2016 Acura MDX - Lousy Sport mode

Dear Ray,

I own a 2016 Acura MDX. I bought it when it had about 20000 miles and now it has about 66000. As I drove the car more and more I discovered that it had a very annoying, if not dangerous, issue.

The car has 3 IDS options – Sport, Normal and Comfort. In any of them, but especially in the sport one, the transition in lower speeds, from zero to about 20 miles/hour is made very hesitantly. The engine raves up at every shift change as it goes up the gears. Sometimes it jolts and makes it feel like I am about to hit the guy in front of me. It is very annoying to say the least. I test drove other similar MDXs and they did not seem to be doing that.

I took the car to the dealer several times for this problem. He had one of his mechanics drive with me so see what I was talking about. His explanation was that it was the fault of the 10 speed transmission and there was nothing they could do about it.

I am asking for a second opinion. What do you think?


Dumitru-Dan Teodorescu

Drive it in comfort mode and you should barely feel the shifts.

1 Like

What did you mean by

In sport mode I would expect it to nearly redline between shifts.

I can’t recall the sport mode in the 2016 MDX, but I test a lot of cars. About 1/4 have great sport modes that make the drive more exciting and they do change the shift map in a way that makes sense. About 1/4 are the opposite. They make the vehicle herky-jerky and it is miserable to drive. The rest fall in between.

I’m not sure what you’re saying here.

Are you saying that when it shifts, as it’s changing gears the engine suddenly revs up and then it bangs into the next gear?

Or are you saying that the RPMS get very high before it shifts to the next gear?

If it’s the latter, that’s normal for sport mode, because sport mode expects that you want instant power and don’t want to wait for a downshift when you mash the go pedal.

The former suggests a problem with the transmission or its computer. How long ago did you last change the fluid?

Thanks for your respons. It is as you diescribed - it revs before it shifts gear in the first 3-4 gears. If I press the gas harder then the shifting is less discernable. I own a 2001 Acura TLS, I drove a Ford,SUV, a Toyota, a GMC Acadia, none shift this hard at a low speed.The transition is much smoother… I am questionoing the MDX because it is such an expensive, supposed to be great car…

Honda, which makes Acura, has never been known for either the smoothness or reliability of their automatic transmissions.

An excellent question…

… and it is essentially a glorified Honda…

All Acuras rely on Honda technology–for better or worse–and while Hondas and Acuras are overall reliable vehicles, their transmissions, and transmission mounts, and motor mounts, are definitely weak points in their design.

I advocate trans fluid and filter changes for all vehicles every 30k miles/3 yrs, but IMHO, this regimen is particularly vital with Hondas and Acuras, whose transmissions are… let’s just say… not the most robust.

I had 2 2016 MDX’s (Dealership had to make a quarterly goal, and I got the 2nd 2016 MDX at no out of pocket and same lease payment.) Neither did what you describe.

Thanks, I also drove other 2016 MDX and, at least fot the time I drove them, did not manifest the problem I have described. I suppose the correction might be too expensive and the dealer does not want to tackle it. I just need to know that I do not make things up or dream them.

The powertrain warranty on your Honda is 6yrs/70,000 miles. Keep pressing or call Acura customer service.Make sure your invoices have the issue listed.

Thank you for your information. I will certainly follow up with the Acura Service.