San Francisco: The
MDX, Acura’s first SUV, debuted in 2000 as a 2001 model. For 2007, it is
reborn. Other than the trademark caliper logo inside the pentagonal
grille, not much was carried over from the ’06.
Much like the
surprisingly avant-garde designs emanating out of sister division Honda,
Acura’s new cars are more aggressive, and, well, different. The first
MDX fit in nicely with the truckish look of the original SUVs, but in
the 21st century, we are switching rapidly to car-based crossovers,
which offer most if not all of the utility of an SUV but the comfortable
ride of a car.
Surprisingly free of
exterior chrome, the new MDX cuts a chiseled, solid pose, with a 30
percent larger grille up front wearing an unusual aluminum-look filler
panel. Is this based on the “grilles” worn on the teeth by popular
Hip Hop artists? The
headlamp areas are flush mounted and widen as they cross the front
fender corner and end in sharp points. Along the sides, generous
wheelwell bulges tie in to the historic SUV design template, while the
dropping roof and rear window line evoke crossover territory. At the
rear, the carved taillamps echo the look of the headlights.
Inside, you’ll see a
cockpit designed for an active driver. There’s more than a hint of BMW
and Mercedes in there, too. The boldly defined gauges sit inside jutting
cylinders stuffed into a binnacle that just fits inside the steering
wheel’s margins. A narrow-waisted, broad-shouldered center console
carries a fine array of neatly arranged buttons.
The same stylish
sharpness of the outside prevails, with trim stretching from the
dashboard onto the door panels with a flourish. Materials are top
quality and assembly is enviable from the Alliston, Ontario, Canada
plant. The door to dash panel gap seems a little excessive, the
sunvisors made a noise when I moved them, and I was surprised to find a
manual day/night mirror in a car with this price point. Nicest surprise:
There’s a small storage cabinet in the transmission tunnel for the front
seat passenger - with a sliding rolltop door.
The new MDX features
the most powerful normally aspirated engine in an SUV (crossover) in the
country. You get 300 rollicking horsepower out of a 3.7-liter V6. That’s
V8 power with V6 fuel economy - 17 City and 22 Highway per the EPA. I
averaged 15.5 mpg for my test week.
On the environmental
front, the MDX is rated as an ultra low emissions vehicle by CARB, the
California Air Resources Board. The EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide gives the
MDX a 7 for the Air Pollution Score and 4 for the Greenhouse Gas Score.
wanted to make sure that the ride and handling of their new baby was
competitive with the performance-oriented German companies, so they
tested the MDX on the legendary Nurburgring racetrack.
From my much more
modest jaunts along Northern California highways and around town, the
MDX was as entertaining as some sport sedans I’ve sampled.
The MDX can carry eight
people. I fit my 5-foot-11 son in the third-row seat, although he
reported a shortage of legroom. It should be fine for the under-10 set
on longer trips. The second and third row seats fold flat for 83.5 cubic
feet of cargo room.
You can upgrade an MDX
with three available packages: Technology, Sport and Entertainment. The
Technology package includes a killer 410-watt, 100-speaker stereo setup,
a navigation system with voice recognition, and rear-view camera. The
Entertainment package let’s second and third row passengers enjoy DVDs
with Dolby Digital surround sound. Also, the second row seats are
The Sport package
contains the Technology package but adds the Active Damper System, which
gives an incredibly controlled ride through many exquisite technical
methods that are completely hidden from the driver. I found a “Comfort”
button on the between-the-seat console that when I engaged it, it
quieted things down on rough roads.
The MDX bristles with
airbags and active safety features such as antilock brakes with
electronic brake distribution and brake assist. These increasingly
familiar safety advances let the car’s computer keep tabs and positively
affect the safety and traction of the vehicle.
The MDX provides Super
Handling All-Wheel Drive, abbreviated as SH-AWD on the tailgate. As
driving conditions require it, the system distributes torque front to
back and also side to side.
Acura MDXs start at
$39,995. You can add one or more packages to get the price up to
$47,795, like my Dark Cherry Pearl tester, which had the Sport and
Entertainment packages. Plan on adding $670 for delivery charges, and
you’re on your way.
When redesigning a
favorite vehicle, a company’s got to be sure to retain the loyal buyers
for upgrades while simultaneously trying to make the next generation
better than the past one. I’d say, “ Mission accomplished.”
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Acura Home Page
Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The MDX, Acura’s first SUV
Topic: The 2007 Acura MDX
Word Count: 869
Photo Caption: The 2007 Acura MDX
Photo Credits: Acura MDX Internet Media
2007 - 20
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2007 Acura MDX
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