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Deciding between 2010-12 MDX and Highlander

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Old 06-25-2016, 06:42 PM   #1
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Deciding between 2010-12 MDX and Highlander

Current TSX wagon owner getting ready to replace my wife's plugin Prius with an AWD/4WD drive vehicle now that we'll be living in snow country on the east coast. I've seen a number of MDXs and Highlanders at a similar price point (under $25k) and am trying to figure out which way to go. This is almost a religious discussion at my house as I've always been a Honda/Acura guy and my wife has always been a Toyota girl.

Big options look solid but I'm looking for owner perspective and any pros/cons of each and why you might have chosen one over the other (I could care less about luxury names, only care about function).

Thanks!
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Old 06-25-2016, 11:50 PM   #2
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Current TSX wagon owner getting ready to replace my wife's plugin Prius with an AWD/4WD drive vehicle now that we'll be living in snow country on the east coast. I've seen a number of MDXs and Highlanders at a similar price point (under $25k) and am trying to figure out which way to go. This is almost a religious discussion at my house as I've always been a Honda/Acura guy and my wife has always been a Toyota girl.

Big options look solid but I'm looking for owner perspective and any pros/cons of each and why you might have chosen one over the other (I could care less about luxury names, only care about function).

Thanks!
MDX will be more fun to own than the highlander as far as driving is concerned. Only issue I'd be weary of is oil burning on the 2010+ models but some folks have reported it to stop once switching over to 5W30 oil. MDX probably will need a bit more maintenance than the highlander as it has a timing belt.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:43 AM   #3
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I've always been a Honda guy while my wife's family has been full size domestic trucks or Toyota for SUVs and smaller pick-ups. It took a lot years to convince the wife to make the switch to Honda and later to Acura. How I really got her to switch was I pointed out every Toyota SUV driver on the road and most of them were:
- 10-20 years older
- driving the speed limit in the fast lane
- plain/jane looking OEM looking vehicle (not even window tint)
- the vehicle didn't stand out in a crowd
- almost zero "sport" in the SUV

It took a lot of years; but, she knows the speed limits on on/off ramps are max speed requirement for other people while it is an minimum speed limit for an Acura. Toyota/Lexus on average are just as good or even (a lot) better than Honda/Acura if you look at all the check boxes. I think Acura leans more towards the sport aspect in their products and Toyota leans more towards utility. The emphasis on sport is what put Acura on top of Toyota/Lexus for me. I don't think there is any Lexus SUV that can hang with the 2nd Gen MDX on a road course (same for any Toyota SUV). It might be next to impossible to convince the wife to switch to Acura if she doesn't want/need the "S" in SUV.

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Old 06-26-2016, 09:25 AM   #4
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You indicated "snow country", you should be comparing the MDX SH-AWD to the 4Runner with 4 x 4 that has the low 4 x4 knob.

Both are super reliable, to the point that you'll wish that they would would break, so you could buy something more modern looking.

As far as MPG...if you can afford a vehicle in this price range, you don't have to worry about the price of gas, changing by a couple of bucks/gal.

Strictly looking at comfort, the MDX isn't as rough/manly as the Toyota.

My wife was to be the primary driver, so we went for comfort.


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Old 06-28-2016, 01:26 AM   #5
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I can chime in on this as I was also on the same boat. I have driven a 2015 highlander for 3 months straight, the highlander seems to be more "quiet" , but has a more bouncy ride and the tires sems like they are over inflated everytime because it is harsh on nyc potholes. That is about the only positive I can come up with comparing it with the '13 mdx tech I got 3 weeks ago. Oh and also the 2nd row seats move back and forth , you can adjust it forward if you have 2 adult seating on the 3rd row for more leg room. But that is about it.

2GR-FE on the toyota is a great engine and lots of power, they put this engine or a variiation on about every toyota and lexus v6 on the road today. But the j37 is no slouch either, I actually prefer the j37's smoothness, honda engines purrs like a sewing machine in my opinion. The biggest thing that won me over the mdx is the handling, I mean there is no question that the mdx handles better, day and night difference. On the highway cruising, the highlander is so boring that a monthly trip for me from ny - newport, rhode island is boring and making me fall aslep. The mdx on the other hand makes you like to drive it more. This is only my observation and opinion.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:18 AM   #6
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Get the MDX and donīt look back.. SH-AWD is beast in Snow but like always TIRES make it or break it.. If you have summer tires in the snow neither will get you unstuck.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:26 PM   #7
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wait you want to move from an MPG champion to a MPG disasters !!!

