2010 Acura MDX Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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Acura's first generation MDX was produced from 2001 to 2006, all the while breaking new ground in the growing luxury crossover SUV marketplace.  An all-new second generation MDX was introduced for 2007, taking the best qualities of its predecessors and expanding upon them, pushing forward on the performance front through suspension tuning on Germany's famed Nürburgring racetrack, and adding a higher level of sophistication through more luxurious appointments and technological offerings such as Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. 

In terms of its visual appeal, inspiration for the bold, lean and contemporary design execution for the second generation MDX came from high-powered mega yachts -- elements such as the adoption of large, clean surface areas accented by decisive line breaks, coupled with dynamic surface curvature treatments.  The new MDX is longer, wider and lower, and features a longer wheelbase than the original MDX, with the new dimensions creating a more athletic overall appearance.  The styling continues to reflect a harmonious blend of utility, luxury and tastefulness that is a continuation of themes found in other Acura vehicles, including the bold new "Power Plenum" grille treatment, which unfortunately is not a favourite of many brand loyalists. 

The Acura MDX for 2010 updates styling cues with a more aggressive look front and rear, and adds a more refined 3.7-litre engine and a new 6-speed SportShift automatic transmission.

The MDX continues in one basic trim level, but with specific option packaging treatments designed to meet particular consumer needs and desires.  There is a Technology Package that includes Acura's Navigation System with voice recognition and rear view camera; "AcuraLink" satellite communication system with real-time traffic; an incredible theatre quality 410-watt Acura/ELS premium sound system; rear entertainment; "HandsFreeLink" wireless telephone interface with phonebook import; a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control; and premium perforated leather-trimmed seating. 

The Elite Package includes the Technology Package and features Active Damper System sport suspension, exclusive alloy wheel design, auto-leveling Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, exclusive interior trim, ventilated front seats with specially contoured seat foam covered by perforated Milano premium leather, a sport steering wheel with unique design racing-inspired paddle shifters and textured metallic interior accents, the Collision Mitigating Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information system and the aforementioned Active Damper System.  If that's not enough to satisfy your requirements for comfort and convenience goodies, there's an extensive list of available dealer installed accessories. 

Power for the MDX comes from a 3.7-litre V6 that generates 300 horsepower along with 270 pound feet of torque.  The V6 engine redlines at 6,500 rpm, making as much power as some competitive V8s, while managing to deliver ultra-low emissions and improved fuel economy ratings the EPA equivalent of 14.7L/100km city and 11.2 highway.  Premium unleaded fuel is required.  Power is delivered to the ground through Acura's SH-AWD system through a new electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission with "Sequential SportShift" and "Grade Logic Control."  

My 2010 Acura MDX tester sported a Dark Cherry Pearl metallic exterior finish with a Gray and Charcoal interior and simulated Koa wood-grained trim accents.  It came equipped with a number of packages and accessories to drive the price up, but the added luxuries made it a very nice ride indeed.  The base MDX price is set at $51,990.  The price admittedly represents a substantial investment, but please keep in mind that this is a premium, luxury SUV. 

Some view the MDX as fitting into the crossover SUV category, while others perceive the MDX as a 7-passenger minivan.  It reality, it happens to be both, in addition to being a great deal more.  Power is more than adequate, placing the MDX in the performance category with sedan-like handling characteristics and ride quality.  Stability and traction control also contribute to vehicle security and handling attributes.  The SH-AWD system is perhaps the most significant feature as far as vehicle stability and handling is concerned, as the advanced system varies the torque distribution between the front and rear axles, as well as between the left and right rear wheels, providing maximum grip under all driving scenarios.  The system operates seamlessly and automatically, overdriving the outside rear wheel up to 1.7-percent faster than the front wheels helping the vehicle to "rotate" around a corner. 

Add a high level of versatility and functionality, and the fact that the MDX provides the amenities and ambience of a luxury sedan, and you have quite a package.  The Acura's largest offering is also ready to handle towing a load of up to 2 268 kilos (5,000 pounds). 
The 2010 MDX represents the eighth Acura product to be designed and engineered in the United States.  The quality fit and finish, synonymous with the Acura brand, exemplifies the craftsmanship that has come to be expected of Acura vehicles -- and the continued improvement never seems to end.  Toss in the 4-year / 80,000-km limited warranty, along with the 5-year / 100,000-km limited powertrain warranty, and the price tag doesn't seem out of line at all.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, SUV, Acura, 2010, MDX, $50,000 - $74,999, Midsize,

Organizations: Acura

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