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2009 Acura MDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Acura MDX was new.


Performance: 8.9

Test drivers praised the 2009 Acura MDX for its sports sedan-like performance.

  • "Thanks to a trick all-wheel-drive system and an available adjustable suspension, the MDX delivers impressive handling for those who are being dragged kicking and screaming out of their fun-to-drive sedans and into a family-friendly rig. Fuel economy's not bad either, given its 300-horsepower V6." -- Edmunds
  • "The MDX is more agile than the current X5 3.0i on a racetrack -- granted, not the usual habitat for an SUV, but still impressive -- it bests both the V-6 Porsche Cayenne and the outgoing X5 in ride and utility, and it has far better body control than the Volvo XC90." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "I drove the new MDX on a track as well as the road, and it's truly outstanding, able to handle sharp cornering effortlessly, especially when equipped with the optional Sport Package. Overall, the MDX is quite quick, and its sporty exhaust note is just loud enough under heavy acceleration." -- Cars.com
  • "The MDX's performance and handling really are competitive with German vehicles such as the $45,900 BMW X5." -- BusinessWeek
  • "My favorite part of the MDX is definitely the drive. I love all the power of the 3.7-liter V-6 engine, and the amazing handling of its full-time all-wheel drive. An adjustable suspension system lets you choose how you want to experience the road." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Acura MDX comes with a 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine that test drivers found especially powerful. According to the EPA, the MDX nets 15/20 mpg city/highway.

  • "Though many premium midsize SUV competitors offer V8 engines, the MDX's V6 is strong from any speed. The transmission works smoothly, and downshifts with minimal hesitation for passing maneuvers." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 3.7-liter V6 isn't quite as smooth as we've come to expect from Acura's past V6s, but it's hard to argue about its power. Acceleration is a shade soft until the tach needle builds momentum, at which point the engine pulls with enthusiasm." -- Edmunds
  • "Mated to a five-speed sequential gearbox, the engine pulls strongly, and, being a Honda powerplant, it's ultrasmooth." -- AutoWeek

Handling and Braking

Test drivers loved the MDX's sporty yet smooth handling. Also available when it was new is a sports package that added an active damper suspension and allows drivers to choose between sports mode and comfort mode.

  • "Best is the base suspension, which provides a compliant but controlled ride. The Sport Package includes Sport and Comfort suspension modes. Comfort absorbs bumps well but allows too much wallow; Sport makes the ride brittle." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For a three-row SUV, the 2009 Acura MDX does a fine job of driving as if it's not one. On curvy roads, the MDX is an eager partner thanks to the SH-AWD. There's a sensation of the torque shifting from wheel to wheel during hard cornering, cluing the driver into the magic behind the electronic curtain, but it all happens so effectively that it's encouraging rather than distracting." -- Edmunds
  • "The MDX's handling prowess is due in large part to what Acura calls a 'Nrburgring-tuned' four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multilink rear setup." -- Truck Trend
  • "There's a 'comfort' button you can push to soften up the suspension, but the ride is still stiff by American standards. And it's worth noting the default suspension setting is the sporty one, not the comfort mode." -- BusinessWeek

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