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Acura MDX (pre-2007)



  • ahossaahossa Posts: 152
    I am comparing the ride to the Toyota Highlander.I have never owned a Suv before so MAybe I am not accustomed to that noise level but the cabin was loud.I was impressed with the supression of noise by Toyota in the HL. To me it appears that Acura did not put enough noise reduction padding in the cabin so as to keep the SUV affordable. It's not engine noise I know that for sure.
  • I have a base MDX. Before I installed the roof rack, the wind noise on the MDX is not very pronounced. I thought that it is about the same as the ML320. After I installed the roof rack. I am very sure that it ii noisier now. I would say that it is about 20 to 30% more. But even at this level, it is still much quieter than other SUV I have tested, with the exception of the RX300, X5. I hope that this would help.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    You said in the previous post that you didn't take the Highlander on the highway, so you're comparing apples (Highlander under 40mph on road) w/ oranges (any SUV on highway)...
    In the C&D test a while back, the X5 was quietest on the highway, followed by ML320, then by RX300 and MDX. The ML320 has *lots* of wind noise once you get over's that big box through wind problem again :-)
  • pd88pd88 Posts: 2
    Does anyone know how easy or how difficult to install a roof rack on a MDX base model? Dealers charge $400 - $500, but the A&I Motor sell the "Roof Carrier Kit" for only $135. Is it roof rack? Thanks.
  • mdx1mdx1 Posts: 63
    Referenced Post

    The FM radio in the MDX is not as good as the one in the RX300 I test drove and is actually worse than my 12 year-old Camry LE's factory radio. The problem is the lack of clarity. But the radio in my '98 Sienna is even worse than the one in the MDX.

    On the other hand, I consider the CD sound quality on my Touring MDX to be very good. It played all my CD-Rs flawlessly. My MDX as delivered had a subwoofer rattling problem and was solved after my dealer replaced the subwoofer.

    I don't consider myself an audiophile type person (my stereo worthes a lot of less than my MDX!) but I do enjoy good sound when I hear it. My home system consists of a pair of ribbon speakers, a Velodyne sub, a B&W CC6 center channel and a pair a B&W 601 rear surround speakers.
  • I too have noticed the thud usually when making a right turn. It appears to come from the left wheelwell. I will be taking it in to the dealer this week and will post the results.
  • It seems to be an Acura pattern that a first year vehicle is noisy. I liked everything about my 1991 Legend except the excessive road noise. Acura put more sound insulation and thicker window glass in Legends in succeeding years. It's a good thing I won't be interested in an MDX for a year or two. I'm sure they'll be quieter by then.
  • There have been 3 or 4 extended explanations on the roof rack install since october. Check the archives.

    It requires only hand tools, no drilling or such. Yes, the roof rack you buy from Tim in NY or from A&I is a factory rack without having to waste your time at the dealership. For someone mildly handy, it should be a "push". (By the time you drive to the dealer, drive to work, drive to the dealer, drive home.)

    Nobody has posted any problems with an install...

    Roof Rack Tirade:
    While the X5 and M roof racks "look" more aerodynamic, and they are- how do you attach anything to them??? Looks like you add cross bars, THEN carrier parts. Once you add the cross bars, noise on the round or square bars goes up (plus an extra few hundred $$$). Plus it starts looking like a lincoln-log deal. I may be wrong, perhaps there is are integrated aerodynamic cross bars not pictured where I'm looking. Being a functional kind of guy, I like the fact that the MDX needs no other fittings or bars to work.

  • Long term readers and posters here know that I detest traction/stability control systems because they hinder forward progress, whereas VTM-4 and VTM-4/Quaife do not. Take a look at the February 2001 issue of Popular Science, p. 34. Frank Vizard, the author of the piece, says "A long sweeping left turn became a slide, putting the ABS-equipped vehicle [the Highlander] into a snowbank that was the last barrier before a deep ravine. I suppose the moral is that even with an electronic distribution system for braking, auxiliary braking power for emergencies, and skid control, snow sometimes wins. Ironically, the traction-control system--which can't be turned off--kept the vehicle stuck in the snow, right front wheel spinning madly. We pushed it out...I was wishing it was more truck-like...with a more traditional 4WD and better traction."

