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Acura MDX (pre-2007)



  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    "VW's reliability seems to be improving. The Passat bettered its already good record; the New Beetle, initially troublesome, was better this year but still worse than average. VW's luxury brand, Audi, didn't make the same strides: Of the 142 new vehicles for which we had sufficient data, the midsized Audi A6 2.7T was the worst car with 42 problems per 100 vehicles...
    While their mainstream sedans did well, MB and BMW SUVs did not make a strong showing. The MB M-Class and the BMW X5, both high performers in our tests, dragged down the reliability average for both makes..." Consumer Reports Auto Issue, April 2002, page 76.

    In the same issue (page 77) can be found the reliability ratings for five (5) Acura models; all are rated excellent. Page 89 has the reports on five (5) VW models; judge for yourself.

    CR receives reliability stats from 500,000 car owner/subscribers every year; IMHO, it's a pretty good survey.

    So the newer Passats are getting more reliable; that's good. But the 2002 CR survey shows that overall, vehicles from Japan are more reliable and less expensive to maintain and fix than their European counterparts. And I agree with you that European cars have a different feel to them that appeals to many drivers.
  • doudoudiddoudoudid Posts: 76
    no one would argue about the reliability of honda/toyota. (at least not me) janpanese is always far better than the others.

    but under the assumption that brand is just as important as the capabilities and value, i don't see why vw won't steal sale from acura/honda. if reliability is only factor of people's choice, there wouldn't be an TL and accord. everyone would drive a civic or camry, but in reality some people would rather go for a jetta (although, it's a size of a corolla but price of a camry) or golf for the style and brand..... so coming back to the point, i do think MDX prices will come down due wider choice of crossover SUV :)
  • rihoopsrihoops Posts: 91
    I had a Jetta GLX and currently have an Accord EX V6. No comparison. The Honda drives better, cruises better and handles almost as well. Plus I paid less for my Accord. The VW had 3 major problems in the first 40k. The Honda has had none. Audi might be the equivalent of Acura, but VW is not.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The PERCEPTION of quality, reliability, resale value, status, etc. is the reason why VW will not steal sales from Acura.

    You said it yourself..."Japanese is always far better than the others." It's not in the least bit true, but it is what many people believe.

    VW's tend to appeal to younger, performance oriented drivers who appreciate germanic "feel" and styling. VW's as a whole are better "driver cars" than Honda's/Acura's. They have "tighter" handling, higher quality (Audi) cockpits, and offer a more visceral driving a relative bargain price.

    Acura's (with the exception of the RSX), are near-luxury cars that offer a balance between comfort and performance...but lean towards comfort. They also offer outstanding resale value and above average quality and reliability.

    Reality doesn't matter...perception rules in the market. Most consumers don't consider VW and Acura to be in the same class. In my opinion, neither the Touareg nor the Phaeton will "elevate" VW to Acura status (which sits somewhere below Lexus and M-B, yet above Honda and Toyota).
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I like the Touareg, though I doubt if it'll take much sales from the MDX (certainly not as many as a redesigned RX300 would).

    The Touareg will certainly appeal to folks looking for a German-driving vehicle with some true off-road capability, as well as a touch of near-luxury without paying for a BMW or MB. The VW will also have excellent safety equipment and should do very well in crash tests. Towing should be a strength. The engine choices are interesting, but I doubt if the TDI will make it to the U.S.

    However, the Touareg has some serious limitations that may put off some buyers, including ones looking at a Pilot or MDX. According to Edmunds and vwvortex info, it'll have only 19.6 cubic feet in the rear and 55.4 with the second row folded down! That's significantly less space than a Subaru Forester, and it's actually less cargo room than a Passat wagon!

    VW quality has improved, especially for the Passat. Still, the Passat is a notch below its Toyota and Honda competitors in terms of quality/reliability (e.g. Consumer Reports). And I wouldn't recommend a first-year VW SUV. The second or third year might not be bad, however. The Jettas haven't done too well in quality, mostly because the U.S.-bound sedans are assembled at the Mexico plant, while the Jetta wagons assembled in the VW plants in Germany seem to have better quality.

