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Discussion Starter #1
2002 Acura MDX
Among the best of the on-road SUVs.
Introduced last year, the Acura MDX was quickly named 2001 North American Truck of the Year by a group of 50 independent automotive journalists.
It's not hard to see why. The Acura MDX offers an outstanding V6 powertrain, seven-passenger seating, and a four-wheel-drive system that prevents skids almost before they occur. These benefits come wrapped in a neat though not flashy package packed with the calm attention to detail expected of Honda's luxury brand. It's also a package that provides excellent crash protection.

For 2002, the MDX has been further refined for a quieter ride with new side mirrors, a sound-absorbing roof liner, thicker windshield glass, and a layer of Thinsulate insulation in key areas throughout the interior. The 2002 MDX also gets an intermittent rear windshield wiper and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child-seat securing system for the second row of seats.

Model Lineup
MDX powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
MDX ($34,700) 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 sliding 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; and special alloy wheels.

The optional Acura Navigation System with DVD ($2000) needs only one disc to cover the entire continental US. My favorite among navigation systems for its intuitive simplicity, the Acura system holds some 3.7 million points of interest ranging from ATM machines to restaurants and hospitals. If you want to pick up some cash, make a stop at the nearest Chinese take-out and then locate an emergency room for your over-indulgence, it is all at your beck. A novel addition to the nav system, uniquely appropriate for a vehicle equipped to seek out the uncharted outbacks, is a feature that leaves electronic bread crumbs on screen. No road visible under the little wedge-shaped marker that represents your vehicle? Not to worry. This nav system leaves a line that you can easily retrace back to where there be no more dragons.

Walkaround
The Acura people speak of the MDX's athletic appearance. True enough if you have in mind a linebacker rather than a 100-meter sprinter. A casual look reveals a sturdy, stable-appearing machine with a wider, firmer stance than its competitors. Limited overhang gives it a denser, compact air. Large taillights also add to the straightforward sense of a strong presence.
The MDX does not draw a gasp for unique design or beauty of line. Rather it is like Emily in "Our Town" who asked her mother if she were pretty. Remember the scene? The motherly answer: pretty enough for all "normal purposes."

What isn't obvious except in a body-off view is the duality of the construction of the MDX. It is both unibody and body on frame! This Centaur-like approach gives uncommon rigidity and strength gained from the longitudinal rails with eight box-section cross members. This is the thinking engineers' path to making a car/truck both a car AND a truck whichever is appropriate to the occasion.

Oh yes, something else evident when the chassis is "naked": there's a vent tube for the differential so that water won't get into it when you are bumper deep (actually up to 18 inches) in a creek. So they have given thought to either rugged use or flooded roads. That goes beyond the usual "neutralize bad weather" approach of SUVs.

Interior Features
The airy perforated leather on the seat is echoed in the side panels, the steering wheel and the shift knob. There is nothing swoopy or eye-popping about the instrument panel, just easily read instruments with an unobstructed view. Honda's simple large knobs fall easily to hand and are easy to operate whether that hand is wearing mittens or has long fingernails. The overall sense is the serenity of simplicity.
The air bag fits flat into the fascia of fake animal hide, which looks better than it sounds. The sun visors have extensions for those sharp shafts of sun angling low at dawn and dusk. And then there's the added touch of elegance makes you say to yourself, "If they thought of this they must have thought of everything": That's the roof-mounted grab handles that don't go CLUNK against the ceiling when released; they whisper their dampened way back into place.

Oh yes, another thing they thought of: that muddy back-of-the-legs syndrome when getting out of an SUV after driving in sloppy slush or a rainy road. Acura has enclosed that offending dirty-maker in bodywork so you can dismount cleanly.

The third row of seats is easier to get into than those, say, of the Volvo Cross Country wagon. They are a dandy bonus for kids who seem to like far-away places. Every seat in the house has a shoulder harness as well as a lap belt. (Many SUVs do not come with a shoulder belt in the rear center position.) And there are anchors for child seats seemingly everywhere. Lots of cup holders, too.

But maybe the most impressive feature is the split air-conditioning system. Not only can those in back have a different temperature than the front-seat riders, but one zone can get heat while another gets air conditioning. That ought to cut down on whining.

When not in use, the third row of seats folds to disappear completely into the floor, leaving a flat surface with no protrusions to scratch your luggage. They split as well for a varied mix of people and stuff.

Space and cargo flexibility are superior to the class.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A little more

Driving Impressions
SUVs are the offspring of cars and trucks. Which side of the family they most resemble is a design choice. And how you use your SUV should determine whether you opt to favor Auntie Car or Uncle Truck.
If you are serious about your off-road adventures you are, firstly, rare. (Surveys say only 5 percent use their SUVs for off-road travel.) If, however, you do need to navigate over fallen logs, dried ruts and rocks of Plymouth size, then you need a suspension with long travel to maintain adequate contact with the trail's surface. You need a low, low "creeper" gear to take you down extremely steep inclines without having to touch your brakes (and thus maybe skid sideways.)

Unfortunately, all of that Uncle Truck stuff makes for poor highway going. High ride height and long suspension travel can lead to excessive lean in corners and a greater possibility of rollover should a curb or pothole get in the way. And the ride can be rough and lurchy.

Now Auntie Car is far smoother on paved surfaces, taking to corners with a quick turn-in and a secure grip. But she can scare you in the serious outback. Even strand you.

Every SUV is a compromise. Some have chosen to forego off-road competence with a more comfortable - and comforting - ride on city streets and highways. Their higher seating position and their four-wheel-drive capability makes them neutralizers of bad weather, which is what most SUV buyers really want.

Acura sees the MDX competition as the BMW X5, the Lexus RX300 and the Mercedes-Benz ML320. These are SUVs that tend to favor Auntie Car. (The Mercedes M-class does have a transfer case and a low range, however. The others, including the MDX, don't.)

Of all the SUVs in our experience the Acura MDX seems to balance Auntie Car and Uncle Truck traits the best. Its highway manners are excellent with secure cornering, though perhaps without the keen turn-in of the BMW X5. The MDX feels extremely stable and as untippable as a rhino.

It comes with a 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine generates 240 horsepower and 245 pounds-feet of torque happily available from 3000 to 5000 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission features gear ratios spaced to match the requirements unique to an SUV.

Acceleration is better than any of those Auntie Car machines (and all of the Uncle Trucks). The MDX will get to 60 mph from a stop in 9 seconds, a full second faster than the nearest competitor. The mesa-shaped torque curve gives comforting acceleration (for merging and passing) at any speed. And the brakes are absolute standouts, responsive and secure.

MDX is capable of towing 4500 pounds, capability normally considered an Uncle Truck trait.

As for off-road, the MDX makes up for the absence of a transfer-case and a granny gear with a regular low gear that is extra low. Venturing onto badly rutted forest service roads or trails leading to fishing sites and trailheads will not overtax the MDX.

It comes with a unique new four-wheel-drive system. The MDX is normally in front-wheel drive for reasons of economy. Some all-wheel-drive systems normally cruise in front-wheel drive, but when their sensors detect slippage the rear wheels are engaged. Not so the MDX. Slippage, the Acura engineers reason, can only occur under acceleration. And so the MDX engages the rear wheels as well as the front wheels whenever under acceleration without waiting for slippage to occur. Acura has always been good at taming and avoiding torque steer, the curse of powerful front-wheel-drive vehicles, and this system cuts it off before it can start.

Acura provides an "unstuck" button on the dash (that's what it says) that locks the differential progressively to get out of really tough situations.

Though safety and clean emissions do not figure in how a car drives they do figure in how you feel about driving it. Two safety points: Acura expects a five-star federal crash rating (the best) on the MDX. And Acura claims the MDX can be hit from behind by a vehicle going 35 mph without the third row of seats being breached.

As for "greenness," the MDX will nationwide meet the strict California emission standards. The MDX will be rated an ultra-low emissions vehicle, or ULEV.

Last year, a group of 50 independent automotive journalists voted to give the title 2001 North American Truck of the Year to the Acura MDX. The North American Truck of the Year recognizes the year's most outstanding truck, sport-utility, minivan, or crossover vehicle based design, innovation, performance, handling, driver satisfaction, safety, quality, functionality, value, price, and fuel economy.

Final Word
The 2002 Acura MDX combines most of the virtues of the SUV genre and diminishes or eliminates most of its vices. Anyone seeking comfort, performance, spaciousness, flexibility, proven safety features, environmental awareness and driving pleasure in a value-loaded package must have a look at the MDX.
Availability of the MDX is limited as the plant that builds it (Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Ontario, Canada) is struggling to meet the demand. A new plant is coming on line, but don't look for too many deals as demand for the MDX is strong.





:D :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
More good news

Acura MDX Luxury Sport Utility

By Linda Wolfgang

_Since its introduction in the fall of 2000, the Acura MDX luxury sport utility vehicle has established itself as one of the top contenders in the increasingly competitive luxury SUV market segment.

_Combining legendary Honda-engineered performance and cat-like handling with a long list of standard luxury features, ultra-low emissions and a smooth, sedan-like ride, the 2002 MDX continues to build upon its unique combination of rugged SUV performance, sedan-like handling and a luxurious yet extremely functional interior.

