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2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

4dr SUV AT

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 23 MPG Highway

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  • $37,125 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

Printable Version

2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

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2006 Acura MDX

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Acura MDX offers an outstanding V6 powertrain, seven-passenger seating and an all-wheel-drive system that prevents skids almost before they happen. Neat styling, attention to detail, excellent crash protection and competitive pricing increase the appeal of this luxury SUV.

Introduced in 2001, MDX was named North American Truck of the Year by a panel of 50 independent automotive journalists. Through the five model years since, the MDX has been steadily improved in all areas.

The body has grown more rigid, allowing better vibration control and a smoother ride. Power has increased, and a more compact five-speed automatic transmission shifts even more smoothly than before. The MDX's four-wheel-drive system was remapped to work seamlessly with a Vehicle Stability Assist system to improve handling on slippery surfaces and to enhance stability in all conditions. Side curtain airbags covering all three seating rows were added, as were tire pressure monitors. Front and rear end styling has been redone, with a more aggressive edginess. Acura has updated the optional navigation system and added a rearview camera that engages when the transmission is in reverse. A DVD entertainment system with wireless infrared headphones is available. XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth capability for compatible cell phones come standard.

For 2006, the interior has been upgraded, and the Touring edition receives ebony-tone, Zebra woodgrain and satin-chrome accents. Otherwise, the MDX returns for 2006 much as it has been: one of the best values in the class.

Model Lineup

The 2006 Acura MDX is offered in a single trim level, powered by a 3.5-liter, 253-hp V6 (Acura horsepower ratings are based on a recently revised SAE protocol and are not directly comparable to previous ratings) mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

The MDX ($37,125) comes standard with a long list of luxury and convenience features, including automatic, dual-zone, front/rear climate control; first and second row leather seating surfaces and leather door inserts; eight-way power driver's seat; heated front seats; keyless remote entry; power windows, door locks and heated mirrors; power tilt-and-slide moonroof; cruise control; seven-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo with in-dash CD player; XM Satellite Radio (three months prepaid); programmable remote opener; alloy wheels; fog lamps; and a multi-function digital trip computer.

The Touring package ($2825) upgrades the stereo to a 225-watt, eight-speaker, Acura/Bose music system with in-dash six-disc CD changer and XM Satellite Radio; a two-position driver's seat and mirror memory system linked to the keyless remote; eight-way power front passenger seat; Bluetooth; roof rack; a right-hand, outside mirror that tilts to track progress while backing up; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and special alloy wheels.

Acura's DVD Entertainment System ($1500) for rear-seat passengers adds a seven-inch widescreen display that flips down from the ceiling at the push of a button. The system comes complete with two infrared wireless headphones and a wireless remote control. Kids dig it, and with the DVD player up front in the base of the center stack, parents control what's watched.

The DVD-based Navigation System ($2750, available only with the Touring package) needs only one disc to cover the entire continental U.S. It comes with voice recognition and three months' prepaid subscription to OnStar's basic service (emergency assistance and airbag deployment monitoring); the full OnStar package, with route support and concierge service, is optional ($399/year). The system incorporates a rearview camera that transmits pictures from behind the vehicle onto the navigation screen when the MDX is in reverse gear.

Standard safety features comprise the required dual-stage front airbags, three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints for all seating positions and child safety seat anchors (LATCH) in rear seats. In addition, fitted to all MDXs are front seat-mounted side airbags that protect occupants' upper body in side impacts and side curtain airbags covering all three rows of seats that insulate against head injury in rollovers as well as side impacts. A standard tire pressure monitoring system uses sensors in the valve stem of each wheel to alert the driver when tire pressure drops significantly below the recommended level. The MDX also comes with antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution (which balances front-rear brake application depending on speed and vehicle load) and brake assist (which optimizes brake application in emergency stops). These active safety features can help the driver avoid a wreck.

Walkaround

The Acura MDX won't draw a gasp for unique design or beauty of line. It looks sturdy and stable with a wider, firmer stance than some competitors. But buyers who measure their lives on the look-at-me scale should shop elsewhere.

The signature Acura grille forms the centerpiece for the tapered front end. The MDX's angular headlights house projection-type beams. An aerodynamic chin spoiler integrated into the front bumper directs air smoothly to the sides of the car. The rear end sports large taillights and dual exhaust tips.

In other words, the MDX still looks like an MDX. Limited overhang at either end contributes to a dense, compact demeanor that belies this SUV's heft and somewhat exaggerates the size of the MDX's mid-section. Some believe the large greenhouse adds to the straightforward sense and strong presence. Others claim it makes the MDX seem more like a minivan than a big SUV. We say, both.

What's most interesting, and isn't obvious except in a body-off view, is the duality of construction under the MDX. It is both unibody and body on frame. This approach gives uncommon rigidity and strength gained from longitudinal rails with eight box-section cross members. It's the thinking engineers' path to making a car/truck both a car AND a truck, whichever is appropriate to the occasion. The hoped-for effect is noise, vibration and harshness control on par with a car and load and stress management characteristic of a truck. Within the MDX frame, there's even a vent tube that wicks moisture away from the differential when the vehicle is sitting in 18 inches of water.

