Bob Nuttmann

Acura MDX 2008 Long Term Review

Scroll down to content

We bought this Acura new 13 1/2 years ago on Jan 1, 2008. To get it we sold our 2004 Acura MDX. When we bought this car we were motivated by the fact that we thought it was a significant upgrade from the 2004. We have now driven this car 105,000 miles and the largest repair we have had so far is to replace the timing belt because we had exceeded the recommended time on it. It did not break, but I wanted to keep it running well. Recently I decided that since I still like driving the car I would upgrade a few things. This included new shocks, new struts, replaced noisy climate control fan, and a new set of high end Michelin tires. Oh and rear brakes. The new shocks and struts really made this car handle like new. I have always been impressed by how well this car seemed to dance around corners and have what I have always thought was just great handling for an SUV.

Before we leased our Tesla model Y long range we test drove the new 2022 Acura MDX. We ended up getting the Tesla because it was such a radically new car with an electric drivetrain that my curiosity was peaked and we went that direction. That decision was also based on the fact that the 2022 Acura MDX was little changed from the 2008 and I just did not think it was much if any improvement over our old one. The basic MDX for 2022 still have basically the same body style, almost the same motor, and a much more complex system of controls. Don’t get me wrong, I think the new MDX is a good car, but back in 2008 the MDX was the best SUV I could find. And it is still a great car.

If you want / need a great older higher end SUV with three rows of seats I can recommend the Acura MDX highly. And I am not planning to sell mine any time soon.

Pros

  • Relatively powerful and smooth motor that has been very reliable. It is certainly not as fast as the Tesla, but it’s 3.7 liter V-6 has all the power you need for regular driving, and some extra left when you want to accelerate up a hill or pass other cars.
  • Very good handling with super all wheel drive. The super all wheel drive slightly overdrives the outside wheels when going around a corner and you apply acceleration. This really works well and you can feel it snap into a corner when you step on the gas turning.
  • Very comfortable seating for someone my size.
  • Good automatic transmission with 5 forward gears. The new MDX has about 10 forward gears and feels a little snappier at low speeds, but this 5 speed works well and does a good job.
  • Very comfortable ride for an SUV. This car has a great balance of handling and ride that is comfortable around town or on long trips. It is not quite as compliant as my 2008 Avalon that I sold a few years ago, but overall a much better suspension system with a multilayer complexity that responds to different needs with different solutions. For example. The 2008 Avalon was very smooth riding. But when you wanted to corner it just wallowed and was no fun and not confidence inspiring. The Acura I have rides fairly smooth and is very easy to modulate in corners, and gives confidence to you behind the wheel. Our six month old Tesla model Y goes around corners like a go cart. It has a stiff ride and direct, high cornering ability because of it. Plus good tires. But the model Y does not like pot holes, rough roads, or or pavement imperfections. Driving long distances in the model Y on the highway is tiring. Driving long distances on the highway with the 2008 MDX is very good. Maybe not quite as smooth as the Avalon, but better overall. The Tesla handling is confidence inspiring as you can feel what the wheels are doing when you corner, but tiring over the long haul. The model Y would be improved by having adjustable suspension. The 2008 MDX is really just right for a variety of road conditions. It gets an A grade from me for ride and handling.
  • Classic looks that have not gone out of style.
  • Good quality components.
  • Good price for what you get.
  • Our dealer is excellent. 5 stars.

Cons

  • Uses quite a bit of premium fuel. Gas milage is not terrible but being able to use regular would be nice.
  • Climate control computer went out a few years back and we replaced it. Replacement works mostly but not completely. I just put up with doing some things manually.
  • Too much road noise. The inside noise is not terrible, but this car has what I would call the “Honda-Acura road noise problem”. The engineers don’t fix this so they must like the noise.
  • Lightweight hood that moves around so you think it is going to fly off /up someday. It has not so far.

What is really surprising about Acura is that they do not have an EV version of this car or even a hybrid. Honda (who makes Acura) has been a pioneer in alternative power systems. It seems completely implausible that they have no EV or higher milage versions of this car. But then the new Acura MDX has a number of questionable additions since I bought this 2008. The new 2022 versions of this car have so many buttons on their stalks and dash that it makes Teslas putting everything on the one computer screen seem good. Most of the controls on the 2008 MDX that you use often are easy to use and easy to remember where they are. The 2022 ones are just impossible. Plus they have this system of nudging the wheel back into the lane that is very annoying and not helpful. And, there is the completely dumb touch pad instead of touch screen. By a very wide margin I think our simpler 2008 is better than the 2022.

Our 2008 MDX is the longest I have ever owned a car. I don’t have plans to sell it any time soon.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: