$12,397 - $14,257

2012 Acura MDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Acura MDX was new.


Performance: 8.7

Reviewers say the Acura MDX has sports sedan-like performance. They especially like its responsive transmission, powerful engine and composed ride.

  • “On the highways and back roads, the MDX made friends with everyone.” -- Car and Driver
  • “The fact that Acura introduced the MDX on a racetrack with other high-performance SUVS says quite a bit. The fact that it was indeed the MDX that put the biggest smiles on our faces says even more.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Acura MDX comes with a 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 engine that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Test drivers say the MDX may feel a bit slow when accelerating from a stop, but once it gets some speed it has great power. They also praise the transmission, saying it’s smooth and responsive.

The EPA rates the MDX at 16/21 mpg city/highway. That’s about average for a seven-seat SUV with standard all-wheel drive, but if you can do without the third row, you’ll be able to find five-seat SUVs with better fuel economy.

The MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds, according to Acura.

  • "Acceleration from the 3.7-liter V6 is a shade soft until the tach needle climbs into the midrange, at which point the engine pulls with enthusiasm. The MDX's six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly and quickly downshifts when the throttle is prodded.” -- Edmunds
  • "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

Handling and Braking

Test drivers love the Acura MDX's sporty, yet smooth, handling, saying it’s one of the most fun-to-drive family vehicles on the market. However, its sport-tuned driving dynamics mean that its ride is a bit harsher than more comfort-focused competitors, like the Lexus RX 350.

All models come standard with all-wheel drive and paddle shifters. An available active damper system allows drivers to choose between sport mode and comfort mode, but test drivers say sport mode makes the ride too harsh, so they don’t necessarily recommend paying extra for it.

  • "Advance models with the suspension in Sport mode shine 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 MDX is truly one of the most rewarding luxury crossovers to drive.” -- Edmunds

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