Jokes, aside, unless you need the UV part of it, most FWD cars do just fine in NE winters (Specially NY/NJ). I had a V6 accord(2008) before the MDX & while I love the MDX over the Accord, the Accord did the job just fine even in a snow storm.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:59 PM   #8
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I can chime in on this as I was also on the same boat. I have driven a 2015 highlander for 3 months straight, the highlander seems to be more "quiet" , but has a more bouncy ride and the tires sems like they are over inflated everytime because it is harsh on nyc potholes. That is about the only positive I can come up with comparing it with the '13 mdx tech I got 3 weeks ago. Oh and also the 2nd row seats move back and forth , you can adjust it forward if you have 2 adult seating on the 3rd row for more leg room. But that is about it.

2GR-FE on the toyota is a great engine and lots of power, they put this engine or a variiation on about every toyota and lexus v6 on the road today. But the j37 is no slouch either, I actually prefer the j37's smoothness, honda engines purrs like a sewing machine in my opinion. The biggest thing that won me over the mdx is the handling, I mean there is no question that the mdx handles better, day and night difference. On the highway cruising, the highlander is so boring that a monthly trip for me from ny - newport, rhode island is boring and making me fall aslep. The mdx on the other hand makes you like to drive it more. This is only my observation and opinion.
Did the Highlander ever start to wallow or sway and rock back and forth on the highway with minor steering adjustments? My old Camry did that and it was scary, the new 2016 Camry SE didn't do it however...

Also, Honda makes WAY batter engines that Toyota...

Toyotas are reliable, but their engines are just average...

A Honda engine purrs like a Ferrari, well maybe not that, but it's something very special!!!
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:29 AM   #9
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Did the Highlander ever start to wallow or sway and rock back and forth on the highway with minor steering adjustments? My old Camry did that and it was scary, the new 2016 Camry SE didn't do it however...

Also, Honda makes WAY batter engines that Toyota...

Toyotas are reliable, but their engines are just average...

A Honda engine purrs like a Ferrari, well maybe not that, but it's something very special!!!
I have to disgaree with you on this one. I feel that toyota makes much better engines than honda. The technology is more advanced in terms of dohc vs sohc, more power on regular gasoline and more on premium as well, timing chains vs belts, and a better power curve. I would say honda k-series engines beat toyota 4-cylinder engines, while toyota V6 engines are way better than the j-series V6's.

Not to mention toyota has mean V8 and V10 engines while honda plays around in super-car land with a V6.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:31 AM   #10
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To be fair Honda doesn't need a V6 DOHC powerplant for their consumer cars from a long time ago. Main reason back in the days to have DOHC was because of the higher redline and 4 valve per cyl which added more power..
Honda has made so much development on their V6s is not even funny.. Dual VVL (Dual VTEC Intake & Exhaust) and Stupid high redlines makes DOHC completely useless and frankly would hurt performance by adding un-needed weight and rotating mass.

Toyota has 1 engine and that is the 2JZ.. Honda has so much engines to their title it makes Toyota blush.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:02 PM   #11
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To be fair Honda doesn't need a V6 DOHC powerplant for their consumer cars from a long time ago. Main reason back in the days to have DOHC was because of the higher redline and 4 valve per cyl which added more power..
Honda has made so much development on their V6s is not even funny.. Dual VVL (Dual VTEC Intake & Exhaust) and Stupid high redlines makes DOHC completely useless and frankly would hurt performance by adding un-needed weight and rotating mass.

Toyota has 1 engine and that is the 2JZ.. Honda has so much engines to their title it makes Toyota blush.
I remember you and I had a chat about this a little while back. I do beleive the things that Honda has managed to do with sohc vs jumping to dohc is pretty cool. But for me things like a very high redline on a V6 is not a blessing when all the power is tied up in the last 5000-6500 rpms. Hell my rdx with the turbo made max torque at 4500 rpms while our 2009 santa fe with a naturally aspirated 3.3l V6 makes all its' torque at 3500 rpm.

Having almost all of the power being so high up leads to the slingshot effect we talked about a couple days ago, having such an uneven torque curve isn't really useful in city driving.

In my mind, I can't give Honda as much credibility in the engine department when they don't have a V8 or V10 in any of their consumer products. Well they do have the indy V8 (3.5l naturally aspirated V8 that pumps out 650hp with a blistering 10000rpm redline) but it is only used in racing applications so it doesn't get the same credit to me.

Now truth be told, I am neither a toyota or honda fanboy, so I have no personal gain to push either brand. I have to give the title of best present engineering to ford with their ecoboost tech. They are doing pretty damn well. That new twin turbo 2.7l is amazing to me.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:56 PM   #12
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The issue with the torque band will not get fixed with a DOHC powerplant though.
Its all about Honda ideology when building engines.. You get an Engine with pretty much all the MPGs it can deliver at the low end (At the cost of performance and the slingshot effect) and a PSUEDO Racing Engine at the Top End which is considered a good thing for some since you have a bi polar car that can be ran efficiently or hard when needed.. On the other manufacturers you hace a car that is very efficient but boring to drive or a Racing Machine that gets single digits MPG numbers, Honda is trying to tackle both since it started.. That is the main reason Honda 4 Bangers are so loved.
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:09 PM   #13
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I have to disgaree with you on this one. I feel that toyota makes much better engines than honda. The technology is more advanced in terms of dohc vs sohc, more power on regular gasoline and more on premium as well, timing chains vs belts, and a better power curve. I would say honda k-series engines beat toyota 4-cylinder engines, while toyota V6 engines are way better than the j-series V6's.

Not to mention toyota has mean V8 and V10 engines while honda plays around in super-car land with a V6.
Toyota's have the low-end torque... I know someone with an ES300, it's very quiet when idleing, it has good torque, but the K24a4 has more torque it seems... Plus, at 210hp, that engine feels weak, and I got it 0-60 in 10.87, I think something's wrong with it however... Anyway, Toyota engines are ok, nothing too special.... The 2GR-FSE is good for speed for a N/A V6, the 1GR-FE in the 4Runner is an excellent V6.... The 2AR-FE I had in a 2016 rental Camry was fine, but it didn't sound as good as the K24 Accord, nor did it have the "quility" feel to it...

I've also noticed that Toyota engines tend to make noise when they're started, like a loud buzzing sound, almost like piston slap, or the engines starved for oil for one second...

I've noticed that on 2GR-FEband 2AR-FE engines...

As for torque in the I4's, the older engines were different the Toyota 5S-FE 2.2, it has ok low ebd torque, while the Honda F23a1 2.3, has no torque, by none I mean, push the gas, start to move, engine revs to at least 3K, you're barely moving at all, then 4-5K it's average, then at 6K it's pretty fast, where as the 5S-FE is average off the line, then average to 60, that's it...

I generally perfer a Honda engine in any situation pretty much...
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Old 07-05-2016, 06:52 PM   #14
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The issue with the torque band will not get fixed with a DOHC powerplant though.
Its all about Honda ideology when building engines.. You get an Engine with pretty much all the MPGs it can deliver at the low end (At the cost of performance and the slingshot effect) and a PSUEDO Racing Engine at the Top End which is considered a good thing for some since you have a bi polar car that can be ran efficiently or hard when needed.. On the other manufacturers you hace a car that is very efficient but boring to drive or a Racing Machine that gets single digits MPG numbers, Honda is trying to tackle both since it started.. That is the main reason Honda 4 Bangers are so loved.
I was not trying to imply it did, just simply stating the virtues of toyota and honda engines. That is why I mentioned the torque curve and dohc vs sohc as seperate points in my post above.

I understand the rationality behind having two profiles in the engine's performance. But I disagree with having an almost on and off torque curve. The J-series V6's are not as bad as I am making it sound, just that I obviously prefer to have the torque available much lower than 5000-5500 rpm and while they are more efficient in the economy profile, they also feel severely underpowered.

Something I should mention is how the santa fe engine is kind of backwards to me. You feel a very powerful push and then around 4500 rpm is almost feels like it becomes weaker and the power drops very noticeably. This leads to a very smooth driving experience at normal city speeds, but when I try and have a little fun, it gets disappointing.

So I do see the fine line between all power at low rpms and then all at the top. In my opinion modern turbo's are doing it right. A steady stream of torque from 1500 rpm to 4500/5000 and then the horsepower curve picks up at 4500/5000 rpms.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:11 PM   #15
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I sincerely prefer the slingshot effect over all low end torque.. Somehow It makes the driving a lot more special.. It almost make you feel the car isn't slow once it hits VTAK...
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:17 PM   #16
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I sincerely prefer the slingshot effect over all low end torque.. Somehow It makes the driving a lot more special.. It almost make you feel the car isn't slow once it hits VTAK...
I like low end torque, but agree that it is really nice to have the massive push at the end of the rev range as well. Why can't we have both though? Power at the bottom all the way to the top lol.
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:13 AM   #17
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I like low end torque, but agree that it is really nice to have the massive push at the end of the rev range as well. Why can't we have both though? Power at the bottom all the way to the top lol.
Low end power and all this fun stuff comes at the cost of MPG at lower RPM ranges when you are driving. I'd rather get 30MPG and have SOHC with a powerband that's higher up than a car that gets 20 MPG and has power all the way across evenly. That's why the 760 is the garage queen
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:17 AM   #18
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Low end power and all this fun stuff comes at the cost of MPG at lower RPM ranges when you are driving. I'd rather get 30MPG and have SOHC with a powerband that's higher up than a car that gets 20 MPG and has power all the way across evenly. That's why the 760 is the garage queen
I would rather take option 2 lol. Maybe the fact that the combined average of my last 5 vehicles has been about 14.5 mpg is a sign of that......
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:49 PM   #19
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Whoa, I'd forgotten about this thread.