    Meanwhile, the MDX isn't perfect, but its quality/reliability numbers have been coming in above-average (JD Power and Consumer Reports).

    So no, I don't think the Touareg will significantly hurt MDX sales. I think a redesigned RX300 (2004 model?) and a redesigned ML320 (2005 model?) would do a lot more damage. Especially if Acura doesn't provide significant updates to the MDX by the 2004 model year. Another possible threat is the Volvo XC90, which looks like a terrific vehicle, but I'm concerned what it's actual, optioned-out price will be, along with its quality and maintenance costs.
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    ...instead of a "Touareg."

    What kinda name is that?

    Can't hardly compete with "MDX" and "RX300" for poetic flow, now can it?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    As far as cross-shopping goes, we looked long and hard at a Passat 4motion wagon before we bought an MDX. Obviously more nimble handling in a smaller package. Very good materials quality, just about near-luxury quality. The 4motion system is really quattro underneath, with all the benefits. A compromise in cargo room, obviously. Easy-going dealership and salesperson.

    All-in-all, a very appealing vehicle. However, the leather seats were FIRM. Not just German-car-firm, but just plain rock-hard to our aging bodies (the cloth in a co-worker's Passat Wagon -- non-4motion, is even harder!). That and the bolsters ended up pinching my wife's shoulder blades and hurt her back after driving it for forty minutes. Interestingly enough, CR's review of the Passat that year also mentioned that, while the seats were generally comfortable, some drivers experienced pressure points in their backs!

    However, that was a 2000 model we drove, and I understand that the seats were somewhat modified with the 2001.5 model refresh.

    Thus, it was ruled out, along with a number of other vehicles, before we bought the MDX in early October 2000 (it was the first unit our dealer delivered to a customer).
  • Early info. on 2003, not confirmed yet...

    Color additions, Sage Green and something else, not known yet.

    Package Changes: No Base level vehicle with navigation and Rear Entertainment becomes an options on all models.

    Other standard & optional equipment differences still aren't known yet.

    I should know more soon.

    Jamie S.
  • will4271will4271 Posts: 187
    Thanks for the info.. I would guess the other color will be standstone Metallic like the Pilot.

    I heard that they are dropping that beige color.

  • bodydoublebodydouble Posts: 801
    I'm glad they are dropping the dull and bland beige. BTW, the 3.8L engine is a done deal for '03, is it not?
  • You're probably correct about the Standstone Metallic. I should have a definate for you later in the week. I should be receiving 2003 order guidelines soon.

    The 3.8l upgrade hasn't been disclosed as of yet. With all the information leaks online, I'd be suprised if it wasn't true.

    You'll know when I know.

    Jamie S.
  • vincentjvincentj Posts: 1
    To jamiestockman

    You sound like you know what you're talking about, so I'm concerned about the report of no navigation on the base MDX. I have a 2003 base with navigation on order. If I have to order a touring to get navigation, it's a deal breaker for me. PLEASE, SAY IT AIN'T SO!

    Also waiting for anything you have on new features for 2003. I've heard 3.8, on-star & high intensity headlights. Does anybody really know what's happening for 2003.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Subaru now offers that on the '03 Outback H-6 models as standard. I think it's dumb. Once the 1-year free honeymoon is over, how many people opt to re-subscribe to this service? It's well over $100.00 per year, for something you'll probably never use. Probably very few.