_The MDX’s 3.5 liter, 24-valve, all-aluminum, SOHC engine produces quick responding 240-horsepower and easy to capitalize on 245 lb.-ft. of torque, for ample power both on-road and off.

_Standard features include an electronically-controlled, five-speed automatic transmission and an innovative VTM-4 four-wheel drive system that proactively apportions torque from the front to the rear wheels before wheel slippage can occur.

_The MDX meets California’s stringent Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standards and, with estimated city/highway ratings of 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway, it delivers best in class combined fuel economy.

_An ideal family do anything - go anywhere vehicle, the MDX delivers sedan-like handling and a comfortable, smooth, compliant ride.

_Power steering, 4-wheel fully independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-channel ABS, standard 17-inch alloy wheels and specially designed P235/65R-17 all-season tires provide stability and responsiveness.

_Front and rear stabilizer bars, a wide track and a low center of gravity give the MDX predictable cornering response and maximum cornering traction.

_While the MDX model is only one model year old, the 2002 model gets a host of enhancements that result in an even quieter ride than the first version. To further reduce interior noise, the MDX received new diffuser side mirrors, a sound-absorbing roof lining, thicker windshield glass and a layer of Thinsulate insulation in key areas throughout the interior.

_Externally, the MDX finds a nice balance between beauty and brawn. The Acura signature family grille and bright, clean headlight treatment highlight the sharply chiseled front fascia while its wide stance communicates a message of strength and stability.

_The MDX’s interior emphasizes the vehicle’s versatile yet refined character with generous levels of luxury and functionality. An easy to use and extremely functional transformable interior, with three rows of seats, allows the MDX to comfortably seat up to seven passengers.(If the back row pair are children or small adults)

_Second and third row seats split and fold flat into the floor providing 82 cubic feet of cargo room. Even with all three rows in use, the MDX still offers a surprising 14.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row seats.

_The comprehensively equipped MDX also comes standard with a seven-speaker AM/FM/Cassette stereo with in-dash CD player; a multi-function digital trip computer and the world’s first synchronized climate control system.

_Standard safety features include a dual-stage passenger’s front airbag that adjusts deployment force to one of two rates according to the severity of the impact and seatbelt use; driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags with exclusive occupant position sensors in the passenger’s seat; and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system on the second row of outboard seats.

_An optional Touring Package adds additional features including a roof rack, exclusive alloy wheels; and an upgraded 200-watt, eight speaker Acura/Bose Music System with 6-disc, in-dash CD changer, front passenger’s 8-way power seat, drivers seat and outside door mirror memory system and Michelin Cross Terrain tires.


_The Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System is offered as a factory-installed option. One of the most sophisticated, yet most intuitive, easy-to-use, navigation systems on any of the vehicles we have driven, the Acura Satellite Linked Navigation System contains mapping of the continental United States and a nationwide directory of 3.7 million points of interest.

_Like all Acura vehicles, the MDX comes equipped with a comprehensive 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty that includes Acura’s TLC (Total Luxury Care) customer service package.

For more information about Acura vehicles, visit our direct manufacturer links or www.acura.com
 

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Discussion Starter #4
more good stuff

Highlights for 2002

Noise-reduction measures highlight the 2002 Acura MDX, which is derived from parent-company Honda's Odyssey minivan. MDX seats seven and is longer overall than the rival 5-seat Lexus RX 300. Its 2nd- and 3rd-row bench seats fold flat with the load floor. Standard are front side airbags, antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, rear air conditioning, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and now a rear wiper/washer. A V6 teams with a 5-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system without low-range gearing. A navigation system is optional. The Touring model adds a power passenger seat, in-dash CD changer, and other features. Both models get thicker windshield glass, added sound-dampening material, reshaped door mirrors, and a repositioned roof rack, all designed to reduce noise levels. Rear child-seat anchors also are added. Honda is introducing a less-expensive version of the MDX as the 2003 Pilot.
Competition This is by far the hottest market segment right now. Crowded with more than 20 vehicles, midsize SUVs vary in size and type but nearly all seat five adults and offer V6 or V8 engines. Our Best Buys are the Acura MDX and Toyota Highlander. Both offer competence, convenience, and attractive pricing and design. They lack serious off-road 4WD systems, however.


Our Recommended choices feature more-traditional SUVs: the Dodge Durango, which offers optional third-row seating; the top-selling Ford Explorer; the utilitarian Nissan Xterra; and the refined GMC Envoy. If you don't venture off-road too far take a look at the car-based Lexus RX 300 as well.

