The MDX is nearing its sixth birthday, yet it remains Acura's best-selling SUV and is one of the company's most popular models altogether. What's the secret to its success? Packing a little bit of everything into a single package certainly doesn't hurt. There are plenty of three-row, seven-seat SUVs on the market, but few handle and perform quite as well as the MDX. It's not easy to make a 4500-pound machine handle like a smaller sedan, but Acura employs some technological magic to make it possible. The company's ubiquitous torque-shifting SH-AWD system certainly aids in cornering, but the available Integrated Dynamic System (IDS), which allows the driver to choose between two damper-stiffness settings, helps iron out body roll on twisty roads. The 3.7-liter V-6 provides sufficient power, while the smooth six-speed automatic transmission helps squeak out a few extra miles per gallon over the previous five-speed automatic. Acura's ZDX may feel (and look) slightly sportier, but the MDX has a tremendous advantage over its razor-edge sibling. With room for seven, a flexible cargo area, the ability to tow 5000 pounds, and the agility of a vehicle half its size, it's a more well-rounded option.
Trim level: MDX
Body style: SUV/crossover, 7-passenger
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 300 hp, 270 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 142.2 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 5000 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 15.0/42.9/83.5 cu ft
Interior and exterior color combinations are tweaked slightly for 2012, but little else changes. It’s been two years since Acura freshened the MDX’s exterior design and replaced the five-speed automatic with a six-speed gearbox.
Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front air bags, front side-impact air bags, side curtain air bags, ABS, traction control, and stability control are standard. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are included in the technology package. Blind-spot detection, radar-based cruise control, and a collision-mitigating automatic braking system are part of the advance package.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway
- Sensible yet sporty
- All-wheel drive
- Attractive, comfortable interior
You Won't Like
- Thirst for premium fuel
- Third row is a tight squeeze
A people mover that moves.
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW X5
- Buick Enclave
- Volvo XC90