Pros: Ride, performance, handling, roominess, overall quality
Cons: Cheap interior plastics, Touring option over-priced.
I previously reviewed a 2002 based on a test drive. I now own a 2002 with just under 1000 miles.
We purchased the vehicle (MSRP) in Southern Calif. (we live in Northern CA) as we wanted a specific color and these are in high demand. I was tired being on waiting list, so started sending out e-mails and making phone calls.
We had a couple of minor problems with delivery which turned out to be mostly Acura problems that the dealer had no control over. We were compensated by the dealer with free options worth $250 for the 10 day delay.
We put over 500 miles on the car driving mostly up the California coast.
It drove flawlessly. Still breaking in, I could not do any real performance runs, but based on recent experiences, let me just say for a heavy vehicle it has no problem getting out of it's own way. Very good acceleration from a start, and highway passing is done with ease.
I found the interior plastic to be on the cheap side, beside the fake wood accents. The overall interior styling is very well done, again, the choice of materials could have been better for this class.
Exterior styling is modern, without being trendy. It gets the job done, and the air resistance is low (0.36) for a vehicle of this size.
We opted for the Touring version, which offers nice amenities such as superior tires, memory seating, power passenger seat,
upgraded (Bose) stereo, a tilt down side mirror for better visibility when backing. All these are 'nice' but not worth the $2600 premium. The Bose is hardly the mark of a luxury vehicle, and a simple change out of the door speakers, can make a significant difference to the audiophile.
The $2000 navigator is excellent. We enjoy the heck out of it. I thought the novelty might wear off, but it performed excellently, weaving us through freeway interchanges as we made our way north. We have since used it to find street addresses, and places of business. It is not perfect, but at night in strange surroundings, it could be literally a life saver.
I bought a 'used' full size alloy wheel and a brand new Michelin tire for the spare to replace the chintzy donut spare that comes on the MDX. Another area where Acura really cheaped out for an SUV of this class.
The engine is totally silent from inside, except when you accelerate hard, and then it sounds just great! Never strained or flat. Just happy to rev and the throttle response is excellent. 240 hp and 245 lb ft. of torque moving a 4300 lb vehicle. The real secret is the VTEC (variable valve timing) which allows over 90% of that torque to be available from 2500 to 4000 rpm.
Gas mileage is within a 1 or 2 mpg of the advertised range (17-22) but with less than 1000 miles on the X I have not seriously assessed to any kind of accuracy.
This is not a serious off-road vehicle. But will get you through more than the everyday drudgery of the commute. The ride is silky, and the handling is superior to most any SUV with the exception of the BMW X5. But all this at a more reasonable price than the X5 or MB M class.
The VTM-4 drive system is seamless in it's operation and ensures no wheel slip and good tracking on less than ideal conditions including snow and ice.
If you want something comfortable, quiet, smooth, capable, roomy and responsive look at the MDX.
The seats are firm but very supportive. After a few long distance rides, we never felt beaten. A little tired after a lot of driving but surprisingly never fatigued or sore.
The pop-up 3rd row seats are nothing special, and has limited room, but at least you can carry 2 more people for a max of 7 as needed, of fold them down for great cargo space.
If you need something more truck-like, status oriented, or with a big V8 look elsewhere.