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5 Improvements Acura Owners Want in the Near Future

By all measures, Acura builds an exceptional car and light truck for the money. However, with the accelerated evolution of the automobile comes heightened consumer anticipation as to what a premium car brand should be. Acura’s on it!


As good as the Acura lineup is, there remains a handful of features in need of improvement.

I must default to Edmunds Auto and Consumer Reports as a qualified source of consumer feedback for this article. Here at Torque News, we do have an ongoing Acura TLX Owners Forum, specific to the early-on electric parking brake, and 9-speed transmission glitches.

Back in late 2015, those were the 2 major early production glitches noted by a handful of TLX owners. Time and two minor recalls took car of the early faults. Acura TLX remains one of the least recalled automobiles in Acura history. What features need improvement today?

1: Infotainment, Voice Command, Navigation

In reading through Edmunds 2017 Acura MDX consumer ratings, we discover an overall dislike, bordering on acceptance for some, of the split screen center stack command center. In speaking with Acura Engineering, there’s plenty of well-supported reasoning behind this design.

While I’ve grown accustomed to the dial-controlled top navigation screen, the navigation software program remains clumsy and somewhat unresponsive to manual manipulation and voice command. While this has been improved a bit for 2018, I’ve yet to discover the ease of voice recognition in any Acura, including the stunningly good-looking 2018 Acura RLX.

Yes, Acura will transition to a next generation Precision Concept Car inspired single-screen interface, with expanded i-MID beginning with the 2019 Acura RDX. I anticipate all Acura electronics to updated in the near term -- with the eventual integration of Garmin based navigation as found in this car.

2: Seat Comfort

In reading 2017 MDX owner feedback, despite a measurable upgrade in MDX cabin fit and finish, there remains a general consensus that Acura seats remain a tad stiff, uncomfortable is you will. From my own experience with the brand, I find that Acura has made measurable improvements in ride, and subsequent seat comfort. However, when consumers look to Acura these days, the historically correct Acura sport-like-ride, and chiropractic-calling stiff seat, must give way to the ergonomic comfort of the likes of Volvo XC90. Damn the dollar difference, Acura owners expect premium quality.

3 9-speed transmission

Here’s the thing: After 3 model years, all of the bugs should be sorted out of the originally problematic ZF 9 speed transmission. And, for the greater part, they have been. Yet, in reading comments from MDX owners, a handful (still) report “jerkiness” and stutter-stops from their otherwise exceptional SUV. In the worse case scenario, a handful of MDX transmissions are reportedly out of commission with under 4,000 miles driven.

In speaking with my local Acura Dealership service department, this is an extremely rare occurrence. With Honda now producing a proprietary 10 speed automatic, 8-speed DCT, and 7-speed DCT as found in the 2018 Acura Sport Hybrid, I anticipate a transmission change out for MDX and TLX in 2019. We’ll see where it goes.

4 Suspension tuning

Granted, Acura’s active dampened suspension offers one of the best overall handlings and ride characteristics found in the premium midsize car and SUV segment. However, although returning Acura owners expect a certain amount of 'ridgid' from their car or light truck, those new to the brand, and perhaps a little longer in the tooth, find MDX to be a bit stiff in ride dynamic.

Perhaps Acura engineering could take a lead from Honda Pilot, or the all-new 2018 Accord, as to a reasonably handling, bordering on soft ride dynamic. I suspect that Acura buyers would pay a reasonable premium for electronically adjustable suspension ride dynamics.

5 Consistent fit and finish factory standards

As with all things man made: In my own experience, I find the Acura lineup to be rather good in fit and finish. However, with things man-made, and rolling off of a production line, from time to time a new owner may discover a flaw or two. The most common flaw mentioned among the most anal of our readers is trim alignment, followed by the fuel door not closing properly(flush to the body) and reveal alignment.(the gap between the door, hood, hatch and body panels.) Could be!

Tell us about your Acura ownership. Your thought-provoking comment is always welcome at Torque News. We appreciate your like and share.


Austin (not verified)    January 4, 2018 - 11:14PM

What I gather from this is the owners they spoke to expect a Rolls Royce Wraith for the price of an Integra.

Parks McCants    January 5, 2018 - 3:05PM

In reply to by Austin (not verified)

Welcome, Austin. you've made a good point. However, as an Acura fan, I would expect the electronics to be on par with Honda Accord, they're not. Other than that, one heck of a car lineup. look for the new RDX reveal at the Detroit Auto Show on January, 15. You will see the new tech-direction of the Acura brand. Thanks for reading.

Jon doh (not verified)    August 7, 2019 - 10:03PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

Agree completely Parks. One could go a step further and say they’d expect also the mechanicals of an Acura to at least be on par with a Honda. I’d have considered the refreshed ILX if it was based on the new Civic chassis and power train. It’s as if Acura can’t develop their models until Honda completes theirs first. Seems they should be codeveloped and brought to market at the same time.

Oscar (not verified)    January 4, 2018 - 11:16PM

In reply to by Tristan (not verified)

They are already leading away from making manual cars because no ones knows how to drive stick now a days, or bother to learn. It’s sad cause the new 18 TLX would be so nice in a manual.

