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2012 Acura MDX

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2012 Acura MDX Review

A technological and voluminous heavyweight

Reviewed by Automotive on

Acura's full-size MDX has been a perennial best-seller since its introduction in 2001, aimed at families who need three rows of seats but also demand refined appointments. The 2012 Acura MDX carries on its role as a lavishly equipped, sporty family hauler that can still manage to sip gas.

A decidedly on-road vehicle, the 2012 MDX can't tow a bass boat or hit the logging trails. It has no V-8 option or off-road hardware. But for a full-size, three-row SUV, the MDX packs a punch from its 3.7-liter VTEC-equipped V-6 that develops a not-insubstantial 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. With Acura's so-called Super Handling AWD and a six-speed automatic transmission, the Acura MDX banks off its car-like qualities to appeal to buyers who might not have big toys to tow or wilderness to roam.

The MDX received a new grille in 2010, which carries over to the 2012 Acura MDX. Inside, the MDX is appointed with leather seats, widespread wood trim, and a color screen that offers traffic and weather updates, stock quotes, satellite radio, and a 60GB hard drive for MP3s.

The Range

Body style: Sport utility vehicle
Engine: 3.7-liter V-6
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: MDX; MDX and Technology; MDX, Technology and Entertainment; MDX and Advance; MDX, Advance and Entertainment

What's New

A new Acura MDX is expected to appear for the 2013 model year, with rumors of a more efficient 3.5-liter V-6 and even sharper styling. So until then, the 2012 MDX is more of what works.


The Acura MDX received a new grille in 2010, bringing it in line with the rest of Acura's shiny shield design. Acura calls this the "Power Plenum" look, and it proved to be initially controversial on the TL. But for the Acura MDX, the bulging Acura badge has been toned down, and the 2012 MDX retains its handsome, sharp-edged styling and meaty wheel arches.


Acura champions itself as a technologically innovative company, and the 2012 MDX is no slouch: Bluetooth, satellite radio, Internet connectivity, real-time traffic and weather updates, restaurant reviews and stock quotes are all accessed through a color screen and rotary knob. Backseat passengers can entertain themselves with a DVD player and screen and wireless headphones, while supple contrasting leather and wood trim round out the interior.

Performance & Handling

The paddle shiftable 6-speed transmission makes the MDX fun to drive, particularly when paired with the 300-horsepower 3.7 L V-6 engine. The 2012 Acura MDX is surprisingly fast and easy to drive - revised power steering and chassis reinforcements in 2010 increase cornering prowess, as do retuned optional magneto rheological shocks. Full size, three row SUVs, don't drive much better than this.


The 2012 Acura MDX's airbags cover all three rows of occupants, while an advanced safety structure dissipates energy evenly away from passengers in case of a crash. On the technological front, the 2012 MDX gets adaptive cruise control, blind spot alerts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and the Collision Mitigating Braking System that can detect an impending crash and stop the vehicle automatically, when the driver runs out of talent.

EPA Fuel Economy

All: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Lots of tech toys
  • Lots of power
  • Car-like handling

You Won't Like

  • Poor towing capacity
  • Strictly on-road SUV
  • Dashboard buttons galore

Sum Up

A technological and voluminous heavyweight

If You Like This Vehicle

  • BMW X5
  • Infinity FX35
  • Audi Q7
  • Lexus RX 350
  • Cadillac SRX

See the New 2015 MDX.

Front & Driver Side View

2012 Acura MDX Consumer Rating

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