Acura introduced its MDX as a 2001 model. Before long, the midsize sport utility vehicle from Honda's luxury division began to tally impressive sales totals. Shoppers even faced waiting lists for the car-based seven-passenger MDX, which is loaded with luxury features.
Built on the platform used for the previous-generation Honda Odyssey minivan, the MDX is manufactured in Ontario, Canada. It competes against such rivals as the BMW X5, Lexus RX 330 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
XM Satellite Radio became standard for 2005, and all models equipped with Acura's navigation system got General Motors' OnStar communication system. The navigation system was enhanced to include additional voice commands, and the Touring Package got HandsFreeLink phone operation, which allows a compatible mobile phone to be used as a hands-free car phone. Acura's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system was enhanced.
Touring Package models for 2006 have an ebony-colored zebra wood pattern on the console and door switches, as well as refined satin chrome accents. Under new testing standards established by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the MDX's 3.5-liter V-6 is now rated at 253 horsepower.
Styled in California, the MDX features sloping rear roof pillars like those on the RX 330. According to Acura, its SUV "strikes a balance between muscularity and elegance," starting with a sharply chiseled front fascia and a wide stance.
Bold creases highlight the hood and bodyside panels, and the grille is similar to the one used on Acura's sedans. The MDX has 17-inch alloy wheels and is equipped with a four-wheel-independent suspension. Riding a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the MDX measures 188.7 inches long overall and stands 68.7 inches tall.
Seven people occupy three rows of seats in the MDX, which has two front buckets, a three-place split middle bench and a two-place split rear seat. The center and rear seats fold flat into the floor to create additional cargo space. Cargo volume measures 81.5 cubic feet when the second- and third-row seats are folded flat. Standard features include leather upholstery, remote keyless entry, a power moonroof and a seven-speaker cassette/CD stereo system.
Under the Hood
Acura's 3.5-liter V-6 generates 253 hp and 250 pounds-feet of torque and teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.
Dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags for all three rows of seats are standard. All-disc antilock brakes are installed.
Acceleration in the MDX is energetic, though a tad sluggish at first. Handling with a somewhat tight feel, the MDX comes across more like a performance model than a relaxed highway cruiser. The MDX grips the pavement tenaciously in curves.
Because the suspension is quite firm, the ride is close to luxurious on smooth pavement but less refined when the surface becomes even moderately rough. The seats are exceptionally supportive, and occupants have plenty of space. Other than a hearty roar during acceleration, the MDX operates quietly.