Exelssior (not verified)    January 5, 2018 - 9:21PM

Make me feel like I am actually driving a luxury vehicle...I used to own these cars and what I find annoying is their packaging. For example, I had a 2012 ZDX tech. For me to get the cooled seats and blind spot sensor I need to jump to advance package which will bump the price to another 6K. This ridiculous pachaging still drags in current models like the new MDX. C'mon acura, even my brother's first gen kia optima hybrid have cooled seats on their tech package. Second, flaws in craftsmanship here and there. The milano leather on my armrest starts to shrink and get wrinkled. The trims in my ZDX starts to popped out here and there, the spring on the center consoles 12v cover broke. Brought it to the dealership and all they get and order is the napa leather from base model >_> 3rd, is navi interface and dual screen's UI. It sucks to begin with, it doesn't make sense and requires an xm nav traffic subscription to get updates. Man! >_< even my outlander sport's fuse system have an live radio base traffic update. Love my old 08 TL-S, got it for almost 30K and for that car to feel like a sports sedan, you have to get the 5K A-Spec suspension and tires. And now they have these 2.0L turbo o.0? Acura, are you seriouslly telling me to buy a 40K RDX? with that small engine? After nine years of owning a honda & acura's, their packaging is starting to get old and unreasonable. Its almost as money pit as a BMW and MB's value, exept you guys just want to slap this one on us consumers upfront.

Parks McCants    January 6, 2018 - 4:15PM

In reply to by Exelssior (not verified)

Welcome, Exelssior. You've made a good point or two. However, take a look at competing car brand "build your car" websites -- you'll discover the same. That's how the car sales game works. With that said: I've driven the high output 2.0 VTEC turbo in Type-R and Accord. It's one heck of an engine. I do agree with you on one point: There is no excuse for shotty workmanship in any premium car brand. Cheers.

John Mosto (not verified)    July 1, 2018 - 6:55AM

I love Honda / Acura vehicles, as I get older ease of entry/exit is becoming an issue.
Would appreciate slightly higher sedan , really don't want to be pushed into an SUV.

Jon doh (not verified)    August 7, 2019 - 10:15PM

In reply to by John Mosto (not verified)

Maybe an Acura CDX would work for you? If only Acura could read the market as well as Lexus did with the UX. Acura knows North Americans are consistently buying fewer cars and that 70% of their sales are SUVs yet they’re still not bringing the CDX to NA. They talk about bringing younger buyers to the brand yet they skip putting in a vehicle that would appeal to that audience. They’re likely concerned about canabalization of RDX sales but protectionism is futile and the problem with that logic is if someone is in the market for a subcompact SUV they’re much likelier to buy a Lexus UX than they are to spend considerately more and get a significantly larger vehicle in the RDX.

Jason (not verified)    July 6, 2018 - 5:44AM

Acura/Honda, heck all of the Japanese companies need to use atleast double the amount of sound deadening and remove weight in other ways. I like to take road trips in my MDX and certain pavements just make these trips unbearable.

I have a 13 MDX, it's not the last word in luxury, but it's the most reliable vehicle I've owned and even stealership maintenance is down right cheap compared to the Germans and Europeans, I have a sister with an ML and a brother-in-law with an X5.

Ed B (not verified)    October 8, 2018 - 10:18AM

I like the direction Acura is heading. However, my issue is with the traction control/super AWD handling in real world snow conditions. My 2016 MDX failed to perform when needed. We had about five inches of snow in my area of PA and it was coming down quickly, I got stuck on a relatively steep grade coming home. The AWD didn't help. I was very dissappointed. Does the "snow mode" in the new 2019 RDX actually work? I'd love to see real world tests against competitors this coming winter. One of the knocks of the previous RDX was traction.

Billy Cooper (not verified)    June 5, 2019 - 5:07PM

My wife and i purchased a used 2016 MDX SH-AWD with about 40k on it. Within 30 days of owning it, our transmission and torque-related problems began. It pushes a code P2638 which relates to torque conversion. Basically, when driving at interstate speeds, it can drop into neutral suddenly and without warning. After some anxious moments and many pushes of the drive button, it goes back into gear. This has occurred several times making driving of the vehicle totally untrustworthy. The dealer could not reproduce this problem and even enlisted Acura headquarters. After leaving the vehicle at the shop for almost 3 weeks, Acura finally gave up and told us they have no fix. This is totally unacceptable. I share this so other potential MDX buyers would be very careful before buying. I would go as far as to say avoid this vehicle until some fix is made. It is too dangerous to risk driving. Otherwise, the transmission, this fancy 9-speed thing, is jerky and not representative of a luxury vehicle.

Tony (not verified)    June 16, 2019 - 1:28AM

In reply to by Billy Cooper (not verified)

Billy C.
I have a 2019 Odyssey with the 9 Speed ZF Sourced transmission. It has the same issues that all of the Acura products have with shifting. Why Honda decided to use a sourced transmission rather than something they designed and manufactured is beyond understanding. No one that pays any attention to the behavior of the shifts of the transmission in any of their vehicles has good things to say about these ZF 9 speeds. Their gear designs are a woeful compromise in performance across the 9 ratios.

Aram (not verified)    July 10, 2019 - 3:35PM

In reply to by Billy Cooper (not verified)

Please take this as my suggestion. I was an aircraft engineer in the Military for 20 years.
Transmission fluid: Must be drain and pour replaced every 10K miles or 12 months. Which ever comes first. Auto transmission fluid is hydraulic fluid. It will not survive 30k miles of heat pressurization and shredding a gearbox puts it through. Change the fluid so it can continue to take the abuse. Or have your components take the abuse long after the fluid has given out.

Engine oil: Must be changed on all vehicles no later than 5k. Even if the oil is still effective. To remove the deposits and contaminants, and prevent them being cycled through the engine for thousands of miles. Fresh oil also treats engine seals to prevent seeping.

Differential and transfer case fluid. Acura specific SHAWD requires diff fluid changed 15k. I do it when I do the tranny at 10k. Again either the fluid takes the abuse or the components do.

Transfer case can safely be pushed to 30k as it does work that hard. But the dealer only charges me $40 bucks to do it so I just do it all at 10K.

I have put hundreds of thousands on miles on every car. And every part of my cars/trucks never fail, nore do they decline in functional performance. It would shock you how well the drive.