$10,880 - $13,125

2010 Acura MDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Acura MDX was new.


Performance: 8.9

Test drivers praised the 2010 Acura MDX for its sports sedan-like performance. They especially liked the new six-speed transmission and retuned, powerful V6 engine. Another plus is that the MDX comes standard with Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

  • "Perhaps the most notable upgrade is Acura's first-ever six-speed automatic transmission in place of the previous five-speed. The transmission will proliferate through the company's V-6 models, with the ZDX, in which the gearbox was first shown, being the next Acura to market so equipped." -- Car and Driver
  • "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
  • "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

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Acura MDX comes with a retuned 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine that test drivers found especially powerful. This is a lot of power considering that it’s the standard engine. The EPA rates the 2010 MDX at 16/21 mpg city/highway.

  • "The gearbox is a serious improvement over the 5-speed unit found in the last generation MDX. Where the old transmission seemed to hunt and pick for the appropriate gear, the new 6-speed is decisive and precise. Shifts are quick and smooth, and that extra cog allows the engine to breathe easier at highway speeds - offering up 1 mpg more than the 2009 model in both city and highway driving." -- MSN
  • "The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, and its ability to perform multiple-gear downshifts nicely augments the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system during sporty driving. The gearbox's standard and sport modes are selected via the console-mounted shifter, and all trim levels get steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters as standard." -- Car and Driver
  • "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 transmission provides quick, smooth, seamless shifts and the total ratio is spread wider than before, but the gaps in between are smaller. The first five ratios are shorter than the previous five-speed gearbox, while sixth is slightly taller than the outgoing model's fifth gear. Off the line performance feels a bit snappier, and like the five-speed, paddle shifters allow temporary manual shifting when in Drive or full manual control when set to Sport." -- Autoblog
  • "At 7.0-seconds to 60 MPH, the new MDX is faster than V6-equipped rivals like the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 3.2, Lexus RX350, Infiniti FX35 and BMW X5 3.0. At 16 MPG city/21 MPG highway, it's also more fuel efficient than all but the Lexus." -- Jalopnik

Handling and Braking

Test drivers loved the MDX's sporty yet smooth handling, which is boosted by the active damper suspension -- a system that allows drivers to choose between sports mode and comfort mode. The MDX also comes standard with all-wheel drive.

  • "Despite the MDX's handling prowess and all-wheel-drive grip, we've criticized its ride for being a bit harsh and unyielding, particularly in the sportiest suspension setting. And although it remains firm, our brief jaunt north of Detroit revealed the new version to be far more compliant in both sport and comfort settings while maintaining good body control." -- Car and Driver
  • "The driver can switch between a borderline too-soft Comfort setting and a considerably sharper Sport mode at the push of a button. The latter makes the big crossover feel as if it's laced up a new set of track shoes and dropped 500 pounds -- eliminating most of the body roll and wallow we came to expect from the last MDX. Even if you aren't into all of the technological wonders found in the Advance Package, the Active Damper System might make stepping up a trim level or two a worthwhile consideration." -- MSN
  • "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
  • "The Comfort and Sport modes offer distinctly different suspension setups, with the Comfort mode feeling a bit too soft, while the Sport mode making the MDX noticeably tighter." -- Autoblog
  • "Engage ‘Sport' mode, knock it down from fourth to second, get on the accelerator and throw the MDX into a corner fast and the result is something akin to a dialed-back BMW X6. Like BMW's strangely-shaped crossover-car-coupe, there's virtually no roll or steering feel, but there's not really any understeer either. The MDX just takes corners at any speed you require of it." -- Jalopnik

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