Acura’s MDX mid-size luxury crossover (CUV) is part of a Canadian success story.

It is one of three Acura vehicles (CSX and ZDX) being constructed in Alliston, Ont., where the Honda Civic sedan is also built.

It’s been a win-win for everyone involved and that includes the federal and provincial governments who never had to worry about shelling out money to Honda.

Introduced in 2001, the MDX (which stands for Multi Dimensional luxury) was the first mid-size CUV to come with a third row seat. Designed to do battle with the Lexus RX300/330, the MDX now faces a host of competitors in its segment.

The 2009 version is equipped with a 3.7-litre V6 producing 300 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque using Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing system for a fuel consumption rating of 13.8L/100 km city and 10.0L/100 km highway on premium.

The only transmission available is a five-speed automatic with sequential SportShift mode that allows “manual” selection of the gears.

All MDX models are fitted as standard with a heavy-duty version of the automatic transmission and heavy-duty radiator with dual fans. That enables the MDX to tow up to 5,000 lb.

Cargo volume with the second (50/50 split) and third row (60/40 split) seats folded is 2,364 litres.

The integrated ABS and Vehicle Stability Assist (Acura’s term for electronic stability control) also features Trailer Stability Assist that senses when the trailer is starting to wander and gets both it and car back on an even keel.

The MDX also comes standard with the Honda-developed SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive) system that not only sends up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear wheels under acceleration but can route more torque to the wheel on the outside of a curve. At the same time, the system allows the outside wheel to turn a hair faster than the inside tire for a feeling of neutral steer.

All of this is visible on the Multi Information Display set between the speedo and tach. As the torque moves around it is shown by a series of gradients at each wheel in real time. So even though you probably won’t feel it, you can see the system at work, and believe me, it’s fascinating to watch.

There are three MDX trim levels starting with the base car, the Technology Package and the Elite Package as tested here at $62,500.

Only the Elite gets self-levelling headlights or a nine-inch DVD entertainment system for those in the back seats with remote and wireless headsets with surround sound.

There are front and side airbags as well as a three-row curtain airbag fitted on all models and this integrates a rollover sensor.

The navigation system on the Elite and Technology Packages features bilingual voice recognition and has a backup camera view displayed on the monitor.

It has a very solid feeling on the road with a surprising amount of “feel” coming through the steering wheel rim to the hands. The brakes feel “big” to the point of being almost grabby at slow speeds.

2009 Acura MDX Elite

Type: Midsize luxury CUV
Price: $62,500
Engine: 3.7-litre SOHC V6 (300 hp, 275 lb/ft)
Fuel Economy: 13.8L/100 km city, 10.0L/100 km highway


• Loaded with technology and latest gadgetry
• Solid on the road
• Made in Canada

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