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The 2013 Acura MDX is less of a standout in the crossover class for its third-row seats, its versatile cabin, or its attractive styling. What sets it apart from most luxury family utes is its handling. It's pleasant to drive, and that's one reason it's been a strong seller for Acura--that, and its record for durability as well as its straight-line performance and impressive safety.
The MDX's design has aged well in the several years since its last full redesign. It's one of Honda's better efforts at giving a rather utilitarian, box-on-wheels design some character. The few sleek curves applied to its fairly upright body really do wonders, particularly at the back pillar.
Adults will find all-day comfort in any of the perches in the front two rows. The front seats especially offer great bolstering and support. As for the third row, it's child-sized, as are most benches in this class, but the second-row seat tilts and slides forward to expand access to the back. There are plenty of storage bins and cubbies inside the MDX, and with the second and third rows folded forward there's enough virtually flat space to swallow most weekend project materials. Otherwise, the cabin’s a well-executed comfort zone, with Milano leather trim and woodgrain trim cascading from the midline of the dash, as on the bigger RL sedan. The one exception—and a peeve we just can't get over—is the instrument panel's cluttered and unnecessarily complex layout
The MDX remains related to the Honda Pilot, but as the more rakish sheetmetal suggests, the MDX is much more focused toward the on-the-road driving experience. Power comes on strong from a 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6, which delivers impressive passing power even with a full load, with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a very smart, dynamically sharp all-wheel-drive system puts the power to the pavement (or gravel, sand, or snow) confidently. The power steering remains a bit too light (with a quick ratio that takes some getting used to), but overall we think the MDX's optional magnetic-electronic suspension system improves both ride and handling. Overall, the AWD system, the suspension, and the steering together neatly excise the portliness (or at least, the sense of it) that taints the driving experience of so many crossovers—especially those with three rows.
You won't mistake the Acura MDX for anything but a luxury vehicle. In addition to impressive interior trims and materials, it comes with all the comforts and conveniences that are expected in premium cars, and you can option it up with impressive audio, infotainment, and even an adaptive suspension.The 2013 MDX carries over essentially unchanged from last year. It comes loaded with all the features that are expected in a larger luxury vehicle—except for a USB port, which is included only with the upgraded audio system. But the excitement comes in the options, and most of them are grouped into one of three different packages: Technology, Advance, and Entertainment. We do recommend that awesome, 410-watt audio upgrade that you get with the Tech package; while the Entertainment package is for those with kids they want to entertain with the included DVD system. The Advance package adds on ventilated front seats; the adaptive suspension; and a host of safety pieces, like blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and brakes that apply themselves if the vehicle senses an accident is imminent.
- Nimble for a three-row vehicle
- Strong acceleration
- Excellent AWD system
- Comfortable seats
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- Cluttered instrument panel
- Unharmonious grille design
- Needs premium gas
- Too-light, too-quick steering