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2007 Acura MDX Sport Review


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SEE ALSO: Acura Buyers Guide

THE AUTO PAGE
by JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS
Model: Acura MDX Sport
Engine: 3.7-liter SOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 300 hp @ 6000 rpm/275 lb.-ft. @ 5000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic with sequential sport shift
Wheelbase: 108.3 in.
Length x Width x Height: 190.7 x 78.5 x 66.2 in.
Tires: P255/55R18
Cargo volume: 83.5 cu. ft.
Economy: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/19.0 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 21.0 gal.
Price: $47,795 (add $670 destination and handling charge plus options)

The Bottom LineAmong the first true luxury midsize sport utility vehicles, the Acura MDX retains its place with excellent power from a new engine, a smooth ride, and tons of features. Restyled for 2007, the MDX is longer, but is still among the shortest in its class. The paddle shifters are excellent, if used rarely.

Driving an Acura MDX is always a pleasure. Among the first true luxury midsize sport utility vehicles, the MDX is NOT a vehicle you’d want to take rock climbing. It is, however, a good station wagon-type vehicle that offers all-wheel drive capability for casual off-roading or better traction on mud , ice or snow.

Acura/Honda redesigned the MDX for 2007 with a new grille, longer wheelbase and overall length and a new engine. While adding two inches to the previous edition’s wheelbase, the MDX is still among the shortest in its class. Nonetheless, it still offers three-row seating for seven. With the third row seat up (it should really only be used when you MUST take the added passengers back there, and make sure they’re children), there’s excellent carrying capability.

The new 3.7-liter V6 replaces the former 3.5-liter unit and adds 47 horsepower to an even 300. While the MDX isn’t a light vehicle at more than 4,000 pounds, there’s plenty of power to get you in trouble. For Interstate driving, I highly recommend judicious use of the cruise control.

The only available transmission is a 5-speed automatic with sequential sport shift capability. The nice thing about the sequential shifter (well, there are a couple of nice things) is that no action is needed in moving the shift lever. If you want to shift into manual mode, just tap one of the paddles located behind the steering wheel. To get out of manual mode, just hit “+” when you’re in fifth or “-“ when you’re in first, and you’re back in automatic mode. I felt as if I was always in control, whereas in some cars with sequential shifters, some action must be made in moving the shift lever and in some others, it’s nearly impossible to get out of manual mode once you’re in.

Our tester was the sport, which includes the technology and entertainment packages. To a laundry list of standard equipment, these packages add second row heated seats (make your friends happy in the winter), a navigation system with voice recognition and traffic information (very useful), a rearview camera so you don’t run over basketball coaches (it works folks when rear vision is obstructed by the thick pillars), an automatic driver adjustable suspension and a DVD entertainment system. As I said, this is a luxury SUV, but it’s from Honda, so expect the best.

The suspension in the sport package offers slightly better handling than the standard, which isn’t bad. You can get away with most of the driving you’ll do in the MDX with the base suspension and save a couple of thousand dollars. With the MDX’s class-typical tall aspect ratio, you won’t be cornering at excessive speeds anyway, so the suspension of choice would be one that offers a complaint highway ride.

Front seats offer very good comfort, although I’d prefer slightly more side support. The rear seats offer good legroom in the outboard positions. However, there’s a fairly tall center hump that detracts from legroom in that position.

Access to the cargo area is aided by a power liftgate. We kept the third row up most of the time, in which case it held several golf bags. With the seats folded, the cargo floor is flat.

As it has from the day it was first introduced, the Acura MDX is a perfect example of a luxury midsize SUV. It offers all the utility of a SUV, with all the luxury of an Acura, at a price that’s reasonable in its class.

2007 The Auto Page Syndicate