  • rudy331rudy331 Posts: 27
    Thanks for all your info on the 2003 model. Just curious, what area are you located? I'm near Washington, D.C. You have provided much more info than my salesman has been able to pass along. I ordered a 2002 in May, but have since decided to wait for the 2003 touring in the Havasu Blue. Any word if they intend to change interior colors since the Pilot seems to not have ebony, but gray instead??? BTW I got $500.00 under MSRP, but of course we don't know how much MSRP will be going up with the 2003 model. Is it safe to say I should expect it to arrive late Oct. early Nov??
  • scpatrick1:
    I see what you saying about the Website. I'd have to guess that the site is wrong. Nothing I've heard indicates they'd switch to a 4-Speed setup. I'll know for certain once the ordering information is updated for 2003. Acura will either have it coded as a 4A or 5A. That could happen anytime.

    I hate to be the one to tell you its so, but it appears to be. There are basically 5 models of the MDX coming for 2003...
    1. Base
    2. Touring
    3. Touring with Entertainment System
    4. Touring with Navigation
    5. Touring with Navigation & Entertainment System

    Pricing hasn't been released, but these are the various models showing as available for order. I don't have any details on other features changes or additions. I'll let you know when I have more details. If you have to have a Base with navigatoin, I'd suggest getting a September 2002 production model. Even though Dealers have placed 2002 orders with the factory already, the orders can be modified at this time.

    You're welcome. I'm glad the information has been helpful. I'm in Chapel Hill, NC. Here's the Exterior / Interiors Avialable for 2003:
    Taffeta White
    Havasu Blue
    Nighthawk Black
    Redrock Pearl
    Starlight Silver
    Sage Bruch
    Midnight Blue

    Quartz (Yes, you're guess was right ie. Gray)

    The only thing I don't have details on is what interior/exterior match ups will be.

    The only things I am certain of for 2003 production are the following are:
    1. That they are building 2003 models
    2. Production begins "sometime in October"

    If you have ordered a 2003 model for the first Month's allocation, you will know prior to October EXACTLY when your MDX will be built. Your salesperson should have access to this information.

    Sorry for the lenght of the post, but there were alot of questions to answer.

    Let me know If I can be of help.

    Jamie S.
  • bk1bk1 Posts: 6
    Almost bought an MDX 2 years ago, but went with a TL. Now, the draw for an SUV that will do better in winter conditions has brought me to the point of trading in the TL.

    So, I drove an MDX today and I love it. Real similar to the TL in lots of ways re: dashboard and other components. Figured that I'd check in with Edmunds forums again, haven't done this in a couple of years!

    Thanks for the 2003 model year info. Please post the interior/exterior match-ups when you can. I've read about the larger engine. Any other improvements for 2003?
  • bodydoublebodydouble Posts: 801
    Looked hard at the MDX but went with a CL-S. I wouldn't say I regret it but an SUV has its appeal. The exterior width of the MDX was (and still is) an issue with me. But if they put in the 3.8L with, say, 265 - 275 hp, plus HID lights, and hold prices, then it may be hard to resist. The width of the beast though.... :(
  • angelica2angelica2 Posts: 30
    Thanks for all the great updates, Jamie. My questions, which I'm sure you will be able to answer soon, Will taffeta white be matched with anything other than saddle ? I love the white; however, that saddle interior is hard to live with. The taffeta with the gray or ebony interior would be awesome. Have you heard anything about them changing to solid leather rather than the perforated ? Just to confirm, you can't get a base with entertainment option ? Once again, you've been extremely insightful. Eagerly waiting your updates.
  • The width of the MDX is not a problem with driving or parking or u-turns, etc. If you have a narrow single car garage from the 1950's, then the width could become an issue. Driving in the MDX feels like your sitting in a first class airplane seat vs. a coach seat with the narrower SUVs.

    And HID lights....yes they look cool...but when your driving you can't see how cool they look. How did we ever drive before with regular headlights? The 03 model will likely offer them.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    If you've ever driven a vehicle with good-quality HID lights at night, you will indeed see how "cool" they are. The coolness isn't in the look, but in the driver's ability to see better. Once you have it, you will never want to go back.

