22 Best & Worst Acura MDX Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Acura MDX is a luxury mid-size SUV that was first introduced as a 2001 model.

It may lack the luxury panache of some of its rivals but it is an incredibly practical people hauler with plenty of sportiness.

In this article, we’ll dive into its best and worst years…

2023 Acura MDX

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Acura MDX Are:

The best Acura MDX model years are 2023, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. The worst model years of the MDX are 2017, 2016, 2014, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001. This is based on reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Acura MDX?

Some MDX models are simply better than others, we’ve listed them below.

2023 Acura MDX

If money is no object, then at the top of your list should be the 2023 MDX which is arguably the best model to date simply because it is far more advanced than many of its predecessors.

While no new changes were implemented for this model year, Acura now offers complimentary maintenance for two years/24,000 miles, as well as free access to the AcuraLink connectivity plan for three years. 

The 2023 MDX is praised for its modern styling, crisp handling (for a vehicle of this size and weight), and various standard entertainment and safety features. 

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2023 MDX, Edmunds review:

“The vehicle currently has 13.5K miles and has been an excellent family vehicle. The MDX is extremely comfortable for long travels, we frequently use it for road-trips and commuting from the SF Bay Area and the Central Valley, CA. On the highway, the MDX has been able to match EPA highway ratings with cruise control engaged, ideal road conditions (and traffic), and air pressure in tires…”

2022 Acura MDX

Another top pick is the revamped 2022 MDX, offering three rows in a nicely appointed, roomy cabin. This is the first model of the fourth generation.

For 2022 the MDX was fully redesigned end to end as it returns after taking a 1-year break (the 2021 model year was skipped).

Most of its exterior and interior styling cues were taken from its sibling models, the RDX and TLX and features a new 12.3-inch infotainment screen.

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2022 MDX, Edmunds review:

“I test drove a long list of SUVs, including the telluride, edge, sequoia, Highlander, traverse, forester, ascent, pathfinder, rogue, Santa Fe and I really didn’t think I’d ever find something that suited me and made me happy, had enough room for me and my Labradors, had good ratings and was comfortable and quiet and worth its price tag. Then I set foot into the 2022 MDX and fell in love! It’s plush, comfortable, and feels solid. There’s plenty of room for the dogs when I need to take them places…”

2020 and 2019 Acura MDX

These two models are essentially identical as the 2020 model carried over unchanged from 2019. Both received strong consumer scores and minimal complaints. These were the final models of the third generation and were both very reliable.

For 2019 the A-Spec model was introduced, featuring aggressive styling and AWD as standard.

Also for this year, the 9-speed automatic transmission was upgraded to make the auto-start-stop feature more seamless and faster.

2020 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2019 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2019 MDX, Edmunds review:

“Solid proven well appointed, good size, excellent technology package, 20 inch tires, very comfortable. Beats my Mercedes ml class. No real extras. best price thru Edmunds After 1 year, 10k mileage, not a single problem. Great”

2019 Acura MDX

2018 Acura MDX

The 2018 MDX is a good choice for those on a slightly tighter budget but still want something modern and reliable.

Updates for 2018 included Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto as standard.

An updated dual-screen infotainment system with a new capacitive touchscreen was equipped which was notably more intuitive.

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2018 MDX, Edmunds review:

“After researching, haggling, test driving, and repeating this process, we ended up with the 2018 MDX Base with SH AWD. So here’s the deal, after test driving all the trim levels, I decided on the base model. Reason being, it comes with all the options that you will ever need. The tech package is advantageous if you REALLY need the blind spot monitor. However this car is very easy to drive/switch lanes and is proportioned very well. And keep in mind, tech package adds a pretty penny to the purchase price…”

2015 Acura MDX

The 2015 MDX is essentially a carryover from the previous model year however it was far less problematic than the 2014 model.

This model sports a slightly older design but still comes with a long list of standard tech features.

For luxury and comfort at a fairly reasonable price, the 2015 MDX is a top pick.

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2015 MDX, Edmunds review:

“This vehicle handled every bit of snow & ice thrown at it. I drove 2400+ miles, for 3+ days on glaze slick roads & never felt a slip. Very comfortable & lots of room. It drives much smaller than it is. The LED lights are very crisp & reach pretty far. The infotainment system is definitely something you have to get used to. It does so many things & is extremely complex so initially it was a little overwhelming.

