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2010 Acura MDX Preview

2010 Acura MDX Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
2010 Acura MDXCritical Knowledge:
  • Revised front and rear styling
  • New 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard Hill Start Assist feature
  • Re-tuned active damping suspension
  • Sport package replaced by Advance package
  • New wheel selection, including 19-inch design for models with Advance package
  • Interior upgraded with new wood, metal and other trim details
  • Paddle shifters added to a thicker steering wheel
  • New center console storage tray
  • New standard LED interior lighting
  • New standard power tailgate
  • New standard reversing camera with display in the rearview mirror
  • New available multi-view reversing camera
  • New available blind-spot information system
  • New available Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • New available adaptive cruise control system
  • New available heated and cooled ventilated front seats
  • Upgraded navigation system with hard disc drive technology, full VGA screen, wallpaper function, and improved navigation features like real-time weather and lane guidance
  • Upgraded audio system with USB port, Bluetooth audio, hard disc drive for uploading CD libraries, and Song By Voice technology
  • Upgraded entertainment system includes motorized screen with 400-percent increase in resolution and simplified remote control
  • Upgraded HandsFreeLink technology downloads phonebooks faster and supports a greater number of paired phones
Introduction
The Acura MDX has been one of the more popular midsize luxury crossover SUVs on the market since it debuted back in 2001. Completely redesigned for 2007, the MDX was the first Acura reflecting the brand's current "Advance" design theme, introducing Americans to the idea of a shield-style grille. Now, the 2010 Acura MDX gets subtle styling updates, including a shift to the formal implementation of the infamous "power plenum" grille, but the real news is under the sheetmetal. There's a new transmission with paddle shifters, revised suspension, plenty of new standard features, and additional technologies to make MDX ownership safer, simpler, more comfortable and more entertaining.

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2010 Acura MDXDesign
Between 2007 and 2009, the Acura MDX's defining design characteristic was its polarizing twin-shield grille. It, and the rest of the MDX's creased bodywork, pointed to the future of Acura design, and for 2010, the implementation of a uniform design vocabulary across all Acura models is complete with the addition of a TL-style "power plenum" grille on the MDX. During the introduction of the 2010 Acura MDX to journalists, John Watts, of Acura's product planning department, commented that the grille's implementation on the MDX was particularly successful, which infers that internally the company is sensitive to criticism about its recent design direction.

Sharp-eyed consumers will also spot revised front bumper air intakes, new skid garnishes front and rear, additional chrome detailing, and other minor details. Acura has redesigned the MDX's wheel selections, too, and is including a larger 19-inch wheel-and-tire package on the MDX Advance model.

Inside, Acura has added a new, darker wood trim finish, thicker steering wheel with new shift paddles, center console storage tray forward of the shifter, LED lighting, and other minor trim upgrades. A reversing camera is also standard for 2010, with a monitor embedded in the rearview mirror when the MDX is ordered without the Technology package. Acura also includes a power tailgate as standard equipment this year, and buyers can get an MDX with heated and cooled ventilated front seats for the first time.

Hardware
The 2010 Acura MDX continues with its 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower V-6 engine driving all four wheels through the company's Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system, which automatically transfers the majority of engine power to a single rear wheel as necessary and desirable, depending on road and driving conditions. For 2010, a 6-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel replaces the 5-speed transmission in the 2009 model. Acura says that when the shift selector is in "S," or Sport mode, the driver continuously controls gear selection using the paddles, and can even obtain a "double kickdown" of gears for more passing power.

Additionally, Acura has modified the MDX's available Active Damping Suspension to provide a better ride in Comfort mode and improved handling in Sport mode. Furthermore, new Hill Start Assist technology prevents the MDX from rolling backward on a hill as the driver moves her foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator, Acura says. Finally, new alloy wheel designs debut, with 18-inchers standard and a 19-inch wheel design for models equipped with the top-of-the-line Advance package.

2010 Acura MDXTechnology
The biggest news for the 2010 MDX is with regard to the technology offered on the SUV. Every MDX gets a reversing camera and enhanced Bluetooth connectivity in 2010, but the real advances are made in the optional Technology, Advance and Entertainment packages.

This year, the Technology package includes a new hard disk drive navigation system with full VGA resolution screen; Acura/ELS surround sound system with a hard disk drive and Song By Voice music library playback; USB connection; real-time traffic and weather including Doppler-style mapping; AcuraLink satellite communications; and a multi-view rear camera that shows a panoramic 180-degree view as well as a top-down picture of the rear bumper and surroundings. Premium Milano leather is also included in this package.

For 2010, the Advance package replaces last year's Sport package. It includes everything in the Technology package, plus the active damping suspension, 19-inch wheels, Milano perforated leather with ventilated front seats, blind-spot information system, and adaptive cruise control. The latter feature can automatically slow the MDX to match the cruising speed of a vehicle ahead in the event the Acura catches up to traffic while the cruise control is engaged. Also included in this package is Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System, which uses the adaptive cruise control system to detect rapid closing rates between the MDX and traffic ahead to determine if an accident is imminent. The system will sound a warning, and if the warning produces no response from the driver, will automatically apply the MDX's brakes to slow the vehicle before impact, reducing the chance of injury.

The Entertainment package is available on any MDX equipped with the Technology or Advance packages. It includes a DVD player with a 9-inch rear screen, which is motorized for 2010 and switches to VGA graphics for a 400-percent increase in resolution, Acura claims. Also included in this package is a 115-volt outlet, perfect for plugging in a video game system, and heated second-row seats. For 2010, Acura says it has also simplified the entertainment system's remote control.

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