April 11, 2013
Review by Justin Pritchard
History/Description: There’s a new Acura MDX coming for the 2014 model year – meaning that any moment, the long-lived, current-generation model will transition into used vehicle territory.
A big seller, the MDX was commonly sought out by Canadian shoppers as an alternative to machines like the BMW X5, Mercedes ML and Lexus RX. With an eye for efficient performance and the brand’s proven reputation for reliable, nonsense-free operation, the MDX crossover sport utility has been happily serving countless Canadian families for years.
Acura MDX, 2007–2013. Click image to enlarge
All models were five- or seven-passenger units with V6 power, automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive of Acura’s ‘Super Handling’ variety.
Engines / Trim: All models got a 3.7L VTEC V6 engine making 300 horsepower. A five-speed automatic was standard equipment initially, with a six-speed box making its debut for the 2012 model year. Other enhancements for 2012 saw the powertrain become more efficient and ‘slippery’ to trim away at fuel consumption. Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), a staple performance feature of the Acura brand, was fitted – and when driven with intent, it let the MDX feel lighter more agile and more rear-wheel driven that its size suggested.
Going top of the line? Look for an Elite Package, which included Adaptive Cruise Control and a Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), both of which utilize a radar system built into the front grille to ‘watch’ the area ahead of the vehicle. Blind Spot Monitoring was also included, as was an Active Damper System, which allowed the MDX’s suspension to be set between “Comfort” or “Sport” modes, depending on driver intention.
A Technology Package added features like a power tailgate, rearview camera, premium stereo system and navigation, too.
Other feature content included power memory seats in leather, steering wheel–mounted controls for audio, phone and cruise control, Bluetooth, a sunroof, xenon lights, heated mirrors and more.
What Owners Like: MDX owners typically rave about the promises of the Acura brand – namely reliability and residual value, as key purchase factors. A long list of features helped seal the deal. Most owners would agree that the MDX blends comfort and fun-to-drive dynamics nicely, and the audio system, interior layout and overall performance are typically commented upon positively. Plenty of onboard storage areas around the driver and smooth powertrain performance round out the package.
What Owners Dislike: Even on newer models, many owners are irked in needing to step up to an extra-cost package to get things like Bluetooth media streaming compatibility or a USB port, which many competitors offer as standard. This is inherently part of the MDX’s dated platform, which is another complaint. Some owners wish the MDX had curb appeal more on par with a BMW or Mercedes, and most wish for better fuel consumption – though this complaint is common in virtually all SUV models. Other complaints include poor rearward visibility and higher-than-expected levels of wind noise at speed. Some owners have reported whistling sunroof seals as the car ages, along with interior squeaks and rattles.
Here’s a list of owner reviews of the MDX: