2006 Acura MDX

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The Acura MDX continues to be a leader in the luxury sport utility segment offering outstanding performance, upscale styling and an abundance of standard luxury features. For the 2006 model year, the MDX receives further refinements including enhanced interior trim for an even more stylish look. In addition, the MDX, like all 2006 Acura models will be covered by a six-year or 70,000 mile limited powertrain warranty in addition to the four-year or 50,000 mile standard limited bumper-to-bumper warranty.

"Each year, we make enhancements to keep the MDX fresh and ahead of the competition," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president, auto sales. "We have made powertrain improvements, exterior styling changes, technology upgrades and safety enhancements over the last three years. This year we upgraded the interior to make the MDX even more refined and upscale."

Interior

The enhanced interior of the Acura MDX emphasizes the vehicle’s versatile yet refined character with standard-setting levels of luxury and functionality. For 2006, on models equipped with the Touring Model the center console and door switches are finished in high quality ebony-colored Zebra wood-pattern and refined satin chrome accents are added to strategic points through the interior.

Three uniquely transformable rows of seats allow the MDX to comfortably seat up to seven passengers. A convenient walk-in feature provided at the right (curb) side of MDX’s second-row seat slides the seat forward with the touch of a lever. Second and third row seats split and fold flat into the floor providing 82 cubic feet of cargo room. Even with all three rows in use, the MDX still offers 14.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row seats.

Features

The MDX is one of the most comprehensively equipped vehicles in its class. Standard features including a power moonroof, multi-function digital trip computer, a synchronized climate control system, two rows of leather trimmed seats, premium sound system, heated front seats and steering wheel mounted cruise control and audio controls. An optional Touring Package adds a variety of premium features. These features include a roof rack, exclusive alloy wheels, upgraded sound system, two-position memory for the driver’s seat and sideview mirrors, and a front passenger’s 8-way power seat.

Acura Navigation System

The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition(TM) is available as a factory-installed option on models equipped with the Touring Package. The navigation system features a menu of 742 voice commands, an 8-inch display, a comprehensive destination guide with over 7 million points of interest, 3-D graphics for freeway interchanges, on and off-ramps and turn-by-turn voice guidance and access to the Zagat Survey(TM) Restaurant Guide. In addition, all U.S. cities and street names (1.7 million) are accessible through the voice recognition system. The navigation system can be used through the steering wheel-mounted voice recognition button or by using the menu on the touch screen.


Engine

The Acura MDX’s 3.5 liter, 24-valve, all-aluminum, VTEC(TM) V-6 engine utilizes a high flow dual exhaust system that helps to generate 253 horsepower SAT net (8/04)* and 250 lbs-ft of torque SAT net (8/04). This exhaust system utilizes two close-coupled primary catalytic converters, a secondary underfloor catalytic converter, and large diameter exhaust pipes. The MDX meets stringent LEV-2 ULEV emissions standards. With estimated city/highway ratings of 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway, the MDX delivers better combined fuel economy than most of its luxury competitors.

Transmission

The MDX features a compact 5-speed automatic transmission with components engineered to provide the durability needed for on-road, off-road and towing use. A wide-ratio design affords a first gear with extra pulling power to start heavy loads and a high top gear for quiet highway cruising. This 4-shaft gearbox utilizes a unique shaft layout that not only reduces size, but also trims gear noise, clutch drag and hydraulic friction.

A drive-by-wire throttle system, eliminates the need for a mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and the engine, and modulates the throttle during transmission shifts for improved smoothness. It also allows for throttle control to be seamlessly incorporated into the MDX’s VSA(R) logic and directs the vehicle’s cruise control function.

Drive System

For enhanced traction on low friction surfaces, the MDX utilizes a unique VTM-4 four-wheel drive system. Unlike conventional automatic four-wheel drive systems, which react only to wheel slippage, VTM-4 proactively apportions torque from the front to the rear wheels before wheel slippage can occur. When cruising, the system automatically reverts to front-wheel drive for improved fuel economy.

In addition to ample power, the Acura MDX delivers sport sedan-like handling and a smooth, compliant ride. It features a 4-wheel fully independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-channel ABS, dual piston calipers in the front, standard 17-inch alloy wheels and specially designed P235/65R-17 all-season tires to provide stability and responsiveness. Brake Assist, which helps drivers apply full braking pressure in an accident avoidance situation, is also featured. Front and rear stabilizer bars, a wide track and a low center of gravity give the MDX predictable cornering response and help maximize cornering capabilities.

Handling is further enhanced through the application of a standard Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system that works in concert with the VTM-4 and drive-by-wire throttle systems to provide enhanced control during acceleration, braking and cornering. This 4-channel system orchestrates the throttle and each of the vehicle’s four disc brakes to seamlessly integrate traction control, Anti-lock braking, and stability enhancement for increased driver control during acceleration, braking and cornering.


Safety

The MDX utilizes an assortment of the latest safety features to provide 5-star safety in NHTSA frontal (NCAP) and side (SINCAP) impact tests. A side curtain airbag system helps reduce injury to occupants in all three rows of seats during a sufficient side-impact collision. It deploys from a module in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing an important and significant level of head protection in the window area. This system also includes a series of rollover sensors designed to trigger the system in the unlikely event of a rollover. Should the MDX begin to tip, the rollover sensors monitor the rate of roll and deploy the side curtain airbags accordingly.

The Acura MDX also features dual-stage, dual-threshold driver’s and front passenger front airbags. The driver’s airbag adjusts deployment force to one of two rates according to input from sensors which monitor the severity of the impact, seatbelt usage and the position of the driver’s seat. The front passenger airbag’s deployment takes into account the severity of the crash, seatbelt usage and the passenger’s weight.

The MDX also offers driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags with occupant position sensors in the passenger’s seat; and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system on the second row of outboard seats to simplify attachment of compatible child seats.

A direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) uses sensors in the valve stem of each wheel to alert the driver when tire pressure drops significantly below the recommended level. If the system detects that tire pressure is low (32 psi is recommended), the low pressure indicator notifies the driver, while a schematic of the vehicle located in the center meter indicates which tire or tires require air.

Warranty

Like all Acura models, the 2006 MDX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and, new for 2006, a 6-year/70,000 miles powertrain limited warranty. Additional ownership benefits include Acura Total Luxury Care (TLC), which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.


Driving Impressions

The Acura MDX offers an excellent balance of car and truck attributes. It has good highway manners.

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.

The MDX feels secure and much of that comes from a relatively firm suspension, firmer than that on the Lexus RX 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 BMW X5. This encourages you to intuitively lift off the throttle and slow down. The steering is heavier than that in the Lexus 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.


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