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'17 MDX Hybrid Advance v. '16 RLX Hybrid Advance

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'17 MDX Hybrid Advance v. '16 RLX Hybrid Advance

 
Old 05-28-2018, 03:08 PM
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'17 MDX Hybrid Advance v. '16 RLX Hybrid Advance

Good afternoon Everyone....

I recently took delivery of a 2017 MDX Hybrid Advance after 9 years in a Ford Explorer. Last year I got a 2016 RLX Hybrid Advance and have loved everyone minute in it, so the MDX was on my short list of replacements for the Explorer.

After a full month with the MDX, two oddities have revealed themselves when driving the MDX Hybrid and RLX Hybrid back to back:

1. Emergency Parking Brake switch operation. Believe it or not, the operation is completely different in the two vehicles. The MDX requires a PUSH to set it, and a PULL to release it. The RLX is the opposite....requiring a PULL to set it, and a PUSH to release it. I'm constantly doing it wrong, finding it difficult to remember which method works in which car. Why the difference in operation between the two models?

2. Reverse gear. When parking or backing up in Reverse, the RLX will usually use EV mode to quietly back up for parking. On the other hand, the MDX will ALWAYS turn on the gas engine whenever I change from Drive into Reverse for parking. Why the difference in operation between the two models?

Otherwise, I'm loving both cars. Normally, by now the Explorer would have been put away for summer (it's been a dedicated winter vehicle), but I can't help driving the MDX along with the RLX. I love them both.
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:46 AM
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Both Hybrid Advance sounds like an elite status Which one has better fuel economy?
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MuGen7Modulo View Post
Both Hybrid Advance sounds like an elite status Which one has better fuel economy?

I can answer this one. My experience says the RLX is better on fuel. I don't have the raw numbers, but overall (combined city and highway) the RLX is somewhere around 1 - 2 MPG better than the MDX
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MuGen7Modulo View Post
Both Hybrid Advance sounds like an elite status Which one has better fuel economy?
After a month with both vehicles, I only have a few hundred miles on the MDX. But, what I have been able to tell, in my normal, daily commute (about 10 miles of mixed highway and city driving) I have grown accustomed to coaxing the RLX into hybrid mode as often as I can. It's just a little game I play with myself to see how often and for how long I can keep it in EV mode. I know where and when the optimal areas are in my commute to afford maximum EV operation. Now, with the MDX, during the exact same commute, I have been attempting to match and/or exceed the RLX in EV mode operation. It has been fascinating experiencing both cars during the identical commute. For now, I have to say advantage RLX. Even though the weight of each car isn't that different, perhaps the differences can be explained at the smaller size of the MDX 3.0 liter V-6, next to the RLX's 3.5 V-6. I'm not sure about the size of their respective batteries.

With that said, I'll agree with Moose66 that the advantage goes to the RLX with a 1-2 MPG advantage.
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Old 05-30-2018, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JSakaBuck View Post
I have grown accustomed to coaxing the RLX into hybrid mode as often as I can. It's just a little game I play with myself to see how often and for how long I can keep it in EV mode. I know where and when the optimal areas are in my commute to afford maximum EV operation.
I do the exact same thing - and even after over a year of ownership, I still laugh at myself that I bought a 377HP machine to have fun and yet it's been a different kind of fun than I was initially expecting. Instead of blasting around in Sport mode (which I still do albeit infrequently), I find I'm more inclined to try and 'beat my EV high score' on my commute.

The one thing I do not like though is that in rush hour traffic, I drain the battery to the point where the ICE has to kick in and remain on... I find the car is 'jerky' at that point until the battery regenerates a bit. Not sure why and I suspect there is science to it, but the car just feels different for the brief moment where the ICE kicks in when the battery is very low.
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Limelight View Post
The one thing I do not like though is that in rush hour traffic, I drain the battery to the point where the ICE has to kick in and remain on... I find the car is 'jerky' at that point until the battery regenerates a bit. Not sure why and I suspect there is science to it, but the car just feels different for the brief moment where the ICE kicks in when the battery is very low.
I think the "jerkiness" is a result of the operation of the dual clutch transmission when the ice is on in these situations and completely normal. I remember reading somewhere that dct-s do not like slow stop and go rush hour grinds (under about 10 mph then stopping then going again)... but someone who knows more than me will likely chime in.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:25 PM
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Cool Parking Brake

As someone with an MDX & RLX, I understand what you mean by the opposite parking brakes. Here is how I remember which way they go:

In the RLX, the button is in the center section much like the lever parking brake you use with your hand. With those, you pull the lever up to turn it on and push it down to turn if off.

On the MDX, the button is to the left of the steering wheel much like the pedal style parking brake you use with your foot. With those, you push the pedal to down to turn it on and back up to turn it off.

