THE DOCTOR IS IN
2012 Acura MDX
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Dec 28, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright If The Beauty and The Beast ever had a kid, you could liken it to the Acura MDX. It’s huge and beastly, but it has elegant style and is nimble like a no other beast around. It is big enough to haul around seven people, although the two in the third row need to be rather small if you are planning on any longer drives. Alternatively, if you are the stuff-hauling type, you can fold the third row (and second, if need be) and fit basically any toys you would want to have inside the car. While this vehicle will swallow most things, it also drives like a sedan. I tried to prove myself wrong by gunning it around a corner after stopping for the red light, but no. No squeaking of the tires, no body roll, no nothing. This huge beast gripped the asphalt and whipped the car around the corner as if that was its only purpose in life. The SH-AWD, Acura’s Super-Handling All Wheel Drive, really does a great job at controlling this beast. For lack of a better expression: Awesome!
The suspension has two settings. The above discussion relates to the setting “Sport”. Actually most of my driving was done in the sporty setting. The “Comfort” was, for my taste, much too loose, giving way to body-roll and some bouncing when passing over the deeper rain gutters at large four-way intersections. The only time I could see the comfort setting come in handy would be for dirt roads or off-roading, otherwise, I never really saw a need to stray away from the sport setting, which in all truth made for a very smooth, and safe, ride. The transmission changes gears with ease, not klonking or klunking as many large SUVs so often do. It made driving the MDX a pleasure, and also made for a gentle ride for those people dosed off in the very comfortable seats, both front and back. To wake them up, however, you could easily turn on the “manual”, or sport, mode and start jostling them around. Suddenly, this easy-going transmission puts on a fun face and definitely livens up the drive.
The interior feels well-made, this is after all an Acura so anything else would be a let down. The plush leather seating looks new, even after almost ten thousand miles with journalists beating on it. Looking around the interior, I am a little let down in the usability. The modern Acura interior strays from the interior of many other luxury sedans in the way they organize all the options, or buttons. Many manufacturers choose to have one centrally located button, or knob, that in turn can be used to do basically everything with the interaction taking place on the screen. Acura, however, chooses to fill the center dashboard with a cluster of buttons that seem to be too many for the average person to immediately grasp. This is not the “German Clean” we are so used to, but I am sure there is a large group of drivers who much rather see the buttons immediately, rather than having to find them in some elaborate menu using one dial. Personal preference I guess. Whether it took you a while to find the knobs to control the audio system or not, the noise produced will make you happy. The sound system is definitely above average, maybe not in the same class as some of the ultra-systems available for many thousands of dollars extra, but this will for sure impress your inner ear. I found it a little awkward that the clicks felt when turning the “tune” knob don’t always correspond to one change up or down. This made it a little hard to fine-tune the channel selection, but I suppose you get used to that way of changing channels as well.
For such a large car, the MDX feels very nimble. Tight cornering is no problem, a swerve to avoid a danger can be done without too much roll, and this beast accelerates like few others. All this makes it a great SUV both for driving on country roads as well as in LA traffic or down Pacific Coast Highway. A trip to the mountains is no problem either, load up all your winter gear and let the all wheel drive do the rest. The seats are both cooled and heated; great all season comfort. In the sporty SUV segment, the MDX places high in the rankings. With plenty of juice and sporty handling, coupled with the aggressive looks and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, this is a car that will take you everywhere, and probably put a smile on your face on the way. For everyday use the MDX delivers superb comfort and a great ride. The vehicle will seat your entire family with a couple of friends and still have room for the usual everyday stuff, such as shopping bags, in the rear. And, if you want to give them a ride they won’t forget, slap that transmission into sport, and use the paddle shifters the way they are supposed to be used! For more information about Acura products, go to acura.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Advance ENT Price: $54,455(base) $55,340(as tested with destination and handling) EPA fuel economy rating: 16 mpg (city) 21 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 3.7-liter SOHC 24-valve VTEC V6 Engine Horsepower: 300 @ 6300 rpm Torque: 270 @ 4500 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed Automatic Transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters Drive configuration: Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) Steering (type): ECPS hydraulic speed-sensitive steering: Advance Package Suspension (front and rear): Front Independent MacPherson strut Rear Independent multi-link with coil springs and stabilizer bar Brakes and tires: 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist 19" x 8.5" aluminum-alloy Dimensions: Length: 191.6 in Width: 78.5 in Height: 68.2 in Curb weight: 4669 lbs