News Acura's first SUV rang up nearly 41,000 sales from its early-2000 introduction through the end of calendar '01. Demand remains strong into 2002, up 11.2 percent year-to-year for the first quarter. Acura still can't keep up with demand, which is why discounts remain almost impossible to find.


MDX will keep its basic design for awhile, but the 2003 edition will reportedly get a V6 enlarged to 3.8 liters and perhaps 280-290 hp. The move is intended to distance Acura's SUV from Honda's related new Pilot, which offers the MDX powertrain in a more family-oriented, lower-cost package.

Road Test Ratings Base Touring w/nav. sys.
Acceleration 5 5
V8 SUVs have more muscle, but MDX is lively enough in most situations, and aided by smooth, prompt transmission shifts, is as fast as most 6-cyl rivals. Test Touring model clocked 8.7 sec 0-60 mph.
Fuel Economy 4 4
Slightly better than the 6-cyl midsize-SUV norm, but premium fuel required. One test MDX averaged 17.8 mpg in city/freeway driving, another 19.3 in mainly highway use.
Ride Quality 5 5
Firm but not jolting even over large bumps, though a Lexus RX or Toyota Highlander is better at ironing out lumpy freeways.
Steering/Handling/Braking 5 5
Not X5 athletic, but more nimble than RX 300 or a Mercedes M-Class. Sporty at reasonable cornering speeds, with moderate SUV body lean, but feels typically unsteady in sudden swerves. ABS provides short stops with little nosedive, but the brakes were touchy on our test Touring model.
Quietness 5 5
Noise-reduction measures largely erase most marked tire hum and pronounced highway wind rush that plagued 2001 MDX. Engine smooth, audibly pleasant, but not luxury-car hushed.
Instruments/Controls 7 6
High-mount climate controls a far reach in models without navigation system, and their indicator lights can wash out in daytime. Acura's navigation system easier to use than most, but can still be distracting to operate. Gauges, other controls clear, convenient. Upscale, contemporary cabin design; materials quality just a notch below BMW, Lexus, Mercedes.
Room/Comfort (front) 8 8
All but the very tall have good head and leg room. Seats comfortable and supportive, driving stance efficient, visibility good.
Room/Comfort (rear) 7 7
Ample 2nd-row knee and head room, plus just enough width for three adults. Third-row seat is kidsize, but useful. Both seats have reclining backrests; 2nd-row seat also slides fore/aft.
Cargo Room 8 8
Not much with a full passenger load, but numerous seat-folding options compensate. Second- and 3rd-row seats easy and quick to stow, far more convenient than rivals' removable seats. Load deck a bit high.
Value Within Class 10 9
A highly desirable blend of competence and convenience. Its ride can be truck-lumpy at times, but overall refinement, generous standard equipment, and competitive pricing make MDX a Best Buy.
Totals 64 62

All Midsize Suvs
High Score 65
Low Score 37
Average Score 50

Ratings: Maximum 10 points per category



Engines ohc V6
Size, liters/cu. in 3.5/212
Horsepower @ rpm 240 @ 5300
Torque (lb-ft) @ rpm 245 @ 3000
Availability Standard
EPA city / highway mpg
5-speed automatic 17/23
Note:
Engine Key: l/cu. in. = liters/cubic inches; ohv=overhead valve; ohc = overhead camshaft; dohc= dual overhead camshaft; I inline cylinders; V = cylinders in a V configuration; H = horizontally opposed cylinders; rpm = revolutions per minute; CVT = continuously variable (automatic) transmission; NA = not available; "--" = measurement does not exist.

Specifications Acura MDX 4-door wagon
Wheelbase, in. 106.3
Overall Length, in. 188.5
Overall Width, in. 76.3
Overall Height, in. 68.7
Curb Weight, lbs. 4328
Cargo Volume, cu. ft. 81.5
Standard Payload, lbs. --
Fuel Capacity, gals. 19.2
Seating Capacity 7
Front Head Room, in. 38.7
Max. Front Leg Room, in. 41.5
Rear Head Room, in. 39.0
Min. Rear Leg Room, in. 37.8
Towing / Payload Capacity Trailering capacity tops out at 3500 lb with a maximum tongue weight of 450 lb.

Specifications Key: NA = not available; "--" = measurement does not exist.




NHTSA Crash Test Results Acura MDX 4-door wagon
Side Impact 5
Side Impact Rear Passenger 5

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests a vehicle's crashworthiness in front- and side-impact collisions. Their ratings suggest the chance of serious injury. Front crash test numbers indicate: 5 = 10% or less; 4 = 10-20%; 3 = 20-35%; 2 = 35-45%; 1 = More than 45%. Side impact numbers indicate: 5 = 5% or less; 4 = 6-10%; 3 = 11-20%; 2 = 21-25%; 1 = More than 26%.