    The MDX's stock headlights are no better than average. You can get a noticeably better result if you switch to a good aftermarket bulb. Folks seem to be having the most success with Sylvania Silverstars. Re-aiming the headlights may be necessary.
  • bk1bk1 Posts: 6
    Is it safe to assume that the new Sage Brush color for the MDX is the very same Sage Brush that is already available on the Honda Pilot?

    My local Acura dealer does not know of any color changes, increasing engine size, different headlights, etc. So, I might just "choose" Sage Brush even though its "not available for the MDX" with a good secondary color choice as a backup.

    Anyone else tried ordering a color that is "not available?
  • rerenov8rrerenov8r Posts: 380
    It has been my experience that AHMC does not foster the idea of dealers "ordering a specific car for a specific customer", as say a Buick store might do.

    Dealers select the models/colors in hopes of having the 'desirable combinations' on their lot. If a potential customer comes into a Honda store looking for some combination that is not on that particular dealer's lot, the salesperson has ability to search other dealers for an available vehicle.

    In the case of MDX/Pilot and other "high demand" vehicles MOST dealers won't part with ANY stock. They have a high probability of selling all units they are alloted.

    Given the relatvely low number of color/equipment/trim level options the best strategy may be to visit/contact a large number of dealers.

    As to making color requests before production starts, it is also wise to consider that the Pilot/MDX plant does produce vehicles in 'batches' by color, which leads to deliveries to dealers in 'cluster of colors' -- deliveries of first week on month may be black & red, second week white and blue, third week silver and green et cetera.

    There have been delays in the actual production of certain colors, and this may alos affect your decision to 'pre-select' a particular color...

    It seems AHMC uses the 'overseas production/delivery' thinking even for vehicles built in North America. The best strategy is to be flexible and be prepared to shop & wait.

    Good Luck!
  • hkyhky Posts: 71
    I'm looking into getting a suv and likely mdx. Have anyone in the board has any real life emergency/accident experience, does the mdx feel safe , controllable or sure-footed? I understand both the insurance and nhtsa rated the mdx good on crash, but I'm just wondering the handling of mdx in emergency situations.

    In the dfw area, there are too many tail-gaters/ aggressive drivers with cellphone on their hand and a lots of them are driving big vechicles. The suv/minivan accidents (kills all but one occupants) over the weekend @I20 just makes me think twice...

  • rerenov8rrerenov8r Posts: 380
    The MDX (and Pilot) have been designed to meet high crash worthiness standards and the results show that Acura is on target.
    5 star NHTSA side impact (ties for highest star score among tested SUVs)

    IIHS Offset Frontal Impact Best Pick (2nd of all SUVs tested)

    Tied with only one other vehicle for highest rollover resistance rating among SUVs
    To be fair, there are other vehicles on sale & coming that will match these results, but MDX has shown to be very good.

    The handling of the MDX is very good. It is much more like a sedan than a "truck". Like many vehicles, the MDX has ABS standard, and its 4WD system is standard in all models.

    HOWEVER, the MDX is not a 'miracle machine'-- it has a weight bias toward the front end, and its brakes are not those of a sports car. There are limits to any vehicle design...

    If you want to pay more you could get a some other vehicle that is even more crash resistant, and perhaps one that is even better in emergency handling, but you'd be paying more and probably getting less.

    The features of the MDX (& Pilot) must be assessed as a 'marketplace compromise' -- and as such there are few (?no) vehicles that offer the utility, efficiency, luxury, safety, reliability and value.

    Good Luck!
  • ahossaahossa Posts: 152
    I have an 01 Mdx and have noticed a shudder problem when pulling out of a parking space and Stop light. The car shudders as I get to 20mpg but above that I do not experience it. Has anyone ever had this problem?I saw someone with this problem a few posts back but no one responded. See post 4199 written by Aggie.He has the same problem
  • rerenov8rrerenov8r Posts: 380
    Big differences!

    Their's is "lift off the gas pedal around 40 mph." (which is possibly torque converter lock-up disengagement) YOURS seems as though it may be related to VTM, as it goes away at "20mpg but above that I do not experience it"...

