Now in the sixth year of its second generation, the 2012 Acura MDX is the flagship midsize crossover Sport Utility Vehicle of Honda’s luxury brand.
As the first crossover to offer third-row seating, it’s hard to view the modern MDX as a sibling of the Isuzu Trooper. But 12 years after its debut, the MDX (Multi-Dimensional Luxury) retains little resemblance to the long-gone utilitarian SUV beast of a relative. Instead, it’s firmly positioned as the top-rated vehicle in its segment.
While hugely popular, SUVs aren’t for everyone. But the Acura MDX could easily sway car owners whose buying preferences are solely geared toward gas mileage and other economic considerations.
But why would a solo owner or small family buy the seven-passenger Acura MDX?
After my week’s test drive of an estimate combined 200 city and highway miles, it’s simple equation. The Acura MDX is so comfortable and presents such a dynamic, confident ride, it’s just as much a luxury sedan as it is a three-row SUV.
It may not be suited for extensive off-road use, but while not serving as a luxury vehicle, it’s a versatile SUV with plenty of cargo space and lots of leather and handsome trim.
The Acura’s qualities begin with its 3.7-liter, 300-horsepowers V6 engine featuring a six-speed transmission with a sequential sportshift and paddle shifters. From there, the positivrs include a long list of standard features: all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, stability, traction control, active headrests, a multi-view rear camera as well a power moonroof and a power tailgate.
The Advance edition I drove also included the Exterior, Tech and Advance packages, which total a few-dozen additional features.
Add it all up and what’s not to like? The MDX performed well in city and highway driving like few, if any, SUVs I’ve driving in nearly 10 years of weekly driver test drives.
Smooth all-wheel drive system.
Accurately defined seven-passenger SUV.
Easy to maneuver, easy configure third-row seats.
Side view mirrors’ blind-spot warning system. It’s efficient but not shockingly overt.
Cluttered dash features.
Gas mileage averages could be better.
Facts & Figures: 2012 Acura MDX
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg (city), 21 mpg (highway), 18 combined, six-speed automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $54,455.00
Price As Tested: $55,340.00
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
What the Honda Odyssey is to the family van, the Acura MDX is to the midsize SUV segment. It’s well built, has seven-passenger capacity, upscale features as well as grand performance and convenience. There’s no better vehicle in its class.