Thanks for all the insight. We got a CPO 2012 MDX Tech in Boston a couple weeks ago and are quite pleased. I even managed 24 MPG on a long drive a few days later. As for 2WD vs AWD, we live in a dirt road in what is a borderline rural area in Maine, so AWD was determined to be a must for winters, especially when my wife is on call for births. Speaking of, the wife sat in the MDX and wouldn't even consider a highlander after that. She is pleased.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:55 PM   #20
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Whoa, I'd forgotten about this thread.

Thanks for all the insight. We got a CPO 2012 MDX Tech in Boston a couple weeks ago and are quite pleased. I even managed 24 MPG on a long drive a few days later. As for 2WD vs AWD, we live in a dirt road in what is a borderline rural area in Maine, so AWD was determined to be a must for winters, especially when my wife is on call for births. Speaking of, the wife sat in the MDX and wouldn't even consider a highlander after that. She is pleased.
Congratulations OP. SHAWD isn't meant for offroading, but I am certain it can handle some bad mud easily.

I am currently on the hunt for an MDX. And I have to say I am somewhat flabbergasted at what idiots are trying to get for theirs. 2007 tech with 311 THOUSAND kms and still asking 11k. Base and tech models with 200+k kms and still asking 13-20k! It isn't just one or two idiots either, it is everyone!. I just don't understand it.

I wish you the best of luck with yours, I gotta keep digging and hope to god something with a respectable asking price to mileage ratio comes up.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:26 PM   #21
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SH-AWD is great in rain...

I've never, not once lost traction in wet weather...

MDX's are super expensive pre-owned...

Before I found the RDX's, I was thinking about an MDX, the cheapest one I found was about $14-16K USD, with about 140,000 miles (225,000 km).... And that's for a 2007...
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:43 PM   #22
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SH-AWD is great in rain...

I've never, not once lost traction in wet weather...

MDX's are super expensive pre-owned...

Before I found the RDX's, I was thinking about an MDX, the cheapest one I found was about $14-16K USD, with about 140,000 miles (225,000 km).... And that's for a 2007...
SH-AWD was AMAZING for me last winter. I was so confident in the system that I drove the whole entire winter with traction control off (like I would turn it off everytime I got in) otherwise it would severely cut power which stops the system from sending power to the rear defeating the purpose of the awd system. A few times I did some turns on traffic intersections and managed to get a PERFECT drift.

I am still not understanding why they are so ridiculously priced. I don't care how supposedly reliable they are. People selling theirs without timing belts done, with needing tires, broken windshields, multiple accidents, suspension problems like expensive magnetic shocks and other expensive parts and STILL asking ridiculous prices. I am just waiting for someone sane to post theirs.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:38 PM   #23
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SH-AWD was AMAZING for me last winter. I was so confident in the system that I drove the whole entire winter with traction control off (like I would turn it off everytime I got in) otherwise it would severely cut power which stops the system from sending power to the rear defeating the purpose of the awd system. A few times I did some turns on traffic intersections and managed to get a PERFECT drift.

I am still not understanding why they are so ridiculously priced. I don't care how supposedly reliable they are. People selling theirs without timing belts done, with needing tires, broken windshields, multiple accidents, suspension problems like expensive magnetic shocks and other expensive parts and STILL asking ridiculous prices. I am just waiting for someone sane to post theirs.
Drifting, just did my first one 30 minutes ago!!! Haha!!!
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:52 AM   #24
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Like it or not the Depreciation Value of the MDX is pretty low..
As per Kelley Blue Book my 2007 MDX cost around 17-20K with 84K Miles (TECH + RES).

Even a horrible one in KBB shows a lowest of 14K.. Thatīs the AMAZING Value the MDX holds even after almost 10 years.
The RDX in the other hand does not hold that value well.. Even a newer model is way cheaper than an Older MDX.
The RDX 2010 with Tech and average of 90K Miles shows a top of 12,000dlls a lowest of 10K that is a 6 year old vehicle!! Soon enough is going to be under 10K for a pretty good one.

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Old 07-29-2016, 01:45 AM   #25
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Like it or not the Depreciation Value of the MDX is pretty low..
As per Kelley Blue Book my 2007 MDX cost around 17-20K with 84K Miles (TECH + RES).

Even a horrible one in KBB shows a lowest of 14K.. Thatīs the AMAZING Value the MDX holds even after almost 10 years.
The RDX in the other hand does not hold that value well.. Even a newer model is way cheaper than an Older MDX.
The RDX 2010 with Tech and average of 90K Miles shows a top of 12,000dlls a lowest of 10K that is a 6 year old vehicle!! Soon enough is going to be under 10K for a pretty good one.
It is a bit of a double edge sword. On one hand I know that I can sell it later on and still get a good price but the price of admission is high so it is somewhat hard to get in. For the money, I know I have a lot of other choices which is why I have a hard time spending the money on a high mileage vehicle. Like I can buy a 2011-2012 fully loaded sorento or edge for the same price and they have quite advanced tech/features compared to the mdx, but there is just something about the MDX that really attracts me to it.

