First Drive: 2011 Acura MDX SH-AWD

Matt Tierney
#Acura, #MDX

As the saying goes, 47,000 customers can't be wrong. Nearly four years after Acura launched its second-generation MDX, 47,210 customers lined up in 2010 to bring home the company's midsize crossover. Not only does that make the MDX Acura's best-selling vehicle in 2010 (it beat the TL by nearly 13,000 units), but also one of the best-selling luxury crossovers currently available in North America.

That's impressive, considering the market is flooded with premium crossovers, many of which launched after the MDX's original debut. How then does the MDX manage to woo so many buyers in an extremely competitive segment? We slid behind the wheel of a 2011 model to find out for ourselves.

Sized Right
Macroscopically speaking, midsize luxury crossovers tend to fall into two different categories: smaller models, like the Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX, and larger vehicles -- the Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT, BMW X5, and Audi Q7, for instance -- which offer three rows of seating and room for seven or eight passengers.

The MDX, which shares its platform with the Honda Pilot, slots nicely between those two extremes. At 191.6 inches long, the MDX is roughly a foot longer than the RX and SRX, yet it's almost ten inches shorter than the likes of the MKT, Q7, and Enclave. Those trim dimensions may not abide by the "bigger is better" way of thinking, but they do pay dividends when attempting to maneuver the MDX through a crowded parking lot or tuck it into your garage.

Despite its smaller stature, the MDX isn't deprived of interior space. Head, leg, and shoulder room measurements for the first and second rows are roughly on par or greater than those of the Enclave, X5, and Q7. Legroom for third row occupants is tight, measuring in at 29.1 inches, but on par with the likes of the Audi Q7 and Lincoln MKT. When not needed, that third row can be folded flat, providing up to 42.9 cubic feet of space. Drop both rows, and that figure swells to 83.5 cubic feet.

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