Following that pattern makes it easier to remember. Hope this helps
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:57 PM
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^^^I have never looked at it that way. Some good logic there!
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:26 AM
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Outstanding suggestion! I now have a new mindset when parking.

Now, if some engineer can explain the logic of the operation of EV mode versus ICE mode while backing up, I'll be a happy camper.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JSakaBuck View Post
2. Reverse gear. When parking or backing up in Reverse, the RLX will usually use EV mode to quietly back up for parking. On the other hand, the MDX will ALWAYS turn on the gas engine whenever I change from Drive into Reverse for parking. Why the difference in operation between the two models?
The driver feedback about the way that reverse works in the RLX Sport Hybrid has not been good.

The nature of the transmission allows for some take-up slack. If the KC2 is parked on an incline with the nose down, it might actually make contact with an object in front of the car before the driver realizes what is going on and presses the accelerator pedal enough to cause the gasoline motor to intervene.

Once you know that this is what happens in the KC2, you learn to compensate for it.

However, the general engineering consensus is that this is an undesirable characteristic and the car should not force the drive to think about it.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JSakaBuck View Post
With that said, I'll agree with Moose66 that the advantage goes to the RLX with a 1-2 MPG advantage.
My lifetime average for a relatively high mileage KC2 remains around 31 mpg.

The way that I travel, I'm in EV mode about ⅓ of the time, which seems ideal. If anybody's lifetime is more than 31 mpg, I would really like to hear about it. But I think ⅓ EV is giving me MPG about the best that I would expect.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:45 PM
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odd - the hybrid is the most responsive car/suv I've ever driven
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by getakey View Post
odd - the hybrid is the most responsive car/suv I've ever driven
With a Sport Hybrid, it might depend on your driving style whether you would call it responsive.

With a lighter foot, you’ll be impressed with the instant gentle torque of the electric motors.

But if you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry, you might be annoyed at the delay before the ICE powers up, and this will make you perceive the Sport Hybrid as not responsive.

If you want a look at the Way Ahead, test drive a new Clarity or Accord Hybrid. The new Honda Hybrid systems rely on much more powerful electrics, and the main purpose of the ICE is to keep the batteries charged. The ICE sends power to the wheels only over about 50 mph or under extreme performance demands.

There is is no doubt as to the responsiveness of the new hybrid systems, and I hope Honda finds a way to incorporate the idea into the higher performance SH-AWD versions of its upscale card.
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:09 PM
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My wife and I joined the list of TWO Sport Hybrid families today when we bought a 2018 MDX Sport Hybrid to join my 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid. I drove home from the dealership and based on this VERY limited experience, I would make the following observations:
- I really miss the HUD...I asked the sales manager his opinion on why it was left out of the MDX and his best guess was that MDX buyers wouldn't accept a $3000 replacement cost for the windshield.
- the MDX Sport Hybrid's ride was VERY smooth and quiet and could be BETTER at handling little bumps in the road than my RLX...I'll assume it is the adaptive dampers...well done Acura.
- The power of the MDX Sport Hybrid was impressive... I didn't do an M1 start for comparison, but the power was very smooth and plentiful, less power than the RLX but surprising for a big SUV nonethless.
- I like that the small storage area UNDER the cargo space is larger than in our previous MDX... perfect for "just in case" items like a battery booster, fire extinguisher, cold weather gear etc.
- I was expecting the ACC to be "better" than my RLX, but found it to be very similar...the LKAS I found slightly "jerkier" but again, very limited driving in light rain conditions.
- My wife is very excited about the standard 2-way remote start...I don't drive enough to really miss the aftermarket unit I had in my '05 RL, but winters here are long and it should come in handy.
- While I didn't try it, the heated seat/ ventilated seat controls seemed more complicated that the simple switches in the RLX...the price we all pay when auto journalists bitch about "too many buttons".
- The new interior rear view mirror design is slick with a smaller bezel area making for less intrusion to forward viewing.
- The infotainment system is very similar to the RLX...while this is seen by many to be dated, it is the style and function that both my wife and I prefer (likely related to our age)...when the salesperson was setting up and demoing the phone connection, it did seem superior to my RLX in performance.

That's all for now, I'll likely come up with more observations when I get a chance to drive it some more.

Just my two cents.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:12 PM
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Congrats Hondamore. I look forward to hearing more of your observations between the two Sport Hybrids. I can personally attest to the windshield replacement cost of the HUD glass. I had a rock hit my RLX SH windshield earlier this year and it was indeed over $3K CDN to replace. Ouch.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:16 AM
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Ballers! Congrats! Too bad my wife didn't like the MDX, else we'd have one, too.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:58 AM
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I'm sure I have commented on this before so if this is a repeat please forgive me.

Having had both sport hybrids in our house now for more than a year (I think I was the first one on this board and potentially nationally to have both), I can say that after 15 full months with the 2017 MDX Sport Hybrid Advance, we could not be happier. While I miss the HUD, and the e-brake button is in the wrong place and functions opposite to the RLX Sport Hybrid, the vehicle is a very smooth operator. We typically see 27 to 30 mpg on a tank with my driving (26-27 with my wife driving), it is fairly quiet, roomy enough for our purposes, and drives smaller than it measures. I almost never use sport mode as there really is no need but it is nice to know it is there if I wanted it. The lighting system is superb, interior finishes are on par with the RLX and the price is reasonable relative to its competitors and overall content you get. However, there are things I wish were better. I wish the tires were wider and looked more hunkered down like the Range Rover. That has way better road presence and stance. I would prefer the shape of the Honda Pilot in the back when it comes to using the storage area on a trip. I find the back of the interior closes the available space for luggage and is too confined relative to the more boxy shape of the Pilot. I think with a very small redesign of that space, the storage area could yield a measurable improvement in everyday usage. Also in relation to electronic dashboards that are becoming more prevalent, Acura would be wise to get in front of that trend and come out with a brand wide improvement in that area. Make it really cutting edge and allow total customization, so the user can mix and match content they want to see. Also less buttons is not better while having to navigate screens. Lastly the attorneys need to be put in a corner. Not being able to change the navigation route unless you are stopped is a hassle. If my wife is changing it while I am driving, that should be allowed. We have so many nannies that it irritates me. Lastly the collision warning sensor is way to sensitive and reacts 90% of the time to things I think it shouldn't.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:57 PM
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Congrats hondamore! I wish you and your wife many healthy and happy miles with it! I really liked the MDX Sport Hybrid when I test drove it, especially the adjustable suspension. Puts the suspension on my 2014 MDX SH-AWD to shame....
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Old 08-04-2018, 02:36 PM
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Despite pretty much universal praise for the MDX Sport Hybrid up here in Canada, they just aren't selling. The price differential to a comparably equipped non-hybrid MDX up here is more than $4000 and, while gas has increased in price in the past year, buyers who don't understand all the benefits of the Sport Hybrid system just can't justify that price difference. Also, Acura Canada has been aggressively discounting the non-hybrid MDX up to $6500, while keeping the incentives on the Sport Hybrid to $1500. The rationale for this was explained to me as a simple supply/demand issue with VERY few of the Canadian spec Sport Hybrids having been built and even fewer left available.

Just recently Acura Canada finally increased the incentive on the Sport Hybrid to $7000 (if you can find one). I happened to be in getting an oil change on my RLX when my sales guy spotted me and informed me of this development. Yada, yada, yada, two days later we are a two Sport Hybrid family. My wifes '07 MDX was getting long in the tooth but we were still debating holding on for another year to see what the 2020 FMC of the MDX had to offer. The likelihood of the Sport Hybrid version being launched much later, our color choice being hard to find and prices holding at MSRP for quite some time turned out to be the deciding factors in us pulling the trigger now.

Just wanted to pass on our experience for anyone else who is on the fence.

P.S. Thanks to JSakaBuck, RLX- Sport Hybrid and others for your reviews of the MDX Sport Hybrid which made our decision to buy one MUCH easier.

Last edited by hondamore; 08-04-2018 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:47 PM
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I had another opportunity to drive my wife's MDX Sport Hybrid today, so I will add a few more observations:

- The idiosyncrasies that I noted earlier regarding the LKAS and ACC both turned out to be related to the rainy conditions of my last drive. Today's drive with the ACC was much smoother even when cars were cutting me off (darting into the three car length distance I had set) and the LKAS was equal to, if not better than, my '14 RLX Sport Hybrid at gently directing me back to the center of the lane when I began to veer from the midline.

- I don't find the seats in the MDX quite as comfortable as my RLX...they are equally supportive but the RLX has a softer feel.

- The fuel economy of the MDX Sport Hybrid is amazing and might be equal or better than my RLX!! I got about 34 mpg (6.9 l/100km) for my 20 minute drive of mostly freeway driving which is similar to what I get with my RLX. My wife did a 45 minute freeway/highway drive the other day and got nearly 37mpg (6.4 l/100km) on that trip. It seems like the electric motors are used more at highway speeds in the MDX Sport Hybrid as the battery meter held at roughly 1/2 charge during my drive suggesting that it was charging the battery with the ICE AND at the same time drawing current from the battery to power the electric motors to assist the ICE. On the highway in my RLX, it seems like the battery stays at the fully charged state (three or four ticks from the top) and the car is being propelled by the ICE alone except for cornering maneuvers when the SHAWD kicks in. I'll have to watch the power distribution monitor on the MDX and RLX to confirm if this difference actually exists or if it is in my imagination. I'd be interested to know if others have notice more electric assist on the highway with the MDX Sport Hybrid.

That's all for now.

Last edited by hondamore; 08-16-2018 at 04:50 PM.
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