2012 Acura MDX


Review: 2007 Acura MDX

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

Redesigned MDX is the most powerful Acura and enhances appeal of this high-value but costly premium SUV.
  • Nicely redesigned
  • Roomy
  • Potent V6
  • Somewhat bulky
  • High rear load opening
  • Small audio controls

Honda's upscale Acura division offers its redesigned 2007 MDX with fresh styling, lots of additional power, a more driver-oriented interior and extra features. What more could you ask for?

Well, lower list prices would be nice, but no luxurious SUV is inexpensive. The MDX goes for $39,995 to $47,795. It's several thousand dollars more costly than its predecessor. Also, the MDX can be had with Technology, Entertainment and Sport option packages that progressively raise its price to $43,495, $45,595 and $47,795.

Well Equipped
However, the standard MDX is packed with standard comfort, convenience and safety equipment. It includes leather upholstery, sunroof, heated front seats (heated rears are optional) wireless cell telephone link and power everything—besides an abundance of airbags.

There's a move from SUVs toward car-based crossover vehicles, but Acura was locked into offering the new MDX for 2007 because the lead time for new vehicles is several years. And SUVs of all types were really hot a few years ago—and had been that way for quite some time.

Good Roadability
The MDX has good handling for a heavy, midsize SUV, although it is larger than the 2001-2006 model it replaces. It is several inches longer, lower and wider and feels bulkier under some driving conditions.

New suspension geometry and calibrations help roadability, as does Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which is new and standard for the MDX.

Working with an anti-skid system, SH-AWD enhances cornering ability because it distributes the optimum amount of engine torque between front and rear axles and also between left and right rear wheels.

Race Track Development
Development work on the MDX suspension was done on Germany's challenging Nurburgring race track, also used for vehicle development by many domestic and foreign automakers. Acura says it tested the MDX against leading sporty European SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne.

Steering of the MDX is somewhat heavy, but precise. (Better than overly light steering.) The ride is supple, especially with the base suspension, and the powerful brakes have good pedal feel.

An optional Active Damper System in the Sport Package helps give this new Acura good chassis control during hard driving, while retaining the quiet, comfortable ride expected by drivers of luxury SUVs. Large 18-inch wheels help handling.

Most Powerful Acura
A 3.7-liter 300-horsepower V6 motivates the MDX and makes it the most powerful new Acura SUV or car. It's the largest V6 in Acura history and replaces a 3.5-liter 257-horsepower V6 with less torque. The new MDX now can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Why not a V8? Because Honda—and thus Acura—long has believed in offering two less cylinders in its various engines, compared to rival motors. It feels that "extra" cylinders add weight, complexity and deliver poorer fuel economy.

The MDX can do the 0-60 dash in 7.5 seconds. Estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city and 22 on highways. Not terrific, but not bad for a big, powerful SUV that weighs 4,539-4,587 pounds. Premium fuel is recommended.

Responsive Automatic Transmission
Only a 5-speed automatic transmission is offered, although the trend is toward 6-speed automatics in its vehicle class. The responsive transmission has an easily used manual shift feature.

It calls for extra effort to get in and out, although a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel allows drivers of various sizes to get comfortable at the wheel. And all occupants sit high. Front seats are nicely bolstered, backlit gauges can be quickly read and controls have a precise feel—although audio controls are too small. The front console has conveniently located cupholders with a sliding cover to keep things looking neat in the front cabin when they're not being used.

Kid-Size Third Row Seat
The second-row seating area is large, and the passenger side second row seat slides and tilts forward to facilitate access to the kid-size third-row seat. The optional DVD rear entertainment system in the Entertainment package has dashboard-mounted and remote controls.

There is no separate-opening upper glass area in the tailgate, and the cargo floor is rather wide, although it's wide. The cargo area is only moderately large with the third seat in its normal position. But it can be enlarged a lot by flipping the second-and third-row seats forward. A handy, fairly roomy covered in-floor bin is located behind the third-row seat.

The high-tech MDX's Technology Package provides a feature that links the MDX's climate control to GPS to automatically adjust temperature and fan speed according to the position of the sun.

Will Acura ever attain the prestige of Lexus, Mercedes or BMW? Vehicles such as the new MDX should help in that regard.


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BB03 - 9/16/2014 10:48:07 PM