Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Acura MDXAcura's largest vehicle has room for seven and a lot of tech.
It's the biggest thing Acura makes with a big dose of buttons, a big chin, and big sales. Let's drive the 2011 Acura MDX and check the tech. This second generation of MDX has been been around now since 2007, but one of the latest tweaks is Acura's so called power plenum face. People either love it or hate it. This is also Acura's largest product and it outsells. There are 2 other light trucks, the RDX and the ZDX combined by almost 3 X. Let's find out why. One thing you gotta hand to Acura, they're stubborn as hell about keeping the buttons on the dash. They've been get a bloody nose about this for years and they're still doing it. This is the most button-crazy center stack in Autodom. Add that to the wheel and a few other various and sundry buttons here and here and here and this is your favorite if you like to drive a busy box. Here's where you get a little nutty. You got this forest of controls around 2 optical drives. This one here apparently is your audio only 6-slot CD changer. This one down here is my DVD plays for DVD audio or video. You can't put every disc in every slot though. You see we have the ELS Surround system. It's the high-end sound. On this guy, we'll get to that in a minute. You got another band of buttons here that are the unfortunate result of having rear-seat entertainment, which I don't like in this car or most cars these days complicated thing of whether it's on or not, whether it has control back there or not, what the source is, yikes! In here, oh yeah, there it is. I've got a little pigtail for a USB dealie. That will hook up to either a phone drive or to a iPod. You can use that either way. The firmware is there. Now, whatever you do feed into these slots when and if you figure out what goes where should sound really good. This ELS audio is very nice. It's 410 watts, something like 15 speakers around the cabin. One of them of course a nice hardy sub, and you've got lots of decoders and synthetic surround. You've got Dolby PL2. You've got DTS, digital surround decoders, and you have the Gracenote database that pulls up information about most discs you stick in here. Now, the reason I don't like the backseat entertainment is because it's antiquated. So, I turn that guy on right here. It's gonna come down and I'm gonna end up with that thing pretty much cutting off part of my rearview mirror plus people on the back seat have to share a single display and even when they do that, they gotta kind of cant their head to the middle of a car, which isn't the most comfortable thing in the world. So, I'm not a fan of this in anyway she performed. Interesting feature on the XM satellite radio which this vehicle comes with, you've got a pause and store function. It will freeze and do snapshot of the MIDI data of what you're listening to on XM at that moment and also store a 10-second snapshot. It's like a little audio notebook of a piece of music you wanna go back to and buy or download or something. Now, some of the controls up here are not pure electronics, but electromechanical, the drive controls. Your shifter goes to a one choice only 6-speed automatic, sport mode all the way back. No slap stick there. Drive dead forward. Paddles are engaged up here, downshift left, upshift right, and of course, you've got a backup camera of vehicle in this class. And as you can see, I've got my distance markers, yellow lines there. I've also got my curb feeler lines, and if I push the center button here, I get a topdown view if I want, or the standard back view or a wide view. All right, MDX, one engine on this guy 3.7L V6, it's the biggest of the V6 family for these guys, 300 horsepower, 270 foot-pounds of torque, 0 to 60's reported around 7.1 seconds, not bad for a vehicle that weighs 4550, but the MPG is kind of a hoggish 1621. That means you'll never see 20. Expect like 18 day in and day out. Little dicey at $4.50 a galloon and the emissions are nothing to write home about either. You will not drive this to your Sierra Club Meeting. He gets a 5 on a 3 on C02 in greenhouse. With the advance package, we have adaptive cruise control. Set the speed and the follow distance and the car takes over. You also get the collision mitigating breaking system, which is designed to cramp on the binders and save you from rear ending someone if you're not paying attention. It does seem to work well, though it's calibrated to jump in really at the absolute last minute unlike let's say Volvo with similar technology, the blind spot detectors were calibrated just about right, I think. Neither over nor under warning of someone back there, but the car leads it to you not to be in their path. There is no lane steering technology. Okay, what's this guy like on the road? Well, here's the key to why I think the MDX has got some enduring popularity. It doesn't feel as big as it is. That's the number 1 impression you get from driving this guy. The engine never feels like its laboring to move this 4550-pound beast. I mean, there are plenty of large vehicles and SUVs out there that move well, but you can tell the engine has to be really impressive to do that. That's different than a vehicle that doesn't feel bloated and heavy to begin with even when it is and so again, 4600 pounds is no slouch. Now, super handling all-wheel drive is a little controversy on this vehicle among car buffs who thinks it's a little bit like pearls before swine because something this big with 3 rows and all these weight and height, does it really need a performance-oriented all-wheel drive system like SH-AWD is? Probably not. Is that great sales in marketing and moving folks vertically through the Acura product portfolio? Probably so. But if you're out sport driving with 3 rows full of spouse and kids, you need a second car, not super handling all-wheel drive in your SUV. While I was underwhelmed by the prospect of the MDX as a sports car, I should point out that my colleagues thought the combination of super handling all-wheel drive and adaptive suspension made it a great one in its class. To each his own. Okay, let's price our MDX. Not a cheap ride, $43,400 base. That includes a little bit of tech, but not much. It will have the super handling all-wheel drive, the bluetooth hands free, power liftgate in a rear, obviously the one choice 6-speed auto, but to get all the tech I showed you, there's really one simple way to go, get the advance package and swallow hard. It's $9625 bucks, but it rolls in a ton of tech, all the toys that we talked about and got excited about. The thing I would not do is get the rearseat entertainment system. That will save you $1900 more and all you give up is that kind of style DVD system, the 115 outlet in the console and heated second row seats. So that's my formula to take this guy CNET style.