2013 Acura MDX Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
July 31, 2013

The 2013 Acura MDX is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable vehicles to drive, if you must have three rows of seats.

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, straight-line performance and impressive safety.

The MDX's design has aged well in the several years since its last full redesign. Honda has done a better job here in giving the Acura MDX a sleeker look, in what could have been a bare-bones box on wheels. Just a hint of a curve, here and there, does wonders for the big wagon.

In any of the seats in the first two rows, adults will find a comfortable place to spend a few hours. The front seats in particular have great support and bolstering. The child-friendly third-row seat won't be an easy place for bigger people to find comfort, but at least the second-row seats fold and slide forward to make access to the third row a bit easier. 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. The one exception--and a peeve we just can't get over--is the instrument panel's cluttered and unnecessarily complex layout

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The MDX is 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-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, which delivers impressive passing power even with a full load, with a 6-speed automatic 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 feels a bit too light (with a quick ratio that takes some getting used to), but the adaptive shocks give it smoother handling and better ride quality. 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 gets adaptive shocks, ventilated seats in front, and a safety package that includes adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitors.

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