$12,034 - $14,555

2011 Acura MDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Acura MDX was new.


Performance: 8.9

Reviewers say the Acura MDX has sports sedan-like performance. They especially like its 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." -- Car and Driver
  • "The MDX is truly one of the most rewarding luxury crossovers to drive."--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

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Acura MDX comes with a retuned 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine that test drivers find especially powerful. They’re also happy with the MDX’s smooth six-speed transmission.

The EPA rates the 2011 MDX at 16/21 mpg city/highway. This rating is in the top half of the class, but if you’re willing to forego a third row seat, you can get better fuel economy from some competing SUVs.

  • "Where the old transmission seemed to hunt and pick for the appropriate gear, the new 6-speed is decisive and precise." -- 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." -- Car and Driver
  • "Though many premium-midsize-SUV competitors offer V8 engines, the MDX's V6 is no slouch. It feels a touch sleepy from a stop, but it builds speed quickly. 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. ... 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 love the MDX's sporty yet smooth handling, which is boosted by the optional Active Damper System -- a system that allows drivers to choose between Sports mode and Comfort mode. The MDX also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which makes it surefooted on wet or slippery roads, and a decent value: you usually have to pay extra for 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
  • "Advance Package suspension in Sport mode shines here, exhibiting good control of body lean and sharper steering response than with the base suspension. Steering and brake feel are fine. Despite good handling prowess, we don't think it's worth the toll on ride quality exacted by the adjustable suspension on Advance models." -- 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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