2007 MDX New Car Test Drive
The Acura MDX is all-new for 2007. It's larger then the previous model and has been improved in every area. That's saying something given that the first-generation MDX (2001-2006) had a unique combination of style, design, utility, and a rock-solid powertrain with both good power and good fuel economy that made it very popular among mid-size luxury SUVs. It sold in record numbers right to the end and was the second-best-selling Acura model (after the TL sports sedan).
The all-new 2007 Acura MDX is built on a proper truck platform, and is not an adaptation of the Accord passenger car platform. It doesn't look larger than last year's MDX, but it is in fact several inches longer and wider. That makes it among the largest vehicles of its type. It offers more space for folks and flotsam inside, totaling almost 143 cubic feet. From its wild new grille to its elaborately stylish cat's-eye headlamps to its huge new taillamps, it's got a more muscular look compared to the original, especially in the areas around the tires. Sporty styling cues include the big, fat dual exhaust tips that look like they belong on a V8, and the hefty five-spoke alloy wheels. Even the Acura badge in the grille has been changed, and is now twice as big as it once was.
The seats are laid out in three rows of two, offering seating for up to seven people. The 10-way driver and 8-way front passenger power seats allow huge adjustment latitude for long-distance comfort.
The new MDX is physically stronger than the previous model, with a more rigid structure that's much more resistant to twisting and bending, beneficial for ride and handling as well as tightness as the vehicle ages.
Powertrain improvements include a larger, more powerful V6 engine, combined with a five-speed manual-shift automatic transmission. The completely updated exterior appearance, which is sportier still than the original, will make it easy to spot the new one. Inside, there is a completely new approach to SUV interior design, a more organic, unified presentation of instruments and controls, a more involving scheme for the driver that should be appreciated by moms and dads alike.
We found the MDX quiet and quick, with nicely weighted steering. The active damper system that comes on the Sport model makes driving the MDX more fun, with a flatter ride and less body roll in the corners. The driver can select between sport and comfort modes for sharper handling or a softer ride. The navigation system, satellite radio, iPod input jack and Bluetooth phone synching make it easy and fun to go down the road.
Acura says the new MDX competes with the BMW X5, the Volvo XC90, the Lexus RX 330, the Mercedes-Benz ML350, as well as the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali. Acura hopes the new MDX will appeal to women who want a sports car but need an SUV.
The 2007 Acura MDX ($39,995) offers three major options packages, two of which are positioned as models.
With the Technology package ($43,495), the MDX gets Acura's wonderful voice-activated navigation system, this time out with Zagat reviews and ratings embedded, a rearview camera, AcuraLink satellite communications with real-time traffic data, a 410-watt ELS surround sound system with 6CD changer and 10 speakers, wireless telephone equipment, and three-zone automatic air conditioning.
The Sport package ($45,595) includes the Techology package and adds Delphi active-damping magnetic rheological shock absorbers, perforated leather interior trim, alloy wheels, and self-leveling HID headlamps.
The Entertainment package ($2,200), available with either the Technology or Sport packages, adds a DVD rear entertainment system, heated second-row seats, a power tailgate, and a 110-volt power point in the front console.
Safety equipment on the new MDX is as complete a package as there is in the industry. The front bucket seats each have two-stage air bags and active head restraints, two-stage driver and front passenger knee bolsters, front seat side air bags and three-row side-curtain air bags including rollover triggering. That's in addition to the mandated front airbags. Active safety features, designed to help the driver avoid accidents in the first place, include all-wheel-drive, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist for panic stops.