Acura MDX Years To Avoid | 22 Best & Worst Models 2023

Source: The news wheels

Since its release in 2000, the Acura MDX has consistently been ranked as one of the most reliable mid-size, three-row luxury SUVs available today. It is supposed to represent “multidimensional luxury.”

As the MDX has evolved over the past two decades, not every model is considered the best or must be avoided. This article is mainly targeted at the reason behind the failure and success of each model and helps you decide which Acura MDX year to avoid and which to buy.

Acura MDX years to avoid include 2001-2006 and 2014-2018; they are considered the worst. The best years for Acura MDX include 2007-2013, 2019-2020, 2022, 2023. This result was concluded from trustworthy sources such as NHTSA, Edmund, JD Power, and Kelley Blue Book.

Acura MDX Model Years To Avoid

Acura MDXs produced in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 should be avoided. Read on to find out why we’ve made this claim.

11. Worst Year: 2018 Acura MDX (3.98 Rating)

Source: Motor Trend

2018 Acura MDX falls under this category due to its notorious five recalls and bad reliability. Due to uncomfortable seats, many consumers demanded a recall. The defective service brakes, faulty fuel system, defective exterior lighting, and slow engine cooling system make this model one of the worst years to buy.

The 2018 MDX has below average (2.4/5.0) reliability rating from J.D. Power, indicating a potential buyer must choose another trusted vehicle.

Common Problems:

  • Died while driving
  • Complicated screen control
  • A sudden electric warning lights up

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

10. Worst Year: 2017 Acura MDX (3.91 Rating)

Source: Auto guide

Many 2017 MDX owners experienced serious transmission problems, including jerking, hesitating, skipping, and complete failure. Many owners also complained that the automated emergency braking system activated when there was no threat, stopping the car completely and thus increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Common Problems:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Hesitation
  • Defective automatic braking

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

9. Worst Year: 2015 Acura MDX (3.86 Rating)

Source: Autoblog

One common complaint about the Acura MDX 2015 is transmission failure. The 2015 Acura MDX key fob failure has often been reported to the NHTSA. The headlight condensation on the 2015 Acura MDX is also a typical problem.

Customers often complain of back pain due to uncomfortable seating. Another common problem with this model is exterior paint that peels in severe weather.

Common Problems:

  • Paint peeling
  • Extremely uncomfortable seats
  • A sudden electric warning lights up

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

8. Worst Year: 2006 Acura MDX (3.71 Rating)

Source: new-cars

There have been reports of this model experiencing shuddering or vibration between 35 and 40 mph, as well as the check engine lights coming on.

The transmission is another weak spot in this model. In most cases, you’ll encounter this problem after traveling 141,400 miles. This model’s lack of an emergency airbag deployment system is a further cause for concern.

Common Problems:

  • Engine problems
  • Transmission issues
  • Airbags didn’t deploy

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

7. Worst Year: 2014 Acura MDX (3.59 Rating)

Source: acuraconnected

The number of reported problems increased in 2014, with numerous early-season engine issues topping the list. There is a high possibility that the engine will stall, lurch, or make odd ticking noises during acceleration.
Steering was the MDX’s worst issue in 2014.

Numerous owners complained that the steering failed, locked up when turning, or turned loose. Some owners have experienced the dashboard warning lights turning on unexpectedly and remaining illuminated.

Common Problems:

  • Paint peeling
  • Steering failure
  • Stalls/lurches on light acceleration
  • Unusual noise

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

6. Worst Year: 2016 Acura MDX (3.55 Rating)

Source: carfanaticsblog

Due to widespread transmission and powertrain issues, the 2016 MDX has the worst reliability record. Some drivers have experienced a complete power failure, the transmission slipping into neutral, sudden acceleration, and other unusual behaviors while driving this car.

Common Problems:

  • Transmission shifts
  • A rattling noise from the engine
  • Hesitation while acceleration
  • Sunroof exploded

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

5. Worst Year: 2004 Acura MDX (3.51 Rating)

Source: autoback

The 2004 model is also one of the worst since it has a transmission problem that causes jerking and a rumble strip noise, and it also fails significantly sooner, at 84,000 miles. On, owners of the 2004 Acura MDX have reported 269 issues. The most common problems are with the gearbox, the interior accessories, and the engine.

Common Problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Rumble strip noise
  • Jerking

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

4. Worst Year: 2005 Acura MDX (3.34 Rating)

Source: autoblog

This model is also one to avoid due to the complete failure of the torque converter and transmission issues. Many consumers face the problems of anti-freeze leaks into the transmission. This problem usually occurs at 109,500 miles; the only solution is to replace the radiator and transmission, costing an average of $1,800.

