2008 Acura MDX

The 2008 Acura MDX may look like a thoroughbred but it has the power of a draft horse

2008 ACURA MDX STYLING—9 out of 10

Car and Driver: "The MDX goes for a techno-futuristic look"

Cars.com: "a more integrated look"

Edmunds.com: "metallic grille looks as if it could be wielded by a Spartan in battle"

Washington Post: "a big, ugly grille that is supposed to convey aggressiveness"

Generally, TheCarConnection.com found that when it came to the 2008 Acura MDX, reviewers were pleased with the overall appearance.

Kelley Blue Book reports that "...the characteristics that made the original MDX appealing have carried over intact, if not improved," with few changes from 2007. Car and Driver describes the new MDX Acura as "a little sleeker and a little less boxy without excessive compromise of interior," which has "a sporty ambience."

There are a few aspects of this 2008 Acura's styling to dislike, however. Edmunds.com and the Washington Post agreed that the large aluminum grille is more suited to Wagnerian opera than the front of a contemporary luxury sport-utility vehicle, with Edmunds.com adding that it "lacked a little in terms of personality and prestige." Nonetheless, it remains a top recommendation at that Web site, which feels that the MDX Acura compares very favorably with its chief competitors, the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. Other adjectives used for this SUV were "athletic," "hunkered down," and "aggressive."

Forbes Auto had a slightly different take on the 2008 Acura MDX styling, calling it "bolder and richer-looking" with "chiseled lines" that are less conservative than its predecessor.

The Auto Channel expressed great admiration for its "bold lines and well-defined fenders," which take their inspiration from "car, not truck styling cues." Regarding the five-sided, medieval-looking grille, this source was quick to point out that it has been a virtual corporate logo for the past several years. Chances are, if you really dislike it, there are aftermarket customizations available.

Conclusion: You’ll either love the MDX, Acura's big crossover, or hate it—but you will not be able to ignore it. Those who like an edgy, high-tech-looking vehicle will embrace the 2008 Acura MDX; traditionalists will want to try elsewhere.

2008 ACURA MDX PERFORMANCE—9 out of 10

Car and Driver: "The 5,000-pound towing capacity is...impressive"

Cars.com: "the most powerful engine Acura makes"

ConsumerGuide Automotive: "strong from any speed"

Edmunds.com: "mix of sport handling and crossover utility makes it one of the best"

Washington Post: "I can trust it"

This 2008 Acura may look like a thoroughbred, but it has the power of a draft horse.

The Auto Channel reports that with the MDX, Acura's new 3.7-liter V-6 is "the largest and most powerful ever in an Acura," not only beating the previous model, but with 300 hp, it's the most powerful six-cylinder SUV on today's market. This is borne out by the vehicle's 2.5-ton towing capacity (a 1,500-pound improvement over the previous model), which is more than adequate for a large house or camping trailer, wooden sailing vessel, or horse trailer.

Despite its power, Acura's 2008 MDX does remarkably well in terms of emissions, earning a ULEV rating by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It suffers a bit in the mileage department, averaging only about 15.5 mpg according to testing performed by ConsumerGuide Automotive, but less-than-stellar fuel economy is to be expected with a vehicle of this type—and for what this vehicle is, the 2008 MDX's mileage is actually not too bad. It should be pointed out that EPA estimates according to Forbes Autos is actually 17 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the open road.

This 2008 Acura's five-speed automatic transmission works like a charm when it comes to acceleration and passing, and is the perfect mate for the workhorse powerplant. Although a strictly manual transmission is not available, drivers who absolutely have to shift their own gears will be glad to know that the transmission can be shifted manually, if you prefer to do so.

In addition, the Acura's SH-AWD system does a fine job of distributing torque among all four wheels, according to Forbes Auto.

Conclusion: The 2008 Acura MDX is as athletic as it looks—if you need raw power without wanting to mortgage yourself to ExxonMobil or Texaco, this SUV is a good choice.


Cars.com: "The Active Damper System...does a good job overall"

ConsumerGuide Automotive: "absorbs bumps well"

ConsumerReports.org (via NY Times): "supple and controlled ride"

Washington Post: "It just feels good being in it."

Most reviewers were pleased with the comfort level when driving the Acura MDX, though one thing to understand about the 2008 MDX is that it is not designed for off-road expeditions over rough terrain.

ConsumerGuide Automotive gives this SUV above-average marks for overall comfort. When studying this particular report, TheCarConnection.com noted the best marks were given for the base model, without options; the ride of this model was "compliant but controlled." On the other hand, the suspension available with the Sport package (explained in greater detail below) "allows too much wallow" when in Comfort Mode, and is too "brittle" when in Sport Mode.

The reviewer for the Washington Post got some interesting perspectives on the MDX Acura from the women who drove this vehicle and wanted a car they could "trust more than [their] ex." Aside from their appreciation of this SUV's exceptional reliability, they "liked the idea that it did all of the work of a minivan or station wagon without looking or feeling like one."

Consumer Reports says that the Acura MDX provides a "pleasant...supple and controlled ride... and is more agile than its predecessor," also praising its overall quietness, especially at highway speeds. Edmunds.com agrees, stating that when it comes to "comfort, versatility and refinement, the MDX excels."

The Auto Channel describes the 2008 MDX as having "all of the positive attributes of a crossover—space, versatility, and comfort, plus its own style"—calling it "high-tech contemporary mid-luxury."

Conclusion: Whether it's the daily commute or an extended road trip, you'll travel in comfort in the 2008 Acura MDX.

2008 ACURA MDX SAFETY—10 out of 10

Car and Driver: "Few vehicles equal the MDX's safety story"

Cars.com: "The MDX boasts a Top Safety Pick designation"

Forbes Autos: "Stability and traction control maintain poise"

All the sources consulted by TheCarConnection.com’s editors raved about the 2008 Acura MDX’s remarkable safety levels.

Car and Driver's comment about few equaling the safety of the 2008 Acura MDX is an understatement. They report the MDX Acura includes all of the standard "active features" that are usually found on today's vehicles, which include ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution, stability control, and traction control. In addition, standard (not optional) safety equipment reported on this site includes two-stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pretensioners, and three-row curtain airbags with integrated rollover sensing.

The Auto Channel reports that the 2008 Acura employs the company's patented Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) in the vehicle's structure and design. In case of a head-on impact, ACE construction distributes the force in such a way as to keep the MDX's passenger cabin from collapsing. What is marvelous here, however, is that the designers were not thinking only of the vehicle's occupants, but others as well. The hood design is specially designed to minimize injuries to any pedestrians that may be hit, and the bumpers are at a level that will do the least damage to other vehicles. In addition, one will find suspension stability and traction control devices that greatly improve driver control.

Conclusion: If safety while driving is your primary concern, the 2008 Acura MDX is absolutely a top choice.

2008 ACURA MDX FEATURES—7 out of 10

Car and Driver: "These stack equipment on top of one another"

Edmunds.com: "most tech-savvy V6 SUV on the road"

Forbes Autos: "Standard amenities are plentiful"

There is really only one Acura MDX model that comes with various options packages. As reported on The Auto Channel, these are the Technology Package, the Sports Package, the Entertainment and Tech Package, and the Sport and Entertainment Package. Which one you'll want depends on what your priorities are.

The reviewers at Edmunds.com were most impressed with the high-tech goodies available for this 2008 Acura. Even the base model (with no options) includes genuine leather seats as well as a sunroof, a fully adjustable steering wheel, XM Satellite Radio, and Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone operation. With the Sport and Entertainment package, owners can enjoy amenities such as an active damping suspension system for even greater comfort and control, as well as a voice-activated navigation system, real-time traffic reports, a 10-speaker audio system, and—for the kids on those long road trips—a rear-seat DVD system.

The only criticism here is not of the MDX Acura itself, but of manufacturer Honda; as usual, these options are not available on an a la carte basis—only in "package" form, according to Forbes Autos. As of this writing, the Technology Package runs $3,500, while the more comprehensive Sports Package is $5,600; adding the Entertainment option to either (it's not available by itself) will run you another $2,200.

Conclusion: You've got access to all the high-tech goodies you want with the 2008 Acura MDX, but you'll pay—considerably—for them.

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