Acura MDX Featured

6:57am EDT May 30, 2003
Acura has an SUV in its lineup. So what? Doesn't everybody?

Yes, just about every manufacturer boasts an SUV, and for good reason: Buyers are demanding them.

So what's the big deal about the Acura MDX?

For starters, it's an Acura, which means it's probably reliable as all get out. Then there's the ride and handling. Lots of SUVs are built on truck frames. The Mercedes Benz SUV, for instance, is based on a truck platform, and its ride and handling reflects it.

And lots of American SUVs are based on truck designs. That's not bad, but it can mean that the vehicle will feel a bit too much like a truck, not a characteristic preferred by drivers who like the image and roadworthiness of an SUV but not a truck-like ride.

To smooth out its ride, the MDX is based on a car platform, with a unitized frame design like an Acura car instead of a steel beam frame that a truck would ride on.

That doesn't mean simply a better ride. With a wider and lower stance than some other SUVs, it's less likely to roll over. The full-time all-wheel drive system and Acura's vehicle stability system and antilock brakes improve stability on any road surface.

There's plenty of power from the 3.5 liter V-6 engine, which puts out 260 horsepower, and smooth shifts with the five-speed automatic transaxle. And there's room to haul as many as seven people or lots of cargo with the rear seats folded down.

The MDX comes in five trim levels that range from $35,700 to $42,000, so there are several choices if you can find one. The MDX is one of Acura's hottest sellers, and for good reason. How to reach: Acura Division,