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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Car and Driver
Dialed-back BMW X6
hard to argue about its power
towing of "up to 5000 pounds
Kelley Blue Book
The 2010 Acura MDX is well-suited for parents who refused to give in completely to utility over performance.
Reviewers confirm TheCarConnection’s impressions of the MDX’s powerful drivetrain and mostly enthusiastic handling. It starts with a 3.7-liter V-6 that “turns out 300 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque, making it Acura's most powerful engine," Cars.com proclaims. Edmunds feels the V-6 “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." A new six-speed transmission “provides quick, smooth, seamless shifts,” Autoblog reports, “and like the five-speed, paddle shifters allow temporary manual shifting when in Drive or full manual control when set to Sport.” Car and Driver adds, “The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, and its ability to perform multiple-gear downshifts nicely augments the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system during sporty driving.” With the new drivetrain, Acura claims the new MDX will accelerate to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds.
Though it’s among the top misers in its class, the MDX’s fuel economy improves to just 16/21 mpg for the new year. It also requires premium unleaded gas, an additional cost. However, it can “tow up to 5,000 pounds with the added benefit of a Trailer Stability Assist feature," notes Kelley Blue Book.
Secure road feel is delivered by the 2010 MDX’s standard all-wheel-drive system, dubbed SH-AWD (Super Handling AWD). It’s "capable of transferring different levels of power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns and in inclement weather," Edmunds explains, calling it "encouraging rather than distracting." The Washington Post gives “ride, acceleration and handling excellent marks," and ConsumerGuide suggests Acura MDX buyers opt for the base suspension, "which provides a compliant but controlled ride." Enthusiast sites like Car and Driver point out the optional adaptive suspension is much improved from its previously brittle ride; the new version is “far more compliant in both sport and comfort settings while maintaining good body control,” though “we were taken aback by the ultra-light steering—at all speeds—that felt much more artificial and over-boosted than we remember.” In all, the MDX’s dynamics are engaging in a way few other seven-seaters can muster. Jalopnik suggests that when you “Engage ‘Sport’ mode, knock it down from fourth to second, get on the accelerator and throw the MDX into a corner fast and the result is something akin to a dialed-back BMW X6.”
Performance is an unexpected bonus in the big-boned 2010 Acura MDX, and fuel economy tops its class.