Common Problems:

  • Total transmission failure
  • Anti-freeze leakage
  • Defective hands-free link

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

Related: 17 Best & Worst Acura RDX Years | 2023 Data

3. Worst Year: 2002 Acura MDX (3.27 Rating)

Source: everlasting-car.blogspot

This model has widespread transmission issues that usually occur at 115,000 miles. The only solution to this problem is to completely replace the transmission, costing an average of $4,260. Many consumers complain about the dangerous shifting with their 2002 MDX.

Common Problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Dangerous and erratic shifting

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

  • Edmunds: 4.6/5.0 consumer ratings.
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6/5.0 consumer ratings.

2. Worst Year: 2001 Acura MDX (3.27 Rating)

Source: vehiclehistory

The 2001 Acura MDX model receives much criticism from its customers due to widespread powertrain issues. The most common complaint with this model is due to faulty transmission. Carcomplaint receives 11 separate complaints for transmission. The average cost to fix this problem will be $4,270.

The other commonly reported problem is checking the engine light on. 5 individual complaints were made about this problem. Many customers also report that the car suddenly stops working due to a dead engine.

Common Problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Check engine light is on
  • Engine failure

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

  • Edmunds: 4.6/5.0 consumer ratings.
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6/5.0 consumer ratings.

1. Worst Year: 2003 Acura MDX (3.20 Rating)

Source: theautochannel

This model is by far the most problematic from this lineup, as we can see by the number of recalls it has made. Like the previous model years, the 2003 Acura MDX also has a severe transmission failure. This transmission failure is very dangerous; if left untreated, it can lead to a situation where you can’t even move your car.

Due to failed motor, faulty transmission, and bad torque converter, this car is a completely abortive choice one can make.

Common Problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Failed motor mounts
  • Torque converter failure

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

Best Acura MDX Years To Buy As Used

Here are some of the best Acura MDX years that are safe to buy.

11. Best Year: 2019 Acura MDX (4.07 Rating)

Source: zhuanlan

A smooth hybrid powertrain, superb acceleration, and extremely sporty handling for a three-row crossover are all selling points for this car. The NHTSA has awarded it a perfect five-star rating for safety. This model year got the 6th place in Midsize Premium SUV from J.D. Power.

The standard idle start/stop feature in the 2019 Acura MDX significantly improves over the sluggish restart seen in earlier models. This SUV’s 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque come from a 3.5-liter V6 engine is impressive.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

10. Best Year: 2012 Acura MDX (4.15 Rating)

Source: topspeed

The 2012 model is one of the best that you could buy. Four of the five available trims are optional extras that can be added to the standard model. With the 2012 Acura MDX, you can achieve 137 mph within 6.7 sec.

Cargo space is one of the strong features of the 2012 model year. There are 15 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row of seats, which is more than enough. The middle and rear seats may be folded to create a storage area that is 84 cubic feet in volume.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

9. Best Year: 2007 Acura MDX (4.17 Rating)

Source: autoblog

The 2nd Generation began with the 2007 MDX, completely redesigned from bumper to bumper, and had a great debut year; however, the 2008 and 2009 versions had fewer issues.

Significant upgrades were made to this model, like handling, power, traction, safety equipment, and aesthetics. It is equipped with a V6 engine that is both powerful and fuel-efficient. It takes 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph and 15.7 seconds at 90 mph to complete the quarter mile.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

8. Best Year: 2011 Acura MDX (4.28 Rating)

Source: Carbuzz

2011 Acura MDX is one of the best Luxury Midsize SUVs as it ranks in sixth position out of 19 cars in the US. News. The Acura MDX 2011 delivers class-leading performance and numerous convenient technology features inside. Reviewers agreed that it is a fantastic all-around SUV. It possesses an exceptionally high-quality interior.

Edmunds claims that the 2011 Buick Enclave and the 2011 Ford Flex are roomier, but there’s no denying that the Acura is the more luxurious of the two.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

7. Best Year: 2022 Acura MDX (4.28 Rating)

Source: Edmunds

The redesigned 2022 MDX is another excellent option because of its spacious cabin and three rows of seats. The fourth generation starts with this new model. After skipping the 2021 model year, the MDX is back in 2022 with a brand-new look.

The 2022 MDX is one of the best premium cars, ranking fourth among the Midsize Premium SUV. Its new 12.3-inch infotainment screen and general design were inspired by the Acura RDX and TLX, two of its sibling models. It has a powerful V6 engine, gets decent gas mileage, and drives smoothly.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

6. Best Year: 2023 Acura MDX (4.30 Rating)

Source: Motor biscuit

The 2023 MDX, perhaps the best model to date and significantly more advanced than many of its predecessors, should be at the top of your list if money is no object. No changes were made for the 2023 model year, but Acura now provides three years of free access to its AcuraLink connectivity plan and two years of free maintenance.