Two safety points: The 2006 MDX achieved a five-star federal crash rating for front impacts and side impacts (the best, indicating a 10 percent or less chance and a 5 percent or less chance of serious injury, respectively) and a four-star in rollover (next to best, indicating a rollover risk of between 10 percent and 20 percent). The company also claims its SUV can be hit from behind by a vehicle going 35 mph without the third row of seats being breached. The MDX's comparatively high fuel economy ratings are a testimony to the efficiency of its design and engine technology, and all models sold nationwide meet the government's strict ULEV-2 emissions standards (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle).

Interior Features

Acura MDX offers space and cargo flexibility at the top of the class. The finish inside is excellent, especially the rich wood-grain and satin-chrome interior trim in the Touring model. The materials are generally high grade, and the fit and matching of various panels is first-rate.

Airy, perforated leather adorns the front and second row seats, side panels, steering wheel and shift knob. There is nothing swoopy or eye-popping about the instrument panel, just easily read instruments with an unobstructed view. Simple, large knobs are easy to operate whether that hand is wearing gloves or has long fingernails. The overall sense is the serenity of simplicity.

The air bag fits flat into the top of the passenger-side dash, where it deploys first up and then back toward the passenger, a sequence some crash analysts believe provides the most effective protection in frontal collisions.

Attention to detail is evident throughout. The sun visors have extensions for those sharp shafts of sun angling low at dawn and dusk. The roof-mounted grab handles don't go CLUNK against the ceiling when released; they whisper their damped way back into place. The beverage holders are engineered specifically for the seats they serve, with those in the rear configured to hold larger soda and water bottles and rectangular juice boxes and those in the forward areas with multi-tiered, stepped bottoms to fit containers of different sizes and rubber lips to corral tipping cups.

Automatic headlights and an auto-up feature for the driver's window are standard. The back-up video camera with the navigation system is an extremely useful feature, helping the driver detect hard-to-see obstacles.

Third-row seats in the MDX are relatively easy to get into, but the back row is best suited for young children or people of small stature, as there's very little space for legs and feet. We see these seats as good for only occasional use, not regular use. A convenient walk-in feature slides the MDX's entire second seat forward with the touch of a lever, located on the curb side. When not in use, both the second and third rows fold to leave a flat surface with no protrusions to scratch luggage or inhibit cargo loading. The seats split for a varied mix of people and stuff.

And with those second and third seats stowed, there's room for a ton of stuff. With 81.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the MDX dwarfs five-passenger competitors such as the BMW X5 (54.4 cubic feet) and Infiniti FX (64.5). It beats all but the Volvo XC90 (85.1 cubic feet) among seven-passenger competitors. And thanks to its space-efficient design, the MDX offers more cargo room when all three rows of seats are in place (14.8 cubic feet for MDX vs. 11.1 for XC90), plus a couple hooks for grocery bags off to each side and a concealed, under-floor storage bin. A thoughtful touch is room enough for a full-size tire in the space storing the compact spare tire.

The split air-conditioning system is one of the more impressive features. Not only can those in back have a different temperature than the front-seat riders, but one zone can get heat while another gets air conditioning.

Acura makes excellent navigation systems. We liked this one for its graphic clarity and intuitive simplicity. Indeed, this is easily one of the best GPS-guided systems going. The database is expansive, so if you want to pick up some cash, make a stop at the nearest Chinese take-out and then locate an emergency room for your over-indulgence, it is all at your beck. A novel capability, and one uniquely appropriate for a vehicle equipped to seek out uncharted outbacks, is a feature that leaves electronic bread crumbs on screen. No road visible under the little wedge-shaped marker that represents your vehicle? Not to worry. Acura's navigation system leaves a line that you can easily retrace back to where there be no more dragons.

Driving Impressions

The Acura MDX offers an excellent balance of car and truck attributes. It has good highway manners. It corners well for a vehicle of its heft, though without the keen turn-in of the BMW X5. It rides lighter on its wheels than the Volvo XC90. Overall, the MDX feels extremely stable.

Its 3.5-liter, 24-valve VTEC V6 engine generates impressive power, and its five-speed automatic features gear ratios for towing and trail grinding. The shift gate could use a notch between D and 4, as the lever far too readily continues on into that lower gear when shifted out of P or R. Torque peaks at a very usable 3500 rpm with most of the 250 pound-feet available all the way to 5000 rpm. Yet the MDX delivers better fuel economy than most of its luxury SUV competitors, with EPA-estimated City/Highway ratings of 17/23 mpg.

In the paved world, the MDX can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds. Its mesa-shaped torque curve means responsive acceleration around town and for merging and passing at any speed. Off road, it makes up for the absence of a transfer case and a granny gear with a regular low gear that is extra low. Although not up to Rubicon Trail-level ruggedness, venturing onto badly rutted forest service roads or trails leading to fishing sites and trailheads will not overtax it.

This SUV comes with a unique four-wheel-drive system, called VTM-4, for Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel drive. Most of the time, the MDX runs in front-wheel-drive mode for good fuel economy. Some all-wheel-drive systems primarily cruise in front-wheel drive, engaging the rear wheels when sensors detect front wheel spin. Not so the MDX. Slippage, the Acura engineers reason, predominantly occurs only under acceleration. And so the MDX initially allocates more power to the rear wheels than to the front wheels whenever the driver calls for acceleration, without waiting for slippage to occur. To get out of tough situations, Acura provides a button on the dash that locks the rear differential, progressively reducing the lock effect as speed increases and releasing it completely by the time the vehicle reaches 18 mph.

The MDX feels secure and much of that comes from a relatively firm suspension, firmer than that on the Lexus RX 330, for example. In tradeoff, the MDX feels a bit bouncier than the RX 330 on rough roads. It also lets more tire noise into the cabin. On pavement the MDX likes to understeer, by design. That means that if you're too fast into a corner, the front wheels begin to lose grip and want to go straight on at lower speeds than they do in the Infiniti FX35 or in the BMW X5. This encourages you to intuitively lift off the throttle and slow down. The steering is heavier than that in the Lexus, and we prefer that of the MDX. You can feel the wheel slightly tug on your hands when you accelerate hard, a phenomenon called torque steer, but it doesn't influence your heading. Directional stability is a bit lacking, requiring micro-corrections in steering both on straight roads and in sweeping curves.

The brakes are absolute standouts, responsive and secure, and everything is managed by Acura's Vehicle Stability Assist system. VSA works in concert with the brake systems' electronics, all-wheel-drive and electronic throttle to enhance control during acceleration, braking and cornering, orchestrating traction control, anti-lock braking and stability management. On slick roads, for instance, VSA will clamp the brakes on hard if you enter a corner too quickly, and pull the MDX tighter into the corner.

MDX also delivers 4500 pounds of boat-towing capacity, although only 3500 pounds of trailer-tow, due to the added aero-drag of boxy shapes; in both, it trails the XC90's 5000-pound rating.

Summary

The Acura MDX combines most of the virtues of the SUV genre and diminishes or eliminates most of its vices. While it's not perfect, it's more versatile than five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the Lexus RX 330, BMW X5 or Mercedes ML, and it retails for thousands less than comparably equipped, seven-passenger competitors such as the Volvo XC90 and Cadillac SRX. Anyone seeking comfort, performance, reliability, spaciousness, flexibility, proven safety features, environmental awareness and driving pleasure in a value-loaded package must have a look at the MDX.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Tom Lankard filed this report from Sacramento, California.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$37,125
Model lineup:
Acura MDX ($37,125)
Engines:
3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6
Transmissions:
5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
front-seat airbags; front seat-mounted, upper-body protection side impact airbags; full-cabin, curtain-style, head protection airbags; three-point belts and head restraints at all seven seating positions; front seat seatbelt force limiters and pre-tensioners; ABS with EBD and Brake Assist; stability control electronics; and tire pressure monitor
Safety equipment (Optional):
none
Basic warranty:
4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Acura MDX ($37,125)
Standard equipment:
automatic, dual-zone, front/rear-seat climate control; leather-trimmed, front and middle seats; power windows, locks and heated mirrors; tilt-and-slide moonroof; cruise control; leather-wrapped, tilt steering wheel and shift knob; seven-speaker AM-FM/CD/cassette; XM satellite radio; eight-way, power adjustable driver seat; heated front seats; auto-dim inside rearview mirror; automatic headlights; multi-function digital trip computer; all-wheel drive with lockable differential; programmable, remote garage opener; fog lamps
Options as tested:
Touring Package includes eight-way power front passenger seat, special alloy wheels, roof rack, rain-sensing windshield wipers, tilting right-side back-up mirror, remote keyless entry linked to two-position memory seat and mirrors, Acura/Bose 200-watt audio system with 10 speakers and six-disc CD changer and hands-free cellular phone connection ($2825); rear-seat DVD entertainment package with wireless headphones ($1,500); and navigation system with OnStar and reverse-engaged rear camera ($2750)
Destination charge:
615
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$44,815
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
3.5-liter sohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
253 @ 5800
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
250 @ 3500
Transmission:
5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
17/23 mpg.
Wheelbase:
106.3 in.
Length/width/height:
188.7/77.0/68.7 in.
Track, f/r:
66.3/66.5 in.
Turning circle:
38.3 ft.
Seating capacity:
7
Head/hip/leg room, f:
38.4/56.9/41.5 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
39.0/56.3/37.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:
36.1/48.5/29.3 in.
Cargo volume:
81.5 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
4500 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, strut, coil spring, gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bar
Suspension R:
independent, multi-link, trailing arm, coil spring, gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:
8.0 in.
Curb weight:
4531 lbs.
Tires:
P235/65R17 all-season
Brakes, f/r:
ventilated disc/solid disc with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist in.
Fuel capacity:
20.4 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Acura Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12 months/12,000 miles limited warranty from purchased date or expiration of new car warranty date. Additional 7 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty from in-service date.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program 3 day exchange
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Acura MDX Sport Utility

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