2015 Acura MDX

2013, 2012 and 2011 Acura MDX

If you’re looking for a model thats got a few miles on the clock but has proven to have bulletproof reliability then the 2013, 2012 and 2011 MDX models should tick the box, all three models are essentially the same – these were the final installments of the 2nd Generation.

The 2012 MDX was one of the greatest model years ever produced because of how few complaints and problems there were, the 2013 and 2011 models weren’t far off either.

These models stay true to form offering an abundance of luxury, refinement and performance without the excessive price point.

2012 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2013 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2011 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2012 MDX, Edmunds review:

“I traded my 2011 QX56 for the 2012 MDX. Why? Well, I am looking to downsize my life while not giving up everything. Then MDX offers all I need and what I want. Versatility, sportiness, comfort, performance, and better MPG. Thought about LEXUS, MERCEDES, and found the pricing too high. The Range Rover does not provide the reliability and resale of ACURA.”

2010 Acura MDX

Another solid choice for those in the market for a well-rounded luxury crossover SUV is the 2010 MDX.

This model was updated with a bolder grille, revised front and rear fascias, a better-performing V6 engine (accompanied by a six-speed automatic transmission system), a refreshed cabin and a slew of various standard features.

Much like other MDXs, this model was praised for its high safety scores.

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2010 MDX, Edmunds review:

“This is my third MDX — had a terrific 2004 and the then-new style 2007. However this Advance model has the best Navigation on the market as well as the Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Indicators and the Collision Warning system. Took a 4,000 mile trip recently, got 23 MPG, and enjoyed effortless interstate driving assisted by the Adaptive Cruise control. In multiple lane Big City traffic, the side radar (Blind Spot Indicators) are priceless from a safety aspect…”

2010 Acura MDX

2009 and 2008 Acura MDX

The 2007 and 2008 MDX models are essentially the same. Both are proven to be incredibly reliable with decent fuel economy and capable handling.

These models might be slightly old now but they are undeniably solid vehicles, which is backed by strong consumer scores and reviews.

2009 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2008 Acura MDX:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2009 MDX, Edmunds review:

“The Reliability has been very good. No Major failures, and never left us on the road. Only one repair done under warranty, a right front wheel bearing. All else has been standard service work. Not the cheapest to maintain but not BMW outrageous either. Gas mileage has been below expected at just about 16.5mpg for mostly city use, but the handling and power make it kinda hard not to goose it a bit…”

2008 MDX, Edmunds review:

“During the recent snowstorm we received at Lake Tahoe, our MDX simply blew past everyone installing chains and kept up with the 4×4 rigs with the huge mud/snow tires and lift kits. Even on icy surfaces, we held our traction. The OEM Bridgestones have 5/32″ tread left but the power distribution to the fronts, rears, or left or right was incredible! It can be monitored on the computer within the dash. My confidence kept building during our 3-hour commute up the mountain…”

2007 Acura MDX

The 2007 MDX was the first entry of the 2nd Generation, it was redesigned end-to-end and got off to a strong – however, the 2008 and 2009 models were slightly less problematic.

Specs such as handling, power, traction, safety features, and styling were significantly improved. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2007 MDX, Edmunds review:

“ … After test driving all and reviewing the numbers, the MDX was the obvious choice. Unbelievable extras for the money. When compared with these other luxury SUVs, I would have had to pay around $60K to get the same amount of features. Acura navigation currently head and shoulders above competition. Love the combination of luxury, utility, and convenience.”

2006 Acura MDX

If you’re looking for a first Generation model then we wouldn’t advise anything older than the 2006 MDX.

This was the last iteration of the first Gen and was notably less problematic than all of its predecessors.

This model comes with a 3.5-liter V6, three rows of seating and serious amounts of cargo space.

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2006 MDX, Edmunds review:

“We bought my 2006 MDX Touring new, anticipating to keep it for a long time. I still own it, and it has 125,000 miles. It has never broken down on me. The standard maintenance is all its needed all these years.”

