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The Types Of Gas An Acura MDX Takes (Explained)

The Types Of Gas An Acura MDX Takes (Explained)

Today, our team will answer all your Acura MDX fuel-related questions. Not all variants go for the same gas type; some require a higher octane. To know which particular variant/trim level will take what kind of gas, we have done extensive research and gone through each trim level in great detail.

To prevent things from getting complicated, we have sorted out all the data according to Acura MDX generations and then have given the engine that each of them has. Knowing your Acura MDX model year, you will understand what gas it will take.

All model years require 91 octane gasoline or higher for optimum performance except for the first-generation models, which can run on regular 87 octane. 10% ethanol is allowed in all generations except the fourth generation, taking 15%. MTBE is permitted in the first-generation models— up to 15%. TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is the only additive recommended by Acura.

After we have answered for all kinds of variants, we will go through other common misconceptions about fuel additives and different types of fuel that you should and should not use in your Acura MDX. Later on, we will talk about the mpg numbers.

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Infographic explaining the fuel types for an Acura MDX

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

The Acura MDX is in its fourth generation, and boy, that is one mean-looking SUV, while the earlier models were a bit modest in their looks. No wonder this fourth-gen model is now the flagship SUV of Acura.

There are not that many engine options offered in the MDX lineup. The available options have all been discussed down below. We have made sections of each generation to find what you are looking for easily.

Also read: The Exact Towing Capacity Of An Acura MDX (And More..)

First Gen Acura MDX (2001-2006)

The first-gen Acura MDX only has one engine option throughout its tenure. In the 2004 update, five hp was added to the AWD model, which initially had 260hp, making it 265hp. The FWD model had much less hp – at 240. This 3.5L V6 was paired with 5-speed automatic transmission.

Now coming to the octane level, the owner’s manual mentions the minimum requirement at 86 octane (US Standards), but it’s best to go for 87 octane gas as the minimum. Even the gas stations nowadays sell 87 octane fuel as the regular one. And then you have the mid-grade at 91 and premium at 93 Octane.

EngineFuel Requirement
3.5L V6Regular 87 octane

Second Gen Acura MDX (2007-2013)

The second-gen offered a bigger displacement engine than the first-gen models. The minimum octane required for the second-gen Acura MDX is 91, also known as the mid-grade fuel. The premium gas, at 93 octanes, is preferred.

In case you are in an area where you can not find either of the higher-level octane fuels, you can use the 87 Octane only for the time being. When you come across a gas station where you can have the mid-grade or premium gas, fill it up right away. 

EngineFuel Requirement
3.7L V6Mid-grade 91 or higher 

We have two different transmissions in the second-gen Acura MDX; one is the 5-speed automatic while the other is the 6-speed automatic transmission.

Third Gen Acura MDX (2014-2021)

Before 2016, Acura MDX had a five-speed automatic, but with the 2016 update, Acura MDX received a 9-speed automatic transmission along with a hybrid powertrain,

EngineFuel Requirement
3.5L V6Mid-grade 91 or higher
3.0L V6Mid-grade 91 or higher

Fourth Gen Acura MDX (2022–Present)

The engine displacement is the same; however, the 9-speed automatic transmission has been updated with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

EngineFuel Requirement
3.5L V6Mid-grade 91 or higher
3.0L V6 TurboMid-grade 91 or higher

Also read: 11 Common Problems Of An Acura MDX 

What Types Of Gasoline Can And Can’t Be Used?

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated gasoline is the type that runs cleaner than the conventional one we are all familiar with. Nowadays, most gas stations would have a reformulated kind rather than the old conventional one. All manufacturers recommend using reformulated gasoline as the emissions are much less and will save our environment. All generations of Acura MDX can take reformulated gasoline.

If you anticipate a failed emissions test, make sure you have the reformulated type of gasoline, it will help you with your emissions test. And also, make sure that you don’t have an exhaust leak somewhere, which is the common cause of failing the emissions test.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

You have probably seen 85 written on gas stations; it does not mean that it is 85 octane; it is instead the ethanol volume mixed with gasoline. E85 is 85% ethanol mixed with 15% gasoline. Only the flex-fuel vehicles are compatible with this type of fuel, and regular engines should never run on this fuel, lest you damage the engine components.

