- Strong, smooth powertrain
- Handles nimbly for such a large vehicle
- Attractive styling, except for the grille
- Rearward visibility
- Fashion-victim instrument panel layout
- Lacks high-tech options such as adaptive headlamps or laser cruise control
The 2009 Acura MDX has a little more appeal to young families who appreciate top safety, useful technology, and Acura's low depreciation.
The 2009 Acura MDX is a seven-passenger, three-row luxury crossover vehicle. The design of the MDX emphasizes style, passenger and cargo utility, and on-the-road comfort and handling, rather than off-roading ability. However, with Acura's inclusion of standard all-wheel drive, the MDX can easily handle muddy trails and shallow streams. The MDX crossover SUV was redesigned for 2007 and carries into 2009 with few changes.
Acura's Super Handling all-wheel-drive (SH-AWD) system is standard across the 2009 MDX model line; the full-time all-wheel-drive configuration distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels, to help maintain better stability and traction when cornering. A 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine brings strong acceleration to the MDX and impressive passing power, thanks to the responsive yet smooth five-speed automatic transmission. The 2009 Acura MDX has impressive towing ability for such a vehicle, with a maximum rating of 5,000 pounds.
If you've been pulled out of a sport sedan because of a growing family, the 2009 Acura MDX is surprisingly entertaining to drive. Along with the responsive powertrain, the suspension keeps the body from leaning too much in corners, even though the ride is quite supple, and the MDX can be hustled along a curvy road like a smaller, lighter vehicle. Each corner is independently suspended, and especially good steering—with feedback from the road—makes the MDX a lot more fun to drive than other utes.
A very clean interior design, with a good mix of contrasting materials and matte-metallic surfaces make the inside of the 2009 Acura MDX feel sporty yet inviting. However, the controls could be simpler—for the audio system especially. Programming the voice-activated system takes patience and time. But it's still better than BMW's iDrive. Driver and front passenger seats are generously apportioned and good for even the tallest and largest folks, but the minuscule third-row seat is only for small kids. Families will find plenty of storage cubbies as well. All models come standard with leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, three-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, a Bluetooth hands-free calling interface, a six-disc in-dash changer, and XM Satellite Radio. A Sport package with auto-damping suspension is available; it also includes a premium leather interior and a special wheel design. A navigation system featuring real-time traffic and a rearview camera is optionally included in the Technology package, which this year also includes the power tailgate.
The Acura MDX is one of the most secure vehicles of any type, with top results in all U.S. crash tests. It was also an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2008. The 2009 Acura MDX includes front side airbags and full-length side curtain bags, covering all three rows of seating. The standard electronic stability works in conjunction with the SH-AWD system.