My issue is that supply is somewhat low, demand is high...and we all know the laws of supply and demand.


I want to ask you, how do you find your tech handles? I won't settle for less than tech, I obviously prefer elite but the shocks do scare me and I don't know how much I will notice really.
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Old 07-31-2016, 06:53 PM   #26
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Well.. Lets see..

TECH Pkg features useless for me:
1.- I unplugged my HFL module because of the battery drain issues, Even before that I didn't use it often as I never respond calls when driving so I am fine without it.
2.- I don't use the NAV at all because of the crunchy maps and obsolete DVD Maps (2013), My Tom Tom 6" Inch Screen is a Gazillion times better and offers more features over my Cellphone data.
3.- Zagat Reviews and Etc. Basically everything tied to the NAV is not used at all.

TECH Pkg I cant live without:
1.- XM Integration with the NAV Screen < Just for this reason I would get the Tech Package, Information is Crisp and Zero Lag between Song info change, Also the Calculator and Unit Conversion has come in handy plenty of times.
2.- Rearview Camera, ABSOLUTELY NEEDED! and the quality is pretty nice even on my 07 in Daylight, Night vision is somewhat lacking with the Stock Halogen reverse bulbs but got much better with the Philips LED Reverse Lights.
3.- AMAZING Stock sound system, I know you said the RDX has a better sound system but I dunno if you heard the Upgraded 410watts system in the Tech. I think is one of the best OEM Systems out there.
4.- Three Zone Climate is a must if you plan to carry people, It completely eliminates the issue of colliding temp needs for each area of the car.. I usually want cold, wifey wants less cold and the back can choose what ever they want.

RES Pkg Features I don't use (or now Cant Use):
1.- Rear Heated Seats... I Live in San Diego so...... Not even the front heated seats have seen any action.
2.- DVD for the Rear... ZERO USE
3.- Power Outlet 110v.. I loved this succer to charge my Laptop on the Go.. But since it died (I am guessing here, I dont know what is wrong with it) I cant justify fixing it when a much powerful Autozone Inverter cost 1/4th the price of fixing it.

RES Pkg Features I cant live without:
1.- POWER TAILGATE, Yes please... Its like.. why isn't this standard on a +45K CUV? I guess If I bought this thing new back in the days I would have spent that money just to get the Power Tailgate...

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Old 07-31-2016, 08:28 PM   #27
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I just traded in a 2014 Highlander XLE for a 2012 MDX CPO and didn't bat an eye.
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:54 AM   #28
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Well.. Lets see..

TECH Pkg features useless for me:
1.- I unplugged my HFL module because of the battery drain issues, Even before that I didn't use it often as I never respond calls when driving so I am fine without it.
2.- I don't use the NAV at all because of the crunchy maps and obsolete DVD Maps (2013), My Tom Tom 6" Inch Screen is a Gazillion times better and offers more features over my Cellphone data.
3.- Zagat Reviews and Etc. Basically everything tied to the NAV is not used at all.

TECH Pkg I cant live without:
1.- XM Integration with the NAV Screen < Just for this reason I would get the Tech Package, Information is Crisp and Zero Lag between Song info change, Also the Calculator and Unit Conversion has come in handy plenty of times.
2.- Rearview Camera, ABSOLUTELY NEEDED! and the quality is pretty nice even on my 07 in Daylight, Night vision is somewhat lacking with the Stock Halogen reverse bulbs but got much better with the Philips LED Reverse Lights.
3.- AMAZING Stock sound system, I know you said the RDX has a better sound system but I dunno if you heard the Upgraded 410watts system in the Tech. I think is one of the best OEM Systems out there.
4.- Three Zone Climate is a must if you plan to carry people, It completely eliminates the issue of colliding temp needs for each area of the car.. I usually want cold, wifey wants less cold and the back can choose what ever they want.

RES Pkg Features I don't use (or now Cant Use):
1.- Rear Heated Seats... I Live in San Diego so...... Not even the front heated seats have seen any action.
2.- DVD for the Rear... ZERO USE
3.- Power Outlet 110v.. I loved this succer to charge my Laptop on the Go.. But since it died (I am guessing here, I dont know what is wrong with it) I cant justify fixing it when a much powerful Autozone Inverter cost 1/4th the price of fixing it.

RES Pkg Features I cant live without:
1.- POWER TAILGATE, Yes please... Its like.. why isn't this standard on a +45K CUV? I guess If I bought this thing new back in the days I would have spent that money just to get the Power Tailgate...
Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it. Your use is almost exactly like mine and I can see myself loving everything you do and not using everything you do (sadly minus the heated seats, these will see use daily for 8-10/12 months). I only want the RES because I want the power lift gate, we get a lot of nasty mud and slush, this would be a god send to avoid touching dirty doors. I probably will use the rear heated seats for buddies and family.

