These Are The Acura MDX Years to Avoid Model Years With Most Problems and Complaint

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a reliable luxury SUV like the Acura MDX?

It’s crucial to know which model years to avoid to ensure that you make a wise purchase decision and avoid costly repairs down the line.

Some model years of the Acura MDX have been associated with transmission failure, which can significantly impact the vehicle’s overall performance and longevity.

But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll discuss which Acura MDX model years you should steer clear of and why and best years worth your investments.

So, let’s dive in and explore which Acura MDX model years to avoid to ensure you make a wise investment.

Acura MDX years to avoid

Years to Avoid

First Generation

The first generation of Acura MDX includes 2001-2005 model years. You should be particularly cautious about these years due to their prevalent transmission failure issues. Most notably:

  • 2001 Acura MDX: This is the debut year of the MDX, and it’s known for transmission problems.
  • 2002 Acura MDX: Similar to the 2001 model, this year suffers from transmission failure.
  • 2003 Acura MDX: While still having transmission issues, 2003 models can also experience engine problems.
  • 2004 Acura MDX: It’s crucial to avoid this year, as it contains even earlier and more expensive transmission failures than others in the first generation.
  • 2005 Acura MDX: The 2005 model also suffers from transmission issues, albeit to a lesser degree compared to the 2004 model.

Second Generation

Following the first generation, the second generation of Acura MDX (2007-2013) is generally more reliable but still has some years to be cautious about, specifically:

  • 2010 Acura MDX: This year should be avoided for its reported transmission problems, making it less desirable than its second-gen counterparts.

Third Generation

Finally, in the third generation of Acura MDX (2014-present), there are a few model years that should be on your radar to avoid:

  • 2014 Acura MDX: This year model shares some of the same transmission concerns seen in earlier versions.
  • 2016 Acura MDX: The 2016 model has numerous reported issues, such as transmission failure and electrical problems.
  • 2017 Acura MDX: While not as problematic as the 2016 model, the 2017 Acura MDX still faces various issues, like transmission and engine problems.

In summary, when looking for a used Acura MDX, be particularly cautious of the 1st generation (2001-2005), as well as the specific second and third-generation years mentioned (2010, 2014, 2016, and 2017). Keeping these guidelines in mind, you’ll be better equipped to find a reliable MDX that suits your needs.

Common Problems

Engine Issues

As an Acura MDX owner, you may encounter some engine-related problems, especially in the earlier models.

Excessive oil consumption is one of the more prevalent issues you might face. This problem typically occurs during higher mileage, but it is important to keep an eye on your vehicle’s oil level at regular intervals.

To prolong the life of the engine and maintain its reliability, it is crucial to keep up with regular maintenance and use the recommended engine oil.

Aside from excessive oil consumption, some owners have reported severe engine problems in certain Acura MDX model years.

To help avoid these issues and keep your vehicle running smoothly, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule and address any concerns promptly.

Transmission Failures

Transmission failure is a significant concern for some Acura MDX years, particularly between 2001 and 2005 and the 2014, 2016, and 2017 models.

These issues can often result in costly repairs and inconvenience. Common symptoms of transmission failure include slipping, delayed gear shifts, and sudden jerking when driving.

To maintain your vehicle’s transmission and potentially prevent problems, it is essential that you periodically check the transmission fluid levels and keep up with the recommended transmission service intervals.

Proper maintenance and proactive care can greatly improve your vehicle’s long-term reliability and performance.

Most Acura MDX models are relatively dependable, some year models are more prone to engine and transmission issues than others.

Recalls and Complaints

The first generation of the Acura MDX (2001-2005) experienced issues with transmission failure after 100,000 to 130,000 miles.

These models are known for their detrimental transmission problems, so it’s essential to consider this when looking into purchasing an earlier model.

In addition to the first generation, there are specific model years you should avoid. These models are prone to significant transmission failure or a high number of complaints:

  • 2001 Acura MDX
  • 2002 Acura MDX
  • 2003 Acura MDX
  • 2004 Acura MDX
  • 2005 Acura MDX
  • 2010 Acura MDX
  • 2014 Acura MDX
  • 2016 Acura MDX
  • 2017 Acura MDX

Aside from transmission issues, some MDX owners have reported jerking and stalling problems.

While these complaints are not as common as transmission failures, they are still noteworthy, especially if you’re considering one of the years mentioned above.

When it comes to recalls, you can stay informed by following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or the manufacturer’s recalls page. A recent example is the 2022 Acura MDX recall mentioned on CarIndigo’s website.

Safety and Comfort

The 2019 Acura MDX stands out as a reliable and safe vehicle with a range of advanced safety features.

This model year comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

You’ll appreciate the generous standard features of the 2019 Acura MDX that ensure comfort and convenience.

Not only does it have a sunroof and a power-adjustable steering column, but also adaptive cruise control to help make long drives more enjoyable. Plus, the driver and passengers will enjoy ample cargo space for all their belongings.

Safety should always be a top priority, and the 2019 Acura MDX doesn’t disappoint.