2006 Acura MDX

Consumer Scores For Best Acura MDX Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Acura MDX3.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.077 / 100
2022 Acura MDX3.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.077 / 100
2020 Acura MDX4.4 / 5.04.1 / 5.077 / 100
2019 Acura MDX4.3 / 5.04.1 / 5.077 / 100
2018 Acura MDX3.8 / 5.04.1 / 5.078 / 100
2015 Acura MDX3.6 / 5.04.1 / 5.078 / 100
2013 Acura MDX4.1 / 5.04.6 / 5.080 / 100
2012 Acura MDX4.0 / 5.04.6 / 5.079 / 100
2011 Acura MDX4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.081 / 100
2010 Acura MDX4.5 / 5.04.6 / 5.078 / 100
2009 Acura MDX4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.079 / 100
2008 Acura MDX4.6 / 5.04.6 / 5.081 / 100
2007 Acura MDX4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.080 / 100
2006 Acura MDX4.7 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NA

Related: 6 Most Common Acura MDX Problems (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Acura MDX?

While the MDX was well-received for the most part, there were still some bad eggs. 

2017 Acura MDX

A lot of owners reported significant issues related to the 2017 MDX’s transmission, such as jerking, hesitation, skipping, and even total failure. 

Here’s one owners report:

“My 2017 Acura Mdx has many issues with both the transmission and electrical. It has an issue shifting between gears, makes a loud sound like metal on wash board, then loses power for 3-5 seconds. I went to put the car in drive and it would not go in drive recently. I’ve now had to replace the transmission at 79,006 miles…”

Owners also widely reported that the automatic emergency braking system activated with no danger present, bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, putting drivers at serious risk of an accident.

The 2017 MDX had a total of 18 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 158 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Hesitation
  • Automatic braking malfunction
  • Misleading MPG

2016 Acura MDX

Of all the model years on this list, the 2016 MDX is statistically the most problematic model to have ever been produced, largely due to widespread transmission and powertrain issues.

Owners reported strange noises during shifting, complete loss of power, slipping into neutral whilst driving and unintended acceleration.

Here’s one owners account:

“I have had the vehicle since beginning of March and I noticed the transmission slipping. I had the transmission flushed which made the problem not as bad but it was still there. A couple weeks later the transmission started slipping hard again and I had the transmission replaced by the dealer.”

Owners also widely reported that their sunroof exploded for no apparent reason.

The 2016 MDX had a total of 35 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 267 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission shifts erratically
  • Engine makes rattling noise
  • Hesitates on acceleration
  • Sunroof exploded
2016 Acura MDX

2014 Acura MDX

The 2014 MDX’s biggest problem was its steering. Numerous owners filed complaints stating that the steering failed, locked whilst turning, became loose or made strange sounds.

Owners also reported that the warning lights on the dash would come on for no reason and stay on.

Here’s what the owners had to say:

“While making a left hand turn at slow speed, steering locked and the wheel had to be forced back the other direction, barely avoiding a tree.”

“On numerous occasions the electric power steering, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist problem lights illuminate on the dash and I lose all power steering. My car becomes extremely difficult to turn, particularly at lower speeds. This is a major safety hazard and warrants a recall…”

The 2014 MDX had a total of 61 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 210 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Paint issues
  • Steering failure
  • Stalls, lurches on light acceleration
  • Unusual noise when idle

2005 and 2004 Acura MDX

The 2005 and 2004 MDX models were notorious for torque converter failure and transmission issues.

Owners reported grinding noises at certain speeds and vehicle shuddering.

Here’s what the owners had to say:

“Had to replace the torque converter on my 2005 Acura Mdx. Seems to be a problem just by searching the internet. Now I hear a groaning noise in the rear as I accelerate and turn the wheel at low speed.”

“2005 Acura MDX torque converter failing at 75,000 miles. Reduces my ability to accelerate and has put me in a very dangerous situation when merging into traffic.”

  • The 2005 MDX had a total of 10 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 215 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
  • The 2004 MDX had a total of 36 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 216 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Total transmission failure
  • Antifreeze leaking into transmission
  • Hands-free link defective
  • Jerking
    2004 Acura MDX

    2003, 2002 and 2001 Acura MDX

    The 2003, 2002 and 2001 Acura MDX models were the earliest renditions of the vehicle and they suffered from their share of teething issues.

    Each model was equally problematic, receiving a similar number of complaints – most of which were related to the powertrain.

