomes quite at highway coasting speeds.

2. I did not perceive any transmission drag as someone had mentioned.I tried to replicate that willfully in all settings and couldn't feel it.I might be wrong but I am comparing it purely to my 2011 MDX.

3.The exterior looks better.But it looks softer .No flared fenders and those skinny tires make it look neutered.

4.I couldn't hear any whistling sound or the chirping sound.Heck,I couldn't hear the engine at all when I was sitting inside.

5. The 9 speed seemed to be smooth while accelerating but the downshifts while deceleration seemed a bit abrupt.Nothing jarring but definitely noticeable unlike the up-shift's which were smooth.

6.The keyless entry and power switch are welcome.

7.The Side mirrors are wider with a weird effect at the edge,probably to help with the blind spot.Its was weird at first but I am sure people will get used to it.

8.The Rear view mirror with no frame was excellent.In fact this was the feature I was really impressed with[I know seems stupid].I see that the New XC90 has the same design.I am sure all manufacturers will pick this up.If I end up buying a another vehicle I will seriously consider retrofitting this into that vehicle.

The Bad

1.The seats are just bad compared to both the 2011 and the Touareg.I felt the same when I first test drove it and there has been no change in my opinion.They feel less padded and smaller/narrower.There is absolutely no[lower] thigh support[Touareg provides some non adjustable thigh support].I understand that they were not broken in but I feel its a downgrade.

2. That Navi screen is a downgrade.You can still see the maps and get your work done but the resolution is bad.For a moment I had thought that there might be a screen over the navigation which made it look weird.On closer inspection it even felt smaller in size.I might be wrong.

3. I don't want to mention the Infotainment system as enough has been said and argued about it.They seriously need some more buttons there to get simple things done.

4. The dash is cleaner but felt cheap[material wise]Weight saving shows up here.Even the cover for the dash storage feels less substantial.The dash storage is less than in the 2011 but the center console storage is more.The center console buttons are mere plastic tabs .I didn't wish to see that quality in a self professed luxury brand.

5.The 9 speed in normal and comfort seems to up shift way too quickly.If you need acceleration at 60mph the accelerator pedal just acts as a volume knob.You need to use the paddles to come down to D5/D4 before you can get some acceptable acceleration.I never felt this on my BMW which has an 8 speed.

6.The biggest disappointment was the trunk.The vertical space is so less compared to any SUV.When I put my suitcase[International Checkin size] vertically ,it was touching the roof.We usually stack 4 of them vertically one beside the other in our 2011 MDX and have quite a bit of space above them for rear viewing.For short trips we could put a camera bag/coats/carry on bag in that space with no difficulty.It seems that with the new MDX its even a safety concern if you pack that way.I would strongly suggest people to take their usual baggage for a test drive and check this out.The Trunk is slightly deeper but much shorter.Width wise it seems the same.

7.The New MDX doesn't feel sportier/crisp in its handling compared to the 2011 MDX.My advance in sport feels almost like a BMW on twisty roads.Whenever I turned it felt softer ,it would complete the turn but it did not feel like a sporty vehicle.I just couldn't feel the SHAWD work as easily as I would feel it on the 2011 MDX.Or perhaps those active dampers on the 2011 are the secret behind its magic.

8. I tried to replicate that Infamous rear end thunk on this new vehicle and guess what ....I could feel it on occasion.Not all the time.It looks like it doesn't do that when you go through really bumpy roads.It does that only on those patches where the defects are not so bad.It was in the 60's and the weather was pleasant.

9.The steering wheel though with its nice controls felt smaller in diameter,I might be wrong here again.

10. The Transmission with those buttons needs visual input before you change the mode. The IDS button and the autostart stop button are the ones which bothered me the most.They are close to each other and felt the same. Whenever I was changing my IDS, I was pressing the autostart stop button accidentally.They should have changed one of those buttons to a more appropriate spot.

11.Brakes felt mushier than my 2011 MDX.



Touareg

This was a 2015 Lux white with black interior.First of all...I preferred the looks of the Touareg with its nice 265/55 tires.It looked like an SUV.My test drive was comparatively limited as I had the SA beside me.My usual SA[BMW] wasn't there but he promised me he will let me drive it alone the next time[met my SA after the test drive]

The Good

1.The interior was really nice for a VW.I was impressed the moment i sat in it.

