The 2010 Acura MDX joins the rest of the Acura family through its most recent facelift that applies the company’s new exterior styling motif. Armed with a broad, welcoming grille and distinctive front air vents, this luxurious midsize utility vehicle is upright, brawny-looking and capable with an image that projects strength.
Based on roughly the same platform as Acura’s comfortable sedans, the MDX is meant to capture buyers who require excellent interior room, but don’t want to step up to a full-fledged, truck-derived sport utility vehicle. As a luxury crossover, the MDX’s ride quality borders on that of the TSX or TL, never transmitting too many bumps through the vehicle’s adaptive dampening system while at the same time avoiding the numbing sensation that some crossovers engender by over-insulating the driver from the road. Although large in stature, the MDX is always easily manageable, bearing its stature with remarkable grace.
A portion of the MDX’s well-behaved mannerisms is derived from the mechanical upgrades that have accompanied its styling tweaks. In addition to the adaptive magnetic suspension newly fitted to the vehicle’s chassis, much of the undercarriage and body have been stiffened in order to prevent sway and twisting under load. Nineteen-inch wheels are now standard equipment as is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). Not only does SH-AWD provide excellent grip during inclement weather, it also actively manages the vehicle’s power in order to prevent wheel spin. This keeps as much grunt planted on the pavement as possible while the crossover is being put through its paces.
Acura has stated that the MDX’s 3.7-liter V6 has been refined in order to increase not just full-throttle performance, but also fuel efficiency. Variable valve timing helps the powerplant to produce 300 hp along with 270 lb/ft of grin-inducing torque. The engine also benefits from a strengthened block and improved breathing and cooling. All new for 2010 is the inclusion of a six-speed automatic transmission that makes use of markedly shorter ratios than the outgoing five-speed unit in order to get the MDX up to speed at a quicker pace. Paddleshifters on the steering wheel also offer the ability to skip a gear when downshifting by double tapping, a feature not available on the ’09 model. In addition to its improved throttle response and real world driving characteristics, the 2010 Acura MDX also sips fuel at a lower rate than before. Mileage estimates from the EPA come in at 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
With seating for seven and up to 83.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the MDX is certainly a capable people and gear mover, one which wouldn’t be out of place parked on the sidelines of a local youth soccer game or taking a truckload of friends along for a night out on the town. Acura has paid special attention to the vehicle’s interior with an eye toward moving the crossover in an even more upscale direction. Both front seats offer extensive power adjustment along with the option of Milano leather, which adds a layer of exclusivity to the MDX experience. LED lighting has largely replaced standard incandescent bulbs throughout the passenger’s compartment, resulting in a softer and easier to adjust to style of illumination that doesn’t sacrifice any brightness. A power moonroof, three zones of climate control and a rearview camera are standard equipment as is a premium sound system. Acura also offers a Technology Package designed to satisfy even the most demanding gadget addicts. It features a voice-activated navigation system and a hard drive built into the entertainment system, which can store up to 60GB of media files.
As with all Acura vehicles, the MDX puts a priority on safety. In addition to its energy-diffusing frame structure, the crossover also includes Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), a collision detection feature that can arm interior safety systems prior to an accident and a full range of dual-stage front and side airbags. Structural integrity of the MDX also greatly surpasses that required by current government standards.
The 2010 Acura MDX is an intriguing luxury crossover option for individuals or families interested in a vehicle that blurs the distinction between capability and comfort. Its overall competence and elegantly engineered details work quickly to convert traditional sedan drivers into ardent MDX fans.