2016 Acura MDX | CarGurus Test Drive Review

2016 Acura MDX | CarGurus Test Drive Review

Hi I’m Chris Wardlaw for CarGurus and
today we’re going to talk about the pros and the cons of the refreshed 2016 Acura
MDX without further ado let’s get right to it starting with three of my favorite
things about the MDX earlier this year my family and I took an Acura MDX up San
Francisco for a four day road trip and it proved to me that this is one of the
great road trip machines aside from a slight bit of road noise this is super
comfortable the engines powerful gets decent gas mileage we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves now my
test car is the updated 2016 MDX it’s the advanced package model with the rear
entertainment system and in the advanced package you get perforated Milano
leather seats that have heating and cooling you get heated outboard second
row seats rear seat occupants have their own air conditioning controls and if
you’ve got the entertainment system with the advanced package everybody has a
wide array of entertainment choices so you just set the cruise control you pop
the integrated dynamics system into comfort mode and you can pile on the
highway miles with no problem there’s plenty of room in the second row seat
for two kids you can put three back there if one of them is not in a car
seat but I’ll tell you right now the third row seat is good for kids only and
you’re only going to want to use it on occasion because when kids are seated
back there they’re very close to the tailgate which kind of put them in the
crush zone if somebody hits the back the SUV while you are stopped now cargo space not that
generous if you’re using the third row seat you’ve only got 15 cubic feet to
work with and that’s stacked to the ceiling if you fold the third row seat
you’ve got about 40 cubic feet depending on how it’s measured Acura provides two
different measurements but it’s about 40 cubic feet it’s plenty of room for a
family road trip no problem at all Now another nice thing about the Acura MDX is that
there’s clearly been a lot of attention to detail put into the design and
execution of this interior now everything is relative of course right
and last week I was driving a Cadillac Escalade Platinum which has leather
covered everything suede microfiber all over the cabin but Cadillac didn’t pay
attention to a lot of the details like the way that things slide and open in
the way the buttons feel in the knobs and look at the texturing right here on
this nob you’ve got these almost serrated edges here that help you to
grip the knob and then there’s a bit of style associated with it and the
material itself feels solid and robust and that’s kind of the impression that I
get about everything in the cabin that it’s going to last a good long time and
as a result I actually feel like this MDX which is almost half the price of
that Escalade I was driving is actually the more luxurious vehicles now another
great thing about the 2016 MDX is that it is super safe it gets top crash test
ratings from the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety and this year Acura has introduced its new Acura watch suite of
high-tech safety features they include things like blind spot information lane
departure warning forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking
and new features including Lane Keeping Assist and a row departure mitigation
system now I think that all of those technologies work really well but I have
to tell you the link Keeping Assist system when you activated a little eerie
watching the steering wheel kind of move without any input from you as the system
attempts to keep the MDX right in the center of the mean personally I prefer to keep that
one off all the other ones thumbs up now that we’ve talked about some of my
favorite things about the MDX it’s time to discuss a few of its flaws in a
couple of them are fairly significant now before you go out and get a new MDX
there something you need to know and that is that a redesigned 2016 Honda
Pilot just rolled into showrooms now what’s the big deal about a pilot it’s
based on the same platform uses the same powertrains and a lot of the same
technology that’s installed in this Acura now I personally think that the
Acura remains the better looking vehicle and it does come with some exclusive
content that you can’t get on the Honda nevertheless it’s pretty clear that the
value proposition for buying MDX just got a lot harder to justify another
thing that I’m not crazy about when it comes to the MDX is this dual screen
entertainment setup for some reason I look at this control panel and I can
never remember which screen controls what and where the controls might be
located for me to find what it is that I want to do so for example I wanted to
turn on the ventilated seats when I got in this car today because it’s so hot