Modern design, agile handling (for a vehicle of this size and weight), and a wide range of standard entertainment and safety systems have earned high marks for the 2023 MDX.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

5. Best Year: 2009 Acura MDX (4.31 Rating)

Source: sucaisucai

The 2009 Acura MDX is a great choice for families or anyone needing a midsize luxury SUV because of its spacious third-row seat, powerful engine, good fuel economy, and excellent handling.

The MDX was updated for 2009 to include standard all-wheel drive and seating for seven across three rows. The 2009 Acura MDX is a well-rounded midsize luxury SUV with strong sporting credentials.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

4. Best Year: 2010 Acura MDX (4.32 Rating)

Source: momentcar

The 2010 MDX is another excellent option for buyers looking for a versatile premium crossover SUV. You’ll like this car due to its versatile and reliable features.

The modified version of this vehicle has a more assertive grille, changed front and back fascias, a more powerful V6 engine (along with a six-speed automated gearbox system), a redesigned cabin, and a wide range of new standard equipment.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

3. Best Year: 2013 Acura MDX (4.33 Rating)

Source: caranddriver

If you’re looking for a used SUV, the 2013 Acura MDX is a safe bet. It’s an excellent premium midsize SUV with a high-quality, spacious cabin equipped with several useful features as standard equipment. The basic all-wheel drive provides responsive handling, and the vehicle has a solid reputation for reliability.

A 3.7-liter V6 engine provides the 2013 Acura MDX with 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission are also standard features. The EPA estimates that the vehicle will get 16 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg overall.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

2. Best Year: 2008 Acura MDX (4.33 Rating)

Source: CarGurus

It’s been many years, but this model has only 1 recall, indicating its reliability. The 2008 Acura MDX has a reliability rating of 84/100, which is above average.

It has a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 300 hp and is paired with a smooth five-speed automated transmission. The MDX can reach 60 miles per hour with this combination in about seven seconds. The EPA estimates that the vehicle will achieve 17/22 mpg (city/highway), which is satisfactory for a vehicle in its class.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

1. Best Year: 2020 Acura MDX (4.33 Rating)

Source: Motor Trend

The 2020 Acura MDX is the company’s flagship vehicle and deserves recognition for that. One of the most assured premium midsize SUVs to drive is the 2020 Acura MDX. This large SUV can carve corners with the agility of a smaller crossover thanks to its torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and the heavier steering wheel weight.

The 2020 Acura MDX comes standard with front-wheel drive but may be upgraded to SH-AWD. The spacious inside of the 2020 Acura MDX is one of the vehicle’s primary benefits over the competition. The MDX’s standard V6 engine is notably refined compared to other V6 powertrains.

Even though it lacks a turbo, it produces a respectable 290 horsepower. Furthermore, it can reach 60 mph from a standstill in a respectable 6.8 seconds. In terms of fuel efficiency, it is unparalleled.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

Common Acura MDX Problems:

Source: 1A Auto

1. High Oil Consumption:

Dissatisfied MDX owners claim their vehicles consume abnormally high amounts of oil. Another frustrating part of this issue is that it might cost owners up to $6,800 to resolve. Honda issued service bulletins due to the severity of the issue.

2. Stalling/ Lurching:

Another source of frustration for MDX drivers is the occasional stalling or lurching forward that occurs under mild acceleration. According to the reports, this typically occurs at speeds between 35 and 45 mph.

3. Faulty Acceleration:

Transmission problems caused weak or jerky acceleration for several 2016 and 2017 MDX drivers. The scenario reportedly worsens until they are unable to start their vehicle.

4. Transmission Issues:

Transmission problems are common in Acura MDX models. The transmissions on MDXs manufactured in 2001 and 2002 had the greatest failure rates. The reported symptoms were slow acceleration, transmission slippage, and hard or unsuccessful gear changes.


1. Is Acura MDX Worth Buying Car?

The MDX is a worth buying car, especially if you want a three-row luxury midsize SUV. It’s fantastic for families, and by owning this car, you will not be compromised on comfort, convenience, or space.

2. How Long Will Acura MDX Last?

How far your vehicle goes depends on your chosen model and how well you keep it up. The Acura MDX can last up to 400,000 miles or more with proper maintenance.

4. What Are The Best Acura MDX Alternatives?


Luxury and reliability combine in the Acura MDX. Some MDX model years are more reliable than others, just as with any car. First-generation models (2001, 2002, and 2003) should be avoided due to poor quality (as determined by characteristics such as customer evaluations, recalls, complaints, and performance).

I hope this information will be useful in choosing which Acura model year best suits you.

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