How do you find the handling from a sporty point of view? I think the adaptive shocks help with lift, but I am having an issue finding an affordable elite model.
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:30 AM   #29
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Hands down it has beaten the crap out of my expectations specially after driving a Grand Cherokee HEMI I was planning to buy instead.
Mine doesnīt have the Adaptive Shocks as that was only available in the "Sport" model of my Year. But I am happy to say the stock shocks are quite capable, body roll is an issue but I am planning on swapping the Sport Sway Bars in the future to address that.

The main thing is to keep the power band up, making SH-AWD do its magic and the MDX will handle better than you expect...
Low End drivability is simply not cool, It drives heavy and Understeers in different scenarios.. Main thing is to never let off the gas in the corners and everything will be fine, keep SH-AWD fed and the MDX will handle like a dream. Its all about adapting yourself to it and forget common conceptions of CUVs.

Usually with a big fat CUV like the MDX common sense tells you to release the gas in the corner but that defeats SH-AWD which makes the MDX full FWD into the corner and the Understeer begins:

-Corner In > Release Gas > Understeer > Brake > Corner Out > Gas = Not cool at all...

With the MDX you need to keep SH-AWD fed with power so it can overdrive the rear wheel and make it RWD in the Corner:

-Corner In > Keep Gas > Apex the shit out of the Corner > Corner Out > Gas = Bye bye most other CUVs in the Market.

I dunno if the RDX needs this since its lighter but the MDX SCREAMS for it.. If you drive it slow and release the gas in the corners then the MDX will be incredibly underwhelming for you.. Drive it like you stole it and suddenly you will be asking where the hell those 4500lbs went, SH-AWD is that good...

I will sincerely kill myself if mine was a FWD model for buying it, I know it handles like royal shit without driving it.

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Old 08-01-2016, 03:49 AM   #30
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Hands down it has beaten the crap out of my expectations specially after driving a Grand Cherokee HEMI I was planning to buy instead.
Mine doesnīt have the Adaptive Shocks as that was only available in the "Sport" model of my Year. But I am happy to say the stock shocks are quite capable, body roll is an issue but I am planning on swapping the Sport Sway Bars in the future to address that.

The main thing is to keep the power band up, making SH-AWD do its magic and the MDX will handle better than you expect...
Low End drivability is simply not cool, It drives heavy and Understeers in different scenarios.. Main thing is to never let off the gas in the corners and everything will be fine, keep SH-AWD fed and the MDX will handle like a dream. Its all about adapting yourself to it and forget common conceptions of CUVs.

Usually with a big fat CUV like the MDX common sense tells you to release the gas in the corner but that defeats SH-AWD which makes the MDX full FWD into the corner and the Understeer begins:

-Corner In > Release Gas > Understeer > Brake > Corner Out > Gas = Not cool at all...

With the MDX you need to keep SH-AWD fed with power so it can overdrive the rear wheel and make it RWD in the Corner:

-Corner In > Keep Gas > Apex the shit out of the Corner > Corner Out > Gas = Bye bye most other CUVs in the Market.

I dunno if the RDX needs this since its lighter but the MDX SCREAMS for it.. If you drive it slow and release the gas in the corners then the MDX will be incredibly underwhelming for you.. Drive it like you stole it and suddenly you will be asking where the hell those 4500lbs went, SH-AWD is that good...

I will sincerely kill myself if mine was a FWD model for buying it, I know it handles like royal shit without driving it.
The body roll was what I was concerned about. I think I am going to take mrgold35's advice and stick it out till I find an elite. Worst case scenario I can swap out the electronic shocks and put standard shocks, and already have the elite sway bars. That way coming out to about even.

The one thing that really spoils a lot of SUV's for me is body roll. I can't deal with it. People would be surprised to know there are a good number of suv's that do not roll. My 1G rdx being one of them (well of course a teeny bit, but if I had shawd on boil, it was like a hot knife through butter slick).

I have had nothing but SUV's my whole driving life. So I have gotten accustomed to applying power even during cornering and with heaps of body roll. I made my rdx drift with the end hanging out a couple times on dry tarnac (granted I was on worn winter tires) and I really noticed the difference between shawd on and off in corners.

The difference between the rdx and mdx is that the rdx shawd does not activate unless you REALLY let into it, I mean 3/4 of the gas pedal and up. I found the mdx shawd to activate on much milder turns and with way less power applied. Also with the rdx, if I took my foot off the pedal mid corner, it got downright scary. I had to commit to a turn and defy my own logic and keep my foot down and shawd on boil. Otherwise it is just like you said, front heavy understeer Scary. A couple times I chickened out mid corner and let go and I thought I was going to roll over. SH-AWD is a miracle worker. I hate Acura for removing it from the 2G rdx.

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Old 08-01-2016, 06:00 AM   #31
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That idea will be great if it wasn't that the Sport Sway Bars are DIRT JUST INSANELY CHEAP Last time I checkd both Sways + Bushings are less than 200 bucks from the Dealership you can find them even cheaper on Ebay used of course... While going from the horrible and incredibly STIFF electro shocks to Normal Shocks is more expensive..

Also You need to drive one with the Magnetic Shocks even on COMFORT they are incredibly stiff. Normal Daily Driving is a hassle when you can feel every crack in the road..
I believe in the stiffness meter this is how it fares: (Monroe Shocks > Stock Shocks > KYB Shocks > Magnetic Comfort > Magnetic Sport) Sport mode in the Mag Shocks is just plain out masochism.
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:38 PM   #32
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That idea will be great if it wasn't that the Sport Sway Bars are DIRT JUST INSANELY CHEAP Last time I checkd both Sways + Bushings are less than 200 bucks from the Dealership you can find them even cheaper on Ebay used of course... While going from the horrible and incredibly STIFF electro shocks to Normal Shocks is more expensive..

Also You need to drive one with the Magnetic Shocks even on COMFORT they are incredibly stiff. Normal Daily Driving is a hassle when you can feel every crack in the road..
I believe in the stiffness meter this is how it fares: (Monroe Shocks > Stock Shocks > KYB Shocks > Magnetic Comfort > Magnetic Sport) Sport mode in the Mag Shocks is just plain out masochism.
You are right, they are really really cheap. I am used to the porsche/audi/VW world where sway bars cost $500-$700 per bar.

I don't know that I agree with you on the shocks being stiff. I tested quite a few mdx's with the adaptive shocks. Never once did I feel it was harsh, in fact it was almost hard to tell when comfort was on and when sport was on and this was on an mdx with confirmed properly working shocks. But it is funny you say that, in a 2007 car and driver review they said almost the exact same thing, even calling the sports mode masochistic hard (exact same words)band comfort mode as just right.

Acura has been known to tailor things differently towards the Canadian market. Is it possible that we got softer settings vs you guys? I mean I drove in sports mode for extended time and wanted even stiffer!
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:44 PM   #33
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hahaha great minds think the same I guess.
You know what the issue with comfort mode wasn't that it was hard, it was super under dampening... I got that wrong since it was 4am when I wrote that..
The issue with Comfort mode is that is simply too loose and Sport mode too hardcore, That is why most folks think the Stock Shocks sits in the middle.

So let me update that chart.
(Comfort Mode < Monroe Shocks < Stock Shocks < KYB Shocks < Sport Mode).

Perhaps I am overreacting since I wanted something comfy from the beginning, My TL-S has a racing suspension (aftermarket) and I am a little bit just done with having stiff suspensions as DD. That is why I am getting the Sport Sway Bars and calling it a day. What I really want to improve is the brakes but that will have to wait till Xmas.

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Old 08-01-2016, 03:11 PM   #34
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hahaha great minds think the same I guess.
You know what the issue with comfort mode wasn't that it was hard, it was super under dampening... I got that wrong since it was 4am when I wrote that..
The issue with Comfort mode is that is simply too loose and Sport mode too hardcore, That is why most folks think the Stock Shocks sits in the middle.

So let me update that chart.
(Comfort Mode < Monroe Shocks < Stock Shocks < KYB Shocks < Sport Mode).

Perhaps I am overreacting since I wanted something comfy from the beginning, My TL-S has a racing suspension (aftermarket) and I am a little bit just done with having stiff suspensions as DD. That is why I am getting the Sport Sway Bars and calling it a day. What I really want to improve is the brakes but that will have to wait till Xmas.
Now what has you up so late! Haha. In 2010 they said they made the difference between comfort and sport even more apparent. But I have heard that the normal shocks are in the middle from multiple sources. See when they make adaptive shocks, they have to make the coils extra soft because they can't be adjusted, that must be why it is so loose.

I'm a bit backwards, I want my suv to handle like a sports car. I know I am looking in the wrong place but I don't care! If it was up to me, I would have a decent handling SUV for the winter months and fast sporty car for the summer. Some day I hope to be able to do that.

If you do get the sways soon, please let me know if they help. We have been a one car family since I sold my rdx and it has sucked royally. I need another car by september!.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:10 PM   #35
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Dude... Its always summer for me hahahaha.
My back was killing me in the TL-S and I even have Adjustable Dampers but it was a PITA to adjust them (Its body knob adjustment not Top Shaft) to my liking in any given day... So I decided to stick them in the middle and use it DD. It still too stiff and the lowering springs dont help.