Equipped with multiple airbags, it received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Moreover, tests like the frontal barrier crash and side crash tests also received five-star ratings.

Finally, a few other convenient features you’ll find in the 2019 Acura MDX include a built-in garage door opener, a collision-warning system, and lane-keeping assist technology.

Interior and Features

The 2015 Acura MDX features a well-equipped cabin with an optional navigation system, Bluetooth, and leather seats.

This model also received the Top Safety Pick Plus award by the IIHS, due to its many standard safety features and available lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems.

In comparison, the 2018 Acura MDX offers a more refined cabin with upgraded materials and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

The spacious interior can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers, and the seats are designed for long trips. Fuel efficiency remains a strong point for this model year, which is appreciated by drivers who value gas mileage.

Going back a few years, the 2013 Acura MDX has an accommodating cabin with standard features, such as heated leather seats and a backup camera. However, its infotainment system might feel somewhat dated compared to more recent models.

As for the 2007 Acura MDX, while its interior may not be as luxurious as newer models, it’s still comfortable and functional. The cabin offers decent space and convenience features like Bluetooth connectivity.

On the other hand, the 2014 Acura MDX is among the years to avoid due to reliability concerns, so its interior features may not be as noteworthy.

Regarding the 2016 Acura MDX, it boasts a powerful engine, quick acceleration, and new safety features, but its interior may not differ significantly from other years. It still provides comfortable seating for up to seven people and a pleasant driving experience.

Best Years to Consider

The 2013 Acura MDX is an excellent option to consider. This model year stands out for its performance, value, and desirable features.

Your family will appreciate the comfort this vehicle provides, and you can confidently rely on its sturdy build.

Another great year to look out for is the 2019 Acura MDX.

This model offers an enjoyable driving experience, and it has been highly rated for safety scores, making it a perfect choice for a family vehicle.

The advanced safety features, like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, add an extra layer of protection for your loved ones.

The 2020 Acura MDX is another fantastic year to keep on your radar.

With this model, users have reported high levels of satisfaction with its performance, safety, and design. It’s equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of safety features and user-friendly technology, adding further peace of mind during your daily drives.

Lastly, don’t overlook the 2018 Acura MDX.

This year boasts excellent reliability ratings and comes equipped with many desirable features, such as a user-friendly infotainment system and advanced safety features.

The smooth ride and comfortable interior will make your large family feel at ease during long trips.

Acura MDX Competitors

We’ll compare the Acura MDX to four of its main competitors: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Honda Pilot, and Infiniti QX60.

Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 is a luxury SUV offering impressive performance, a sophisticated design, and advanced technology features. With a potent engine lineup, the Q7 ensures a satisfying driving experience.

Moreover, it comes with an upscale interior and excellent ride quality, making it a great alternative to the Acura MDX.

However, one common issue reported in the Audi Q7 is related to the fuel pump, which could lead to costly repairs.


Another competitor to consider is the BMW X5, a luxurious, sporty, and refined SUV. The X5 stands out with its powerful performance, agile handling, and spacious interior.

In terms of infotainment, it offers an intuitive and feature-packed system. Compared to the Acura MDX, the BMW X5 is more performance-oriented, but it can also be more expensive.

A common problem with the BMW X5 is related to the coolant system, which might require attention over time.

Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is a practical and reliable alternative to the Acura MDX. It offers a comfortable and roomy cabin, making it an excellent choice for families.

Additionally, the Pilot is known for its impressive fuel efficiency and smooth ride quality. Although it might not have the same luxury features as the Acura MDX, the Pilot is an affordable and reliable option.

A widely reported issue with the Honda Pilot involves the transmission, which could cause some concerns in the long run.

Infiniti QX60

Lastly, the Infiniti QX60 is another stylish luxury SUV that competes with the Acura MDX. The QX60 boasts a comfortable interior, a user-friendly infotainment system, and a smooth ride quality.

However, when it comes to performance, it might not be as impressive as the other competitors. Similar to the Acura MDX, the Infiniti QX60 has had some concerns with its transmission, which could be a common problem to consider when comparing these two vehicles.


International Scout

The SUV Revolution: 15 Vehicles That Sparked the Sport Utility Trend

Imagine a world without the familiar sight of SUVs on every corner – hard to picture, isn’t it? Today, these versatile giants rule the roads, offering the perfect blend of style, space, and comfort that
SUV driving safety

The 20 Safest States For SUV Drivers, In America (Hawaii Tops the List)

Safety is a top priority for many drivers, especially those with families. Buckle up for some surprising news that’ll have SUV drivers breathing a sigh of relief – especially if you’re cruising in Hawaii and
kia telluride years to avoid

Discover The Worst Kia Telluride Years to Avoid and Best Used Telluride

Are you ready to take on the open road in a used Kia Telluride? Before you hit the gas pedal, make sure you know which model years to avoid. While the Telluride is a top-notch three-row


Sign up now to get the email newsletter and exclusive deals weekly.