    Owners widely reported unintended acceleration and deceleration, stuttering when accelerating and loss of power when driving.

    These symptoms often preceded transmission failure.

    Some owners were even forced to replace the transmission twice.

    These models were also affected by the infamous Takata airbag recall.

    These airbags were known to explode sending bits of shrapnel flying into the cabin with potentially lethal consequences.

    • The 2003 MDX had a total of 23 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 246 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
    • The 2002 MDX had a total of 12 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 223 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
    • The 2001 MDX had a total of 25 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 251 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

    Common problems:

    • Transmission failure
    • Failed motor mounts
    • Torque converter failure
    • Dangerous and erratic shifting
    • Check engine light is on
    • Engine mount failure
    2001 Acura MDX

    Related: Where Are Acura MDX Made (12 Important Facts)

    What Years Have The Most Complaints?

    Model YearComplaints
    2023 Acura MDXNA3
    2022 Acura MDX128
    2020 Acura MDX438
    2019 Acura MDX986
    2018 Acura MDX265
    2017 Acura MDX18158
    2016 Acura MDX35267
    2015 Acura MDX1382
    2014 Acura MDX61210
    2013 Acura MDX937
    2012 Acura MDX1882
    2011 Acura MDX2871
    2010 Acura MDX2155
    2009 Acura MDX2064
    2008 Acura MDX854
    2007 Acura MDX30124
    2006 Acura MDX5109
    2005 Acura MDX10215
    2004 Acura MDX36216
    2003 Acura MDX23246
    2002 Acura MDX12223
    2001 Acura MDX25251

    What Problems Do Acura MDX Have?

    • Excessive oil consumption
    • Transmission failure
    • Transmission shifts erratically
    • Paint issues
    • Stalls, lurches on light acceleration
    • Unusual noise at idle
    • Engine makes rattling noise
    • Hesitates on acceleration
    • Wheel and wind noise
    • Garage door opener does not work
    • “Parasitic draw” after multiple dead battery events
    • Sunroof broken all of a sudden
    • Airbag light on
    • Rumble strip noise
    • Jerking

    What Are The Best Alternatives To The Acura MDX?

    Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
    Porsche Cayenne8.6$69,000 – $180,800City: 14 – 19 /Highway: 19 – 23
    Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class8.6$56,150 – $80,900City: 16 – 20 /Highway: 21 – 27
    BMW X58.4$61,600 – $108,900City: NA /Highway: NA
    Genesis GV808.4$55,550 – $70,600City: 18 – 20 /Highway: 23 – 24
    Lincoln Nautilus8.4$44,825 – $67,245City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 26
    Audi Q88.3NACity: 13 – 18 /Highway: 19 – 23
    Lincoln Aviator8.3$53,340 – $89,280City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 24 – 26
    Audi Q78.2$57,500 – $88,500City: 15 – 19 /Highway: 21 – 23
    Audi Q88.0$71,800 – $122,800City: 13 – 18 /Highway: 20 – 23
    Land Rover Range Rover Velar8.0$60,300 – $79,200City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 25 – 26
    Volvo XC908.0$50,900 – $72,600City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 28 – 30
    Land Rover Discovery7.9$58,400 – $77,800City: NA /Highway: NA
    Land Rover Range Rover Sport7.9$70,900 – $132,600City: NA /Highway: NA
    Acura MDX7.8$49,550 – $73,200City: 17 – 19 /Highway: 21 – 26
    Infiniti QX607.8$49,200 – $65,500City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 26
    BMW X67.7$70,100 – $113,700City: 13 – 21 /Highway: 18 – 25
    Lexus RX 3507.7NACity: NA /Highway: NA
    Cadillac XT67.5$48,595 – $58,295City: 18 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 27
    Cadillac XT57.4$44,195 – $57,095City: 18 – 22 /Highway: 23 – 29
    Land Rover Defender7.4$53,500 – $118,400City: 14 – 18 /Highway: 19 – 23
    Cadillac XT67.3$48,595 – $60,095City: 18 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 27
    Maserati Levante7.1$79,400 – $153,100City: 13 – 16 /Highway: 20 – 22
    Lexus GX6.6$56,425 – $67,080City: 15 /Highway: 19

    Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

    Related: 14 Acura MDX Facts and Statistics You Should Know










    • Ian Sawyer

      Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...