Performance » 8
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
composed dynamics befitting its price
Car and Driver
not exactly class-leading [fuel economy]
Best is the base suspension
delivers impressive handling
fun to drive even at or near its limits
Kelley Blue Book
The 2009 Acura MDX is well-suited for people who want a sport sedan but have a family to haul around.
When Acura was designing the next-generation MDX, horsepower was the benchmark used, not fuel economy, and that is reflected in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. "The MDX's 3.7-liter V-6 turns out 300 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque, making it Acura's most powerful engine," states Cars.com. In performance testing, Edmunds "found that the MDX goes from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds." They further explain, "The 3.7-liter V6 isn't quite as smooth as we've come to expect from Acura's past V-6s, but it's hard to argue about its power." The MDX features "unibody construction and a fully independent suspension, and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the added benefit of a Trailer Stability Assist feature," notes Kelley Blue Book.
Putting all that power to the ground is a standard five-speed auto transmission with manual shift and standard all-wheel drive, called, by Acura, SH-AWD or Super Handling AWD. Although a strictly manual transmission is not available, drivers who absolutely have to change their own gears will be glad to know that the transmission can be shifted manually, if you prefer. Edmunds describes SH-AWD as "capable of transferring different levels of power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns and in inclement weather." They detail a sensation of torque shifting side to side in hard cornering and say "it's encouraging rather than distracting." Saab has a similar system called XWD. The 2009 Acura MDX's SH-AWD system does a fine job of distributing torque among all four wheels, according to ForbesAutos.
The MDX suffers a bit in the mileage department, averaging only about 15.5 mpg according to testing performed by ConsumerGuide, who add that Acura recommends premium fuel. Despite its power, Acura's 2008 MDX does remarkably well in terms of emissions, earning a ULEV rating from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It should be pointed out that EPA fuel economy estimates are 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway.
This 2009 Acura's handling is universally lauded. "Ride, acceleration and handling [score] excellent marks" from the Washington Post. And though the MDX certainly isn’t geared toward the off-road crowd, the MDX impresses Kelley Blue Book with its off-road ability, which KBB sampled “on a short but extreme course." Car and Driver feels the MDX has "composed dynamics befitting its price" and "quick, decisive, and totally predictable" responses. ConsumerGuide suggests Acura MDX buyers opt for the base suspension, "which provides a compliant but controlled ride." They note the Sport package includes two-mode suspension: "Comfort absorbs bumps well but allows too much wallow; Sport makes the ride brittle." Strong disc brakes at all four corners are found to swiftly bring this multiton beast to a quick and confident stop.
The 2009 Acura MDX is a seven-passenger luxury utility vehicle that drives like a sport sedan, tows like a truck, and has fuel economy you'll want to forget.