2007 Acura MDX Road Test Review
MDX shines with high-tech all-wheel drive
NOTRE-DAME-DE-LA-MERCI, Quebec A handful of journalists were sliding around Mecaglisse, an ice-covered motorsports track about 90 miles north of Montreal, in Acuras redesigned MDX to explore the finer points of Acuras Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
The piles of waist-deep powder snow that surrounded the track were convenient bumpers that kept the car from sliding off the track should driver exuberance exceed the tires limit of traction. In this environment, Acuras all-wheel-drive system was demonstrably more stable than competing vehicles from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. A key reason is the systems ability to either speed up the outside rear wheel or reduce power to the inside rear wheel in a turn or skid. The technical term for this is torque vectoring, and Acuras all-wheel-drive system is the only one that currently uses this technology. Audi recently announced that it is adding a similar feature to its quattro drive.
The ability of SH-AWD to help the vehicle turn on slippery ice was reassuring as we negotiated the twists and turns of Mecaglisse. Enter a turn too fast, and SH-AWD works with the vehicles stability control to get you through a turn and pointed in the right direction, given the physical limits of adhesion. The ice track is essentially a slow-motion laboratory because the traction limits you explore at 20 miles per hour are the same that you would encounter on pavement at two or three times that speed.
Acura also has SH-AWD in its RL sedan and RDX compact SUV.
A nice side benefit of Acuras vehicle stability system is that it has special trailer-stability-assist algorithms built into it to help stabilize the vehicle after sensing oscillations of the vehicle and trailer.
This was the first time Id driven the second-generation MDX, and the highways north out of Montreal were an ideal place to get acquainted before wading onto the snow-covered ice track.
The muscular styling reflects the new models role. For 2007, Acura has taken its seven-passenger SUV down a decidedly sporty path. It now has a 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V-6, and an optional sport package contains an adjustable suspension that gives sports-sedan handling. Prices start at $39,995 for the base vehicle and $43,495 with the technology package that includes an amazing 10-speaker surround-sound stereo and a voice-activated navigation system. Add the sport package and its adjustable suspension and the base price jumps to $45,595.
A rear-seat entertainment DVD player, heated second-row seats and a power tailgate add $2,200.
Inside, the MDX is designed to reflect the general styling theme of the RL sedan. The instrument panel curves into the center console, accented by handsome wood trim. The gauges, with red needles that seem to float around the periphery, are set into large round pods. The steering wheel has fingertip controls for operating audio, cruise and navigation.
The MDXs on-road behavior is excellent. The tight suspension limits body roll as well as any feeling of top-heaviness. That gives the MDX the agility of a sports sedan without sacrificing the versatility of an SUV.
Seating for seven is standard. The 108.3-inch wheelbase is two inches longer than the 2006s. The added length gives more interior space, which is especially welcome when the third seat is in use.
Price: The base price of the test vehicle was $45,595. Destination charges brought the sticker price to $46,265.
Warranty: Four years or 50,000 miles, with a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty.