By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
From its debut in 2001 right through to the current 2012 model, the Acura MDX SUV has continued to be one of our favorite SUVs. And we are not alone. In addition to critical acclaim, the MDX has always been well regarded by consumers, as measured by its consistently strong sales position in the segment (second only to the Lexus RX 350). Balance is the MDX's strong suit. It manages to combine good useful space and room for seven with reasonable overall size, and it is responsive and easy handling while still being comfortable and accommodating. Back in model year 2010, the MDX was significantly upgraded with a new powertrain and fresh exterior styling, and the 2012 Acura MDX remains in essentially that same form.
Power, performance and usability make the 2012 Acura MDX an unusually capable premium midsize SUV. It also features a generous helping of clever, advanced technology.
Other players in the category, including the Lexus RX 350 and Buick Enclave, may offer more pure comfort and a softer attitude all around.
There are no major changes for 2012.
Driving Impressions The fact that Acura introduced the current-generation MDX on a racetrack with other high-performance SUVS says quite a bit. The fact that the MDX put the biggest smiles on our...faces says even more. When pushed hard, the MDX's 300-horsepower engine, sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and optional active-damping system combine to deliver an SUV that's remarkably fun to drive hard. We were also impressed by the MDX's off-road capability. Realistically, very few MDXs will ever see a racetrack or even a seriously muddy trail, but the athletic MDX is plenty pleasing around town and on the highway.
A navigation system that provides real-time traffic and weather info and an audio system that delivers amazing 6-channel Surround Sound via any medium you want make this option group a must-have.
Apply some power in a hard corner and the MDX's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system transfers extra torque to the rear outside wheel, delivering truer steering response and perceptibly higher cornering limits.
Though clearly focused on delivering exceptional performance, the 2012 Acura MDX does not compromise on practicality. A full 15 cubic feet of cargo capacity is available behind the third-row seats (only two cubic-feet less than the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe). Both rear rows fold flat to accommodate larger loads. The reclining second-row seats offer plenty of legroom, even for 6-footers. The third row, of course, is best for smaller folks and shorter trips. The MDX even offers a minivan-like 10 cupholders. Up front, the 2012 MDX is an attractive mix of sport, luxury and technology, with highlights that include perforated leather or premium Milano leather seats, simulated Koa wood or metallic trim and a collection of intuitive controls and LED lighting.Exterior
Good proportions, clean lines, pronounced wheel arches and an aggressive stance give the 2012 Acura MDX a strong presence on the road. Details such as high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors and LED taillights add to the high-tech flavor of the MDX. Opinion may split on the chrome "beak" grille treatment that is a corporate-Acura trademark, but at least it's recognizable. The 2012 Acura MDX is somewhat larger overall than the Lexus RX 350 and Volvo XC90.
Even "standard" means very well equipped on the 2012 Acura MDX. You get the powerful V6 engine and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, power and heated front seats, power moonroof, HID headlamps, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, a 253-watt 8-speaker audio system with 6-disc CD/MP3/WMA changer, 3-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, rear-view camera, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, six airbags and electronic traction and stability controls.
As is Honda/Acura practice, the 2012 Acura MDX's optional features are bundled into three distinct packages. The Technology Package includes a sophisticated navigation system with an 8-inch LCD screen, AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather reports, Zagat restaurant reviews, plus a DVD-Audio Surround Sound system and power rear liftgate. The Advance Package features active damping adjustment for the suspension, ventilated sport seats covered in rich perforated Milano leather, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, Collision Mitigating Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, blind spot information system, auto-leveling HID front headlamps and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Entertainment Package adds a DVD rear entertainment system.
The V6 in the 2012 Acura MDX holds the distinction of being the most powerful engine Acura has ever offered. It works through a 6-speed automatic transmission and the clever Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system that manages the torque split not only between front and rear but also between the left and right rear wheels. In addition to cornering advantages, the system also makes for a less-intrusive stability control system. The available Active Damper System, in which the shock absorbers can change from soft to firm in milliseconds, helps mitigate the traditional trade-offs between a comfortable ride and spirited handling. The MDX features unibody construction and a fully-independent suspension, and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the added benefit of a Trailer Stability Assist feature.
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21
The 2012 Acura MDX's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $44,000 and extends to a little over $55,000 when the top option packages are included. As a premium, in-demand vehicle, the MDX will likely see transaction prices fairly close to those MSRPs, which will be reflected in our Fair Purchase Price. The well-rounded, well-equipped MDX makes a worthy competitor to a wide range of premium SUVs - from the Volvo XC90 to the Porsche Cayenne - with pricing that we feel compares favorably to anything in the category. As for resale value, we expect the MDX to perform better than average, on par with its closest rival the Lexus RX 350 and much better than Cadillac SRX or Lincoln MKT.
By Samyjade (TX) on Monday, March 11, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Didn't fall in love with this SUV - My approximate mileage is 10,000
Cons: "Gas milage, blah exterior style"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"We were in the market for a luxary SUV, test drove BMW X3, looked at some others, and finally fell for the "special" our local Acura dealer had on their MDX and bought one(They probably had the special because they had a ton of them in their inventory with no buyers). This is a nice SUV but the exterior styling has no character to it... for that price, I think the styling should stand out a little and not blend in with the other cheaper SUVs on the road. Gas milage was not good, but we knew that already. Interior was ok, except the fake wood grain always had a glair right into my eyes every time I drove in the sun. Also I got in a Honda Accord once and noticed the interior looked a lot like my Acura MDX, which was disappointing to pay that price and get the same interior as they put in their Honda Accord. Anyways, overal, I liked the driving dynamics of it at first which is why we bought it, but I fell out of love with it very quickly. If you are in the market for something stylish and something that stands out a little, this isn't it."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Tony (NY) on Sunday, March 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality,ride, features, handling"
Cons: "Gas mileage could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just bought the 2013 MDX...traded in my 2003 MDX with 106,000 miles. I drove every American-made SUV...none are close to the MDX for quality, technology, ride, etc."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By lpac (MI) on Friday, March 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance, Handeling, Maintenance Cost"
Cons: "Not fuel efficient"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I enjoy driving this vehicle. I didn't think I would, my previous car was a Audi S4 and I needed something that would haul the family in and handle the Michigan winters. As much as I liked my Audi I didn't enjoying paying out the exorbitant maintenance costs - every time I would go into the dealer it would cost $300-$1k to fix the vehicle. My wife has a Honda Pilot with 150k miles on it and we've paid low maintenance cost so I expect similar value from the Acura. In summary, this SUV feels and handles like a sports sedan. It will tear up curves and has great acceleration. I've equipped mine with Blizzaks winter tires and have driven through several west Michigan snow storms and the MDX was solid and surefooted at speed. Only downer for me is 19mpg on premium, luckily I work out of my home office so it doesn't hit me as much as say someone who has to commute for their job."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By DM (TN) on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, smooth ride, quiet"
Cons: "Poor gas mileage, premium gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I will admit that the MDX is nice to drive, but it delivers less than advertised gas mileage and costs me an arm and leg to keep on the road. If I had it to over, I would have stayed away from a car that requires premium gas."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By stady (SC) on Tuesday, December 25, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,750overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We hade a 2007 then we got a 2010 and we are looking at the 2013 now you will never find a SUV like this one from any other car comp. this is the best. we will keep the MDX as long as we keep a Car."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By BobnLorie (CA) on Thursday, December 20, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, quiet"
Cons: "low to the ground riding, poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Comfortable ride, sporty feel, very fast pick-up & go! Base car has many upgrades. It rides a bit low to the ground making it feel like a car. The gas mileage is disappointing."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful