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Acura MDX
2007-2009 Acura MDX
Manufacturer Acura
Also called Honda MDX
Production 2001–present (Acura)
2003–2006 (Honda)
Assembly Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Predecessor Acura SLX
Class Mid-size crossover SUV
Layout Front engine, four-wheel drive

The Acura MDX, or Honda MDX as known in Japan and Australia (only first generation was imported) , is a mid-size luxury crossover SUV produced by the Japanese automaker Acura since the 2001 model year. The MDX was the first crossover SUV to have third-row seating. It is related to the Honda Pilot. The alphanumeric moniker stands for "Multi-Dimensional luxury". It is built by Honda of Canada Manufacturing Ltd. in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. It was introduced in late 2000 as a 2001 model, replacing the slow-selling U.S.-only body-on-frame SLX, based on the Isuzu Trooper. In Japan, it filled a gap when the Honda Horizon (also based on the Trooper) was discontinued in 1999. In 2003, the Honda MDX went on sale in Japan and Australia. Australian MDXs were all equipped with the 2001–2003 Touring 'Kiwi' style wheels and were all equipped with the Rear-Seat DVD entertainment system. For 2009, Acura created a crossover to slot above the MDX, called the ZDX, and it is a four-door coupe similar in appearance to the BMW X6 and the Honda Crosstour.

First Generation (2001–2006)

Acura MDX (YD1)
2001-2003 Acura MDX
Production 2001–2006 (Acura)
2003–2006 (Honda)
Body style(s) 5-door SUV
Engine(s) 3.5 L V6
240 hp (180 kW), 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) (2001-2002)
265 hp (198 kW), 253 lb·ft (343 N·m) (2003-2006)
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2700 mm)
Length 188.5 in (4788 mm)
Width 77 in (1955 mm)
Height Base: 68.7 in (1745 mm)
Touring: 71.3 in (1811 mm)
Curb weight 4451 lb (2023 kg)
Related Honda Pilot
Honda Odyssey
Honda Accord
Acura TL
Designer Frank Paluch (engineering), Ricky Hsu (styling)

Derived from Honda's Global mid-size platform which underpins cars like the Honda Accord, Acura TL, Acura TSX and Honda Odyssey, it is powered by a J35A3 3.5 L SOHC 24 valve V6 with VTEC. 2001-2002 3.5 V6 models produce 240 hp (180 kW) and 245 lb·ft (332 N·m) of torque from 3000 to 5000 rpm. 2003-2006 3471 cc (3.5 in x 3.6 in) model engine produces 265 hp (198 kW) and 253 lb·ft (343 N·m) . Curb weight is 4,451 lb (2,019 kg) , with a 106.3 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and 8 in (200 mm) of ground clearance. The cargo floor can flip up to provide two additional seats. The vehicle is designed to hold 7 passengers, but the third row seats are small.

The vehicle features an automatic four wheel drive system (named VTM-4) that engages during off the line acceleration as well as when wheel slippage is detected. Additionally, the system offers a lock mode which can be activated and operated at low speeds and provides permanent 4wd and the equivalent of a locked rear differential; designed for climbing steep hills and getting out of stuck situations. To reduce drivetrain noise and increase fuel efficiency, the system runs as front wheel drive during normal cruising. The VTM-4 AWD system in the MDX is identical to the VTM-4 systems in the Honda Pilot and Honda Ridgeline. It is different than the real time AWD system in the Honda CR-V in that it can lock and it attempts to predict when traction will be lost and apply power to all four wheels before slippage occurs (by monitoring throttle inputs). The Honda CR-V system waits for slippage to occur and then sends power back.

2003 and later models use a revised 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2001 and 2002 models use a 5 speed automatic transmission which suffered a significant numbers of transmission problems that were similar to the problems with the Acura CL and TL. However, they did not get the benefit of the free extended warranty that the Acura CL and TL received, though the company often paid for the required parts. As of the Summer 2010 edition, Consumer Reports shows a drastic increase in reliability in the "Transmission, Major" category, going from far below average reliability on 01-03 models to above and well above average reliability on 04+ models. The 2003 and later models also received a number of structural and suspension modifications to help improve ride and handling.

The navigation system and DVD entertainment system options were mutually exclusive in the 2002 model. Both could be ordered at the same time since the 2003 model. The navigation option comes with a rear view video camera since the 2003 model. Since 2005 the navigation system featured information from Zagat about restaurants and other points of interest. The 2003 model was rated as Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. The United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ estimates 23 mpg-US (10 L/100 km/28 mpg-imp) highway and 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km/20 mpg-imp) city.

Facelifted Honda MDX

The 2001-2006 MDXs generally offered better gas mileage than competing SUVs and crossovers of similar size, interior volume, and weight (Ford Explorer and BMW X5 for example).

In the 2003 model, the engine was improved to produce 20 hp (15 kW) more power than the 2002 model and wheel designs were updated. The 2004 model received an additional 5 hp (4 kW). The 2004 model features dual tail pipes instead of the single pipe in earlier models, side curtain airbags, new head lights and tail lights, and new wheels. Some chrome trimmings on the 2004 model use matte finish to distinguish from the polished shiny finish on earlier models. Little changed for the MDX during the 2006 model year with a few minor revisions to the vehicle's chrome and faux wood interior trim which could now be had with a dark grey wood (as opposed to reddish wood on earlier models), and also a black dash and steering wheel in tan interiors.