2.It was built like a tank compared to the MDX,2011 and the 2015.Every part of the vehicle felt solid from the knobs/buttons to the sheet metal.Really liked it.

3.The engine was def noisier but became quieter at high way speeds.

4. It drove and handled well for a vehicle with no adjustable dampers and torque vectoring.

5. The brakes felt more responsive[but need to test it more the next time]

6.The seats were more comfortable than the MDX.They had a bit of thigh support for the lower thigh which comes handy during long trips.

7.The rear seat comfort and legroom seemed similar to the MDX.

8.The 8 speed transmission is a peach .I believe its the same as in my BMW and its so smooth.

9.It has both the twist key and the button to start the car. It seems trivial but after i test drove the vehicle and stopped it, I tried to restart it with the power button and staying true to its European origin the button stopped working.The SA after a couple of attempts told me that they would have to reset it. I was like LOL.I could start the vehicle with the key though with no problem.

10. A full size spare was welcome

11.The promised Gas Mileage.

12. The controls were less complicated.Acura should learn this from the Germans.You can still have a full functioning vehicle with minimal buttons /stalks if you program them right.

The Bad

1.The Trunk space. This was expected.The height was there but not enough depth to stack them[An international checkin bag] .If I end up with a vehicle of this size i would need to install a Hitch trailer to accommodate those trips to the airport when we fly abroad.

2.It was not as responsive as my 2011 MDX, The HP does count.Its not a deal breaker but you can feel the downgrade.Nice torque though, Very rarely did I notice a downshift while accelerating.

3.The Reliability and gremlins that come with European brands.The experience with that push start button only made my doubts stronger.

4.The Diesel engine is noisy at idle and acceleration.Not noisier than my 2011 MDX but def more than the 2016 MDX.It becomes quite at crusing speed though.I am not sure if they have the double pane glass on the Touareg.

5.Expensive..feature to feature.But you get what you pay for.

6.I am not a fan of touch screen navigation/controls. The screen would benefit from some resolution bump.It doesn't look crisp.


I plan to go again for an extended test drive next month and retest and confirm my findings.I plan to check out the XC90 too but I usually don't buy the newer models.

In a Nutshell....The 2016 MDX is a more comfortable/quiter vehicle but felt cheaper,It still needs quite a few things to be fixed.It has some really nice features going for it.It probably will serve most but that trunk space was a disappointment in my case.I prefer my 2011 MDX over it for now.I know it noisier and binges on premium gas but the ride is satisfying and so is the practicality of the space.I think its worth waiting for the MMY to see if Acura makes some changes to that infotainment system.

The Touareg is impressive minus that trunk space.I def need another ride in it without distractions to check the finer points.

While I was driving back home.. I kept feeling that my 2011 MDX still was a worthy vehicle despite its flaws.I kept thinking that may be...may be I can still enjoy it for a little longer.It has an attitude to it.Its aggressive when you press the pedal and responsive in the turns.It still brings a smile on your face in those twisty roads.Its worth some 23K on KBB and for whats its worth ...[compared to a 55k MDX or a 55k Touareg] I might keep it longer.I think Acura just took away the soul off the MDX in pursuit of sales and a different clientele.But the whole industry seems to be following this trend.Sometimes it might be not so wise to go against the tide.
 

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Just a comment on the seat comfort of the MDX - the seats in the lesser trims are actually much better padded. The Advance model adds ventilated seats, which takes away room for padding. There is a noticeable difference.

THanks for your observations!

Other points I could add that would tip the scales a bit towards the MDX:

Higher resale value, lower future maintenance costs (labour & parts) & the MDX should be more reliable (while this is hard to say, if either the VW or Acura live up to the brands reputations for reliability, that should be the case).

I have always owned Japanese (mostly Honda/Acura but also a Lexus) and have never had any major issues. The one time that I did veer away from the Japs was with a 2009 BMW X6 5.0 - extremely unreliable, extremely costly and extremely prone to stuff breaking all the time, what a nightmare. Not to mention going through a quart of oil every few fuel ups that the dealer deemed normal. Ended up needing new injectors at around $7000, off warranty. Never. Again. I swear I had a new error message on that screen every week. Lost 75% of it's value in 4 years... Gah!

