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We drive the 2013 Acura MDX

by Ali Arsham
Friday, July 19, 2013


2013 Acura MDX
The Acura MDX luxury performance SUV, considered by many as the benchmark of its class, was completely re-engineered in 2007 and since then it has received many improvements.  Today’s version is better in almost every way and it is a very sweet SUV to drive.  It has pretty much everything that the typical family would want in an affordable package.  But many cars sound good on paper, but we had to see if it was really that good.

The old MDX was a very good vehicle and a new version should be even better.  The exterior of the MDX is highlighted by the new Acura corporate grille which is just plain ugly.  Over the years it has been toned down but it is still a sore point on an otherwise good looking car.  So it is a rough start when the first thing you see makes you wish that the old car were back. 

I don’t know if Acura is trying to be different here but the grille has to go and is ruining the look of all of their models including the MDX.  Fortunately the rest of the MDX is very attractive with all of the right curves.  What is really amazing about the styling of the MDX is how it looks so small on the outside while it is so roomy on the inside.

2013 Acura MDX interior
Inside the MDX, you will find lots of room for seven adults in three rows.  Well almost.  The third row seat is fine for kids but is a tight fit for adults.  While adults will fit back there for short trips, you would not want to stick your grand parents back there.  It may take them a while to get there and they may not be able to get out.  But kids will be very happy back there so the seats are very useful.  The second row seats are very roomy and provide lots of legroom and headroom for adults.  The driver is faced with a very attractive dash design and everything is within easy reach. 

The MDX’s interior blends purposeful sport sedan intensity with the best elements of SUV utility.  Soft leather, supportive front bucket seats and a driver-oriented cockpit make it clear that the MDX is focused on the driver, without compromising passenger comfort.  There are multiple configurations of the MDX’s three rows of seating thus enabling a maximum useable cargo volume of 83.5 cubic feet.  Additionally, a flat floor is available when the second and third row seats are folded down for your cargo.

2013 Acura MDX interior
Inside the MDX has just about every feature that you would want.  These features include a Tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, Bluetooth wireless telephone interface, an 8-speaker, 253-watt sound system that features a 6-disc in-dash CD player that plays MP3 and WMA discs and an auxiliary jack for personal audio devices. 

Our test car featured the technology package and the entertainment package.  The technology package features a spectacular 410-watt, 10-speaker sound system with a 6-disc in dash changer that also plays DVD-Audio discs. 

The package also includes the terrific Acura navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic.  The fabulous system can display up-to-the-minute traffic information on major freeways.  The system uses a big knob in the center of the dash to control the action.  While the system is miles ahead of the systems used in many other cars, we do miss the touch screen of the older Acuras.  The 8-inch navigation screen also features a rear view camera.

The entertainment package focuses on enhancing passenger comfort and convenience.  A 9-inch flip-down color screen is the highlight of the system that can help keep kids quiet on those long trips and allows mom and dad to actually talk.  The audio signal plays in Dolby Digital surround sound through speakers and two wireless headphones and three audio jacks. The package also includes a 110-volt AC power inverter. 

Under the hood of the MDX is an all aluminum SOHC 3.7 liter V6 with 24 valves that puts out 300 hp and features a race car like 11:1 compression ratio.  The engine is mated to a six speed automatic transmission that is as smooth as good jazz music.  Having 300hp on hand is great but with 4500 pounds of vehicle to move around, the MDX is no sports car. 

While it does not feel slow, it just does not have the sharp feel of sports sedan and just feels heavy.  The MDX is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the freeway.  We barely got 20 mpg in our mixed driving which was painful.  Now in fairness the MDX gets better mileage than most other vehicles of its size.  But with gas going for over $4 per gallon, most families will be asking themselves if they need this much vehicle. 

2013 Acura MDX
If you do need a big vehicle that seats seven, has four wheel drive, and is full of high tech and luxury features, you can’t get much better than the MDX.  It is even five start rated in crash tests.  When we showed it to some car shoppers, and asked them to guess the price of the MDX they guessed much higher than the actual price of the MDX.  The MDX starts out at $43,000 which is quite a deal.  Our fully loaded tester was priced at $55,700 which was still $10,000 less than what most people estimated.  So you really do get a lot for your money but just make sure you really do need this much car.  There will be a new MDX coming out for 2014 which will probably be more expensive and have more gadgets.