Riding in the MDX is like having 2 cushions and even then it drives just the way I like when I am into the corners..
Removing some body roll and getting better brakes just seals the deal for me... Next thing will be getting the Tow Hitch and Harness so I can tow my side-by-side.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:41 PM   #36
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Dude... Its always summer for me hahahaha.
My back was killing me in the TL-S and I even have Adjustable Dampers but it was a PITA to adjust them (Its body knob adjustment not Top Shaft) to my liking in any given day... So I decided to stick them in the middle and use it DD. It still too stiff and the lowering springs dont help.

Riding in the MDX is like having 2 cushions and even then it drives just the way I like when I am into the corners..
Removing some body roll and getting better brakes just seals the deal for me... Next thing will be getting the Tow Hitch and Harness so I can tow my side-by-side.
yeah yeah rub it in! I actually hate hot weather though, I can't handle heat at all. But I can understand exactly what you are saying. My friend owned a 2011 kia Sorento V6, it was INCREDIBLY harsh. So harsh that they had to upgrade the shock design in 2012 and also so harsh that it became exhausting just sitting in it. But that is why I really like the adaptive suspension. If I am in a sporty mood, I can put it in sport and if in a relaxed after work/uni mood, I can put it in comfort mode.

I had a 2004 touareg with 4 corner air suspension with adjustable dampeners. The touareg had sport, comfort, and normal modes. It was truly night and day driving in sport and comfort driving in comfort modes. Comfort was like riding on a cloud.

I just with the 2G mdx was a few hundred pounds lighter!
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:50 PM   #37
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I had air ride in my former X5 too.. But man those air bags liked to leak? it was a pain for my budget to fix those things and god that you needed to fix them, When the bag leaks the whole system lose pressure and the rear just gets into LOW RIDER Mode sitting directly in the bump stop = No dampening at all. Got rid of it when the bags started to leak twice in a yearly basis.

No more air ride for me ever...
But the Mag Shocks seems ideal if it wasnt for the LUDICROUS price to change them. I know they last long but man when they go out? is like doing 2 timing belt jobs for the price... I wish there was some aftermarket support for them then I will do the jump, Stuck with OEM Prices ainīt good for my wallet. That is why I settled down for the TECH + RES instead of the SPORT.. Removing the Mag Shocks from the Sport seems unreasonable when that is the main reason to get the Sport in the first place.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:39 PM   #38
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I had air ride in my former X5 too.. But man those air bags liked to leak? it was a pain for my budget to fix those things and god that you needed to fix them, When the bag leaks the whole system lose pressure and the rear just gets into LOW RIDER Mode sitting directly in the bump stop = No dampening at all. Got rid of it when the bags started to leak twice in a yearly basis.

No more air ride for me ever...
But the Mag Shocks seems ideal if it wasnt for the LUDICROUS price to change them. I know they last long but man when they go out? is like doing 2 timing belt jobs for the price... I wish there was some aftermarket support for them then I will do the jump, Stuck with OEM Prices ainīt good for my wallet. That is why I settled down for the TECH + RES instead of the SPORT.. Removing the Mag Shocks from the Sport seems unreasonable when that is the main reason to get the Sport in the first place.
I sold my touareg with 120k miles and it had zero issues. But I know I was one of the lucky ones. In the touareg's case, the shocks didn't tear or leak, it was the connector that rusted.

Yeah the mag shocks are perfect for me. But shit you are right, those shocks are obnoxiously priced. They don't last long enough either with random failing whenever they feel like it. I also agree that buying the sport model and taking out the sport shocks is extremely counter intuitive. I mean I only want that model because of those shocks. But at $1000-$1200 a corner...that is stupid expensive. I could change out all 4 corners to normal shocks for less than the price of one!
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:56 PM   #39
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Preach it...
If I had lots of money I would still pass on it.
Its not like the mag shocks itself do a 180° on performance either the MDX is not a Performance CUV, Its very well equipped fat lady that can corner beyond expectations mainly because of SH-AWD, period
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:50 PM   #40
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Preach it...
If I had lots of money I would still pass on it.
Its not like the mag shocks itself do a 180° on performance either the MDX is not a Performance CUV, Its very well equipped fat lady that can corner beyond expectations mainly because of SH-AWD, period
Part of it is the improvement in handling, the other part is the cool factor. But having driven German cars for a few years, I learned really fast how uncomfortable it is to drive a car while being always a little scared that a super expensive part could fail at any time. The touareg for example had a good 2-4 parts that consistently failed on ALL Touaregs ranging from $1000-$3000 each. It really takes the fun out of it. If I had a warranty, it would be a non issue.

Car and driver as well as a host of other reviews said the mdx handled and drove like a "sports sedan". I haven't gotten to push an mdx the way I push my cars because each time the person was riding with me and I feel bad for doing that lol.

I think I will jump on either a tech or an elite. Whatever pops up with good mileage and price I'll take.
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