here in Southern California right now and I just looked at this and I thought
where on earth did they put it these are the climate controls but I don’t see any
seat controls here oh I see their kind of on the screen and then there’s a blank
seat icon hear I wonder what that does so I push it opens up a menu and then I
can choose heating or cooling then to turn it on maximum I have to turn it on maximum I have to hit it three times so there are four
touchscreen motions that have to be taken to turn the ventilated seats on
maximum the other problem I have is an aging in my eyes are going bad and I
have bifocal sunglasses and I’ve got two screens here one is deeper in the
dashboard any other this one’s often showing different graphics then this one
the controls for this screen are down here the controls for this screen all right
here on the screen or located just below or above in a look at this and I just
think jumbled mess I can’t figure it out and it’s so distracting because I mean
I’m not driving right now but if I am driving I’m double taking i’m looking
i’m looking and you saw when I was messing around with these ventilated seat controls that
if I didn’t take action fast the screen disappeared and I look back and I had the radio
screen back up so frustrated Acura please devise some kind of a widescreen
split screens single panel for everything ok give me knobs for tuning
and volume and power and make it easy for me to turn on the ventilated seats, please. Another problem
that I have with the 2016 MDX and this is probably the biggest one is that they decided to fix something
that wasn’t broken and by that I mean they replace the transmission and they
replace the transmission shifter little bit of backstory first EP a is asking
every carmaker to increase fuel economy standards everybody is scrambling to
figure out how to make everything more fuel-efficient doesn’t matter if gas is
cheap all carmakers have to make more fuel-efficient vehicles Acura’s solution
with the MDX this year is to install a 9 speed automatic transmission and get
rid of the six-speed automatic from last year in the process they added a
combination of switches and buttons here on the center console that I mean it’s
fairly easy to use its not necessarily intuitive I assume after you’ve owned the
car for a while you get the hang of it but it doesn’t save any space on the
console so I don’t know why the buttons will be here in the first place second of all it’s located right next to
the cup holders and you know exactly what’s gonna happen to those buttons the
first time that somebody spilled a Vanilla Latte in there as far as the transmission
itself is concerned last year with the six-speed I thought the NDX’s powertrain
was magnificent powerful transmission always shifted right when you thought it
should exactly as you expected it to never drew attention to itself this 9
speed seems to lurch a lot it seems to shift when you don’t expect it to it
doesn’t shift when you wanted to the paddle shifters I don’t find much help
given that there are nine different gears to go through your constantly
referencing the display between the gauges to figure out where you are when
you manually shifting the other thing is that if you get an MDX with the
advanced package you’re gonna get a new idle stop the church shuts the engine when you’re sitting at an intersection
that’s great it does help save fuel but this particular system is a little bit
rough when the engine shuts off there’s a little bit of a shutter in the in the
vehicle and then you can easily beat it even when you’re not trying when you
shift from the break to the accelerator pedal so there’s a little bit of a delay
and then lurched off the line I know that getting that extra one or two miles
per gallon is important Acura but man does it come costs so what’s the verdict
when it comes to the 2016 Acura MDX should you go test drive one right away
is this a work in progress or should you cross it right off your shopping list here’s the thing when an automaker strives to
continually improve its products the end goal should be that people like the
product more not less for me personally the reverse seems to be happening I like
the 2016 model less than I like last year’s model and like last year’s model
less than I liked the previous generation MDX which had all kinds of
personality and was terrific fun to drive now don’t get me wrong this MDX is
a great vehicle it’s very practical its roomy it’s comfortable it exudes quality
except the transmission it’s fun to drive but I would say that it’s no
longer the clear choice in the segment and so I would recommend that in
addition to test driving the MDX you check out some of the competitors as
well for more information be sure to read my full review on CarGurus.com and
thanks for watching

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. FYI, you do not need to keep pressing the plus sign to increase the seat heating or cooling.  Simply press the level you want.  The seats have 3  boxes representing the setting, just press the last box.

  2. Ii is a little hard in the beginning, but once you learn how things work, you will really like the dual screen and complex user interface.

  3. What are the competitors of this vehicle – price and quality range? My wife is really looking at this vehicle and I'm wanting to explore like options. We currently have an 08 Buick Enclave which is really nice – but the power is lacking (significantly) and it feels like a heavy ride (it is heavy but FEELS heavy). We are going to consider another Enclave but MDX has the advantage for now. Looking for more options.

  4. Just traded in my 2013 BMW X5 for this 2016 MDX. The BMW has a better ride and performance. Everything else about this MDX is better and I am loving it. As you go through the entire car, the fitting, design and quality are just top notch. The touch screen and tech package might be a challenge for some older buyers but that's about it. Also, I have no idea why people are complaining about the 9 speed transmission. The transmission is smooth just like my previous X5. Overall, it's a great value comparing to some other luxury cars.

  5. Alex On Autos channel implied that the MDX handling and ride is next level compared to it's Honda brother. Too bad this isn't resolved in this video as well. Is the suspension, the gears and then engine better tuned or not?

  6. Don't get this car it has a transmission problem
    I bought my car brand new 2016 advance $60000
    After 1 month the transmission started acting weird
    Took it to the dealer he said there are couple of customers complaining about the same exact thing and that Acure is working on a software update and that was 3 months ago still no update or fix

    Google :2016 MDX transmission problem
    Click on one of the links you will see a lot of 2016 MDX owner complaining

    You will see it for your self

  7. Question: I have a problem with my 2016 MDX.  Every time I get out of the car and go into a store I come out to find all four windows and sunroof rolled down.  It does this on it's own, I haven't programmed anything into the car sooooooo.  Am I hitting the wrong button on the key fob when I get out and causing the windows to automatically lower?This has become a pain as I park at the airport for business and come back from a trip to find all windows down!  This also happens during rain storms so that I come back to find a wet interior from windows being down.Any help as to what I need to do or not do so as to keep the windows from rolling down.Thanks,Ron

  8. Pro: I do like the safety lane watch which is a good thing from Acura.Con: The advantage for safety lane could cause driver to focus more on texting on there phone instead of keeping an eye on the lane while driving which could be dangerous. You will get hook with this technology.

  9. I have the same Entertainment  screen on my 2014 and I still cant figure out how to either find or keep a radio station.  And btw you don't have to hit the + button on the seat temperature screen you can just pick one of the three boxes.

  10. I bought a 2016 Acura MDX Sh-AWD Advance LESS than 2 months ago..nothing but problems! https://youtu.be/XDUB_hTgDyQ … there are many videos of it's malfunctions

  11. I agree that the auto start and stop feature isn't the greatest. I just purchased a 2016 MDX Tech with SH-AWD and I'm glad I don't have to disable that feature everytime I start the car. Also about the 9 speed transmission, there's an update 15-054 that will smooth out the gears and make it enjoyable to drive. Ask your dealer about it. Great review otherwise. It still makes me mad that Acura can't give you sport trimmed leather seats in their MDX unless you get the advanced. At that point you're stuck with the auto start/stop feature. No thanks…

  12. They should have put the two screens in one like the Mercedes Benz GL 450 the Lexus RX 350 but the car looks good anyway

  13. people don't realized that with the honda/acura touch screen you Don't have to click +/- to adjust fan speed, volume, seat heating, cooling, just hit the max or min on the range bars directly on where you want it. yes screen is kinda low resolution and laggy. I kinda like the dual screen set up much better once you get use to it, keep nav on top.

  14. Yep. My wife's 370z Nismo Tech has that dual thing going on, up down up down wait how do i, oh right, ugh.

    If you drive it every day? No big deal, don't drive it for a month? Wait, how do i…

  15. how is it "perfect for road trips"?…. when you can't fit 2 adults in 3rd row and cargo space is next to minimum?!? Acura has always been overrated /overpriced. Badge over Substance.

  16. I love playing with gagets.. don't have an issue with all the technology on my mdx..once you get used to where they're located it becomes easy. If Acura had put button's and knobs then people would not justify the price for outdated technology

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