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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated March 12, 2024



Older Acura MDX Overview, Second Generation (2007 - 2013), Reliability, Possible Maintenance Problems, Overall Pros And Cons

Related: The Simple Way To Get The Lowest Price On A New Acura MDX

While historically high new and used car prices have forced buyers to look for "older" vehicles that may have aged well as a way of saving money, the issues of reliability and dependability have become even more crucial.

2011 Acura MDX

And the good news, although not surprising, is that the Acura MDX has indeed aged well, making a well-chosen older one today a real possibility. Well, it is an Acura, afterall.

And by older, I'm really referring to vehicles generally 10+ years old, so specifically the MDX's second generation, those produced for the 2007 - 2013 model years.

And I'm specifically not including those from its first generation (2001 - 2006), which were generally plagued with some issues, especially with the transmission. By its second generation, Acura had worked out many of the initial kinks.

This is not to say the second generation MDX has been problem-free. All vehicles have mechanical issues, but some less than others.

Of course, a lot of it comes down to how well a particular vehicle has been maintained. And history has proven that with proper maintenance and care, these MDXs can last well beyond 200,000 miles and even approach 300,000. In some cases, even more has been reported.

Again, a critical component is the "proper maintenance and care" part.

On the downside, luxury vehicles with high-end features are expensive to maintain and repair, so this has to be kept in mind as well. That said, they're significantly less costly to maintain than their BMW and Audi counterparts of the time.

So here, ...

- We'll do a general overview of the second generation Acura MDX, those produced for the 2007 - 2013 model years.

- Then we'll review this generation's reliability factors that have led to its solid reputation and above-average longevity.

- That will be followed by a list of possible mechanical issues from this production run that have been reported by owners, because all vehicles have some, so they can be checked before buying.

- And then we'll summarize the overall pros and cons of an older MDX worth consideration for potential buyers today.


But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Explorer

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: It's important to get online price quotes at auto sites such as Edmunds.com and CarsDirect.com (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business is what gets you a lower price, and it's very easy.

And quickly, while we're at it, my #2 Tip is to always know the up-to-date trade-in value of your current car. You can get a quick and surprisingly accurate one at Edmund's Trade-In Quotes.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.


Second Generation Acura MDX (2007 - 2013)

The second generation MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV known for its combination of performance, comfort, and reliability, making it a popular choice among buyers seeking a versatile and upscale SUV at a reasonable price.

It features a sleek and refined exterior design characterized by clean lines, a sculpted hood, and a distinctive front grille. Its overall appearance is athletic and still contemporary, with subtle styling cues that convey a sense of luxury without being overly ostentatious.

2011 Acura MDX interior

Inside, the MDX offers a spacious and upscale cabin designed to accommodate up to seven passengers across three rows of seating. High-quality materials, such as soft-touch surfaces, leather upholstery, and wood trim, contribute to a premium feel. The seats are supportive and comfortable, with ample legroom and headroom for occupants in all seating positions.

This generation consisted of just one available trim level plus several different packages, with standard features including a sunroof, leather upholstery, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, stability control (with a stabilizing feature for trailer towing), and a full complement of airbags.

These older MDX models can also be found with the optional Technology, Sport, and Entertainment packages, which add features such as a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic, active damping suspension, a power tailgate, a ten-speaker surround-sound audio system, and a rear DVD entertainment system.

Powering the MDX is a robust V6 engine paired with a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers ample power and responsive acceleration, making the MDX well-suited for both city driving and highway cruising.

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Under the hood is a 3.7-liter V6 engine that's good for a robust 300 horsepower and is mated with a five-speed automatic transmission, and coupled with Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD).

These combinations offer a comfortable and composed ride, with a suspension system tuned to absorb bumps and imperfections in the road effectively. Its precise steering and well-controlled body motions contribute to a confident driving experience, whether navigating city streets or winding mountain roads.

The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this MDX is on the low side, but respectable given this power, and comes in at 15 mpg city and 20 mpg on the highway. And it runs on premium gasoline, something to also keep in mind.

Despite its three-row seating configuration, the MDX provides respectable cargo space, especially with the third-row seats folded flat. This versatility allows for ample room to accommodate groceries, luggage, or other cargo while still providing seating for passengers when needed.

And in government crash tests, this MDX was rated with top five-out-of-five-star scores in all categories, which include both front and side-impact protection for both passengers and the driver.


Second Generation Acura MDX Reliability (2007 - 2013)

2009 Acura MDX

The second-generation Acura MDX was generally well-regarded for its reliability, with several positive factors contributing to its reputation:

Solid Engine Performance: The MDX came equipped with a robust V6 engine known for its durability and smooth power delivery. With regular maintenance, the engine is capable of providing strong performance over many miles.

Proven Transmission: While there were occasional reports of transmission issues, the majority of MDX vehicles equipped with the automatic transmission performed reliably. The transmission was generally smooth-shifting and contributed to the overall driving experience.

Quality Build Materials: Acura is known for using high-quality materials in its vehicles, and the MDX was no exception. The interior materials were durable and well-constructed, contributing to a comfortable and upscale driving environment.

Strong Chassis: The MDX featured a robust chassis design, which also contributed to the vehicle's overall reliability and longevity.

Resilience to Wear and Tear: Many owners reported that the MDX held up well to daily use and abuse. Its build quality and engineering meant that even with high mileage, it could still provide a comfortable and reliable driving experience.

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Advanced Safety Features: The MDX was equipped with a range of advanced safety features, depending on the trim level and options chosen. These features not only enhanced safety but also contributed to the overall reliability of the vehicle by helping to prevent accidents and minimize damage in the event of a collision.

Overall, the second generation MDX earned a reputation for being a reliable and durable luxury SUV, capable of providing years of trouble-free ownership when properly maintained.

All that said ...

2007 - 2013 Acura MDX Possible Mechanical Problems

While generally deserving a good reputation for reliability, like any vehicle, it wasn't without its mechanical issues as reported by some owners, which should therefore be included in an inspection before buying one today:

Transmission Problems: Some owners reported issues with the transmission, such as rough shifting or slipping gears. This was more prevalent in earlier model years and seemed to improve in later years.

Power Steering Hose Leaks: There were reports of power steering hose leaks, which could result in a loss of power steering fluid and potentially lead to difficulty steering.

Engine Mounts: Premature wear or failure of engine mounts was reported by some owners. This could result in excessive engine vibration or noise.

Brake Problems: Some owners experienced premature wear of brake pads and rotors, leading to decreased braking performance and increased stopping distances.

Electrical Issues: Like many modern vehicles, some MDXs experienced electrical problems such as malfunctioning power windows, door locks, or interior lights.

Suspension Components: Some owners reported issues with suspension components, including worn-out bushings or shocks, leading to a rougher ride or noise over bumps.

Air Conditioning Problems: There were occasional reports of issues with the air conditioning system, including failures of components like the compressor or condenser.


Overall Pros And Cons Of An Older Acura MDX

Older Acura MDX Pros

2008 Acura MDX

Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of buying a second generation MDX is the potential for cost savings. Since it's an older model, it's likely to have depreciated significantly from its original price, allowing for substantial upfront cost savings.

Reliability: Acura has a reputation for building reliable vehicles, and the second-gen MDX is no exception. It tends to have fewer mechanical issues compared to some competitors, especially when well-maintained.

Known Issues Addressed: With the MDX being a mature model, many of the common mechanical problems have been documented, allowing for informed decisions about maintenance and repairs, as well as being able to check if any issues have already been addressed by previous owners.

Solid Performance: The MDX typically offers solid performance with its V6 engine, providing adequate power and acceleration for daily driving needs. While it may not have the latest technology or features, it still offers a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

Available Features: Depending on the trim level and options, a buyer may still find desirable features such as leather upholstery, navigation, premium audio, and advanced safety technologies.

Spacious Interior: With three rows of seating, the MDX provides ample room for passengers. The third-row seats are suitable for children or smaller adults, and the second-row seats are comfortable even for longer journeys.

Exterior Design: The MDX has a sleek and modern exterior design that has aged well over the years. Its styling is understated yet elegant, with clean lines and subtle chrome accents that give it a premium look.

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Interior Comfort: Inside, the MDX offers a well-appointed and comfortable cabin. High-quality materials are used throughout, with soft-touch surfaces and leather upholstery. The seats are supportive and offer ample adjustment options for a comfortable driving experience.

Versatile Seating: With three rows of seating, the MDX provides flexibility for carrying passengers or cargo. The second-row seats can slide and recline for added comfort, and the third-row seats can fold flat to expand cargo space when needed.

User-Friendly Controls: The dashboard layout is intuitive and user-friendly, with logically arranged controls and a straightforward infotainment system.

Good Visibility: The MDX offers excellent visibility from the driver's seat, thanks to its large windows and relatively low beltline. This makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces and provides a commanding view of the road ahead.


Older Acura MDX Cons

Outdated Technology: One of the main drawbacks of buying an older MDX is the outdated technology. The infotainment system, connectivity features, and driver assistance technologies may not be as advanced or user-friendly as those found in newer vehicles.

Higher Maintenance Costs: While the MDX is generally reliable, as it ages, buyers may encounter more frequent maintenance and repair costs, potentially offsetting some or all of the upfront savings.

Potential for Expensive Repairs: Repairs and maintenance costs can be higher compared to non-luxury SUVs. Acura parts and servicing can be more expensive, which is something to consider for long-term ownership.

Fuel Economy: While not terrible, the MDX's fuel economy is average for its class. Also, older vehicles tend to have less fuel-efficient engines compared to newer ones.

Interior Space: While the MDX offers three rows of seating, the third row may feel cramped for taller passengers, especially on longer journeys. Cargo space is also somewhat limited with all seats in use, which could be a drawback if carrying large items or luggage.

Styling Subjectivity: While many appreciate the MDX's understated styling, others may find it too conservative or lacking in flair compared to some competitors.

Road Noise: Some owners have reported that the MDX can be a bit noisy on the highway, with more road and wind noise entering the cabin compared to some rivals.

Limited Off-Road Capability: While the MDX is capable of light off-road driving thanks to its all-wheel-drive system, it's not as rugged or capable as some dedicated off-road SUVs.


Lastly, Suggestions For Getting A Low MDX Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Acura MDX if the price was really good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Explorer. This works just phenomenally well.


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