- Strong acceleration, even with a full load
- Sporty handling without a sacrifice in ride
- Attractive styling inside and out
- Upper-echelon safety lends peace of mind
- Rearward visibility is obscured by the back pillar
- Instrument panel layout is overly complex
- Lacks high-tech options such as adaptive headlamps or laser cruise control
- Pricier premium fuel is recommended
The 2008 Acura MDX has a little more passion than most larger SUVs, with no less practicality.
The 2008 Acura MDX fills the top spot in the Japanese brand's luxury-utility lineup. It's big on passenger space and cargo room, and has a fairly advanced sense of style, too. In performance, it's a middle-of-the-road vehicle, tuned for comfort and safety, not off-road capability.
New last year, the MDX carries into the 2008 model year with almost no changes.
A 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 powers the MDX and gives it generous acceleration and passing power. Its 5-speed automatic changes gears smoothly. Towing ability is good, at a max rating of 5,000 lb.
Every MDX comes standard with all-wheel drive that can shift power from front to back, and from right to left across the rear wheels. It's a feature called torque-vectoring that can boost stability while it helps the MDX carve through corners more cleanly. Here, it works. The MDX is rewarding to drive: it has a responsive drivetrain, and the suspension strikes a nice balance between road comfort and enthusiastic responses. Push it, and the mDX responds to curved roads like a lighter, smaller vehicle. The steering is especially good, with an uncommon level of feedback that makes the MDX easier to drive than its peers under a range of conditions.
The MDX's interior is inviting and trimmed in warm, supple leather and soft-touch plastic, detailed with woodgrain and metallic surfaces. The controls are another story: they're at times needlessly complex.
Storage abounds inside the MDX, with plenty of cubbies and bins. Passengers have plenty of space to get comfortable. The front chairs are especially good, even for big and tall bodies. The third-row seat doesn't make much room for anyone larger than a size 2, though.
Acura fits the MDX with standard 18-inch wheels, leather, tri-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a 6-disc CD changer, and satellite radio. Sport models have premium leather, new wheels, and adaptive shocks. A rearview camera is an option, as is a navigation system.
Top scores in all crash tests make the MDX a safety all-star; both the NHTSA and IIHS give it their best ratings. All models get stability control and side-curtain airbags that protect passengers in all three rows of seats.