2010 MDX New Car Test Drive
The Acura MDX is a popular contender on the luxury mid-size crossover battleground, helped by a potent all-weather drive system, efficient use of space, high level of features both standard and available, decent operating economy, and better-than-average warranty and resale value.
The 2010 Acura MDX features bold new styling to highlight significant changes for 2010 underneath. The 2010 MDX gets a new six-speed automatic transmission teamed with a revised version of its V6 engine. Acceleration improves slightly as do EPA ratings by 1 mpg. The MDX was last redesigned for 2007. Chassis refinements for 2010 include a retuned Active Damper System. Also, there is more technology on more models for 2010. The new Advance model gets thicker antiroll bars, especially in back, so it corners flatter and changes direction better.
Front and rear styling details have changed for the 2010 MDX model year, and the MDX is about an inch longer overall. Larger, 19-inch wheels are offered, taking the aggressive look one step further.
Inside, the styling and materials have been updated for 2010 as have many of the electronics and gadgets Acura has developed a reputation for, and more have been added. The top model known as Sport has been replaced with the MDX Advance model, not coincidentally the single-word Acura motto.
The Acura MDX is built on a unibody platform. It's neither an adaptation of a passenger car platform nor a truck-based platform like Chevy's Tahoe. It is not as long as the German seven-seat rivals, but close in size to many five-seat crossovers and has ample cargo space. It's a solid structure that should wear well and ride better than a truck-based utility.
From its wild grille to its elaborately stylish cat's-eye headlamps and new bumper the MDX continues to be edgy, figuratively and literally. It's quickly and easily identified and Acura and generally presents a wide stance.
The seats are laid out in three rows to accommodate seven people; flexible loading and appropriate materials make it family-friendly. It brings enough features to sate most technophiles, yet doesn't get too carried away with aids and assists.
Acura's 3.7-liter V6 is among the most powerful in its class and delivers decent fuel economy. Unlike all of its European competition there is no V8 option, nor a hybrid or diesel that some offer.
The all-wheel drive system can drive each rear wheel independently for maximum traction and to help drive the MDX around a bend. Handling is commendable and the ride taut, both comfort and performance enhanced on the Advance model.
The Acura MDX competes primarily with the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX350, Mercedes-Benz GL and ML, and Volvo XC90.
The 2010 Acura MDX ($42,230) comes standard with leather upholstery in the first two rows, three-zone climate control, power heated front seats with driver memory, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power tailgate, console, cruise control, rearview camera in mirror, message center, trip computer, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, auxiliary audio input, and split-folding rear seats.
The MDX Technology Package ($45,905) adds hard disc navigation with VGA screen, AcuraLink communications, real-time weather (with climate-control link) and traffic, 410-watt 10-speaker Acura ELS surround sound system, multi-view rearview camera, and USB port.
The MDX Advance ($51,855) includes the Technology Package and adds an active damper system, adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation braking system, blind spot information system, ventilated front seats in perforated Milano leather, and 19-inch wheels.
A Rear Entertainment System (RES) is available on Technology ($47,805) and Advance ($53,755) models that adds a motorized 9-inch VGA screen DVD rear-seat entertainment system, heated second-row seats, and 115-volt AC power outlet.
Safety equipment includes two-stage frontal air bags and active head restraints, two-stage driver and front-passenger knee bolsters, front-seat side-impact air bags, and three-row side-curtain air bags with rollover triggering. 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.