Used to be big fan of Acura. Owned 3 different MDX(2 new, 1 used) until I test drove RX350 back in 11, which I drive now. Never going back to Acura.
The 3rd gen MDX (2014) feels like it is trying to take on the RX350 in terms of ride comfort. They have lost some of their sportiness to appeal more to people that want a nice ride. A lot of the former Acura enthusiasts are pretty annoyed with the change.
But at the same time, their silly way they do trims/packages makes it so getting certain features requires paying for a lot of junk you don't want. A big one being ventilated seats. Another being lane-keep assist / adaptive cruise control / pre-collision braking. They also don't have power-folding mirrors in the US (only the Canadian model has it, which also has full around-vehicle camera like the Infiniti QX60). They are also doing a lot of dealer-installed options this time around, which really jacks up the price.
For me, test driving the RX350 really opened my eyes as to how different it is from Acura. While the Acura is a nice car with a decent finish, the Lexus just wins out in terms of overall fit-and-finish. I really like the way they do packages/options from the factory, so even the cars on the dealer lot will be what people normally want feature wise (unlike Honda which jams junk into the car you don't want). Ride quality, I didn't notice anything too different from the MDX, but I did not drive them back-to-back.
I owned a CRV, and prior MDX. Both great vehicles, but for the sake of comparing apples to apples, I'll skip the CRV since it's noisy, underpowered, and unrefined in comparison. I test drove the RDX a year ago and was a nice overall package but it felt like a CRV with a V6 ( in fact, it's based on the CRV) which is not a bad thing, but I was willing to spend more and have a more luxurious ride and interior fit and finish...
I'll cut to the chase as it will boil down to the MDX vs RX. This is my third RX and here's why you should go for the RX:
1. You want to keep it 10 years, hands down the RX is your choice for this sole reason. Not only is it best in class, it is BEST VEHICLE on the market for reliability, period.
MDX historically has had transmission issues by 100K miles. Search the MDX forums... On mine, one of the gears started slipping at 90K miles.
2. Cheaper on gas - 87 octane vs 91
3. Easier to park, maneuver, and turning circle
4. Lexus panache (Acura lost its "luxury mojo" when the Legend died 15 years ago and they've been struggling since. MDX mainly has kept them alive)
5. Best highway ride and noise/vibration/harshness, though the 14 MDX is up there too.
6. I have 2 kids and no issues with car seats and the like. Very roomy back seat and cargo area for our long vacation and family trips. Very easy ingress/egress. We had a blanket on the bottom to protect the leather from the kids and car seats. MDX back door is 2 inches wider - higher risk for your kids banging a parked car when they open it.
The only reason why I'd get the '14 MDX today is if I needed a longer 7-passenger vehicle, i.e. 3 kids or transporting parents/inlaws often, etc. But then, I'd also be considering the Infiniti QX60 (JX35) which is a little less expensive.
In short, smoking gun for me is you want to keep the car 10 years (troublefree) = RX hands down for you.
Good luck and keep us posted!
THourough, succinct and concise analysis. I coulndt agree more. You covered the majority of the basis in this SUC/Crossover comparo. I concur down the line with almost everypoint mentioined and substantiate the accuracy of the points mentioned. IMHO, the RX, as stated by Edmunds, as referenced and by other publications too wins hands down in the reliability corner. I've had three Acura's to date: '92 Legend sedan, '03 3.2TL (went through two transmissions under warranty with 'soft' driving habits and an MDX (2010), As noted, Acura has fallen behind in both reliability (hmm ever since they were primarily constructed in the US) and the MDX though was the awkward icing on the cake. If you are looking for saftey see IIHS.gov and see the crash stats on said models. WHile the 3rd gen RX and MDX go head to head on getting high marks, I would never go back to an Acura: reliability stinks, too much cheap plastic in the interior, ovely complicated controls which take your eyes of the road to run if thats what you do, a cramped thrid seat row (do you really need it? think twice you will pay a high price.
I have throughly loved my '11 RX 350. Its smooth, effortless driving nabits (like sitting a living room and driving). THe 12 and newer Rx's take regular gas, the MDX and I believe RDX take premium. ALso, did you ever consider insurance consts? When I checked, the RDX and MDX had much higher insurance costs than the RX. On a final note however, the baby seat will perhaps fit better in an MDX????? Just my HO. Good luck with making your purchase. Rx all the way. This is my second Lexus and couldnt be more pleased with the reliability and overall lower costs to operate than the last two Acura's I had. COmpare too, the service intervals, what is performed on each car and what it costs. You willl soon see that paying more up front perhaps for a n RX 350 is worth the hassle and frustration of multiple AND often frequent dealer visits. I wish you all the best.
Last edited by STB63; 12-12-13 at 08:29 PM.
Reason: typographic errors