The Acura MDX, or Honda MDX as known in Japan and Australia (only the first generation was imported), is a mid-size three-row luxury crossover, produced by the Japanese automaker Honda under its Acura luxury nameplate since 2000. The alphanumeric moniker stands for "Multi-Dimensional luxury". According to Honda, the MDX is the best-selling three-row luxury crossover of all time, with cumulative U.S. sales expected to surpass 700,000 units before the end of 2014. It has ranked as the second-best selling luxury crossover after the Lexus RX, which offers only two rows of seats.
The MDX was the first crossover SUV to have third-row seating, and shares a platform with the Honda Pilot. The Pilot seats eight, while the MDX seats seven, with two seating positions in the third row. The MDX was introduced as a 2001 model, replacing the slow-selling U.S.-only body-on-frame SLX, based on the Isuzu Trooper. In Japan, it filled a gap when the Honda Horizon (also based on the Trooper) was discontinued in 1999. In 2003, the Honda MDX went on sale in Japan and Australia. The MDX has been the most expensive crossover in Acura's lineup, except for the 2009-13 model years when Acura added a crossover to slot above the MDX, called the ZDX.
Derived from Honda's Global mid-size platform which underpins cars like the Honda Accord, Acura TL, TSX and Odyssey, it is powered by a J35A3 3.5 L SOHC 24 valve V6 with VTEC. 2001-2002 3.5 V6 models produce 240 hp (180 kW) and 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) of torque from 3000 to 5000 rpm. 2003-2006 3471 cc (3.5 in x 3.6 in) model engine produces 265 hp (198 kW) and 253 lb·ft (343 N·m) . Curb weight is 4,451 lb (2,019 kg), with a 106.3 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and 8 in (200 mm) of ground clearance. The cargo floor can flip up to provide two additional seats. The vehicle is designed to hold 7 passengers, but the third row seats are small and only seat two, in contrast to the Odyssey and Pilot whose third row holds three passengers.
The vehicle features an automatic four wheel drive system (named VTM-4) that engages during off the line acceleration as well as when wheel slippage is detected. Additionally, the system offers a lock mode which can be activated and operated at low speeds and provides permanent 4wd and the equivalent of a locked rear differential; designed for climbing steep hills and getting out of stuck situations. To reduce drivetrain noise and increase fuel efficiency, the system runs as front wheel drive during normal cruising. The VTM-4 AWD system in the MDX is identical to the VTM-4 systems in the Honda Pilot and Honda Ridgeline. It is different than the real time AWD system in the Honda CR-V in that it can lock and it attempts to predict when traction will be lost and apply power to all four wheels before slippage occurs (by monitoring throttle inputs). The Honda CR-V system waits for slippage to occur and then sends power back.
The navigation system and DVD entertainment system options were mutually exclusive in the 2002 model. Both could be ordered at the same time since the 2003 model. The navigation option comes with a rear view video camera since the 2003 model. Since 2005 the navigation system featured information from Zagat about restaurants and other points of interest. The 2003 model was rated as Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates 23 mpg‑US (10 L/100 km; 28 mpg‑imp) highway and 17 mpg‑US (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg‑imp) city.
In the 2003 model, the engine was improved to produce 20 hp (15 kW) more power than the 2002 model and wheel designs were updated. The 2004 model received an additional 5 hp (4 kW). The 2004 model is credited for a top speed of 137 mph, and a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds. The 2004 model features dual tail pipes instead of the single pipe in earlier models, side curtain airbags, new head lights and tail lights, and new wheels. Some chrome trimmings on the 2004 model use matte finish to distinguish from the polished shiny finish on earlier models. Little changed for the MDX during the 2006 model year with a few minor revisions to the vehicle's chrome and faux wood interior trim which could now be had with a dark grey wood (as opposed to reddish wood on earlier models), and also a black dash and steering wheel in tan interiors.
On April 11, 2006, Acura unveiled the 2007 Acura MD-X Concept during the New York International Auto Show, showing to the public an indication about the exterior styling of the upcoming completely redesigned MDX. The second-generation MDX was released on October 17, 2006 in the U.S.
The second generation model's body has a wider track and longer wheelbase than the previous MDX, but visibility to the rear has worsened from the prior generation. The redesigned Acura MDX's unit-body was engineered with Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure designed to absorb energy from a collision. The suspension was tuned at Germany's Nürburgring race track. The engine was upgraded to a 3.7 liter V6 tuned for 300 hp (224 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 270 lb·ft (366 N·m) of torque at 5,000 rpm. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and is estimated by the EPA to consume 16 miles per US gallon (15 L/100 km; 19 mpg‑imp) in the city and 21 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg‑imp) on the highway. It is one of the most powerful engines Honda has produced to date. The "VTM-4" all-wheel drive system on the previous generation was replaced by the new SH-AWD "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" previously debuted on the 2005 Acura RL. This AWD system is one of the most advanced in its class, featuring an active rear differential often found on high performance cars. The MDX is able to tow 5,000 lb (2,300 kg).
Like all Acuras, the MDX comes with a high level of standard equipment, including a power moonroof, leather interior, and high intensity discharge (Xenon) low beam headlights. For the 2007 through 2009 model years, three option packages were available: Sport, Technology and Entertainment.The Technology Package includes the Acura/Alpine DVD-based satellite GPS navigation system with AcuraLink satellite communications with real-time traffic reporting (XM NavTraffic), a 410-watt Acura/ELS DTS Surround audio system with XM Satellite Radio, rearview camera, and a remote powered liftgate, operated either from the key's remote, inside the car or directly from the lift gate.
The Sport Package featured active suspension dampers (co-developed by Honda and Beijing West Industries) that dynamically improves handling according to road conditions with a button in the center stack to switch to Sport/Comfort modes. This Comfort/Sport mode uses magneto rheological dampers, which change their characteristics when a magnetic field is introduced (usually in milliseconds). The Sport package also includes unique 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, perforated leather seats and the items in the Technology package.
The Entertainment Package offers a flip-down 9-inch (230 mm) LCD screen with 2 wireless Dolby Digital headphones, second-row heated outboard seats, and a unique center-stack silver trim. The Entertainment Package is only available on Sport or Technology Package models as compared to the 1st Generation MDX where the Entertainment Package was available as a standalone package on Touring Models.
All Canadian Acura MDX models, aside from the heated front seats, also get the second-row heated outboard seats as standard equipment as well. A feature unique to Canadian MDX models are headlight washers. In terms of packages, Canadian MDX models get only two: Technology and Elite. The Technology package corresponds essentially to the US model's Technology package while the Elite package is an amalgamation of the US model's Sport and Entertainment packages. However, AcuraLink real-time traffic reporting through XM NavTraffic is unavailable for Canadian MDX models.
Like the first generation model, the new generation is manufactured exclusively by Honda of Canada Manufacturing Ltd. in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. But along with the 2007 RDX, the new MDX was the first Acura model to pass the Acura Quality Line, a special quality control and verification process separate from the other Honda vehicles.
For 2008 the MDX received a new auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 2009 MDX had added more upgrades to the navigation system and there are two new colors added. The power tailgate, previously available only with the Entertainment package, is now included with Technology and Sport packages.
In 2010, the MDX received a facelift adopting to Acura's new "Power Plenum" grille that debuted on its 2009 model year sedans. The most important upgrades to the 2010 model where a new paddle shift 6-speed SportShift automatic transmission with downshift Rev-matching, and an increased in compression ratio to 11.2:1 with forged aluminum pistons to replace the previous 2007-2009 3.7L's 11.0:1 pistons. An Advance package became available that included Adaptive Cruise Control, blind spot monitor, Active Damper Suspension, Collision mitigation braking system, wider 7-spoked 19 inch wheels and tires, Premium Milano leather ventilated seats and auto leveling headlights. Non-navigation equipped MDX models now have a rear view camera monitor located in the rear view mirror.
The redesigned MDX overtook the TL as Acura's top seller in the United States.
The 2014 MDX Prototype was unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, the production version was revealed at the New York Auto Show. Production began in May 2013; vehicle assembly shifted from Ontario, Canada to Lincoln, Alabama. US sales began in June.
