MDX vs. RDX?

Old 07-10-2019, 11:10 AM
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MDX vs. RDX?

I'm researching my next vehicle. Right now I'm driving an 06 Acura TL which has had very few problems (currently at 160k miles). I'm looking for an AWD SUV for my next car and really like the looks of the MDX and RDX, and the reliability of Acura. I commute about 90 miles per day in California, all hiway, but gas is expensive. What kind of hiway mileage can I expect from a 2006-2010 RDX or MDX?

From what I researched for my TL, I recall Honda/Acura had auto transmission issues until 2005/2006. Is this the case with the RDX and MDX? Also, I've read that 2010 to 2013 Acura's have oil burning issues (a co-worker has a 2012 TL that uses a quart or more per tank of gas). Based on this, am I correct in looking for a 2006-2010? I'm looking in the $10k to $15k range.

Any pros/cons of the RDX vs MDX? I read in a different forum that the RDX and MDX got almost the same hiway gas mileage. I prefer the MDX for towing a moto trailer and so I can load 4 heavy mountain/DH bikes on my Yakima Hold up rack. Any years or models to avoid?

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Old 07-10-2019, 05:02 PM
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There is a user's web site, where a person can list their car and track their MPG.
You don't have to join nor register, to look at their figures.
www dot fuelly dot com

fuelly dot com for mpg numbers
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:08 PM
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The first RDX was a 2007. I don't know of any big problems with the transmissions, although I sure some have had problems, but nothing like the earlier TLs.
My 07 RDX has 171,000 miles & no transmission problems. Our 2008 MDX has 176,000 miles on it and no transmission problems.
It helps to do regular transmission fluid drain & fill of about 3.5 qts every oil change and use ONLY the Honda fluid.
The oil burning problem, to my knowledge, was only on the 3.7 engines in the MDX & TL & what other models had them. It seems like the oil burring wasn't an issue until around the 2010 models. Neither our 08 MDX or 07 RDX use any oil.
Gas mileage ratings you have to take with a grain of salt as they can vary with who did the testing & how.
Generally you will see figures of 18-19 & 22-23 MPG on the RDX 4 cyl turbos. You have to stay out of turbo boost to get 18-19 around town, I 've never seen it, ours gets 16-17 around town because I like the turbo.
The MDX, well, there's no pretty way to say it, it gets terrible gas mileage. Usually see figures of 15/20 MPG on the 5 speed transmission models. We get 14-15 around town and maybe a little better than 20 on the highway if you keep the speed 65-70
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:01 PM
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You will be limited to only 1500 lbs with the RDX while the MDX can do 5000 lbs.

My posted hwy speeds in the southwest is between 65-80 mph and I can drive 5-10 mph above that. I find my 11 MDX with 6AT does around 1-3 mpg better on the hwy compared to my 08 RDX on the same roads. At those speeds the RDX turbo is always being used and hurting mpgs. I seem to do about 1-3 mpg better in my RDX compared to my MDX in city or 50/50 combined driving. I've seen as low as 14 mpg in my MDX compared to 17 mpg being my lowest in the RDX.

The MDX is a much better hwy car with much less road noise, smoother ride, comfy seats in all four positions, and a lot of cargo space. The MDX isn't a Lexus cream puff either. The big girl can dance on the curves with a very aggressive sh-awd system. It can engage on a right hand turn at a stop sign. The MDX will drive like a much smaller vehicle because of sh-awd.

My RDX suspension is stiffer, a lot of road noise, ELS sound system isn't as deep/rich compared to my MDX, and is mostly fwd/awd. You really have to push the RDX to get the "sh" to engage for the sh-awd. The RDX is the perfect hammer if you only see nails. The RDX feels better the harder you push her. My RDX is my #1 car to drive when I want have a little fun; but, I always pick my MDX if I need to leave the city limits.

Not sure if the 14 sh-awd MDX base or tech is out of your price range? You will still get 3500-5000lbs of towing and +26 hwy mpg with the 3.5L DI engine.

Last edited by mrgold35; 07-10-2019 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:04 PM
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Go with the rdx
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:16 AM
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The RDX uses the RL transmission which is known to be reliable.
As for the 2nd Gen MDX there is no issues with their transmission as they use a beefier HD design.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:50 AM
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I have a 2007 RDX with 260K miles! All original!!!

They're super reliable outside of tiny annoying things that break... The transmissions are probably the best 5AT Honda ever used in terms of reliability!!! I believe they are designed to handle 400 hp and I've only really known of one neglected RDX that had one to fail, that I know of, whereas thousands if TLs had their trannys fail...

It is a sporty drive. It will probably feel lighter and more nimble than your TL. The K23A1 turbo puts out tons of mid-range torque at part throttle.

It's a different experience than a V6 though... It's more of the Civic Si of SUVs if you know what I mean...
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:36 PM
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Thanks for the great info! It's a tough call- mdx has better ride and tow capacity, rdx has a little better mpg, and I rarely need something as big as the mdx. I guess I'll drive both and see what i like. I'll probably be looking for a 2007 -2010 because that's in my price range.
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