2020 Acura MDX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, engine, and equipment issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

The 2020 Acura MDX is a luxury model that is supposed to offer more than the comparable Honda. It’s known as a “Premium Performance SUV” by the automaker, but this model has a hard time performing at all. With a faulty electrical system, defective engine and malfunctioning equipment, customers are already filing class action lawsuits against the company.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019  2022 

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Acura MDX

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
5
Engine
4
Unknown Or Other
3
Service Brakes
3
Vehicle Speed Control
3
Fuel/propulsion System
3
Electrical System
2
Fuel System, Gasoline
2
Steering
1
Air Bags
1

Problems with the Electrical System

As a luxury model, this vehicle should have every bell and whistle, plus it should all work seamlessly. However, that’s not the case.

Here’s one Edmunds review. “Issues with Apple CarPlay from day one still not fixed it only connects to my Apple IPhone when it wants to even after being swapped out w a loaner car. Acura has no fix.  The ac is not near as cold as my old Murano or Toyota’s and just adjusting the heat and ac on the screen is bizarre reds normal heat and ac buttons/controls.”

Acura isn’t attempting to hide any electrical system issues. The company even issued Service Bulletin #BBTS210102 that discusses an inoperable center display. It turns out that the problems are caused by a software bug that needs to be repaired. So far, this performance SUV lacks passion and functionality, making owners wonder why they didn’t buy a Honda and save a little money.

Problems with the Engine

The engine is undoubtedly one of the most important components of any vehicle, but this Acura seems to have some major malfunctions.

Another Edmunds review states, “The start stop feature on this and all other makes of vehicles needs to go away! It interferes with climate control comfort and will be a maintenance issue down the road. The gas savings is minimal and doesn’t justify the inconvenience.”

Acura doesn’t have a lot of information regarding engine problems. However, Service Bulletin #BPaS02102021902 does show that customers are complaining. This communication illustrates how DTCs are being set, but Acura doesn’t know how to resolve the issues. Maybe it’s time to get rid of those designers that simply can’t perform.

Problems with the Equipment

With so much equipment on-board, there’s a lot that can go wrong, but it shouldn’t. Customers spend extra on the MDX to ensure a seamless operation.

Yet, this Edmunds review shows they are receiving something else. “Negative I’ve seen is the well reported delay in cruise control response, reference the time it takes the vehicle to move into a new speed when the cruise control is already engaged.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that there is a pending class action lawsuit against the company, but for something much more dangerous. It turns out that 2016-2020 models have a dangerous issue that hasn’t been resolved. Owners stated that the vehicle does not accelerate as it should after pressing the pedal. They can also decelerate rapidly, shut down without warning and stall, leaving people in a lot of danger. Then, the systems regain power as if it never missed a beat. Maybe this Acura is a “Performance” option, but it can only be the leader at the junkyard. It will win Best in Show.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Acura pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 12, 2022
StateCA
Description
When the brake is suppressed at a stop sign or stop light, the vehicle has an auto idle stop feature which shuts off the engine completely to preserve fuel. The vehicle is supposed to restart once the brake is released. In my case, there have been multiple times when the brake is released but fails to restart and go. I have encountered the issue in the following scenarios: 1. Getting off the freeway, if there is a line getting off the freeway, then the vehicle will potentially shut off and fail to restart. This is a safety hazard as the driver behind me or others behind at a distance can potentially hit the vehicle. 2. At a stoplight, especially when making a left turn, the vehicle will shut off and fail to restart. It takes more than 8 secs to restart/reengage by restarting manually. If there are any vehicles attempting to go behind me or at a distance, then they can potentially hit my vehicle. This is a huge risk to my family and I, to assist in our safety, we end up having to turn on our hazard lights. This is unacceptable especially since this is a 2020 vehicle with under 45k miles. I have attempted to reach out to the acura service team, customer relations team and even called the warranty department. However, they were not taking ownership on the issue and responded as it has not been reported before. Based on forums, the issue is being encountered by other owners as well. Hopefully, this can be sorted in the near future for safety of my family.
CategoryEngine, Service Brakes
DateOct 03, 2022
StateTX
Description
The engine idle stop function is unreliable and often fails to restart the engine when the brake pedal is released. The vehicle will, suddenly and without notice, become inoperable and undrivable wherever it rests, whether at a red light or stop sign, in the middle of an intersection while making a left-hand turn, or on an entrance ramp to a highway, causing a dangerous situation for myself and other drivers. It takes several minutes to restart the engine and sometimes must be jump-started. The issue has been reported to my local dealership, and they said it is not covered.
CategoryVehicle Speed Control
DateSep 30, 2022
StateOH
Description
Problem started 1 month ago. As I approached the round about I am at very slow speed,and for no action on my part, my mdx accelerates! Fortunately it has only happened as my vehicle is coasting or I am applying the break slowly. This is happening more and more. It has over 20k miles on it.
CategoryElectrical System
DateSep 01, 2022
StateTX
Description
Car will not restart from the auto idle stop when at a stop light. The dash goes blank then flashes everything and it takes a minute or so to restart. It has happened 3-4 times in the last 6 months. Once on a 55 mph highway. Very dangerous safety issue. I have take it to the acura dealership service department and they say diagnostics does not show why. However, they said it has happened to their txl model and a software update was the solution and they are hopeful they will get on update soon. Service associate did say others have been calling in about the same issue. But do not know if acura is working on a fix. I did report the incidents to the national acura customer service department and have a case number.
CategoryEngine
DateAug 25, 2022
StateNE
Description
(4/2021). While cruising on a 2 lane hwy the power went to zero. All I could do was coast to the shoulder. Restarted and was on the go. If I was passing another car and this happened when there was oncoming traffic I could had a head on collision. This occurred twice on the same 3 day vacation another time (8/2022) while cruising at normal speed and acceleration in the passing lane on the interstate all of a sudden the power went zero. All I could do was coast into the median to get out of traffic. I didn't have time to check for warning lights. Just restored the engine and all was fine. Totally scary and unsafe. Dealer says they've had no similar complaints. Only thing to do is have it checked but if can't duplicate the problem or find a code nothing they can do thinking of selling it due to not knowing what deadly situation I may be in when it reoccurs. Internet chats are saying it happens to others as well. Where is the recall that should exist?
CategoryFuel System, Gasoline
DateAug 11, 2022
StateWA
Description
The contact owns a 2020 acura mdx. The contact stated that while the vehicle was idling, the engine suddenly shut off when the driver attempted to accelerate forward. During the failure, the message “shift into park to restart” had displayed. After shifting to the park position the engine was restarted and the vehicle operated as normal. The failure had occurred on at least four separate occasions and one time while attempting to park the vehicle. The contact indicated that the failure had occurred with and without the fuel-saving feature activated. The cause of the failure was not determined. The local dealer was notified. The manufacturer was not yet contacted. The failure mileage was 12,000.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateJul 28, 2022
StateIL
Description
The contact owns a 2020 acura mdx. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph, the collision mitigation braking system inadvertently activated. There were no warning lights illuminated. The contact had since deactivated the collision mitigation braking system. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 19,725
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateJul 13, 2022
StateFL
Description
My car was stopped at a light with idle auto on. The car shut off and switched into neutral with check engines lights on the dash. I was not able to switch the car to drive. I had to restart the car. This has happened twice in 2 weeks at busy intersections. I have brought the car to the dealership but they are unable to replicate. There was no prior warning lamps or signs prior to this happening.
CategoryService Brakes
DateMay 02, 2022
StateMA
Description
Dealer says two warped rotors brakes pads are good there has been no abnormal breaking while driving the car. I feel this is a faulty rotor
CategoryPower Train, Vehicle Speed Control
DateApr 30, 2022
StateTX
Description
Starting around 20,000 miles, my car started to majorly hesitate when I would step on the pedal trying to accelerate. Over time the problem became increasingly worse to the point where the car would slip into neutral causing a major hazard driving on the tollway when my car would decelerate when stepping on the gas pedal. This has caused me to have several very close near accidents. The dealership would keep saying that they could not replicate the problem. I have taken my car in on 8 separate occasions for this safety concern (4 different honda/acura dealerships trying to get help since the place I bought the car wouldn't not help with a solution.) my car has also begun back rolling (15+ feet) when in drive. And yesterday, suddenly accelerated from 0 to 35 when waiting for our driveway gate to open. There are major issues with sudden acceleration when driving a speeds under 20mph and deceleration issue when stepping on the gas pedal trying to accelerate. I have opened a report with honda over a year ago and keep getting the run around.
CategoryExterior Lighting
DateMar 27, 2022
StateNJ
Description
