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2013 Acura MDX AWD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Acura, Automotive, Featured, SUV, Test Drives

2013 Acura MDX Beauty Right Done Small


First introduced in 2001 and winner of Motor Trend Magazine’s ‘Sport Utility of the Year’ award, it was last refreshed in 2010 with the addition of the Acura signature ‘over-bite’ grille and a powertrain upgrade with the 300hp 3.7 liter SOHC V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifting.  The 2013 model that I tested is long overdue for a totally new look and Acura promises that to happen in the 2014 model year.  In the meantime, this MDX Advance and Technology edition maintains the core elements that make this SUV so enticing and exciting to drive-the 300hp V6 engine with sequential shifting paddles on the steering wheel, a Nurburgring tuned fully independent suspension with comfort and sport settings, Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, Acura’s ‘ACE’ body structure, a luxurious interior with room for seven passengers and a load of advanced features including Acura’s Navigation System, with voice recognition, an awesome 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround sound system, a power liftgate and a rearview camera.  These and a host of other features are standard and make the MDX one of the best high-performing luxury sport utility vehicles on the market.  It leaves out nothing except for a Smart Access Key Fob and push button start/stop which isn’t the end of the world, but standard on most high-end sport utility vehicles-they will probably be available in the all-new 2014 edition.

Other than those two tidbits, the 2013 Acura MDX is awesome as I enjoyed every minute behind the wheel in city and highway driving.

2013 Acura MDX Engine Done Small

A generous 300 horsepower and 270lb.ft. of torque is generated by the 3.7 liter, SOHC, 24-valve, all-aluminum V6 with VVT & Lift Electronic Control (VTEC).  It gives the 300 horses a wide power band at the low end for quick launches and gas-saving low rpm when cruising down the highway.  The smooth shifting and sport-minded sequential sportshift six-speed automatic transmission has paddle shifter on the steering wheel, Grade Logic Control, shift hold control, cornering G shift control and hill start assist.  Whether driving up or down on pavement or off-road, this transmission enhances your capabilities by adding extra control of your speed and handling.  Speaking of handling, the super handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) system is fantastic-super quick changing torque to each wheel as needed when driving on wet or slick pavement and when off-roading to your favorite destination.  The center of the instrument cluster shows you the torque bias at all four wheels as it is happening as you drive.  It is seamless so you don’t know that the system is assisting you when on the road or off-road.  The torque-sensing power-assisted rack & pinion steering system is quick acting to your inputs with great feel for the road and on-center when driving straight-ahead at speed.  The drive is solid as a rock further enhanced with the big footprint of the optional 19X8.5 inch seven spoke aluminum wheels wrapped with meaty Michelin 255/50R19 inch Latitude all-season radial tires.

2013 Acura MDX Beauty Side Done Small

Further giving you a smooth and controlled ride on the pavement or off-road is the fully independent suspension system with the Advance Package’s ‘Active Damper System’ comprised of magneto-rheological monotube shocks front and back so that you have two damper settings-Comfort and Sport.  Up front is a MacPherson strut setup with a 24mm solid stabilizer bar.  The rear features a multi-link setup with trailing arms and a 27.2 mm hollow stabilizer bar.  You’ll feel hardly any bumps on the pavement and the MDX stay perfectly flat driving through curving roads.  Driving the 2013 MDX is such a pleasure with the latest systems to make the ride more exhilarating, sporty, enjoyable and safe.

2013 Acura MDX Beauty Rear Done Small

Large power-assisted, steel disc brakes quickly slow this 4,568 pound sport utility down from speed.  Up front are 13 inch vented discs clamped with dual piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid rear discs are clamped with single piston calipers.  Each caliper is housed in aluminum to reduce unsprung weight.  Standard BA, EDB, BA, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control all work together to keep you in control of your forward direction when braking hard on slick or wet pavement and when taking a curve at high speed.  It is Acura’s famed precision engineering and automotive high-technology that makes the 2013 MDX one of the industry’s best handling and high-performing sport utility vehicles.