Model Prices
Trim Name MSRP Invoice Destination Charge
Base 4-door wagon $34,700 $31,262 $500
Base w/navigation system 4-door wagon $36,700 $33,062 $500
Touring 4-door wagon $37,300 $33,602 $500
Touring w/navigation system 4-door wagon $39,300 $35,402 $500
Pricing Key: Retail prices listed with each report are set by the vehicle's manufacturer. These figures appear on each car's federally mandated window sticker. Most price lists also include dealer-invoice prices. Dealer-invoice prices are what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car and its factory-installed options. The destination charge is not included in the suggested-retail or dealer-invoice price and must be added to the cost of the vehicle. Car companies can change thier prices at any time. If the prices published do not match those on the vehicle's window sticker, the manufacturer has probably altered the price recently.




Standard Equipment

Base Powertrain
3.5-liter V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

Safety
dual front airbags, front side airbags, antilock 4-wheel disc brakes

Comfort and Convenience Features
air conditioning w/front and rear automatic climate controls, power steering, tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, 7-passenger seating, heated front bucket seats, 8-way power driver seat, center console, cupholders, second- and third-row split-folding bench seats, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/cassette/CD player, digital clock, power sunroof, illuminated visor mirrors, universal garage-door opener, automatic day/night rearview mirror, trip computer, map lights, rear defogger, intermittent rear wiper/washer, automatic-off headlights, floormats

Appearance and Miscellaneous
theft-deterrent system, rear privacy glass, fog lights

Special Purpose, Wheels and Tires
235/65R17 tires, alloy wheels

Touring adds to Base: Comfort and Convenience Features
8-way power passenger seat, memory system for driver seat and mirrors, tilt-down passenger-side mirror back-up aid, Bose AM/FM/cassette w/in-dash 6-disc CD changer

Appearance and Miscellaneous
roof rack

Manufacturer's Warranty
Type Years Miles Comments
Bumper-to-bumper 4 50,000 --
Extended powertrain None -- --
Corrosion 5 unlimited --
Free roadside assistance 4 50,000 --
Free scheduled maintenance None -- --
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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Acura MDX: Late to the Party
But it's the queen of the crossover luxury SUV ball



LIKES

Car-like ride

240-hp V6

Expansive cargo area
DISLIKES

Heater/AC controls

Leather-trimmed seats

Foot-operated parking brake


YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT FROM LOOKING at the crowded freeways of this country, but a big chunk of the population isn't particularly fond of driving sport/utility vehicles. You can count a large number of automotive journalists among those non-lovers of SUVs.
But look through the comments in the log-book of our Acura MDX test vehicle and you read things like "...very comfortable," "...good-looking," "...functional," and you see some cold, cynical hearts have been warmed up. MDX owners echo the same good feelings about the sport/ute.

Honda's luxury division wasn't the first with a luxury SUV, what with the BMW X5, Lexus RX 300 and Infiniti QX4, just to name a few, beating Acura to the punch. But the time it took Acura to get its product to market seems to have been time well spent. Built on a modified Honda Odyssey platform at the company's Alliston, Ontario, plant, MDX features a firm ride far more car-like than truck-like. As the majority of SUV owners never leave paved roads, that suits most of them just fine.

ROAD TEST DATA
STANDING-START ACCELERATION
0-30 mph: 2.71 sec
0-40 mph: 4.02 sec
0-50 mph: 5.76 sec
0-60 mph: 7.75 sec
0-100 km/h
(62.1 mph): 8.18 sec
0-80 mph: 13.66 sec
0-quarter-mile: 85.9 mph, 15.98 sec
ROLLING ACCELERATION
20-40 mph (first gear): 2.6 sec
40-60 mph (second gear): 4.2 sec
60-80 mph (second and third gear): 6.7 sec
BRAKING
80 mph-0: 234 ft
60 mph-0: 131 ft
30 mph-0: 32 ft
FUEL MILEAGE
EPA combined: 20 mpg
AW overall: 19.21 mpg
HANDLING
490-foot slalom: 39.7 mph
Lateral acceleration
(200-foot skidpad): 0.74 g
INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
Idle: 42
Full throttle: 73
Steady 60 mph: 66
BEST NUMBERS
0-60: 7.75 sec (AW)
SS-quarter-mile: 15.98 sec (AW)
60-0: 124 ft (MT)
Skidpad: 0.74 g (AW)

MDX comes standard with an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system that is better suited for slippery winter conditions than for tackling the Rubicon. Acura's variable torque management system delivers power to the front wheels when traveling on dry pavement. When sensors detect a change in the road conditions, power is auto-matically routed to rear wheels as well. In very slippery conditions, a switch can be engaged to lock power to the rear wheels until the vehicle speed exceeds 18 mph. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard.

Independent front and rear suspensions provide a good freeway ride and help isolate the passenger compartment from many of the bumps encountered during everyday driving. There's no detectable freeway hop and the handling is not as stiff as a pickup truck, but not as soft or pliable as many SUVs. Some tire noise infiltrates the cabin, due in part to the aggressive tread pattern on the P235/65R-17 Goodyears on our test vehicle. But those tires help deliver some of that car-like feel, especially during the slalom runs on the test track, where MDX turned in a speed of 39.7 mph, better than the most recent tests of the RX 300 (39.42 mph) and just a tick slower than the QX4 (40.79 mph). The handling through the cones was predictable and consistent, as long as you didn't hang the tail out, which immediately scrubbed off speed.

A modified version of the Odyssey's V6 provides adequate power for the MDX, although a few owners, after living with the vehicle for a while, long for more power. The 3.5-liter 24-valve powerplant develops 240 horsepower and 245 lb-ft running through a five-speed automatic, taking the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 7.75 seconds. Not bad numbers considering the 4328-pound curb weight.

While the interior is fairly well-appointed and highly flexible (both rear seats fold flat, making for 81.5 cubic feet of cargo space; 49.6 cubic feet if you leave the second row of seats up), it is the source of the majority of owner complaints. The vehicle has seating for seven, but we pity the two folks spending any time in the third seat. It's fine for kids, but adults would have to sit with their knees in their faces. The leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats did not get high marks either; the leather on the side bolsters, arm- and headrests looks nice, but the majority of the seating surface is vinyl (for better durability, Honda says). Not something you expect in a luxury vehicle.

SPECIFICATIONS
CHASSIS
Unibody four-door sport/utility
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase (in): 106.3
Length/width (in): 188.5/76.3
Curb weight (lbs): 4328
SUSPENSION
Front: Independent, strut, gas-filled shocks, antiroll bar
Rear: Independent, multilink, strut, gas-filled shocks, antiroll bar
BRAKES
F/R: Discs/discs, ABS
WHEELS AND TIRES
Alloy P235/65R-17
Goodyear Integrity
CAPACITIES
Fuel (gal): 19.2
Cargo (cu ft): 81.5 (second and third row folded); 49.6 (third row folded); 14.8 (no rows folded)
ENGINE
Front-transverse
3.5-liter/212-cid V6
Horsepower: 240 @ 5300 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 245 @ 3000 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Valvetrain: sohc
Fuel delivery: Multipoint; fuel injection
Fuel requirement: 91 octane
DRIVETRAIN
Four-wheel drive
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Final drive ratio: 4.428:1

If there is one resounding complaint with what is otherwise an extremely well-liked vehicle, it concerns the climate controls integrated into the in-dash satellite navigation system display. The navigation system itself gets high marks from the majority of owners for its ease of use and accuracy, with many saying it's the best navigation system they have used. But the screen is difficult to view in bright, sunny conditions, especially while wearing sunglasses. Also, having the heater/air condition-ing controls embedded into the touch screen just doesn't make sense. Many wished for simple control knobs.

But there are far more positive comments about the MDX than negative. With a base sticker price of $36,370 ($34,370 for the non-nav trim level), it's playing to a pretty discriminating audience. While competition in this segment seemingly gets stronger every day, the MDX is more than capable of holding its own.

Combining practical utility with luxury features and the build quality Honda/Acura is known for seems to be a winning proposition. Even those cynical journalists apparently agree, as they found it in themselves to name MDX the North American Truck of the Year. Not bad for a vehicle that's more car-like than truck-like.

VIEWS AND REVIEWS

OWNERS


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HAVING OWNED NOTHING BUT HONDA PRODUCTS SINCE TURNING 16, I found the MDX the natural step up from our 1999 TL. The roominess of the MDX was noticeable from the start, as was the extra-quiet cabin that drowns out everything except for a bit of tire noise on the highway. Compared to the Lexus RX 300, the Acura already seems to have an edge on mileage even with the extra displacement, power and size. With the high level of satisfaction we get from the MDX, it's hard to find any real faults. Instead, there are a few items left out that we would have liked to see on the vehicle, such as Xenon HID headlights, and the sport-shift feature. Overall, the MDX is a practical vehicle that has the utility of a truck and the luxury of an Acura. - RON GREGORSOK, Colorado Springs, Colo.
LIKES: OVERALL, AN EXCELLENT VEHICLE. THE HANDLING IS SUBERB, I don't feel like I gave up much in the fun-to-drive department in driving an SUV. It also handled like a champ in snow and ice. The cargo area is huge, and seven-passenger seating is a fantastic feature. I look forward to driving it every day.

Dislikes: The rearview mirrors leak and drip all over the side of the MDX for days after washing. The inside of the driver's window also is wet from this same problem, leading to sticking/frozen windows on days when the temperature is below freezing. The sunroof squeaks, the front suspension makes noises, and the brake calipers are excessively noisy. - JOHN FORD, Louisville, Ky.

I HAVE HAD MY MDX FOR ALMOST SEVEN MONTHS AND I LOVE IT. It performs flawlessly. It is comfortable and quiet. I get 25 mpg cruising at 80 mph, and the mid-range VTEC acceleration is impressive. My only complaints about the car are detail in nature: confusing interior switch locations, unlighted gear selection indicator on the gear column, and the lack of a power adjustable passenger seat (available only if one buys the ugly Touring package). - ROY LONBERGER, San Jose, Calif.

OTHERS CONSIDERED
LEXUS RX 300
$33,905
0-60 mph: 8.8 seconds (est.)
I looked at the Lexus RX 300 but it seemed small, and with all the features of the MDX, it would have cost over 40k.
GREG CONROY
Powder Springs, Ga.
MERCEDES-BENZ ML430
$35,500
0-60 mph: 8.20 seconds (est.)
I rejected the ML430 due to styling, price and renowned quality control issues.
BARRY HUGHES
Hoboken, N.J.

BMW X5
$39,470
0-60 mph: 7.50 seconds (est.)
I went to buy a BMW X5, but the MDX held three more adults, drove smoother and was cheaper.
ROY LONBERGER
San Jose, Calif.
 

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THE VEHICLE IS VERY CAR-LIKE IN ITS OPERATION. QUIET FOR AN SUV, and it's unusually quick. I previously had an Audi A6 that didn't have this much throttle response. The ride is slightly choppy, but not unreasonably so. Comfort features such as memory seat/mirrors, full leather and a great sound system make the vehicle a pleasure to own.

The NAV system is quite nice, but the climate controls could be simplified by removing some of the adjustments from the NAV display. I considered the Audi allroad, but it's just an A6 with an open trunk area. Looked at Chrysler AWD vans, but didn't think they were as sporty looking as the Acura. The Lexus RX 300 was nice, but not as roomy, and not as nice as the Acura. I think this is the best all-around SUV yet produced. - MILES E. BATCHELOR, Indianapolis

WE LOVE THE SPACE INSIDE THIS VEHICLE. THE WIDTH AND configuration of the interior have allowed us to haul objects we couldn't dream of loading into our old Grand Cherokee. The third-row seating is engineered brilliantly and both rear rows fold flat with ease. Both rear rows are also incline-adjustable, making them friendly for larger passengers. We are pleased with the styling, engine performance and the way it stays flat around corners. The second-row independent climate control is the favorite option of our children, who rate the 10 cupholders No. 2 on their list.

We are very disappointed with the "upgraded" Bose sound system that comes with the Touring Package. Compared with the Nakamichi in my SC 400, it is inadequate. Also, the windshield-washer jets work poorly above 25 mph (due to the wind)-the streams only hit the base of the windshield, making it difficult to clean road spray or bugs when at speed. - JIM PASCALE, Edina, Minn. U.S. MEDIA


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THE ACURA SUV STARTED TO MAKE A TRUE BELIEVER OUT OF ME ABOUT 15 seconds after starting the engine and shifting it into "drive." No truck-like feel here. What the MDX gives you is an extremely responsive 3.5-liter, 240-horsepower VTEC V6 mated to a smooth-shifting electronically controlled five-speed automatic gearbox. There is no lurch, no side-loading and no lag in this SUV. It handles more along the lines of a pricey, horsepower-loaded sedan.
The bottom line is that although man y SUVs are claiming to combine sporty car-like performance and off-road force these days, the MDX really does have both. The technical, safety and comfort features stuffed into the MDX are in line with what Acura puts into its luxury sedans and coupes. - Sacramento Bee


THE MDX IS A WINNER, EVEN IF ITS VIRTUES SORT OF SNEAK UP ON YOU. That said, we still have some nit-picks. It didn't get the advertised fuel mileage, which, combined with its need for premium fuel, pushed operating costs relatively high in our view. The gorgeous seats in our test vehicle were leather-trimmed, which meant they had vinyl seating surfaces, for the most part. And they were hard and uncomfortable, despite all kinds of power yin and yang and lumbar tweaks. All three of our test drivers (ranging from five-foot-two to six feet) felt they sat up too high, and couldn't scrunch down into the seat cushion enough to enjoy the seemingly adequate thigh bolsters. It also had a wimpy dead pedal, misplaced for our left feet.

