2011 Acura MDX Suspension and Ride Experience

cha2cha2 Member Posts: 13
edited October 2014 in Acura
How does the suspension on the 2011 Tech compare to the susp on the Advance? Does the std suspension (ie, Tech) default to the Adv "sport" or "comfort"?
I have an 08 Tech/sport with the adj susp & the "comfort" is much too soft.
Even the dealers (service), do not appear to have the tech answer to this issue.
Any suggestions/thoughts are appreciated.


  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    edited January 2011

    The active damper suspension literally has hundreds of steps and can adjust the damping level at each wheel in .005 seconds. That means you will get the most comfortable ride when possible, yet always have the sport stiffness when necessary. You get the best of both.

    You will find that both the comfort and sport modes on the 2011 are softer than on your 2008 on normal-type driving. That is a good thing, not a bad thing, because the shocks will stiffen when needed. Why would anyone one want a rough ride when it's not necessary?
  • acmdxacmdx Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2011
    I bought a new 2011 Acura MDX Tech/Adv, and it is the best AWD vehicle that I have owned. I had 2 Mercedes SUV's, Jeeps, etc. and the Acura is rock solid, very reliable, and has a great handling and ride. The comfort setting is the default, for the ADS, and is great for inside the city. When you go into the highway and you are 70+ mph, you can set the ADS comfort mode, and the MDX is like in rails. The stability control system has even speical settings when you are towing, which is rated at 5,000 lbs. The transmission and engine has been enhanced on the 2011 for increased life and performance.

    Compared to other SUV's, the MDX has no wobbling and it's V6 300 HP engine, is even faster than my two former Mercedes SUVs V6 and V8 engines, and of course Acura reliability is world class. Sorry, but no German vehicle can touch the Acura's reliability, and Acura uses high quality Milan Premium perforated leather(heated and AC vented seats standard on ADV), and not high quality vynil fake-leather like they install in many other vehicles.

  • brittubrittu Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2011
    I'd like to know the answer to that question too. Anybody? Is the ride of a regular tech more like the "comfort" or "sport" mode of the Advanced?

    I'm having a hard time deciding if I should be a used 10 tech or advanced or just save money and get a loaded '09...
  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    I don't think you are going to "notice" much difference between the two suspensions. HOWEVER, that is because the adaptive sports suspension will always give the best ride possible without compromising handling. For me, the adaptive sports suspension is another safety feature. If you hit the brakes hard, the front suspension will tighten; therefore, much less front-end dip.

    The 2010 and 2011 are identical vehicles. All the improvements were made on the 2010 - much improved technology compared to the 2009, and in my opinion, much better looking.

    Other considerations - the 2010 Advance has the blind spot info system which I love, the adaptive cruise control (plus regular cruise control) which is another safety feature as well as making long drives more comfortable. I have driven as far as 100 miles without touching the gas or brakes. Also get the Collision Mitigation Braking System, another safety feature. In addition, when the stability control kicks in the adaptive suspension immediately adjusts for the best traction at each wheel.

    The additional advantages of the hard-drive sound system and nav system also make the 2010 my choice.

    I never thought I'd use the "ventilated seat" feature but I was very mistaken. When driving in 100+ degree weather, even with the air on, I have always had a problem with the back of my shirt getting wet. No more. The ventilated seats solved that problem.

    Too many changes in the 2010 to go for the 2009, and the Advance package gives you the best possible ride and handling.
  • brittubrittu Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply, cloviskid, it's really helpful. I'm definitely going 2010 or 2011 if I can find the right one. Hopefully I can figure out how to afford an Advance package. I've been so cheap with my cars for so many years it'd just be nice for once to get exactly what I want.

    Did you have much of a chance to drive a base or tech version? I'd still like to figure out if a regular tech drives more like an advance in "comfort" mode or if it's more akin to "sport". I'm probably more for smooth ride and comfort. If I have to compromise on budget to get a 2010 in my price range I'm wondering if I'd find a regular tech comfy enough...
  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    The Acura dealer in my area only had a Tech for me to test drive. Then days later I drove 100 miles to the nearest dealer with an Advance to test drive. It's too hard to tell between the two when test driving.

    In 2010 Acura retuned the comfort-sport settings. In most cases I can't tell the difference when I select between the two. Sometimes I can tell a very minor difference. But keep in mind, Cadillac uses almost the identical system and they don't have driver selectable settings. It really isn't necessary since the system can be tuned to always give the most comfort until a stiffer suspension is needed. Even if I use the sport setting, the ride is much smoother on a rough road than my 2003 Infiniti I-35 was.

    I almost purchased a 2010 Honda Pilot but decided I'd better at least test drive the MDX. Once I drove the MDX, I no longer wanted the Honda. I justified the cost of the MDX Advance by deciding to keep in longer than I would have if I purchased a less expensive SUV.

    The 2010 MDX is my dream car - the car I've dreamed about for years. My dream car had to have all-wheel drive and Acura's is the best. It had to have an adaptive sports suspension and I believe there is none better than Acura's. It had to have ventilated front seats and the MDX Advance does, and they work well. It had to have some sort of a collision warning or mitigation system and the MDX Advance does. It also had to have a top-of-the-line Navigation system, and the MDX does. I got everything I wanted in the MDX Advance. I didn't compromise anything. At 66 years old, I felt if I didn't get exactly what I wanted, I probably never would. I've had the vehicle for nearly ten months with ZERO problems.

    I also like comfort over sports suspensions. But I also want the extra layer of safety a sports suspension provides when an emergency arises and with the adaptive suspension, I get both. Driving the MDX in the mountains is like driving a small car around those curves. I thought my Infiniti I-35 handled well, but the Acura puts the Infiniti to shame.

    If you don't get the Advance package, you will always wonder if you did the right thing. Just my two cents worth.
  • longsunglongsung Member Posts: 1
    Just got a 2011 MDX base model. I found the ride is slightly bumpy on any road condistions regardless of the speed, especially compared to my other car Toyota Avalon. Since this is my first MDX, I'm wondering if this bumpy ride is normal.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Check for the simple stuff first, that being the air pressure. Sometimes the dealers forget to air down the tires to spec when they deliver a new car.
  • ed168ed168 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 MDX Tech. The ride is horrible! It is very choppy. Every friend site in my MDX and complaint about the poor ride. We own a BMW, Mecedes Mits. Montero or Lexus before; never have such a poor ride. I don't own the Advance. I don't know how the Advance ride. I don't think it will be that much different. I'm very suprised how poor Acura made this MDX in term of ride comfort. You don't feel like you are riding on a luxury car when driving the MDX. Especially when it hits on a bumpy road, your whole body shake up and down and side way; horrible choppy ride! Not worth the money! You pay this kind of money, you don't just expect just reliable, you would expect ride like a luxury car. The SUV totally failed!
  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    I have the 2010 MDX Advance which is identical to the 2011. Everyone, young and old, tell me how smooth the ride is. Doesn't matter whether I have it on the Comfort or Sport setting, most times I can barely feel the bumps even on a bad road. Much smoother ride than my 2003 Infiniti I-35 with the standard (not sports) suspension.

    Acura re-calibrated the Comfort and Sport settings for 2010 (applies also to 2011) to make the ride more compliant in both Comfort and Sport settings.

    A couple weeks ago I got in a very bad situation on the freeway in Southern California. I was in lane #3 on a 5-lane freeway when the vehicle in front of me went into lane #4. Immediately the Collision Mitigation Braking System went into the Alert 1 stage warning me of a possible collision. I was going around 70MPH. The car directly ahead of me was going at most 10 MPH - it had a tire blowout. All I could do is swerve into lane #2 to get around it. This is where the adaptive suspension shines. On an emergency swerve into another lane, the suspension tightens nicely. I had no problem at all. The blind spot light was not on so I didn't have to worry about a car being in the other lane. Regardless, I would have had to swerve into that lane to avoid hitting the nearly stopped vehicle while going nearly 70MPH.

    With the adaptive suspension, you get the benefit of a comfort suspension without sacrificing handling when you need it. Even if you have it in the Comfort setting, the owners manual says if necessary it will automatically go into the Sport setting and then automatically return back to the Comfort setting, or vice versa, in extreme cases.

    The Collision Mitigation Braking System stage 1 warning has gone off 4 times during my first year of ownership. Each time I could see a good reason why it went off. But each time I was attentive and had the situation under control. Stage 1 warning is a beep beep beep and the word BRAKES flashing in red on and off in big letters on the dashboard. Could be a life saver if you happen to turn your head to the side at the same time the vehicle in front of you puts on his brakes.

    Just over a year, and no problems with my MDX. Best vehicle, by far, that I have ever owned.
  • acmdxacmdx Member Posts: 5
    It is obvious that you have a suspension problem. The MDX is well known to have a smooth ride, and the Advanced is way smoother. I owned brand new Mercedes SUV's for the last 10 years, and they had a terrible ride (wobbling) unless you installed Bilsteans or some other good shocks.

    I am in the mdxers forum, and we all love the ride of our MDX. The only people that complain are the ones that have some serious issue, like you. Bad shocks, suspension component, etc.

    It seems like it is a second hand vehicle. If you have extended warranty, you can go to the dealer for a checkup.. They will tell you right away what is wrong with your suspension.
  • acmdxacmdx Member Posts: 5
    The 2011 Advance has stiffer stability bars, which provides a nice improvement on curves. The ADS is an incredible system that works smoothly and keeps the vehicle very leveled on all kinds of roads.

    If your suspension is too soft, just add more pressure to your tires. The higher pressure will add more feedback to the shock control/valve system and will provide a stiffer ride. You can put 36 PSI cold, and you will notice the difference. This works even on the 2011 MDX Advance Damper System vehicles, which will make the comfort mode stiffer and the sport mode, even stiffer...
  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    edited August 2011
    I could be wrong, but I don't believe adding air to the tires will stiffen the suspension. I believe all it does it make you feel the road more, and feel the roughness of the road more, and feel the bumps more. It should have nothing to do with the suspension itself. You don't want to over-inflate the tires. My Owner's Manual says: "Overinflated tires can make your vehicle ride more harshly, are more prone to damage from road hazards, and wear unevenly."

    Driving on under-inflated tires is dangerous, yet will give a softer ride. Driving on over-inflated tires can actually DECREASE handling as less tread may be touching the road even though you "feel" the road more which can give a false sense of better handling.
  • acmdxacmdx Member Posts: 5
    We are not talking 40+ psi, but just 4 psi of additional tire pressure. You are right in that you should never overinflate your tires.

    32 Is the normal tire psi, 34 or 36 psi is the recommended pressure when you have any kind of load in your MDX. You definitely don't want to tow any load with your tires at 32 psi...

    When I first got my 2011 MDX, all the bushings/suspension were tight and I could feel all the road feedback, now at 14,000, it is very quiet and smooth at 32 or 36 psi of pressure in my tires.

    I have a 2011 MDX ADV, and when you put more pressure in your tires, it provides more feedback to the shock control mechanism (in the case of the ADV MDX), or to the valving system (normal MDX), and makes your ride definitely more firm. This is what you do, too, when your shocks are old and begin to lose firmness, on older vehicles.

    This is a well known old procedure, and it is easy to feel the difference on the ADV MDX, since the comfort is very soft, but once you add the pressure, it stiffens the ride. I used to do this on my old Mercedes SUV's because they use cheaply design/built shocks that lasted just a couple of years.

    When they say overinflate tires, they are talking 40+ psi, and you should never exceed or even come close to the maximum psi stamped on the tire. Normally 50 psi or so...
  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    edited August 2011
    I have just spoken to an Acura technician who told me that adding a few pounds of air pressure does NOT stiffen the suspension, but rather makes you "think" it has because it will ride a little rougher. Riding rougher will actually make the suspension work harder as it will have more vibrations to filter out.

    That "well-known old procedure" is a myth.

    Check with Acura yourself.
  • acmdxacmdx Member Posts: 5
    Don't know why a knowleable mechanic will say the latter, if it is well known that when you provide more feedback to the shock's valve system, it will act as if you are going faster, and which shocks are tuned to become stiffer as the vehicle speed increases.. The more road feedback the stiffer the shocks become.. Again we are not talking about large psi increases, so you are not really increasing vibrations but lower frequency feedback to the shocks valving system, or in the case of the ADS, increase feedback to the sensors that gives input to the ADS system.

    Shocks don't have a constant damp by design. If you are familiar with shocks, you will find that weak shocks or shocks with weak damping capabilities will make the car wobble, which is the usual problem with worned shocks or shocks with variable settings.

    When you increase your damping factor, you will reduce your wobbling on uneven roads..

    Even for towing purposes, you increase your psi to avoid overheating your tires (flexing issue) and to increase the damping capabilities of your shocks and to have more control during towing..

    I am not telling this only from past experience. I am mentioning this because I like my MDX firmer when I am in the highway at around 70 mph, and it becomes very obvious how the handling changes when you put 36 psi vs. 32 psi. Just a couple of psi in your tires make a big difference..

    It is not my intention to contradict anybody, I am just posting what I, and many people, do to improve handling or to improve driving conditions..


  • cloviskidcloviskid Member Posts: 23
    Thanks for the info. I am going to check into this a little more as this is very interesting information. Today I checked the tire pressure info on the dashboard and it read 35 lbs. for each tire. I just had service done at the dealer a couple weeks ago and that is what they put in.

    We have to remember, though, that as we increase speed, the heat from the tire increases the air pressure. How much I don't know as I've never checked the pressure at different speeds. Might be interesting.

    On most roads, I can't tell the difference between the Sport and Comfort settings, or at most a very small difference. But my MDX only has about 7600 miles on it. As time goes on, I suspect that I will eventually notice more of a difference.
  • jensadjensad Member Posts: 388
    I also own a 08 RL & 11 MDX. Both are excellent riding and no problems as of today. The mdx has more bells and whistles but both vehicles are better than my former 2007 Lexus RL. Espcially with the rear and side visibility. We have own nothing but toyotas or Acuras. In today's world I'll again buy an acura if I live another 7 years.

    Good luck to all and stay safe.

  • jensadjensad Member Posts: 388
    Hi Cloviskid. I agree with you as I also purchased the Advance system and my wife and I drove 7500 miles from Ca, across country, through Zion, and over the badlands and the Acura did a wonderful job making our trip pleasurable. My wife retired this year, (Im 69) and we are driving again across the country and visit wit our son and his family in Rockford Illinois and then tour up north coming home. This is the best Acura I have owned and I intend to keep both of our vehicles for a long time.

    Good luck to all and stay safe.

  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "..Check with Acura yourself..."

    And encounter yet another IDIOT like you did...no thanks.

    "..Does not stiffen the suspension.."

    Correct, it only "stiffens" the tire sidewall. And yes, with a a higher tire inflation level, "stiffened sidewall" the MDX will ride a little rougher.

    "..suspension work harder.."


    Isn't that the point..?
This discussion has been closed.