2010 Acura MDX Review & Test Drive

‘PRECISION BROUGHT TO A HIGHER LEVEL’ – 2010 Acura MDX AWD w/Advanced, Entertainment Package

Acura is all about precision engineering but Acura is also known for advanced exterior styling, and an interior that pays special attention to detail with the latest in high-tech features only matched by more expensive European sport utility vehicles.

Acura’s all-new 2010 flagship MDX sport utility vehicle brings all that was lacking against the competition up to date.

The MDX features a fresh new exterior look, a revised powertrain with a 6-speed automatic, chassis refinements, more comfort, and improved technology along with the introduction of an all-new Advance Package option-making the class leading MDX even better.

Visually, the 7-passenger 2010 MDX gets more aggressive styling with the addition of the Acura signature design front grille, a new front fascia, revised hood, new side sills, a new rear fascia matched with rolled edge polished stainless-steel exhaust tips, revised taillights with brighter LED lights, new chrome trim pieces, and full-perimeter, blacked-out lower trim pieces that give the MDX a more menacing look, plus the optional 19X9in. 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin Latitude 255/50R19in. all-season radial tires that fill the flared fender forms.  The all-new MDX looks like it was carved out of a solid block of metal.

Inside, new attention to detail and added luxury further distinguishes the MDX interior.  Expanded use of Milano premium leather to the Technology option package, improved look and feel of interior trim materials, relocated front seat headrests for improved comfort, more detailed leather stitching, thicker steering wheel grip, easier to understand button placement for the center stack functions, new gauges, increased use of LED interior lighting and revised cockpit controls make it clear that MDX is focused on you the driver-but not at the expense of passenger comfort.

The power driver seat adjusts 10-ways for optimum comfort and the front passenger seat is 8-way power adjustable.  Each seat also offers excellent lateral support when slicing through curving roads.  The second-row outboard seats mirror the style and lateral support of the front seats, giving the interior a unique feel that highlights the MDX’s blend of sport and utility.  Convenience and car features abound, including under-floor storage in the rear cargo area and a standard power-operated rear tailgate.  There are multiple configurations of the MDX’s three rows of seating thus enabling a maximum useable cargo volume of 83.5cu.ft.  additionally, a load flat floor is available when the second and third row seats are folded down.

The MDX offers a formable list of standard equipment including items such as a leather trimmed interior, power moonroof, power windows/door locks, leather-wrapped, power tilt/telescoping, multi-function steering wheel, a Multi-Information Display that allows access to multiple electronic functions, a tri-zone climate control system with humidity control and Bluetooth Hands-Free Link wireless telephone interface.  For 2010, now standard are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated rear view camera screen and LED backlit instrumentation.  Also standard is an 8-speaker, 253-watt Acura Premium Sound System that features an AM-FM tuner, in-dash 6-dics CD changer, WMA player, MP3 capability, XM radio and an auxiliary jack for connecting personal audio devices.  More standard equipment not mentioned above includes rain-sensing wipers, rear wiper/washer, grab handles above each door, dual map lamps, lighted vanity mirrors, thick front/rear floor mats, storage slots in each door, dual cupholders, large storage bin with a 120-volt and 12-volt plug, dual cargo lamps in the rear hatch, rear tie-downs, aluminum kick plates at each door bottom, pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders, and two-driver memory.

The available Technology Package adds a range advanced features designed to offer drivers increased connectivity to the world around them along with added driving enjoyment.  In addition to using luxurious full-grain Milano premium leather for the seating surfaces, the Technology Package includes items such as the Maintainance Minder System.  The Technology Package’s Acura Navigation system with Voice Recognition system uses a new 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display positioned high up and inside the center of the instrument panel where it is close to your line of sight.  A new rearview camera system offers three different rear view angles-normal rear view, wide angle and a tow-friendly top view.

With data now stored on a built-in 60GB hard disc drive media storage device, the navigation system now boots up and operates much faster.  The navigation system includes AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with a new Traffic Rerouting features that can display up-to-the-minute traffic information including freeway flow, incident, construction and weather incidents in 77 major metropolitan areas.

New for 2010 is AcuraLink Real-Time Weather that includes weather radar image maps.  The Technology Package also includes GPS-linked, solar-sensing tri-zone climate control system that automatically adjusts the temperature and fan speed according to the position of the sun.

A popular aspect of the Technology Package is Acura’s renowned Acura/ELS Surround 10-speaker Premium system featuring a 410-watt digital sound processor amplifier along with a built-in 15-gigabit hard disc drive media storage system that allows the MDX owner to download and store about 3,500 songs for later playback.  The Acura/ELS surround premium audio system offers DVD-audio, DTS, CD, AM-FM radio, XM radio with Note function music reminder, Bluetooth audio, along with USB port and AUX jack connectivity.

