The History Of Acura MDX
The Acura MDX (Honda MDX in Japan and Australia) is a mid-size crossover SUV produced by the Japanese automaker Acura since the 2001 model year. The MDX is 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 MDX went on sale in Japan and Australia as the Honda MDX. Australian MDXs were all equipped with the 2001-2003 Touring 'Kiwi' style wheels and were all equipped with the Rear-Seat DVD entertainment system. Acura is currently creating a crossover to slot above the MDX.
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 3.5L SOHC 24 valve V6 with VTEC. 2001-2002 3.5 V6's models produce 240hp (180kW) and 245lb·ft (332N·m) of torque from 3000 to 5000 rpm. 2003-2006 3471cc (3.5in x 3.6in) model engine produces 265hp (198kW) and 253lb·ft (343N·m) . Curb weight is 4,451lb (2,019kg) , with a 106.3in (2,700mm) wheelbase and 8in (200mm) 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 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. The 2003 - 2006 models transmissions have so far shown normal failure rates. 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 23mpg-US (10L/ 100km; 28mpg-imp) highway and 17mpg-US (14L/ 100km; 20mpg-imp) city.
The 2001-2006 MDXs' generally offer 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 20hp (15kW) more power than the 2002 model and wheel designs were updated. The 2004 model received an additional 5hp (4kW). 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.
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.
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 300hp (220kW) and 275lb·ft (373N·m) of torque and is estimated by the EPA to have 15miles per US gallon (16L/ 100km; 18mpg-imp) in the city and 20miles per US gallon (12L/ 100km; 24mpg-imp) on the highway.
Three package options are available: Sport, Technology and Entertainment. The Sport package features 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 Tech package. 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 and rearview camera. The Entertainment package offers a flip-down 9-inch (230mm) LCD screen with 2 wireless Dolby Digital headphones, second-row heated outboard seats, a unique center-stack silver trim and a remote powered liftgate, operated either from the key's remote, inside the car or directly from the lift gate. 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 models are equipped with High Intensity Discharge (Xenon) low beam headlights.
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 is 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.
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 February and 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 X-5, and Land Rover LR3. The MDX won the comparison by a vast margin.
The redesigned MDX overtook the TL as Acura's top seller in the United States.
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 MDX is ahead of the competition with regards to its construction in rear collisions: It will withstand a rear collision up to 50miles (80km) an hour, well above the basic 35mph (56km/ h) standard currently required by the NHTSA. However, rear-window visibility is worse than in previous models.
- 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.
- Motor Trend magazine's Sport/ Utility of the Year that year.
- The MDX also won the Top Safety Pick award for the 2007 model year.
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