Acura MDX is not a flex-fuel vehicle, so you should not be putting flex-fuel/E85 or E15 in it. For the first and second-gen Acura MDX, the ethanol percentage allowed is 10% by volume in 90% gasoline and not more than that.

On the other hand, the third-gen Acura MDX allows up to 15% by volume mixed with 85% gasoline. Methanol is not allowed at all.

Gasoline With Added Materials

There are numerous additives available in the market, each branding to be extremely good for your vehicle, but not all of them are good for your engine. Most of them will do more damage than good. It is advised not to add any additive in your vehicle that Acura disapproves.

The best you can do for your engine is give it higher octane fuel now and then and regularly maintain it by trustworthy auto shops.

When we talk about the MTBE, the maximum you can put is 15% by volume— in the first and second-gen MDX models. The only additive recommended by Acura is the TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline available at the dealerships.

In contrast, Acura does not recommend all the other additives as most of these additives will cause carbon buildup in your engine and therefore reduced engine performance.

Gasoline With MMT

MMT is believed to be a good additive, but it’s not. It only works with race engines, which is probably why most people think of it as a great additive. Your Acura’s engine is not a race engine, which is why, if you add this additive, you won’t be able to pass the emissions test, and your spark plugs will go to heaven. 

Acura advises against the use of MMT. Any damage done to the vehicle due to the use of prohibited additives will not be covered under warranty, and in some cases, it might void your warranty. The earlier models do not strictly prohibit MMT, but it is best to have a non-MMT regardless. The later models, however, do strictly forbid the use of MMT.


This is only used in diesel engines, and no Acura MDX is available with a diesel engine. So you should not be adding this at all. 

What If I Hear A Knocking Noise From The Engine After Refilling?

Knocking is a widespread phenomenon caused primarily due to low octane fuel. If you are experiencing this knocking issue right after you refill your tank from an unknown gas station, most probably, the quality of that fuel is not up to the mark. The first remedy to this problem is to add mid-grade or premium-grade fuel.

This knocking phenomenon happens due to premature combustions. When the fuel has lower octane, the resistance to burning decreases, and the fuel burns when it is not supposed to in the cylinder; thus, the firing order is disturbed, and you hear this metallic sound.

Suppose the knocking persists even when you have refilled better-quality gas; your engine needs service. Acura recommends taking your MDX to a certified dealership. If you hear a loud knocking sound and the proper remedy is not carried out, your engine will take permanent damage.

Does the Acura MDX Have Good Gas Mileage?

Acura MDX belongs to the midsize luxury SUV category; thus, the mileage numbers won’t necessarily be good. We are dividing all the engines into generations, and we will put down all the data for you to see. You can see your particular MDX and the mpg you should be getting.

First Gen Acura MDX (2001-2006)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
3.5L V61521

Second Gen Acura MDX (2007-2013)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
3.7L V6 5 speed automatic1520
3.7L V6 6 speed automatic1621

Third Gen Acura MDX (2014-2021)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
3.5L V6 6 speed automatic2028
3.5L V6 9 speed automatic1926
3.0L V6 (AM-S7)2627

Fourth Gen Acura MDX (2022–Present)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
3.0L V6 Turbo1721
3.5L V61925

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of Acura MDX?

  • 2001 – 2006 Acura MDX have a gas tank of 20.4 gallons
  • 2007 – 2013 Acura MDX have a gas tank of 20 gallons
  • 2014 – 2021 Acura MDX have a gast tank of 19.4 gallons
  • 2022 – present Acura MDX have a gas tank of 18.5 gallons

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up Acura MDX?

If you happen to have the smallest 18.5-gallon gas tank, the minimum you would have to spend is about $65, that is, if you are living in Arkansas.

On the other hand, if you happen to have the largest 21-gallon gas tank of the second generation while living in the most expensive state of California that sells the mid-grade gas for 5.021, you would have to spend about $105 for a full tank of gas.

Therefore, you would have to pay somewhere between $65-$105 for a full tank of gas for your Acura MDX– no matter where you live.


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