2013 Acura MDX Dashboard Done Small

Inside it is pure luxury, convenience, comfort and infotainment for the owner.  My test MDX came with the optional Technology Package, Advance Package and the Entertainment Package that made the ride even more enjoyable.  Each door opens wide to reveal the leather covered interior including the comfortable rallye styled 160mph speedometer with a 8,000rpm tachometer, power adjustable/heated front bucket seats, center console with dual cupholders and storage box with a padded armrest, second-row seats with a pull-down center armrest and dual cupholders, rear air-vents, tilt-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.  The Technology Package includes steering wheel mounted buttons for the radar controlled cruise control, audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone communication, and trip computer; Milano premium leather seating surfaces, a center stack with enough buttons to control the 3-zone climate control system with air-filtration and the superb Acura/ELS surround sound audio system with 10-speakers/AM-FM-DVD-CD-DTS-HDD-Dolby Pro Logic II system including USB audio interface, radio data system, Acura Navigation System with voice recognition, 8 inch VGA color display, 15GB of hard disc drive space, multi-view rear camera, Acura Link communication system with Real Time Traffic and Weather and Bluetooth audio all part of the Technology Package.  The Advance Package includes the Active Damper system, cooled front bucket seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Collision Mitigation braking system, Blind Spot Information system, front seats with E-Pretensioning system to lessens the amount of force generated by sensing the occupants weight, Adaptive Cruise Control, the 19X9.5 inch tires/wheels and the auto leveling Xenon HID headlamps.  The Entertainment Package includes a motorized DVD rear entertainment system with a 9 inch display and wireless headphones, heated second row seat and a 115 volt power outlet.  Standard features not mentioned above in the MDX include speed-sensing variable speed, intermittent wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, remote-linked power-operated rear tailgate with body-colored tailgate spoiler, center console with dual access armrest, reclining second row seats, 60/40 split-flat folding second row seat, 50/50 split flat-folding third row seat, power windows with front windows auto up/down, remote activated, auto-open side windows and moonroof with vent feature, XM satellite radio, MP3/auxiliary input jack, 10-way power driver’s seat/8-way power front passenger seat, HomeLink system, Acura personalized system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual map lamps, second row reading lamps, rear cargo lamps, grab handles at each door, deep glove box, storage pockets in each door, ambient lighting, door-mounted courtesy lights, simulated Koa wood-grained interior trim, aluminum door kick panels, seatback map pockets, rear underfloor storage, and carpeted floor mats.

2013 Acura MDX Rear Seats Done Small

Standard safety features include driver’s and front passenger’s dual-stage airbags, driver’s and front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, 3-point safety belts, active front headrests, ACE body structure, side impact door beams, daytime running lamps, LATCH system for child seats, and front/rear crumple zones.

The 2013 Acura MDX maybe overdue for a total remake on the outside but the 2013 has all the goodies plus power, performance and safety features of today’s best-selling luxury sport utility vehicles.



  • Price: Base MDX $43,280 As-Tested MDX AWD Advance and Technology edition $54,455
  • Construction: unit-body design
  • Turning circle: 37.6 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 21 gallons
  • EPA passenger volume: 142.2 cu.ft.
  • EPA max cargo with all seats folded: 83.5 cu.ft.
  • Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
  • Total length: 191.6 inches
  • Total width: 78.5 inches
  • Track: f/r-67.7/67.5 inches
  • Height: 68.2 inches
  • Ground clearance 8.2 inches
  • Approach angle: 22.2
  • Departure angle: 23.8
  • Breakover angle: 22.6
  • Towing: 5,000 lbs.
  • Headroom: f/m/r-39.2/38.6/35.5 inches
  • Legroom: f/m/r-41.2/38.7/29.1 inches
  • EPA mileage 16mpg/city, 21mpg/highway

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