    What is your mileage?

    Has your VTM been serviced?

    This could be a minor problem with the VTM fluid, and even if not, it will be under warranty-- GET TO DEALER ASAP!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Only had to do it once and it wasn't that severe, basically a hard swerve to avoid someone who wasn't where they should have been. The MDX does handle quite well. But it's no miracle worker. It's heavy and has a severe front-end bias.

    According to Consumer Reports, the MDX's emergency handling is roughly average for an SUV (CR scores emergency handling across all vehicle types -- most SUV's garner a "below average," as did the MDX). They did notice some fishtailing, again due to the front-end weight bias, and the lack of stability control.
  • rudy331rudy331 Posts: 27
    Once again you have proven very knowledgeable. I appreciate all your assistance. If I didn't think they would be reluctant to refund my deposit, I would purchase from another Acura dealer. My salesman has not offered any info and takes several days to reply to e-mail or phone messages. I have ordered the Havasu Blue so I am hoping that the Quartz interior is available since I am not crazy about the Ebony. When do you think Acura will release the 2003 brochure?? Thanks again.
  • To all...
    Sorry to have been away for a few days. I actually spent some time driving back and forth to Philly in my own MDX.

    I actually wish that they would allow for a medium to dark interior with the white as well. I just prefer more exterior / interior contrast. I'll be letting everyone know the exact combinations just as soon as I can verify them. I don't like to guess because I want the information I offer everyone here to be accurate. Correct, there is not supposed to be a Base Trim level, with navigation or entertainment system, for 2003. I can't imagine that you'd see the Perforated Seating look disappear at this point. I'll post more details once I have them.


    It is actually easier to sell MDX custom ordered. All a dealer has to do is take future production orders against their factory allocation. Lets say a dealer has 55 clients with MDX orders and they normally receive 15 MDX's on their monthly production allocation. (A 3-4 Month wait time) When they get their next allocation of MDX's for production, they simply specify each MDX to be built exactly as it was orderd by the client. You really just go one at a time down the order list. Occasionally, extras can become avialable to the dealer that they have no control over. In this case, dealers usually just sell the MDX to the first client that wants it.

    Trim Level and Color combinations on MDX's are actually built several times during the production month, not just once per month. This is why two clients ordering the same trim and color for production in a particular month can actually have their MDX's built at different times.

    I've never seen a delay in order times because of a color selection. Acura will literally build the MDX's ordered exactly as requested. I could just as easily request 15 White with Saddle Touring editions as 1. They'll fill the orders regardless. I often have 8 or more Silver / Ebony Touring with Navigation MDX's ordered for just one month. That's what's most popular in my area. The only exception is when a color will no longer exist, such as Deep Mahogany Pearl. When this happens, dealers are told several Months ahead of time to allow for existing clients orders to be filled and to alert new clients that cerain colors are no longer going to be available. This enevitably causes some people to search everywhere for a dealer that has their particular color combination still available.

    You're very welcome. I don't know why so many clients have trouble with salespeople on MDX's. People love the vehicles and the salespeople are compensated after all. Ordering and taking delivery of an MDX should be a great experience for everyone. Its my opinion that too many salespeople and dearerships rely on the strenght of the vehicle and its popularity rather than focusing on the client. I guess some salespeople mistakenly assume the vehicle is so great that they don't have to actually do any work.

    You should be able to find out about your Quartz interior soon. No dealers have received their color sharts for 2003 MDX's as of yet. Tomorrow is the allocation for the 2003 RL, 2003 RSX and continuing allocation of the 2003 CL & TL. I'll keep you posted.

    Jamie S.
  • Any more news on the 2003 MDX's? My dealer is sticking to "we won't know anything until September". I'm going to have to change my order for a base with navigation because of the new 5 model lineup you mentioned. Would appreciate any additional news you may have what interior(s) will be available with silver, any factory options and the new features will be for 2003.

    Thanks from all of us.
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