I've always liked driving Acura’s. There's
something about the way they mix precision, comfort and value that makes
them a perfect compromise - a step above ordinary cars, but not so
expensive and outlandish as to make you feel guilty.
After updating the
MDX's body style in 2004, Acura turned its attention to the interior
this year, where several new features are offered as standard equipment.
Outside, the Acura MDX looks like many other SUVs, with a clean,
aggressive body wrapped around a big, boxy cargo area. Its refinement
and quality beneath the surface are what really set it apart, though.
Of course, some people
say Acura’s are nothing but overpriced Honda’s. I say that's rubbish.
It's like calling a Porsche an overpriced Volkswagen or a Mercedes an
overpriced taxicab with leather seats. Anybody who's driven the two
knows there's a big difference.
Acura's mid-size SUV
has all the plebian trappings of an ordinary SUV, at least on the
surface. It's got seven seats, a healthy size cargo area, good-looking
body and smooth ride - the same basic features families have demanded
for a decade. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking here, as a
zillion other SUVs offer a similar look and layout.
But what hides just
beneath the surface makes the Acura more appealing than its competition.
For starters, the way it drives inspires more confidence on the road
than almost any SUV, except for the hyper-performing Porsche Cayenne and
BMW X5, both of which cost a whole lot more than the Acura.
Like the German
super-haulers, the MDX was clearly designed more for high-speed
performance than off-road toughness. It hugs the road in corners,
sticking to the asphalt better than its beefy size and tall profile
would suggest, and its independent suspension seems almost sporty in its
quick response and car-like manners. It's very predictable, lacking the
bounciness and uncomfortable swaying that make many SUVs feel awkward in
It's really fun - at
least as much fun as you could expect an SUV to be - thanks to its good,
solid brakes and precise steering, both of which build the driver's
confidence. You're tempted to push it harder than most SUVs, relying on
later braking and more nimble lane changes than you ever would in, say,
a Ford Explorer. In fact, the entire vehicle has a feeling of solidity
and quality that's hard to find in the competition. It's built like a
tank, but it's still light on its feet.
This sense of quality
and precision is also evident in the cabin, where tight fitting panels,
solid-feeling knobs and soft, supple materials emphasize the fact that
this SUV is engineered and built to a higher standard. There's nothing
too flashy or ostentatious - no huge swathes of chrome or Bentley-like
expanses of wood trim - but it seems upscale at the same time, just
enough to make you feel comfortable without getting that "I pitty the
little people" sensation of a super-high-end luxury car. It's a good,
reasonable balance between practicality and opulence.
For 2005 the interior
changes include making XM Satellite Radio standard on all models and
making the optional navigation system faster and more comprehensive.
Plus models equipped with the rear-seat DVD player now come with an
in-dash, six-disc CD changer as opposed to the under-seat changer with
A 3.5-liter V6 engine
makes 265 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque in the MDX, enough for
quick acceleration and medium-duty towing (up to 3,500 pounds for
The engine feels like a
V8 in many ways, offering plenty of low-end power and a strong grunt off
the line, but it revs smoother and gets better gas mileage than its V8
counterparts. It's a terrific engine, one that feels especially refined
thanks to a five-speed automatic transmission.
As far as value is
concerned, the MDX, like all Acura’s, come standard with lots of goodies
and has a very short option list. It starts at $36,900 and maxes out
around $44,000 for a fully loaded touring model with a DVD player and
navigation system, which isn't bad at all for such high quality and so
You can spend a lot
more money and get a slightly better SUV, or you can spend a little less
money and get a much worse SUV. But no other sport-utility hits the
sweet spot between value and luxury like this Acura.
Why buy it? It's a
great value for the money, offering superb engineering, terrific comfort
and upscale style without totally breaking the bank. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Acura Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
combines quality, comfort and value
2005 Acura MDX
The 2005 Acura MDX
Acura Internet Media
2005 - 44
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2005 Acura MDX