By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
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
By R on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliability, comfort"
Cons: "rear visin while backing up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great reliability, virtually no repairs in 80K miles. Powerful yet quiet. Gas mileage is better than expected for this size car and engine; I get 22- 24 mpg on the highway. The only issue is rear window visibility with no back-up camera, especially at night."
By smokey on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives like a dream. Reliable comfort."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car used with only 15,800 miles on it. It has everything on it, from adaptive cruise control to cooled front seats. Nothing has failed and it drives like a dream with available sport or comfort ride."
By Carrie on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "smooth ride, nice interior, maintains value"
Cons: "gas mileage,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I enjoy this car. It rides very well and we have had no issues with the engine. However the 'plastic' like covers on the edge of the door between the front and back do have a tendency to warp leading to a vibration. Acura has since redesigned the car and have omitted this. The gas mileage is okay - nothing great. However it is a conservative number, and we seem to usually exceed what is expected."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By usedtotrustsafetyratings on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Car stalled while driving on freeway
Pros: "Nice looking car"
Cons: "Stalled while driving on freeway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I was driving on freeway - 60 mph going down hill. Instead of accelerating speed naturally due to going down the hill, the car started DECELERATING, and I had my foot on the accelerator pedal but it was slowing down and all the cars around me were zooming by. The accelerator pedal was not working. By some grace of god I was able to get off the freeway. I had my kids with me. Then the car completely stalled at the light. No warning lights ever came on. Acura dealership said that it was a faulty fuel pump. The car was only 3 years old and I had bought it 5 months prior from the same dealership with clean car fax. No issues before to indicate this may happen. Sold car back to dealership at loss. Although it was under warranty, I was not going to be a guinea pig if the same type of fuel pump they installed, went out again, and put my family in a similar situation."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By JS on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks and perfect for big families."
Cons: "My wife doesn't let me drive it enough."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First, I really like the styling of the MDX. It has an understated luxury look without being too flashy. The interior is comfortable with seating for seven, which is great for our family of 6. The cargo area with the third row seat up appears small, but there is more room back there than you think. With the third row folded down, the cargo area is especially roomy. The best part is driving and parking. Many of our friends have suburbans, and they have a difficult time parking them - you see them backing in and out trying to fit into the spaces, but with the Acura, we have all of the passenger room without all the wasted space of the full size SUV. Lastly, everyone knows Hondas and Acuras are basically bulletproof, so even at 100,000 miles, it barely feels broken in. We highly recommend this vehicle."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By jack on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,166overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"comfortable for long trips as well as city driving. Its higher seating gives us a better feel for traffic. it has all the bells and whistles for our driving habbits and most of all the back-up camera is a great feature."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful