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2011 Acura MDX Advance
Did you check out our review of the 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD and think, "I'd like that, but with seating for seven?" Well, the 2011 Acura MDX may be the ride for you.
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3.7-liter V-6 engine
The MDX is heavier than the TL, but it makes up for its extra mass with an additional 20 horsepower from its 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 engine.
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Power leaves the engine through a single option six-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual shift programs.
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Fuel economy is estimated by the EPA as 16 city and 21 highway mpg. We were well below that range thanks to our especially aggressive driving.
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The MDX Advance's adaptive suspension is able to change the characteristics of its dampers many times per second using magnetism. There are two modes of operations, emphasizing Comfort and Sport handling.
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Standard on all MDX models is Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, which not only splits twisting force between the front and rear axles, but also vectors torque across the rear axle for more-lively handling.
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Between the sport suspension and the SH-AWD, the MDX handles like a vehicle much smaller than its mass supposes.
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Steering effort is light and a bit overboosted, but we had no trouble reading the road from the MDX's driver's seat. Spotting the corners for parallel parking was another issue.
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Steering wheel controls
With about 17 buttons and switches for everything from active cruise control to audio and phone controls, the MDX's steering wheel is a crowded bit of real estate. Thankfully, things are laid out in an intuitive manner.
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A number of the steering-wheel controls command a small monochromatic LCD between the two gauges of the instrument cluster. Here users will find info on the SH-AWD system and the trip computer.
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The MDX's cabin is a nice place to be, with high-quality materials and a variety of visual and tactile textures surrounding the Advance's heated and ventilated leather seats.
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In its five-seater configuration, the MDX can haul some pretty bulky cargo--more so if you decided to fold it's second row flat as well.
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Hidden just below the cargo floor is a third row of fold-flat seats, increasing the MDX's passenger capability to seven at the expense of a bit of cargo holding.
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Back up front, the MDX's Technology Package infotainment system is controlled completely with physical controls. That's not a touch screen at the top of the center stack.
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Nearly all of the MDX's onscreen interactions are handled with this large control knob, which can be spun, pushed in eight directions, and depressed like a button to make selections and navigate Acura's interface.
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Acura's satellite-linked navigation system is improved over previous Honda/Acura implementations with hard-drive data storage and AcuraLink traffic, but with only 2D maps and no text-to-speech, it lags behind most of the competition in its class.
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A USB port in the center console allows users to connect a portable storage device or iPod.
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When connected to an iPod or iPhone, users gain full access to the device's organizational structure.
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iPod voice search
Also, with an iPod or iPhone, users can voice search the songs stored on the device for hands-free queuing of albums, artists, or playlists.
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Pop a CD in the MDX's optical drive and the vehicle can rip the audio to its 15GB music jukebox partition.
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SiriusXM Satellite Radio is standard on the MDX with three months of traffic, music, and weather data included in the MSRP.
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Bluetooth calling is standard in the MDX. But although it offers address book syncing, it doesn't support voice dialing of those contacts without first manually assigning voice tags.
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A2DP audio streaming
Bluetooth audio streaming, on the other hand, is not standard, but included as part of the Technology package.
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Rear seat entertainment
A $1,900 Entertainment package adds a motorized and ceiling-mounted display and a second DVD reader in the dashboard. You also get heated rear seats.
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The rear seat entertainment system includes two pair of wireless headphones and one wireless remote control. Playback can also be overridden from the front seat.