:)
 

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8. I tried to replicate that Infamous rear end thunk on this new vehicle and guess what ....I could feel it on occasion.Not all the time.It looks like it doesn't do that when you go through really bumpy roads.It does that only on those patches where the defects are not so bad.It was in the 60's and the weather was pleasant.
First, thank you for the detailed comparison! Very good info here for future shoppers. :29:

And spot-on with your observation. The thunk is only at speeds < 40 mph, and not over severe bumps, just the slightly eroded pavement or expansion joints.

Chris
 

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On the screen resolution - did you happen to have polarized sunglasses on at the time? I ask because the LCD screen in the MDX definitely appears less sharp with polarized sunglasses on and mine also had a large brownish spot on part of the screen due to the glasses. I specifically purchased non-polarized prescription sunglasses so the LCD screen would be more viewable. With non-polarized sunglasses the screen appears sharper and of course, there were no brownish spot areas (which was actually due to the polarization in combo with LCD technology).

I think the resolution of the LCD screen is fine although it precludes the practical use of polarized sunglasses.
 

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Good point, mdxstang. And here's something even more interesting: The LCD on my Base model is much more readable with polarized glasses than was the screen on one of the loaners I had with the Tech package. That could just be luck of the draw, or maybe the screen is slightly different between the trim levels?

Chris
 

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^^ Interesting on the base vs. tech. Mine's a Tech. If I took the sunglasses off and held them between my eyes and the screen and rotated the sunglasses about 90-180 degrees the LCD screen actually goes all black - isn't visible at all.

I've read that some LCD screens are more susceptible to the polarization effect than others depending on the particular LCD technology used.

The interesting point is that aside from the potential blackout (not that I'd ever twist my head 90 degrees) and the ever-present brownish spot (a couple inches wide) that changed locations with the angle of my head to the screen, the whole display's 'resolution' appeared to be decreased noticeably.

The non-polarized sunglasses resolved the problem (pun intended).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just a comment on the seat comfort of the MDX - the seats in the lesser trims are actually much better padded. The Advance model adds ventilated seats, which takes away room for padding. There is a noticeable difference.

THanks for your observations!

Other points I could add that would tip the scales a bit towards the MDX:

Higher resale value, lower future maintenance costs (labour & parts) & the MDX should be more reliable (while this is hard to say, if either the VW or Acura live up to the brands reputations for reliability, that should be the case).

I have always owned Japanese (mostly Honda/Acura but also a Lexus) and have never had any major issues. The one time that I did veer away from the Japs was with a 2009 BMW X6 5.0 - extremely unreliable, extremely costly and extremely prone to stuff breaking all the time, what a nightmare. Not to mention going through a quart of oil every few fuel ups that the dealer deemed normal. Ended up needing new injectors at around $7000, off warranty. Never. Again. I swear I had a new error message on that screen every week. Lost 75% of it's value in 4 years... Gah!

:)
The observation and explanation about the seat comfort between Advance and tech could be true.The SA kept directing me towards the Tech with acura watch all teh time though.I wonder why:cool:.But the way i see it,I think tech with acura watch plus is the ideal buy for shoppers.

I must agree that the resale/reliability about jap brands.But I feel that, while the Germans are trying hard to bridge the gap.....The japs seem to be cavalier basking in their yester year glory which wont last long.The Koreans are fast catching up and will push Honda/Toyota from the mantle very soon. Every product from Hyundai in the recent past has been convincingly good. I test drove the new genesis and it was a very very nice car.You cant beat them in the value segment.I would have picked it up as a daily driver for my wife.Then I see products from Toyota/Honda in the last 5 years.They seem to be getting uglier and boring from one gen to the next.


I always have leased my BMW's.My 1 series [stick]was bulletproof.I drove it hard from day 1 and it never had a problem.My 7 is 14 months old,had one error message about a misfire and had an AC leak.Crazy enough that I wont buy it out after the lease but it drives like a dream.
If you want to try BMW avoid their Big V8's. The N63Tu on the newer breed is much better than the old N63[the one you probably had]That was a nightmare engine.Their Inline 6 breed the N54 and N55 are great.

First, thank you for the detailed comparison! Very good info here for future shoppers. :29:

And spot-on with your observation. The thunk is only at speeds < 40 mph, and not over severe bumps, just the slightly eroded pavement or expansion joints.

Chris
Thanks

On the screen resolution - did you happen to have polarized sunglasses on at the time? I ask because the LCD screen in the MDX definitely appears less sharp with polarized sunglasses on and mine also had a large brownish spot on part of the screen due to the glasses. I specifically purchased non-polarized prescription sunglasses so the LCD screen would be more viewable. With non-polarized sunglasses the screen appears sharper and of course, there were no brownish spot areas (which was actually due to the polarization in combo with LCD technology).

I think the resolution of the LCD screen is fine although it precludes the practical use of polarized sunglasses.
I actually did not take the glasses as it was raining on the way to the dealer[2 hrs trip].It stopped raining right before I entered the dealer lot.I have little problems with Polarised glasses in my BMW too.I see everything except that HUD with Polarised glasses.I can certainly say that the screen wither has a lower resolution or has some kind of matte antiglare coating over it making it less crispy.It did not bother me much until i got back into my 2011,when I realized how much better the screen on the 2011 looked.As i said its not a deal breaker as it gets the job done but seriously acura should have done better than that.
 

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Coming from a 2011 advance myself, you are right on the money. There are things I loved about my 2011 and there are things I love on my 2014. The active damper system on the 2011 was wonderful. Also, agree on the tech vs advance seats. I own both (wife's is tech) and her seats seem to be more supportive.

As to screen resolution, those that owned a 2G feel the 3G screen resolution is a downgrade.
 

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Since you looked at a Touareg have you also considered the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne ($$$)? There's some sharing of chassis between them. One of the points I at least considered about the Q7 and especially with the Touareg is that there seem to be relatively few actually sold here which could have an impact on cost of repairs and availability and cost of parts in comparison to a vehicle with a higher sales volume. The Touareg in particular has very low sales numbers - just 6961 in the USA for 2014. Compare to 65,603 for the 2014 MDX and 18,517 for the Q7.
http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/p/sales-stats.html

From pictures I've seen they seem to have uglied up the Q7 from the 2015 to the 2016 gen. I also think the new Volvo XC90 doesn't look to swift in the exterior design but that impression is also just from pics. Obviously this is just my own subjective opinion but in reading responses to the new designs I'm not the only one who had these thoughts.

Are you considering any Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, Mercedes, BMW, etc. vehicles?

To me a 2011 would qualify as a fairly current vehicle unless you drive a lot of miles. There have been people posting here about a mid model year 'refresh' of the MDX for 2017 but given the changes already made for 2016 I wonder how likely that is. If the other vehicles don't strike you well, are you considering giving it another year to see what they do with the MDX?
 

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pretty much the same opinion I had when I drove a 2014 for a few days. Some interesting new features, but disappointing overall (handling / looks / controls / seats / "softer" appearance inside & out). And the better fuel economy would be a plus, except that we know it'll be offset by the cost of intake valve cleanings down the road (direct injection). I wanted to love it but just couldn't. My 2011 is more fun and suits my needs better.
 

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Sorry but everyone sort of knows "japs" isn't really a nice term to use right?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Since you looked at a Touareg have you also considered the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne ($$$)? There's some sharing of chassis between them. One of the points I at least considered about the Q7 and especially with the Touareg is that there seem to be relatively few actually sold here which could have an impact on cost of repairs and availability and cost of parts in comparison to a vehicle with a higher sales volume. The Touareg in particular has very low sales numbers - just 6961 in the USA for 2014. Compare to 65,603 for the 2014 MDX and 18,517 for the Q7.
http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/p/sales-stats.html

From pictures I've seen they seem to have uglied up the Q7 from the 2015 to the 2016 gen. I also think the new Volvo XC90 doesn't look to swift in the exterior design but that impression is also just from pics. Obviously this is just my own subjective opinion but in reading responses to the new designs I'm not the only one who had these thoughts.

Are you considering any Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, Mercedes, BMW, etc. vehicles?

To me a 2011 would qualify as a fairly current vehicle unless you drive a lot of miles. There have been people posting here about a mid model year 'refresh' of the MDX for 2017 but given the changes already made for 2016 I wonder how likely that is. If the other vehicles don't strike you well, are you considering giving it another year to see what they do with the MDX?

Right now The MDX has done 73k miles and had an accident. I usually don't prefer to keep any vehicle which survived an accident too long.There was no damage to the chassis but I don't want to take a chance.Apart from that fact ,I think I might keep it for an extra year if I don't see a worthy vehicle.Again its my wives ride so the ball is in her court now.She personally doesn't prefer to drive a flashy vehicle at work so we cannot go above the Acura badge.I haven't test driven the Highlander yet.I would rather buy the mdx over that Infiniti QX 60.The QX 80 is way too big for us.The Lexus GX is scary ugly to go and test drive it.Add that abysmal mileage and its not a worthy package.I honestly think the whole concept of Luxury off roaders is plain stupid.I would personally never take my luxury car off road.

The Volvo XC 90 I am sure wont be crisp.Their choice of engines is just odd.The mileage they are prominsing with a supercharged turbo 4 pot is not worth it.I would rather have a 6 pot engine.
Sorry but everyone sort of knows "japs" isn't really a nice term to use right?
I am not aware of it,but if it is.... I am really sorry.:eek:



BTW this was what I was talking about the Transmission button mixup and the read view mirror.



The rear view mirror was really nice.


The IDS buttons and Auto start button are way too similar and placed way too close.I hit the wrong button every time i tried hitting the IDS.They should have placed the auto start /stop button somewhere else.
 

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Seems like having the auto start/stop button by the transmission to be pretty logical location. If you are having problems with the buttons, you could always wait until the vehicle is stopped and look down at the button you want to press.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Seems like having the auto start/stop button by the transmission to be pretty logical location. If you are having problems with the buttons, you could always wait until the vehicle is stopped and look down at the button you want to press.
I must respectfully disagree.The start/stop button is something you don't fiddle with all the time[usually]You either like/want it or not.You set it and forget about it.The IDS button on the other hand is something that you might want to use a little more often.I was accidentally hitting the start/stop button whenever I was trying to press the IDS button.I know that having to look down to hit the IDS button was not acura intended for the customer.But again ,my experience was only limited to a 30 minute test drive.Owners,with a longer time with the vehicle would have had a much better experience.
 

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I cross shopped the MDX with the Touareg and ended up buying the Touareg. A couple of thoughts: I agree with the OP on everything he said about the Touareg except for the touch screen. I find it to be extremely crisp, especially compared to the upper screen on the 2015 MDX. Some people complain about a lack of pizzazz and color, but I find the black and white and the font they use to be pretty classy.

I also agree that the Touareg feels like the better made vehicle all around, more solid and better interior finish, except for the engine, which is buttery refined in the MDX and a bit harsh and under-powered in the Touareg. You win some, you lose some.
 

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No worries, I just wanted to point that out.

Hrm, I do like the new bezel-less rear view mirrors, I wonder if it can be retrofitted? I had one on the new cts loaner and thought that was the best thing about the car (I kid you not).

I have the advance and it looks a bit more complicated in that area due to the cameras so maybe it might work.
 

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I honestly think the whole concept of Luxury off roaders is plain stupid.I would personally never take my luxury car off road.
You must get a kick out of some of the (probably vast majority) people who drive the Mercedes G-class SUV ($115K plus) vehicles. I see them every now and then on the tarmac but I suspect almost none of the owners ever take this vehicle off road despite its reputation as a great off-roader. I certainly never saw one of them actually off road when I used to off road quite a bit (in a Jeep Cherokee).
 

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You must get a kick out of some of the (probably vast majority) people who drive the Mercedes G-class SUV ($115K plus) vehicles. I see them every now and then on the tarmac but I suspect almost none of the owners ever take this vehicle off road despite its reputation as a great off-roader. I certainly never saw one of them actually off road when I used to off road quite a bit (in a Jeep Cherokee).
Off topic, sorry, but during my time as an officer in the Canadian Army, I spent quite a bit of time in a militarized G-Class (270cdi Diesel). They are good in certain offroad situations but they are very top-heavy (militarized version especially since it has a hatch and rotating cupola on the roof). They have a tendency to roll-over on not-so-steep inclines... pretty dangerous when you have a soldier hanging out of the hatch!).
 
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