Rich with luxury, comfort, and technology upgrades for the 2010 MDX is a new Advance Package that replaces and goes beyond the previously available Sport Package.  Building on the items in the Technology Package, the Advance Package adds ventilated front seats with specially contoured seat foam covered by perforated Milano premium leather, a sport steering wheel with unique design racing-inspired paddle shifters on the steering wheel and textured metallic interior accents.  The Advance Package also includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot information system (BSI), located on the ‘A’ pillar, and Active Damper system.

In addition, the Advance Package also adds 19X9in. 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, Michelin tires and auto-leveling HID headlights.  Standard are 18X8in. aluminum alloy wheels shod with Bridgestone Dueler 255/55R18in. tires.

An optional Entertainment Package includes a new Rear Entertainment system complete with a DVD player, power folding 9-inch full VGA color screen (with 400% improved resolution), dual wireless headphones, a wireless illuminated remote control and 115-volt plug located in the center console.  Rear heated seats are also an option.

When I was driving the all-new MDX I felt as if I was piloting a new private jet with all of the high-grade interior amenities, comfort, control found in these multi-million dollar jet aircraft.

The fun and enjoyment you’ll experience behind the wheel begins when you turn the ignition switch on.  That starts the new 3.7 liter VTEC V6 engine.  It continues Acura’s long standing mission to provide V8 level power and torque while retaining the size and fuel economy of a V6.  based on the MDX’s previous powerplant, the newly refined 3.7 liter V6 develops 300hp 6,00rpm and 270lb.ft. of torque at 4,500rpm to provide immediate throttle response, outstanding low-and-mid-range torque and excellent high-rpm power.  to widen the powerband while simultaneously improving fuel efficiency, the new 3.7 liter engine has the patented Variable Valve Time and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system applied to the intake valves, revised high-lift camshaft specs during VTEC operation, a computer controlled dual-stage induction system and an electronic Drive-By-Wire throttle system.  Internally, the 3.7 liter V6 makes use of special heavy-duty components including a more rigid cylinder block, high-strength crankshaft, heavy-duty connecting rods, high-compression ratio pistons, cylinder heads with improved cooling, new intake valve springs, new EGR system, unique long-reach spark plugs, and a larger throttle body.  EPA estimated city/highway fuel mileage of 16/21 mpg and a large 21-gallon fuel tank mean the MDX is perfect for long drives.  This potent, high-revving engine is precision personified.  It quickly reaches its 8,000rpm redline for quick launches and perfectly quiet high-speed driving on the highway.

The 3.7 liter V6 is coupled with a brand-new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission along with a new multi-clutch torque converter.  With comparatively ‘short’ gearing in the first five forward gears, acceleration is enhanced, while fuel efficiency with quiet cruising are optimized with a relaxed six-gear ratio.  The transmission offers two automatic shift modes, or can be operated manually via race-inspired steering wheel paddle shifters that are fun and easy to use.  Grade Logic Control, Shift Hold Control, Cornering G Shift Control and Hill Start Assist make the new 6-speed the most advanced automatic transmission ever offered by Acura.  To support the MDX’s 5,000lb. towing capacity, a special front-mounted transmission fluid cooler is employed.  It is good to see that Acura has caught up with the competition by bringing a new 6-speed with paddle shifters for added excitement to the fore.

The 275lb.ft. of twist torque is put to the ground via Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which is Acura’s innovative full-time all-wheel-drive system that uses torque vectoring to actively distribute the optimum amount of power not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels.  with torque vectoring (and by selectively overdriving the outside rear wheel while cornering) the yaw moment of the MDX can be controlled throughout a turn as the SH-AWD system reduces understeer to greatly enhance handling precision and ultimate cornering ability.  Working in conjunction with the MDX’s standard Vehicle Stability Control Assist (VSA) with traction control, SH-AWD provides enhanced power delivery and driver control whether it be on-road or off-road, dry, rain, snow or ice.  It is seamless and you never know it is working.  When entering a steep turn, you feel like you are riding on rails because the transition is so smooth and you just whip around to the farthest point of adhesion of the grip of the Michelin tires.  Off-road the wheels turn with added thrust as you go up a dirt hill, or travel over rutted trails.

When towing, special Trailer Stability Assist algorithms built into the VSA logic help stabilize the vehicle after sensing oscillations of the vehicle or trailer.  The MDX’s SH-AWD system is further enhanced with hill logic that automatically adjusts the front/rear torque distribution based on the incline of the hill grades.

