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Hey everyone. I was wondering if there was a consensus on the forum about the most reliable year and trim level among the 2014-2017 MDX's? I am looking for a used SHAWD MDX and, coming from a history of driving used trouble-free Toyotas, I would like the model most likely to last into the 200,000-mile range with minimal issues. Should I opt for the older 6-speed transmission if this is a primary concern? Thanks in advance!
 

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Hey everyone. I was wondering if there was a consensus on the forum about the most reliable year and trim level among the 2014-2017 MDX's? I am looking for a used SHAWD MDX and, coming from a history of driving used trouble-free Toyotas, I would like the model most likely to last into the 200,000-mile range with minimal issues. Should I opt for the older 6-speed transmission if this is a primary concern? Thanks in advance!
Idk how much my experience will help with my 2017, but I had not yet experienced any problems or issues with mine. I have the FWD with Tech Package. The Acurawatch systems is worlds better than Nissan's if I had to give a comparison. For me, I do abuse all my cars but they all stay strong and reliable for me and never given up on me. 2017 MY just has styling differences and acurawatch is standard (someone correct me if I am wrong) and 2016 has the 9spd. 2014 and 15 has the 6spd. You might still have some New car warranty remaining depending on the mileage of the 2017 you are looking at. Transmission concerns from my side isn't much since it hasn't given me any issues. You will feel jerkiness when in manual mode with using the paddles though. If you want something really extremely reliable go for the 2015 but if you want the advancef safety features and don't mind the 9spd auto, then get the 2017.

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What a great thread, I'm sure it will be a stream of objective data devoid of useless one off "data" points. There is hardly an unreliable vehicle made these days, but if you manipulate the scale of your data points you can still sell subscriptions to so called "unbiased" data and paralyze potential buyers in the name off consumer advocacy...awesome!

It's 99% subjective, some folks swear by the '14-'15 6 speed (the ones that own that model) and others that can live with the quirks and benefits of the '16+ (the ones that own that model) so its up to you decide which characteristics you can live with. Reliability is a lotto pick, but overwhelming odds are whatever you pick will not let you down.
 

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What a great thread, I'm sure it will be a stream of objective data devoid of useless one off "data" points. There is hardly an unreliable vehicle made these days, but if you manipulate the scale of your data points you can still sell subscriptions to so called "unbiased" data and paralyze potential buyers in the name off consumer advocacy...awesome!

It's 99% subjective, some folks swear by the '14-'15 6 speed (the ones that own that model) and others that can live with the quirks and benefits of the '16+ (the ones that own that model) so its up to you decide which characteristics you can live with. Reliability is a lotto pick, but overwhelming odds are whatever you pick will not let you down.
All cars have better and worse years. Reliability is somewhat of a lotto pick, but you can increase your odds of winning by selecting specific model years. For example, if you are shopping for a used Civic (which is known to be reliable) you avoid 2006-2009 due to cracked engine blocks. Avoid 2002-2004 CR-Vs due to faulty AC units. Avoid 1999-2003 Oddesseys due to transmission failures. I am a big fan of Toyota due to their legendary reliability, however, I would never buy a Toyota with the 2AZ-FE 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine due to a defective piston ring design. I've done a decent amount of research on the MDX but haven't come up with a clear answer on what model year is best. The only thing I've been able to find is to avoid the Advance Package with the upgraded suspension. I have seen some complaints about the 9-speed ZF transmission but, due to Honda's past transmission difficulties, I am not entirely certain the 6-speed is a better bet. I have also noticed a strange issue when looking and new and used MDX's. The panels don't fit together properly on almost any of them. This is such a strange issue to me considering I have never seen this issue on any other car I have looked at. It makes it very difficult to shop used because you can't really perform a proper panel gap inspection to detect accidents or bodywork. It brings Acura's quality control into question in my mind and it makes me want to double down on researching.
 

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You actually hit the majority of the critical points about Acura in your own research. The third gen mdx is mostly consistent throughout, but the later the year the more small issues have been cataloged and hopefully fixed by prior owners. Some issues still seem to persist throughout, like the panel fit complaints, interior nvh issues, and random cels.

Obviously avoid 2014 for being the first year and it has its own little infotainment updates issues that the 2015 got fixes for. 2016 is the 9zf year to avoid because of the tranny cooler defect.

The major components, like the engine, transmission, and suspension are still mostly the same, except the 2016 change to the 9zf transmission, which supposedly got a lot better in 2019. And you're right about the 6 speed potential issues because many owners don't think to maintain a transmission so frequently to prevent the atf burning. And even the ones who do seem to detect the torque converter issues pretty frequently.

If you step into the sport hybrid realm though, there's seems to be a lot less reports of issues other than some earlier models reporting that their batteries didn't recharge. But they have the different transmission and also the adaptive suspension. But this could also just be a factor of lower production units overall, plus factoring in that we internet connected owners are only a fraction of the total community.

I'll just say this though. Your point about overall Acura QC is pretty much how i feel as well. I've been in the Honda family since 1987. But if you ask me today what i think about their products, I'll tell you to just avoid just about anything but the Accord and Civic. Don't even consider the ILX and the V6 products in general have longevity issues-- not necessarily in that it will break down on you, but because you will have been annoyed so badly by the tech support at the brand and their dealers that you will probably toss the car before the timing belt change.

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I'd be curious though if Acura is honestly measurably worse in reliability than the average brand? Honda isn't what it once was for reliability, and even Toyota has shown some signs of weakness the past few years. Seems just about every brand today has some reliability issues, obviously though Toyota / Lexus, Hyundai, Kia and possibly Genesis seem to be about the only brands with better than average reliability

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I'd be curious though if Acura is honestly measurably worse in reliability than the average brand? Honda isn't what it once was for reliability, and even Toyota has shown some signs of weakness the past few years. Seems just about every brand today has some reliability issues, obviously though Toyota / Lexus, Hyundai, Kia and possibly Genesis seem to be about the only brands with better than average reliability

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My opinion is Acura has a better reliability than its parent company, Honda. Honda has a ton of issues as of late with its small L15 1.5L turbo 4 cylinder. And most Honda SUVs and Minivan is plauged with issues, as far I know, but most of these issues are with the electronics apparently.

But all is questionable with those CR data points though.

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I'd be curious though if Acura is honestly measurably worse in reliability than the average brand? Honda isn't what it once was for reliability, and even Toyota has shown some signs of weakness the past few years. Seems just about every brand today has some reliability issues, obviously though Toyota / Lexus, Hyundai, Kia and possibly Genesis seem to be about the only brands with better than average reliability

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My guess is there is something to those CR numbers, but a lot of the issues with newer cars are with the infotainment systems. As EPA fuel economy standards increase, engines must use more complicated technology and more moving parts to keep up (turbo chargers, gasoline direct injection, etc). Transmissions must add gears which means twice as many shifts for a 10 speed vs a 5 speed. Furthermore additional safety tech is required to prevent drivers from running into other cars as they are focused more and more on the infotainment systems. Additional issues like switching to water-based paint to satisfy the eco warriors and you have a recipe for lowered reliability and increased QC demands. I have no doubt that the manufacturing process has improved, but the products being manufactured are more complicated. My 2001 Toyota Highlander V6 4 speed that I drive like a maniac shifts like it is brand new and the only problems I have had were replacing knock and oxygen sensors. Toyota has been somewhat spared because they are adopting engine and transmission tech much more slowly due to their obsession with reliability. Honda/Acura have been adopting newer tech pretty early IMO, hence more issues. The panel gap thing still blows me away however. If I'm paying $50k for a new car the panels better fit haha.
 

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You actually hit the majority of the critical points about Acura in your own research. The third gen mdx is mostly consistent throughout, but the later the year the more small issues have been cataloged and hopefully fixed by prior owners. Some issues still seem to persist throughout, like the panel fit complaints, interior nvh issues, and random cels.

Obviously avoid 2014 for being the first year and it has its own little infotainment updates issues that the 2015 got fixes for. 2016 is the 9zf year to avoid because of the tranny cooler defect.

The major components, like the engine, transmission, and suspension are still mostly the same, except the 2016 change to the 9zf transmission, which supposedly got a lot better in 2019. And you're right about the 6 speed potential issues because many owners don't think to maintain a transmission so frequently to prevent the atf burning. And even the ones who do seem to detect the torque converter issues pretty frequently.

If you step into the sport hybrid realm though, there's seems to be a lot less reports of issues other than some earlier models reporting that their batteries didn't recharge. But they have the different transmission and also the adaptive suspension. But this could also just be a factor of lower production units overall, plus factoring in that we internet connected owners are only a fraction of the total community.

I'll just say this though. Your point about overall Acura QC is pretty much how i feel as well. I've been in the Honda family since 1987. But if you ask me today what i think about their products, I'll tell you to just avoid just about anything but the Accord and Civic. Don't even consider the ILX and the V6 products in general have longevity issues-- not necessarily in that it will break down on you, but because you will have been annoyed so badly by the tech support at the brand and their dealers that you will probably toss the car before the timing belt change.

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Thank you sir for the very informative reply. Would you consider a 2016 if the transmission cooler had been replaced? Or should I just scratch it off of my list?
 

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Thank you sir for the very informative reply. Would you consider a 2016 if the transmission cooler had been replaced? Or should I just scratch it off of my list?
I'd scratch it personally. Mostly because even if the warmer was the only thing affected, there could still be cross contamination of the atf with the coolant. If the prior owner had some symptoms and the transmission got replaced, chances are it's a refurb (check piloteers to see cases of the refurbs failing). If they had the worst case scenario where the engine and transmission were both replaced, well.. yanno.

Or they could be like me, where i have the symptoms, have videos, but the dealerships and Acura refuse to fix anything because they can't produce the sound consistently. This is after almost 3 years of chasing it down.

Early 2017 are also affected btw.

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The wife and I decided to give the hybrid a test drive just for the fun of it when we were looking over a year ago. The hybrid pretty much solved a lot of the nagging issues we had with the 3.5L version like:
  • extra power with 321hp/289tq
  • 9AT shifting issues fixed with 7DCT
  • electronic dampers with Sport+ mode for a more sporty ride (coming from a 11 MDX Adv and 08 RDX with Eibach springs+progress RSB)
  • extremely active sh-awd system that works on/off engine power for added stability, traction, re-gen braking, and fuel economy.
  • 24 to 27 mpg in combined driving. I can sometimes get +30 mpg in 100% city driving of 35-45 mph compared to 15-18 mpg with my 11 MDX.
  • better performance/acceleration with hybrid powertrain at higher altitudes of 5000-8000 feet
  • zero impact on fuel tank size and interior space with hybrid tech
  • only need tow hitch for bike rack
Couldn't find an used/CPO hybrid in Fathom Blue Pearl MDX hybrid and just decided to go for a new one. I've been very happy since. Liked the hybrid so much, we decided to add a CPO 18 RLX hybrid and pass the 08 RDX down to our daughter.

The only issues I've had with my hybrid were:
  • crackling wind noise from front passenger window fixed with re-greasing the window channel (issues with a lot of MDXs)
  • Carplay was down for months with the first iPhone IOS update to version 13
  • On my first oil change, Acura tech filled the 3.0L with 6.5 quarts of oil instead of the required 4.5 quarts. The tech assumed the 3.5L and 3.0L took the same amount of oil. The 7DCT and rear electronic motors take different fluids than the 9AT/transfer case/sh-awd models, Hybrid has larger front brakes, and the hybrid also has two separate cooling systems.
 

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Mrgold35. Agree with you on the hybrid. agressive driving with the hybrid feels like a RWD car, not FWD. I've grown up with RWD cars, and have several FWD cars and handling is different. The hybrid feels more like my two exisitng RWD cars rather than several previous FWD cars. Much more neutral handling. None of that feeling of understeer even under moderate cornering.

And changing transmission and rear drive unit fluids is "easy peasy". drain, then fill to the fill plug just like on a typical rear diff. Same on the transmission, and they use the inexpensive DW-1 fluid. Took me less than an hour to do both. Just need to make sure the car is completely level, which I can do easily with my quickjack portable lift system.

We have similar experience with fuel economy. On trips with speed limits under about 45mph it's easy to get into the 32-35 or so mileage for a trip around town. What we have found is that short trips on cold mornings are in the 18-20 mpg range. Engine runs till it warms up, so on our 3 mile trip to the gym, we don't get to hybrid mode for much of the trip, then the car cools down for an hour and back home. low 20's round trip like that. Our average round town is like yours, for a full tank it varies between 22 at the low end to 25 at the high end hand calculated. The MID is usually displaying 1 to 1.5 mpg higher than real.

And the 7 speed DCT is a nice shifting transmission. instant response, quick shifts. no lag.

Compared to some other hybrids we tried, the MDX came out on top. To many hybrids are focused on max fuel economy and performance suffers. Acura hit a good balance for us, don't eak out the max fuel economy, just improve city mileage but focus is on overall performance.
 

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You actually hit the majority of the critical points about Acura in your own research. The third gen mdx is mostly consistent throughout, but the later the year the more small issues have been cataloged and hopefully fixed by prior owners. Some issues still seem to persist throughout, like the panel fit complaints, interior nvh issues, and random cels.

Obviously avoid 2014 for being the first year and it has its own little infotainment updates issues that the 2015 got fixes for. 2016 is the 9zf year to avoid because of the tranny cooler defect.

The major components, like the engine, transmission, and suspension are still mostly the same, except the 2016 change to the 9zf transmission, which supposedly got a lot better in 2019. And you're right about the 6 speed potential issues because many owners don't think to maintain a transmission so frequently to prevent the atf burning. And even the ones who do seem to detect the torque converter issues pretty frequently.

If you step into the sport hybrid realm though, there's seems to be a lot less reports of issues other than some earlier models reporting that their batteries didn't recharge. But they have the different transmission and also the adaptive suspension. But this could also just be a factor of lower production units overall, plus factoring in that we internet connected owners are only a fraction of the total community.

I'll just say this though. Your point about overall Acura QC is pretty much how i feel as well. I've been in the Honda family since 1987. But if you ask me today what i think about their products, I'll tell you to just avoid just about anything but the Accord and Civic. Don't even consider the ILX and the V6 products in general have longevity issues-- not necessarily in that it will break down on you, but because you will have been annoyed so badly by the tech support at the brand and their dealers that you will probably toss the car before the timing belt change.

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I have a 2014, what infotainment issues?
 

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Saying "avoid the first model year" is a bit broad. Really early build dates, maybe. When I bought my '14 (04/14 build) I was comparing to another '14 with a 08/13 build date. The newer build was part of the swaying decision to pick up the one I have. For the infotainment issues, I haven't noticed any "issues" and I thought that the update came only to later build 2015s, not the entire 2015 model year?
 

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You hear about the problem vehicles, which I believe are the vast minority of the vehicles.
I had a 17 awd Advance for 3 years with no issues (also had 01, 05, & 11 with only issue being an ac issue on the 11).
I have a buddy that has a 16 awd Tech and he has had no issues.
I have another buddy who puts lots of highway miles via work and gets a new MDX awd Tech every two years. He has had 14, 16, & now has 18 with no issues.
 

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Hey everyone. I was wondering if there was a consensus on the forum about the most reliable year and trim level among the 2014-2017 MDX's? I am looking for a used SHAWD MDX and, coming from a history of driving used trouble-free Toyotas, I would like the model most likely to last into the 200,000-mile range with minimal issues. Should I opt for the older 6-speed transmission if this is a primary concern? Thanks in advance!
I have a 2014. It's been bulletproof. 6 speed trans has been smooth and shifts effortlessly. 60K miles
 

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I have a 2014, what infotainment issues?
Look into the TSBs for the 14 and 15 but it generally revolved around being super slow, traffic lines being super thin as to be unusable, voice commands being useless (this is arguably true for all years up to 2018), and some other issues i don't remember anymore. There was also some ribbon cable issues causing the top screen to fail, but not very many cases of that. But fixes of the 14 software ended somewhere around mid 2015 or so while the 15 and 16 continued to get bug fixes into later years, so there was some thought that 14 uses older hardware uncommon to the 15-17.

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I have a 2014. It's been bulletproof. 6 speed trans has been smooth and shifts effortlessly. 60K miles
Keep watch of your atf. You're at the mileage that the atf should have already been changed, so if you haven't, you may start to develop the atf burn issues causing the fluttering tach at lower rpms. Since it's a temperature related issue that was later highlighted by a TSB to update software to prevent the atf from burning faster than speced, this issue may be more prevalent in hotter climates.

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