Second Generation (2007–present)

Acura MDX (YD2)
[[File:2007 Acura MDX|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Production 2006–present
Model year(s) 2007–present
Body style(s) 5-door SUV
Engine(s) 3.7L (3664 cc) 24 valve SOHC V6 VTEC
300 bhp (224 kW/304 PS) @ 6000 rpm
275 lb·ft (373 N·m) @ 5000 rpm
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic (2007-09)
6-speed automatic (2010-)
Wheelbase 108.3 in (2751 mm)
Length 2007-09: 190.7 in (4844 mm)
2010-: 191.6 in (4867 mm)
Width 2007-09: 78.7 in (1999 mm)
2010-: 78.5 in (1994 mm)
Height 2007-09: 68.1 in (1730 mm)
2010-: 68.2 in (1732 mm)
Curb weight 4,541 lb (2,060 kg)-4,551 lb (2,064 kg)
Related Honda Pilot
Honda Odyssey
Honda Ridgeline
Acura ZDX
Designer Frank Paluch (engineering), Ricky Hsu (styling)

On April 11, 2006 during the New York International Auto Show, Acura unveiled the 2007 Acura MD-X Concept, showing to the public an indication about the exterior styling of the upcoming completely redesigned MDX. The second-generation MDX was released on October 17, 2006 in the U.S.

The second generation model's body has a wider track and longer wheelbase than the previous MDX, but visibility to the rear has worsened from the prior generation. The redesigned Acura MDX's unit-body was engineered with Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure designed to absorb energy from a collision. The suspension was tuned at Germany's Nürburgring race track. The engine was upgraded to a 3.7 liter V6 tuned for 300 hp (220 kW) and 275 lb·ft (373 N·m) of torque. It accelerates from 0-60 MPH in 6 seconds and is estimated by the EPA to have 15 miles per US gallon (16 L/100 km/18 mpg-imp) in the city and 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km/24 mpg-imp) on the highway. It is the most powerful engine Honda has produced to date. The VTM-4 all-wheel drive system on the previous generation was replaced by the new SH-AWD "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" previously debuted on the 2005 Acura RL. This AWD system is one of the most advanced in its class, featuring an active rear differential often found on high performance cars. It is able to tow 5,000 Lbs.

Like all Acuras, the MDX comes with a high level of standard equipment, including a power moonroof, leather interior, and high intensity discharge (Xenon) low beam headlights. From 2007 - 2009 model years, three option packages were available: Sport, Technology and Entertainment.

  • The Technology Package includes the Acura/Alpine DVD-based satellite GPS navigation system with AcuraLink satellite communications with real-time traffic reporting (XM NavTraffic), a 410-watt Acura/ELS DTS Surround audio system with XM Satellite Radio, rearview camera, and a remote powered liftgate, operated either from the key's remote, inside the car or directly from the lift gate.
  • The Sport Package featured active suspension dampers (co-developed by Honda and Delphi) that dynamically improves handling according to road conditions with a button in the center stack to switch to Sport/Comfort modes. This Comfort/Sport mode uses magneto rheological dampers, which change their characteristics when a magnetic field is introduced (usually in milliseconds). The Sport package also includes unique 5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, perforated leather seats and the items in the Technology package.
  • The Entertainment Package offers a flip-down 9-inch (230 mm) LCD screen with 2 wireless Dolby Digital headphones, second-row heated outboard seats, and a unique center-stack silver trim. The Entertainment Package is only available on Sport or Technology Package models as compared to the 1st Generation MDX where the Entertainment Package was available as a standalone package on Touring Models.

All Canadian Acura MDX models, aside from the heated front seats, also get the second-row heated outboard seats as standard equipment as well. A feature unique to Canadian MDX models are headlight washers. In terms of packages, Canadian MDX models get only two: Technology and Elite. The Technology package corresponds essentially to the US model's Technology package while the Elite package is an amalgamation of the US model's Sport and Entertainment packages. However, AcuraLink real-time traffic reporting through XM NavTraffic is unavailable for Canadian MDX models.

2007-2009 Acura MDX

Like the 1st generation model, the new generation is manufactured by Honda of Canada Manufacturing Ltd. in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. But along with the 2007 RDX, the new MDX was the first Acura model to pass the Acura Quality Line, a special quality control and verification process separate from the other Honda vehicles.

In May 2007, the MDX was tested by the Car and Driver magazine against the Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90 Sport, Lexus GX470, Mercedes-Benz ML350, Cadillac SRX AWD V-8, BMW X5, and Land Rover LR3. The MDX won the comparison.[1]

The redesigned MDX overtook the TL as Acura's top seller in the United States.[2] It is also Acura's best-selling vehicle in Canada since the vehicle was redesigned.


For 2008 the MDX received a new auto-dimming rearview mirror.


The 2009 MDX had added more upgrades to the navigation system and there are two new colors added. The power tailgate, previously available only with the Entertainment package, is now included with Technology and Sport packages.


2010 Acura MDX

The 2010 MDX gets a facelift, adopting Acura's new "Power Plenum" grille that debuted on its 2009 model year sedans. The most important upgrades to the 2010 model are a new 6-speed SportShift automatic transmission. An Advance package is now available that includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Damper Suspension, 19 inch wheels and tires, Ventilated seats and paddle shifters. Non-navigation equipped MDX models now have a rear view camera monitor located in the rear view mirror.


  • The MDX won the North American Truck of the Year award for 2001.
  • The MDX was also Car and Driver magazine's Best Luxury SUV in 2001.
  • Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year in 2001.[3]
  • The MDX also won the Top Safety Pick award for the 2007 model year.
  • The 2010 Acura MDX ranked #1 Luxury Midsize SUV by US News and World Report as of 2010

Sales figures


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