The chassis and fully independent suspension are up to the task of managing the stiff body when traveling in all different situations.  MDX engineers targeted the world-class dynamics and driving feel of the top European SUV competitors.  This led to the development of a long wheelbase platform and a sophisticated suspension system tuned at Germany’s famed Nurburgring race circuit.

The MDX’s 4-wheel fully-independent suspension makes use of MacPherson struts in front teamed with a multi-link rear suspension design that is mounted to a rigid unit body structure with isolated subframes.  The front suspension also uses unique hydro-compliance bushings that provide superior ride isolation and chassis vibration control.  The rear suspension features aluminum-alloy uprights to reduce unsprung weight for improved response, while special trailing-arm mounting points reduce body squat during acceleration.  The new MDX also uses stiffer rear trailing arm mounts, incorporates body rigidity improvements and delivers reduced overall NVH.

As part of the optional Advance Package, the Active Damper System gives the new 2010 MDX an elevated level of handling precision designed to satisfy the most discriminating drivers-all while maintaining a smooth ride.  The MDX’s Active Damper System features a new algorithm which provides two driver-selectable settings, comfort or sport, by pushing a button on the center console, that tailor the suspension dampers for a more comfortable or more sporty response during your drive.  A 24mm solid stabilizer bar up front and a 27.2mm rear hollow stabilizer further decrease body lean when attacking curving roads.

Using ‘Active’ Magneto-Rheological fluid dampers and predictive computer algorithms, the MDX’s Active Damper System can respond in as little as five milliseconds to individually adjust the damping force of the shock absorbers ahead of actual body movements to provide improved transient handling, road isolation and body control.

This system is the ‘state-of-the-art’ in suspension technology right now and can be found in the most extreme sports cars from America, Europe and Asia.  It makes the MDX behave the way you want it to respond to the road surface, any time, any place, any hard surface.

Quickly stopping the MDX down from speed are large, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes.  Up front are 13in. ventilated discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, while the 13.2in. solid discs are clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS, EBD and BA help with your directional control during severe braking maneuvers and when you need more brake force.

The new 2010 MDX is the complete package with Acura’s signature aggressive styling, state-of-the-art interior, a powerful engine mated to a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, a ‘state-of-the-art’ all-wheel drive system, and the latest in suspension geometry and technology.

Acura didn’t forget to keep all seven-passengers safe in the event of a collision with a full compliment of safety systems such as Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure.  ACE employs a network of front frame structures that work to absorb and more evenly distributes collision forces throughout the vehicle and also helps maintain the integrity of the passenger cabin in the event of a frontal collision.  A special frame member located below the MDX’s front bumper is designed to engage the front bumper of a lower vehicle, allowing the bumper systems of both vehicles to attenuate crash energy more efficiently.

Numerous standard ‘active safety’ features that help the MDX driver reduce the risk of a collision include Vehicle Stability Assist, along with an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.  An additional active safety feature included in the optional Advance Package is the Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS) which helps the driver reduce the likelihood of a collision by alerting the driver to potential collision situations and activating the brakes if the system determines a collision likely is unavoidable.  VSA has been retuned for the all-new 2010 MDX to deliver 10% improvement in performance during hard acceleration on slippery surfaces.

Also included inside is the latest dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbags for driver and front passenger.  There are also knee bolsters, front seatbelts with automatic tensioning with integrated load limiters, side airbags up front along with side curtain airbags (with rollover sensor), for all outboard passengers, active head restraints, and LATCH child seat anchors in the second-row seats.

The all-new 2010 is one of the most technologically advanced performance luxury sport utility vehicles on the market.  Just road test one if you are looking for the best of everything that a sport utility vehicle has to offer.



Price: Base MDX: $42,230 AWD w/Advance, Entertainment Package Base: $53,755 As-Tested: $53,755
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 191.6 in.
Width: 78.5 in.
Height: 68.2 in.
Wheel Base: 108.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 8.2 in.
Curb Weight: 4627 lbs.

Front Head Room: 39.2 in.
Front Hip Room: 59 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 61.6 in.
Rear Head Room: 38.6 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 61.5 in.
Rear Hip Room: 59.1 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.2 in.
Rear Leg Room: 38.7 in.
Luggage Capacity: 15 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 84 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 7

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3.7 liters
Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 300 hp
Max Horsepower: 6300 rpm
Torque: 270 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4500 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 5000 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 37.6 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 21 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 16 mpg / 21 mpg / 18 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 336 mi. / 441 mi. / 378 mi.