Other than that, however, the MDX didn't leave us with much to do, except enjoy it. Unlike Acura's earlier, ill-advised venture into the SUV ranks, the SLX, which was essentially a rebadged Isuzu Trooper, the MDX is worthy of the Acura name. Given the company's otherwise well-deserved and hard-earned reputation for reliability, quality and value retention, the MDX is easy to recommend. - The San Diego Union-Tribune

THE MDX [IS] A NEW BREED OF SPORT/UTILITY VEHICLE THAT'S TRULY more useful and enjoyable than any other SUV in its class. Besides the tremendously flexible storage capacity, the interior of the MDX is cleanly finished and packed with standard features including leather seats, seat heaters, faux wood trim that looks better than a lot of the "real" wood we've seen in cars of late, and a standard in-dash CD player.

For day-to-day driving, the MDX is really without peer. It isn't only filled with ingenious solutions to nagging SUV problems, its fully independent, car-like suspension means it's actually a joy to drive. That's a very rare trait indeed for most utility vehicles and yet another excellent reason to consider buying an MDX. - Forbes

FOREIGN MEDIA


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THE MDX IS EQUIPPED WITH LEATHER AND ALL THE FIXIN'S, designed for "medium-duty" off-road driving but more explicitly for winter on-road conditions, and endowed with plenty of power for car-like responsiveness. A pointed nose characteristic of Acuras and dynamic rear-quarter styling, along with 17-inch wheels, earn the MDX a standing apart from SUVs.
In our view, it falls short of Lexus RX 300 in distinctiveness, but that's not to say it won't cut it at The Granite Club. Although of high quality, our test vehicle's black-and-gray interior seemed less warm, and less splendid, than that of the Infiniti QX4. Wood grain on the dash isn't sufficient to lift the surroundings from functional to lavish.

The MDX feels more car-like than truck-like because it's more maneuverable than most, with a tight turning circle and an all-wheel-drive system that never binds. Although it doesn't corner as surely as an Acura sedan or coupe, it's close enough for its handling to impress as an attribute. The MDX combines comfort and capability to a degree unique in its class. - The Toronto Sun

FACTS


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(MANUFACTURER'S DATA)
American Honda Motor Co.
1919 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance CA 90501
Customer assistance: (800) 382-2238
Internet address: www.acura.com
Country of origin: Canada
Number of dealers: 256

PRICING


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Base: $36,370
As tested: $36,850
IntelliChoice target price: $36,815
Rebates: None
Destination charge: $480
What owners paid; average: $34,850 to $44,630; $ 38,509
Options as tested: Navigation system ($2,000; included in the trim level pricing)
Other major options: Touring package, which includes heated and powered side mirrors, eight-way power front seats, Bose eight-speaker system, 17-inch alloy wheels ($2,600)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
couple of pic's with reviews

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Good thing we don't assign stars to your avatar based on the number of words.....paul would have ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** this many.:D

One stat caught my eye.... 0 - 60 in 7.75. Where is that from again? MotorTrend and others clocked the X at around 8.1, even with the 3.0 X5. Not that I am complaining, mind you......just wanna be sure of my facts when I give my hotsy totsty X5 neighbor of mine the business....;)
 

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octavian said:
Good thing we don't assign stars to your avatar based on the number of words.....paul would have ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** this many.:D

One stat caught my eye.... 0 - 60 in 7.75. Where is that from again? MotorTrend and others clocked the X at around 8.1, even with the 3.0 X5. Not that I am complaining, mind you......just wanna be sure of my facts when I give my hotsy totsty X5 neighbor of mine the business....;)
Motorweek clocked it a 7.6.
 

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octavian said:
Good thing we don't assign stars to your avatar based on the number of words.....paul would have *** this many.:D


Have a problem with my vehicle description!! I thought I would be detailed if you don't mind! Better more than less if you don't mind!
 

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Paul,
I think you have more words in your vehicle description then in all of my posts combined.:D

Keep on Postin!!!!
 

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octavian said:
easy, paul, easy.....that's what the :D was for......I found the posts very informative.
OK I was just kidding, just curiuos to see your reaction. Glad to hear you like to hear any knowledge I come across on the net. I like to share and spread information. Especially when it comes to our babies (MDX) or even other vehicles. I'm a bit of a car lover.
 
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