Even with nineteen-inch wheels, the MDX rides surprisingly well, much better than our Four Seasons Audi Q5. Acura’s 300-hp V-6 powers the chunky MDX with authority, and it sounds good doing so. This vehicle is a little more annoying to get into and out of than the Audi, particularly in back (with a high step-in and narrow door aperture), but cabin space is good. Of course, there is the standard third-row seat, for those who need cramped occasional quarters for two more. Massively thick pillars, large rear headrests, and a shrunken tailgate window mean rear-quarter visibility stinks, making the blind-spot warning system a near necessity. The interior is nicely finished, not a work of art but uniformly good materials quality and no fit or finish issues. Lots of buttons on the dash could be better grouped by system, but even as is, it’s better than wading through onscreen menus, and there are knobs for some important functions.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
To me, the MDX offers by far the best canvas for Acura’s current razor-blade-and-origami styling theme. What looks bulbous and disproportionate on the brand’s cars and smaller crossovers looks at home on this medium/large crossover. I especially like the cool-looking graphite-colored wheels on our fully loaded test vehicle. Even the many-buttoned center stack that Joe mentions seems less annoying here, for some reason, than in smaller Acura products.
The MDX should be near the top of the shopping list for drivers who want a reasonable-size three-row crossover with sporty handling and a strong-sounding engine. The only real downside is its numb steering.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
If the MDX isn’t the best vehicle Acura currently sells, it’s at the very least the best Acura that Acura sells. As Rusty noted, its vast expanse of sheet metal provides a proper canvas for the brand’s new design language. More important, the MDX doesn’t try to bring a knife to a gunfight. Whereas other high-priced Acuras, particularly the RL sedan, have always been missing a bit of the necessary hardware and swagger to compete toe-to-toe with rivals, the MDX offers every bit as much power, luxury, and refinement as its full-size competition. That makes all the better the fact that the base price is actually priced closer to small luxury crossovers like the Audi Q5 and Lexus RX. Even our fully loaded test car costs only a grand more than a similarly equipped Cadillac SRX that came through the office around the same time.
There are a few issues I’d like Acura to address, such as the still too complex infotainment system, but overall, I’d say the MDX is a roadmap for the brand’s future and a good choice in the segment.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
The Acura MDX continues to be one of my favorite SUVs in the luxury segment, mostly because of its looks. And for 2010 the big MDX got a minor facelift, including front bumper redesign. The muscular exterior design is nicely complemented in this example by the large 19-inch graphite wheels and the dark cherry exterior paint.
The 2010 MDX interior gets minor changes, like a thicker steering wheel and new wood trim. The center stack is still busy, but not frustrating to use; and the navigation system is a charm. Although the cabin is spacious and accommodating, rearward visibility is compromised by the large c-pillars and short rear window. But, the new multi-view rear-view camera helps dramatically when putting the MDX in a tight spot.
Nothing changes under the hood, but, honestly, it really didn’t need to. The 3.7-liter V-6 has been around a while now, but doesn’t feel dated and has enough power and torque to scoot the heavy MDX around town while getting decent gas mileage.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
What Acura needs is an infotainment controller ala BMW’s iDrive, Mercedes’ Comand, or Audi’s MMI. The center stack is littered with more than 50 buttons that are quite daunting to sift through. Acura already has the large knob/joystick that interfaces with the display, but the dynamic nature of the screen is underutilized. Most of the onscreen functions are mere repetitions of what you can achieve with physical buttons.
From a driving perspective, the MDX does a fine job of cosseting passengers without ever feeling soft. Body control is excellent and the all-wheel drive system does wonders for the MDX’s handling. I also can’t find a fault with the engine or transmission. Acura may not carry the prestige of the German luxury marques, but in this segment the MDX doesn’t make any concessions to those big names.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
It’s been nearly ten years since Acura introduced the MDX, and I still find it to be an attractive entry in the luxury-brand, seven-passenger crossover segment. Actually, the MDX was a crossover before we really even knew the term “crossover,” as it was based on the platform of the Odyssey minivan from the get-go a decade ago. It’s always been car-based.
Acura was one of the first companies to effectively figure out the third-row seating packaging. Although the third row isn’t commodious, it folds flat easily.
We tend to take the MDX, still in its second generation, for granted, but it has aged very well. The powertrain is perfectly decent; nothing scintillating or sporty, but good. The real reason you buy an Acura MDX is because it likely will be stone-cold reliable and will hold its value.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
Base price (with destination): $43,040
Price as tested: $54,565
3.7-liter V-6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Vehicle stability assist (VSA)
Electronic brake distribution (EBD)
Active front head restraints
XM satellite radio
MP3/auxullary input jack
Auto dimming rearview mirror
Heated power door mirrors
Acura/ELS surround sound system with 10 speakers
Hard disk drive
GPS-linked Tri-zone auto climate control
Sport seats with perforated premium leather trim
Options on this vehicle:
Advanced and Entertainment packages – $11,525
– Navigation system with voice recognition
– DVD rear entertainment system
– Wireless headphones and remote
– Heated and ventilated front seats
– Perforated Milano premium leather
– Active damper system sport suspension
– Adaptive cruise control
– 19-inch 7-spoke alloy wheels
– Blind spot information system
– Collision mitigation braking system
– Auto leveling Xenon HID headlights
Key options not on vehicle:
Towing package — $621
16 / 21 / 18 mpg
Size: 3.7L 24-valve SOHC V-6
Horsepower: 300 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
6-speed automatic with sequential sportshift
Curb weight: 4627 lb
19 x 8.5-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
255/50R19 Michelin Latitude Tour hp all-season tires