2003 Acura MDX Reviews

2003 MDX New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Acura MDX offers an outstanding V6 powertrain, seven-passenger seating, and a standard four-wheel-drive system that prevents skids almost before they happen. Neat styling, attention to detail, and excellent crash protection adds to the attraction of the MDX. 

Introduced in 2001, MDX was named North American Truck of the Year by a group of 50 independent automotive journalists. Improvements for 2002 brought an even quieter ride. 

For 2003, Acura has further refined MDX, with significant upgrades to the engine, driveline, body, suspension, and steering. Acura's 'Next Generation' V6 boosts horsepower from 240 to 260 and reduces emissions while maintaining the same EPA-rated fuel economy. An all-new, more compact five-speed automatic transmission shifts even more smoothly than before. A new drive-by-wire throttle helps reduce shift shock and incorporates cruise control functions. And MDX's standard VTM-4 four-wheel drive system has been remapped to work seamlessly with a new Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system to improve performance on low-traction surfaces, and to enhance stability in all conditions. 

The already sturdy body of the MDX is 35 percent stiffer in torsion for 2003; this has allowed the suspension to be re-tuned for an even smoother ride. Refinements to the steering mechanism enhance feel and reduce kickback, while new dual-piston front brake calipers boost stopping power. Acura has updated MDX's optional navigation system with voice recognition, enhanced graphics, an expanded U.S. database and a rearview camera that engages when the transmission is in reverse. A DVD entertainment system with wireless infrared headphones is now available. 

Safety improvements include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags and additional front airbag sensors with new system control logic. 

Lineup

Acura offers the MDX in a single trim level, powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Refinements for 2003 make the MDX the first SUV to meet rigorous ULEV-2 emissions standards. 

MDX ($35,700) comes standard with a long list of luxury and convenience features: leather seating surfaces and leather door inserts; wood-patterned trim; keyless remote entry; power windows, door locks and mirrors; power tilt-and-slide moonroof; cruise control; seven-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo with in-dash CD player; power adjustable front seats; alloy wheels and a multi-function digital trip computer. 

An optional Touring package ($2600) adds a killer 200-watt, eight-speaker Acura/Bose music system with in-dash six-disc CD changer; a keyless remote linked to the two-position driver's seat and mirror memory system; eight-way adjustable passenger seat; roof rack; an outside mirror that tilts to track progress while backing up; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and special alloy wheels. 

Acura DVD Entertainment System ($1500) for rear-seat passengers adds a seven-inch widescreen display that flips down from the ceiling at the push of a button. The system comes complete with two infrared (IR) wireless headphones and a wireless remote control. 

The opional Navigation System ($2200) needs only one disc to cover the entire continental U.S. Enhancements for 2003 include voice recognition and upgraded graphics. A rearview camera has been added that transmits pictures from behind the vehicle onto the navigation screen when the MDX is in reverse gear. 

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