Power and Performance

3.7L V-6 300 HP engine
6-spd Sequential SportShift transmission w/OD
130 amp alternator
550 amp battery with run down protection
Heavy duty radiator
Heavy duty transmission oil cooler
Axle Ratio
4.25 axle ratio
Fuel Tank
21.0 gal. fuel tank
Dual stainless steel exhaust with polished tailpipe finish


Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy City
16.0 mpg city fuel economy
Fuel Economy Hwy
21.0 mpg hwy fuel economy


Handling and Control

Automatic full-time Super Handling All-Wheel Drive all wheel drive
Permanent locking hubs
ABS & driveline traction control
Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability
Front strut suspension
Front anti-roll bar
Coil front springs
Multi-link rear suspension
Rear anti-roll bar
Coil rear springs
Rack & pinion steering
Heavy duty steering cooler
4-wheel disc brakes
Front vented disc brakes
Compact steel spare wheel/tire


Design and Dimensions

Front and rear mud flaps
Rear lip spoiler
2 skid plate(s)
Body-colored with metal-look insert front and rear bumpers
With chrome insert rear bumpers
Metal-look grille
Clearcoat monotone paint
Maximum Cargo Volume
83.5 cu.ft. maximum cargo volume
Exterior Length
191.6 " exterior length
Exterior Width
78.5 " exterior body width
Exterior Height
68.2 " exterior height
108 " wheelbase
Front Tread
68 " front tread
Rear Tread
68 " rear tread
Turning Radius
18.8 ' turning radius
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
5,952 lbs. GVWR
Front Gross Axle Weight Rating
2,888 lbs. front GAWR
Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating
3,175 lbs. rear GAWR
1,150 lbs. payload
Max Trailer Weight
5,000 lbs. towing capacity
Maximum GCWR
10,053 lbs. GCWR
Front Legroom
41.2 " front legroom
Rear Legroom
38.7 " rear legroom
Third Row Legroom
28.7 " 3rd row legroom
Front Headroom
39.2 " front headroom
Rear Headroom
38.6 " rear headroom
Third Row Headroom
35.8 " 3rd row headroom
Front Hiproom
59.0 " front hiproom
Rear Hiproom
59.1 " rear hiproom
Third Row Hiproom
42.0 " 3rd row hiproom
Front Shoulder Room
61.6 " front shoulder room
Rear Shoulder Room
61.5 " rear shoulder room
Third Row Shoulder Room
57.1 " 3rd row shoulder room
Passenger Volume
142 cu.ft. passenger volume
Interior Cargo Volume
15.0 cu.ft. interior cargo volume
Interior Cargo Volume w/Seats Folded
42.9 cu.ft. interior cargo volume w/seats folded


Standard Warranties and Ownership Benefits

Basic (mths/miles)
Powertrain (mths/miles)
Corrosion Perforation (mths/miles)
Roadside Assistance (mths/miles)
Accessories (mths/miles)


Active and Passive Safety

Side impact beams
Programmable headlamps with delay-off
Front fog/driving lights
4 door curb lights
Illuminated entry
Oil pressure warning
Battery warning
Low oil level warning
Lights on warning
Key warning
Low fuel warning
Low washer fluid warning
Door ajar warning
Trunk/liftgate ajar warning
Service interval warning
Brake fluid warning
Tire specific low tire pressure warning
Transmission fluid temp warning
4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS)
Daytime running lights
Center high mounted stop light
Driver and passenger airbags
Driver side impact airbags
Passenger side impact airbags
Curtain 1st, 2nd and 3rd row overhead airbag
Occupancy sensor
Front seatbelt pretensioners
Panic alarm
Security system


Comfort and Convenience

4 doors
Express open/close sunroof
Dual power remote w/tilt down heated mirrors
Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
Auto-dimming day-night rearview mirror
Seating capacity of 7
Front bucket seats
Driver and front passenger heated-cushion, driver heated-seatback
Adjustable front head restraints
Center front armrest
(8-way power) driver seat
(8-way power) front passenger seat
Rear 60-40 split-bench seats
Adjustable rear head restraints
Center rear armrests
50-50 split-bench 3rd row seats
Driver seat memory
Leather front seat trim
Leather door trim insert
Full cloth headliner
Carpet floor trim
Carpeted front & rear floor mats
Simulated wood instrument panel insert
Leather/metal-look gear shift knob
Lighted locking glove box
Dome light w/fade
Front & rear reading lights
Full floor console
Mini overhead console with storage
Front and rear cupholders
Interior concealed storage
2 seatback storage pockets
Dual door bins
Rear door bins
Cargo concealed storage
Carpeted cargo floor trim
Plastic trunk lid/rear cargo door trim
Cargo tie downs
Cargo light
Dual zone front air conditioning
Automatic air conditioning
Rear HVAC with separate controls
Air filter
Underseat ducts
Radio steering wheel controls
MP3 decoder
Radio theft deterrent
Concealed antenna
Cruise control with steering wheel controls
Power with 2 stage unlock door locks
Keyfob (all doors) remote keyless entry
Power trunk/hatch/door release
Power remote fuel flap release
Rear child safety door locks
3 12V DC power outlets
Trunk/hatch auto-latch
Driver foot rest
Retained accessory power
HomeLink Wireless Control System
Wireless phone connectivity
Engine temperature gauge
In-dash clock
Exterior temperature
Systems monitor
Trip computer
Trip odometer
Parking sensors
Leather/metal-look steering wheel
Power front windows
Power rear windows
Power rearmost windows
Driver and passenger 1-touch down
Deep tinted windows
Variable intermittent front windshield wipers
Speed sensitive wipers
Fixed interval rear windshield wiper
Sun visor strip
Rear defroster

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