On my 2020 mdx the rear tail light is filling with moisture and water causing the tail light to fail. There is already a recall from acura for 2014-2019 mdx for the same issue. Apparently acura did not correct the issue for the 2020 models which uses the same part and did not address the issue. Acura needs to include the 2020 mdx as part of this recall as well. This is a safety as if the light fail can cause a serious accident.
CategoryService Brakes, Unknown Or Other
DateJan 04, 2022
StateCA
Description
Car broke down 3 times on the road while driving, it show 12vbattery failure, abs failure nd started flashing lights on the dashboard nd broke down while driving. When first time it happened dealer said they have fixed the issue. It happened again md yesterday is 3rd time. Vehicle is 19k miles only it. Pls help us getting this resolved. Dealers make false promises and it's breaking down again and again on the road while driving which is very scary.
CategoryStructure:body, Wheels
DateOct 03, 2021
StateTX
Description
Unknown
CategoryEngine, Fuel System, Gasoline, Power Train
DateSep 14, 2021
StateFL
Description
The contact owns a 2020 acura mdx. The contact stated while driving 30-35 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to respond and would not move. There were several unknown warning lights illuminated. The contact stated that after depressing the drive button several times, she was able to drive the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who determined that the contact had inadvertently depressed an unknown button on the steering wheel causing the vehicle to shift to neutral. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the failure recurred while driving. The contact was able to restart the vehicle and drove to her destination. The contact stated the failure persisted. The contact stated that the vehicle inadvertently stalled while driving. Several unknown warning lights illuminated. The contact was unable to restart the vehicle or veer to the side of the road. The vehicle was towed to the dealer but was not diagnosed nor repaired. The contact referenced nhtsa campaign number: 21v215000 (fuel system, gasoline) as a possible solution to the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 3,000.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateJun 16, 2021
StateCA
Description
Just recently purchased an 2020 acura mdx awd with tech package. Noticed that the windshields have distortions near the a pillars, which happens from both driver side and passenger side. I feel nausea when looking through the window corner as objects are curved. I did a lot of research and found this issue has been there for a while. Distortion in windshield has safety issues that should be address by acura.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJun 10, 2021
StateAZ
Description
My fiancé is 8 months pregnant and her sunroof literally exploded on her while she was on the freeway yesterday. She was almost in an accident and could have been killed. She has a 2020 mdx and I'm reading online that she isn't the only person this has happened to. The dealership told her that she's on her own and this defect isn't covered under warranty when she called. It has not been inspected, but I have taken many pictures. There were no warnings or indications anything was wrong.
CategoryVisibility:windshield
DateApr 15, 2021
StateIN
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 acura mdx. The contact stated that the view out of the passenger's side of the windshield near the a-pillar was distorted. The contact stated that the view was like looking through a coke bottle. The contact took the vehicle to hubler acura (1265 us-31, greenwood, in 46143, (317)883-4560) to be inspected. The contact was informed that replacing the windshield did not guarantee that the issue would be fixed. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 178.
CategorySteering
DateMar 18, 2021
StateNV
Description
Temporarily loss control of my vehicle when I was exiting the parkway and needed to steer around to avoid a stop car my car just took a big rock in motion from side to side. The steering is very unresponsive, vehicle hesitates when accelerating rapidly and when turning they is no stability. Also my breaking doesn't react the way it should it's very delayed. All of the things that the dynamic mode is supposed to enhance appears not to be functioning. I went to the dealer several times they said they couldn't find anything but yet the problem continues. They also said they reset and relearned some parts of the car in an attempt to rectify the issue I was experiencing. The problem still exists. Many times when I come to a stop on a hill the car roll backwards. I was given the same model on one of my visits to the dealership as a loaner. And it ran like a totally different car the way the car should run it was the same year same model. Everything was more responsive the steering the breaking the suspension even when I started the car the start up sound was much more aggressive. Please help!
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateMar 02, 2021
StateFL
Description
I have experienced sudden acceleration problem numerous times( 5 to six times. The latest one was march 1,2021. The vehicle would accelerate (rpm rapidly ) suddenly when driving at low speeds(around 10 to 15mph to a quick almost 30mph without pressing the gas pedal) that always require me to break immediately to avoid any accidents. I had the vehicle checked thoroughly by a company sent expert last year(sometime nov ,2020) and they can't replicate the problem. Acura relations can't help me anymore . It made me google unintended acceleration mdx. The problem is for real. Had I known this problem, I wouldn't have leased this vehicle last oct. 31, 2019. Please help. Many thanks
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJan 11, 2021
StateMO
Description
While driving at highway speeds with the adaptive cruise control engaged, the vehicle detects vehicles to the right (same direction of travel) or at times vehicles to the left (opposite direction of travel) and abruptly applied backing. No vehicles will actually be in lane of travel of the vehicle to cause action. On a 87 mile drive (one way to work) happens more than eight times on first drive and over ten time on second drive. Vehicle has under 1500 miles on it and was purchased brand new. Taken to acura and told to turn off lane departure system unless in city traffic. System turned off and did not correct issue. The abrupt braking causes drivers behind to abruptly brake, increasing risk of crash, and also angers them because they think you are 'brake checking' them. Weather was cloudy or clear.
CategoryPower Train
DateJan 08, 2021
StateNC
Description
1. (july 8, 2020) on 1 occasion within a short time after purchasing mdx, I floored the gas pedal on the highway as when passing another car, let off the gas pedal and the engine kept running as though the gas pedal was still floored. Reported it to dealer and they said they could not duplicate the problem and said maybe the floormat caused the problem. Potentially dangerous. 2. (july 8, 2020) on an incline at a stop sign, mdx will roll backwards after releasing brake and then when pressing on the gas pedal it will lurch forward. Reported it to the dealer. Potentially dangerous. 3. When stopped and then trying to backup on an incline, mdx won't move rearward until gas pedal is pressed approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of full gas pedal movement. It acts as though the braking system is partially applied. This only happens on an incline, not on level ground.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateJan 03, 2021
StatePA
Description
The car does have smooth accelerating from a stop; it feels as if its searching through gears. In addition, while driving a humming noise is present as if the battery or electric parking bake is being engaged or disengaged. The car idles when at a complete stop instead of engaging auto shut off feature.
CategoryAir Bags, Electronic Stability Control, Fuel/propulsion System
DateJun 29, 2020
StateDC
Description
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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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