2006 Acura MDX
The 2006 Acura MDX is at the end of its current product cycle, with an all-new version scheduled to debut sometime in 2007. It has aged well, with only minor face-lifts and upgrades required to keep it contending in the increasingly crowded luxury-SUV space.
The 2006 Acura MDX's roster of tech features is full, especially when outfitted with navigation and the rear-seat entertainment system, but not all of these amenities are as useful as they could be. A few simple oversights unfortunately spoil an otherwise satisfying tech experience, but on balance, it's easy to keep all passengers entertained while on the road.
The familiar Honda/Acura 3.5-liter V-6 engine provides adequate performance, along with decent fuel economy and emissions ratings. Variable torque management and stability control work to enhance driving feel and safety, and the MDX's handling is comfortably carlike both around town and at highway speeds.
At a base list price of $44,200 for the Touring edition with a rear entertainment system and navigation, the 2006 Acura MDX remains an attractive proposition. Despite its aging underpinnings, the MDX has stayed abreast of the competition in terms of tech offerings, and its continuing popularity is testament to its overall quality.The 2006 Acura MDX makes the most of quality materials and infotainment systems in keeping its occupants comfortable. With leather surfaces on all three rows of seating and real wood accents on the center console and the doors, the luxury feel is thorough. Our test car's Touring edition adds brushed-metal trim to the console.
The Touring edition also includes an eight-speaker Bose sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer and XM Satellite Radio with three months' service; Acura's HandsFreeLink for voice control over Bluetooth cell phone integration and other cabin features; rain-sensing windshield wipers; a driver-recognition memory system; an eight-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support; special 17-inch alloy wheels; and a roof rack.
The rear-seat DVD entertainment system is well done, with a 7-inch fold-down screen, a fully featured dedicated remote, and a pair of wireless headphones that power themselves on when the earpieces are twisted into the listening position, turning off again when stored with their earpieces flat. Most major controls are also available on the face of the headliner-mounted unit, so the remote isn't always required.
The same voice-controlled navigation system we've found so agreeable in other recent Acuras and Hondas we've tested is present in the 2006 Acura MDX as well. Allowing voice input of street names makes programming destinations a breeze, and the touch screen simplifies using the system's menus. The expected view and configuration options are easy to customize, and route calculations and view updates are rapid. OnStar with one year of Safe and Sound plan coverage is included with the nav system. A universal garage-door opener is easy to program.
The 2006 Acura MDX certainly leaves little to be desired in the range of its cabin gadgets, but the way many of them fall just short of full usefulness is frustrating. The audio and rear DVD systems are the most glaring example. While the rear screen and headphones can play from any of the available front-seat sources, as well as from the audio/video inputs in the third-row armrest, the large front-seat LCD touch screen plays no part in controlling any of it. A rear-power knob at the bottom of the center stack is the front seats' main rear-system control, and worse, the lower single-line display is also the only place that XM station, song, and artist information are shown.
This failure to fully capitalize on the main front screen extends to the rearview camera, included with the navigation system. The inclusion of these systems is always welcome in large, high-riding vehicles, but their usefulness is greatly enhanced by onscreen distance and path markers, both of which are lacking in the 2006 Acura MDX. The rain-sensing wiper system is another disappointment, with a confusing adjustable-sensitivity feature that had no discernable effect on the wipers' hesitancy to clear the view in wet conditions.
The front-seat-vs.-rear-seat-system control issues aside, these are mainly minor sticking points in a well-designed and efficiently configurable interior. The third-row seats, while suitable only for small children, do stow fully flat to the floor, and the second-row bench splits and folds 60/40 to open a vast cargo area when needed.