The MDX is now powered by a 3.5-liter direct injected Earth Dreams V6 with Variable Cylinder Management. A front-wheel drive (FWD) model is available for the first time in the United States, but not in Canada, where all-wheel drive is the only configuration offered. EPA-estimated fuel economy is improved with all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) models rated at 18/27/21 mpg (city/highway/combined) and FWD models rated at 20/28/23 mpg.
The interior reduced button clutter by adding a 7-inch touchscreen with haptic feedback, an additional 8-inch screen is also standard. To reduce interior noise an acoustic (PVB layered) windshield, acoustic front door glass and thicker rear glass are used as well as triple sealed door openings. Advance package models include further noise reduction using a thicker carpet base layer and front fender liners. The seating H-point has been reduced and the steering gear ratio is 9% quicker for a more sporty feel. The MDX rides lower reducing its center of gravity.
According to Acura the exterior is more aerodynamic reducing drag by 16% with the new model lapping Nürburgring 8 seconds faster than its predecessor. The headlights are Acura's Jewel Eye LED Headlights (first introduced on the RLX). Each headlamp uses five separate LED sources with three used for low-beam lighting and two for high-beam lighting. LED bumper mounted fog lamps are offered as a dealer installed option.
Structure rigidity is improved and weight reduced through increased use of high-strength steel. Overall, 64% of the total vehicle body mass is high strength steel (HSS), aluminum and magnesium. HSS makes up 59% of vehicle body mass; 1,500 MPa yield strength steel makes up 7%. A single ring-like hot stamped HSS component reinforces the A-pillar, roof rail, B-pillar, and lower floor rail encircling the front doors for improved crash protection. Acura states that after conducting a simulated IIHS 25% small offset frontal crash test the front doors will open with normal force.
In terms of safety the MDX adds a standard driver's knee airbag, optional Lane Keeping Assist System and Collision Mitigation Braking System. The Adaptive Cruise Control now comes with stop and go functionality.
On August 19, 2013, the 2014 MDX was in a comparison test by Edmunds with the 2013 Lexus RX and 2014 Infiniti QX60. The MDX beat out its competition with the RX in 3rd and QX60 in 2nd. Edmunds said "The 2014 Acura MDX just had too many 'bests' to be denied: the best handling, the best front seats, the quickest acceleration, the largest max cargo capacity and the potential for the best fuel economy. And without question, it's the driver's SUV of the trio."1 vehicle structure rated "Good"
2 strength-to-weight ratio: 5.87
For the 2017 model year the refreshed MDX features a diamond pentagon front grille which debuted on the Acura Precision Concept, redesigned LED headlamps with automatic on/off high beams, LED DRL light pipe and LED amber light pipe turn signals. All MDX models will come standard with AcuraWatch which includes forward collision warning (with automatic emergency braking), lane departure warning (with lane keep assist), and Adaptive Cruise Control.
A 3.0-liter V6, 7-speed dual-clutch hybrid was added to the lineup, the rear wheels are powered by twin electric motors and lithium-ion battery, and the hybrid is only available in all-wheel drive, while the regular variant of the 2017 Acura MDX began sales in Summer 2016, the hybrid will debut and begin sales in Spring 2017 (March 2017).
As part of 2014 Acura MDX launch in the United States, a campaign called 'The Extremely New MDX - Made for Mankind' was produced. The campaign highlights the complete technical transformation of the MDX and centers around the idea of "Made for Mankind," a concept designed to highlight the unique engineering and design philosophy at the heart of all Acura vehicles - the synergy between man and machine. The campaign was developed by Mullen (Boston and LA) and with MediaVest. Also, a series of 8 comedic commercials were created with comedian Jerry Seinfeld and director Barry Sonnenfeld. In addition, Acura became an exclusive sponsor of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.The MDX won the North American Truck of the Year award for 2001.
The MDX was also Car and Driver magazine's Best Luxury SUV in 2001.
Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year in 2001.
The MDX also won the Top Safety Pick award for the 2007 model year.
The 2010 Acura MDX ranked #1 Luxury Midsize SUV by US News and World Report as of 2010