  • The same issue of Popular Science has still another story on fuel cell research. Hundreds of millions of dollars are going into this rat hole; heck even Honda is investing here. According to the story, also on p. 34, the tank-to-wheel energy efficiency is around 22% for the latest "breakthrough." Ridiculous. A much more efficient and less expensive method would be a Stirling cycle engine or a Satz engine (modified gas turbine engine in which each mechanism both compresses and expands the working fluid) combined with a CVT. The MDX's 5-speed automatic transmission (transaxle) is super smooth ("silky" in the phrase of the automotive journalists), but it still cannot match the efficiency of a CVT. Get working on it (and the Quaife front differential), MDX engineers.

  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Ard & others w/ noise problems:
    A few ML folks installed the Thule wind deflector (installs near sunroof front edge on the leading crossbar) and it reduced wind noise up top (you hear it through the sunroof). You guys might want to try that to see if it helps on the MDX.

    I'm surprised the Highlander doesn't have a Traction Control disable switch. Both the ML and X5 have it and it's useful for that exact stuck situation. The positive thing about having TC is that adding ESP/DSC/VSC is very cost-effective...just a few sensors and some software. The ideal thing to do is to have a diff lock switch in addition to TC for those times you get stuck in snow (like the MDX lock button), but that would be lots more expensive. It should be interesting to see how Acura adds ESP to their VTM system.
  • I've traded in my 99 rx300 for the mdx 2wks ago and so far, I think I made a good choice. Major things I like about the mdx over the rx300 are; mdx seems to have a much more solid suspension... less bouncy ride... less body roll..... takes the bumps with more confidence, better feel taking off from a full stop.. more power... less strain, smaller turning diameter, obvious third row seat, about the same gas milage... 19.9 overall (I live in SW florida... mild climate, no warm up, etc..) I've read some people complaining about the stereo system in the base mdx. Compared to the rx300, stereo is pretty good (base model mdx). My other cars are 00TL with 190 watt bose system... not significantly better than the mdx, 96 maxima gle with again bose system... about the same. Wind and road noise is more in the mdx without the roof rack than the rx300... not enough to regret switching to mdx. I'll probably get even more wind noise with the roof rack which I am in the process of putting on.... My wife says without the roof rack, mdx looks too much like a minivan... noise or not, I am putting on the roof rack, maybe even side steps... gives that sporty look. Well, just my 2 cents... Happy motoring...
  • dkly - thanks for your input. Took my MDX to dealer today (3rd day of ownership - does not bode well). The service guy said it's an "electrical connector". He could not explain what was wrong - whether it was faulty or not installed. Anyway dealer ordered part today - supposed to be in tomorrow. So let's see.
  • zoomazooma Posts: 19
    Thanks for returning to provide your update -- my wait is dragging (3.5 months so far -- thru same dealer you used) and starting to wear on me (getting sick of my Explorer), so it was nice to hear the reassurances re maneuverabiity from one who appears to use the MDX as I intend to (carpool, shopping, garage, etc.). At least it got me re-excited about the car (I'm probably one of the gawkers that has been eyeing your MDX in Md.)!
  • I am due to receive my MDX with touring package within 3 weeks. While, I have been waiting, I did look at the ML320 and I liked it also. I would like to hear from MDX owners as to whether they recommend that I go through purchase.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    ...well, what did you expect them to say. Sheesh.

    The MDX is a fine vehicle. So is the ML320. Make your list of priorities, set your budget.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    ard: Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I had a busy work day today.

    Post #1063, last paragraph, is exactly why I would prefer the roof rack that comes with the ML320 rather than Acura's MDX roof rack. A good roof rack design (IMO) has rails mounted on each side mounted in a fore/aft direction, with crossbars that can be adjusted or removed. With this type of design, a driver can remove the crossbars when they are not needed, to make the roofline more aerodynamic. Also, the crossbars would be adjustable fore and aft as needed, depending on the cargo; unlike the MDX. The key item here is that the driver does not have to put up with extra wind drag (and the subsequent additional wind noise) when nothing is hauled on the roof!

    I understand you may be an avid skiier and make extensive use of your roof rack, and with the ski attachments, adjustable or removable crossbars are not any concern. But I sincerely think you are not in the majority of all the MDX owners.

    By the way, there's no tirade going on as far as I know! But I think there is definitely some mounting evidence that this MDX roof rack adds wind noise. Makes me wonder about some of these people who buy a base model and then want to add the roof rack because they like the "looks".

    Any resolution or new info regarding the brake pedal hiss?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    As we all know, I favor stability control systems -- so long as they are well implemented. Well-implemented meaning that 1) you can turn them off for situations like PopSci discussed and 2) that the power cut-off not be too aggressive (through software).

    I'm surprised the Highlander doesn't have a way to turn it off for that particular purpose (pulling out of the drift). Either that, or the PopSci writer couldn't find it.

    As far as them ending up in the snow drift in the first place, the possibility does exist that WITHOUT traction and stability control, they might have ended up even deeper in the snow drift, or went right through it and into the ravine. As everyone knows, even those systems have limits. Plus Toyota/Lexus are not known for putting good rubber on their vehicles.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Your post reminds me of something funny I saw at They have an informal owner survey area there. For the MDX survey, everyone was giving a "9" or a "10" (out of 10) as their opinions of their MDX -- except for one individual who gave it a "1"! He said something about it being the worst vehicle he ever purchased, and he wouldn't wish it upon his worst enemies! Since it was a recent addition to that survey, my guess is that it was a Toyota dealer trying to sell more Highlanders! ;-)
  • No, the "tirade" was MY tirade about roof racks, I wasn't refering to any postings!

    So, I agree that removable/adjustable cross bars, IF aerodynamic and IF supplied by the manufacturer would be better. SO, do they? That is, if the BMW and ML are "better" then they should have aerodynamic, factory supplied cross bars that can be adjusted fore and aft. Anybody know if they do (Drew?)

    And about that avide skiier stuff- yes, but sadly no, I don't get to utilize it near enough! 8-)

    Also, given what I've seen of the rack, I'd venture 10 to 20 minutes to remove/install the rack, provided you had a "spare" trim strip to install when the rack was removed.

    I guess I like to see apples compared to apples: If ML and BMW have a superior rack, fine, but if they have part of the features (or the start of a superior design ie only side rails) then we ought to compare what you actually can buy.

    Also, I'm aware of no aftermarket rack that has side rails- so why would anyone eschew the factory rack for an aftermarket (unless as you point out it is easily removable, in which case it will be god-awful ugly with clips and brackets to get in the door jambs)

    Thanks for asking about the brake pedal hiss. No resolution. Acura techs claim there is no fix, and I haven't nailed them down to if it is objectionable or defective.

    Actually, my dealer just found the correct washers for the VTM4 drain plug (they claim), and is still awaiting the bumper trim that was damaged when another dealer installed the hitch (in November!).

    I think I posted earlier that the washers on the VTM4 drain and fill plugs MUST be replaced per the service manual, and several dealers don't know this (and don't have the parts in stock). When you get yours changed, make certain the parts list for the service includes two washers for that, and one for the engine oil drain plug. These are all deformable metal and should not be reused.

    Oh, and the noise of the rack? What noise? I've been driving a F250 Powerstroke Diesel these comparison, the MDX is a church. (except for the brake pedal )

  • pd88pd88 Posts: 2
    ardvarkus: Thanks for your information. I may order the parts and install it by myself.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The ML's roof rails and crossbars (the crossbars are actually OEMed by Thule and are flush on the sides; no bars sticking out of the feet) were aerodynamically designed together when the ML was being developed. Yes, the crossbars are removable as well as completely adjustable fore and aft. The roof rails will also work with a variety of Yakima or Thule attachments/accessories. Here is a side profile of my vehicle:


    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • Tirade over-

    Sounds like the ML has a superior design. I agree that the removable cross bars are best, especially since they don't sound like they hang over. I'd probably just leave the carriers on the cross bar and pop them off.

    regrettably, unless an ML rack will bolt to the MDX roof, I can't imagine an aftermarket rack being that slick.

    Thanks for the info.

    Also, I'd wager that the MDX's roof rack was "aerodynamically designed together when the [MDX] was being developed", that is if you ask Acura and Thule. (Thule is the OEM for the Acura rack accessories.)

  • jbilbojbilbo Posts: 2
    Can anybody share their experience intalling a CD changer (Alpine CHM-S620) under either the driver or passenger seat?
    How hard was it to run the needed wires from the back of the existing stereo to the changer?

    Thanks for any info!
    John B.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    Yea, some stuff is just funny... if you read enough of my posts, you know I try to be objective and helpful (most of the time). But sometimes I just can't hold back my sarcasm.

    Like I've said before, it's a great SUV/hybrid market out there now. Lot's of good vehicles fitting into different niches. People just have to bite the bullet and do lots of homework and soul-searching before they commit.

    MDX is a great vehicle, but it's too wide for my driveway! Made my decision easier ;-)

  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Sorry, I thought you had meant that my own posts were a "tirade" because I personally favored not having the MDX roof rack. I agree that we should be appropriately skeptical regarding aftermarket racks.

    Thanks again for the info on the VTM4 drain plug washers! I still remember you mentioning that problem in your previous post. I'll contact the service department about 1 week in advance of my fluid change, just to make sure they are aware of it.

    I still haven't noticed any brake pedal hiss. Unfortunately, it's sounds like one of those problems that you might have trouble proving anything is defective or beyond normal operational tolerances.
  • mstamsta Posts: 2
    Has anyone had any problems closing their trunk. I have to slam it very hard for it to close. Also the passenger side mirror does not tilt anymore when you put it in reverse. Despite this I still love my Silver MDX
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    My MDX does require a firm push to close the hatch all the way. There were a couple instances where I thought I had closed it sufficiently, but the dash light later indicated to me that the door was NOT fully closed. After a couple of these reminders, I finally started remembering to use a little more force to close the rear hatch. But I wouldn't describe it as having to slam it "very hard". For example, my wife doesn't have a problem closing it all the way. If you genuinely need to slam it hard, as opposed to just providing a good, firm push, then I would have your dealer take a look at it. Maybe there is a slight allignment error that could be easily repaired?

    As for the mirror, do you have the power mirror selection switch in the proper setting? I don't have the Touring Package, but I believe you need to have the power mirror switch in the middle (off) position in order for the auto tilt-down feature to work? (If I'm wrong about that switch setting, I'm sure somebody here can quickly correct me!)
  • MSTA- cotmc is correct, the middle position on the mirror L-R selector switch must be in the center to have the auto-tilt feature work.

    If it is in that position, cycle it to L and R a few times to see if it is an intermittant conact issue- if that fixes it, have the dealer replace it.

    I too noticed that the hatch needs a firm closure, but NOT a slam. Possibly needs adjusting? I did notice that I had a cargo tray which was a little too far out, and was hitting the hatch door, and preventing it from closing without slamming- I just scooted it in a touch further and it was fine.

  • First of all thanks, ard ... regarding the 2 positions on the cargo cover. Will check this out immediately!!!

    Zooma, .... hang in there. You will SO much appreciate your MDX, after the Explorer. Again, I am carpool/soccer/etc...... mom .... and it is filling the bill just great.

    One Last "item" ... and I have seen it previously posted. Today, while trying to manually switch from button 4 to 5 on the dash (I've gotten real used to the steering wheel), I noticed that buttons 4 and 5 do not really work. 5 especially. You can get to 4 on FM, using the steering wheel, but that's it. Bummer ..... I was hoping I had escaped this one. When I go in for the 3K oil change suggested (Rosenthal Acura) I'll have this addressed. Again, I really love this guy! If this is it for a first year model, I'll still be very pleased.
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