Acura Unveils MDX 'Multi-Dimensional' Luxury SUV
1/3/2001 6:17:00 AM
Acura took the wraps off its all-new MDX luxury sport-utility vehicle at the New York International Auto Show today. Slated to go on sale this fall as a 2001 model, the MDX is a fully-featured luxury SUV that combines exhilarating performance and outstanding all-weather handling with an expected five-star safety performance rating, class-leading fuel economy, 50-state ultra-low vehicle emissions (ULEV) and a uniquely transformable seven-passenger interior.
"The Acura MDX redefines what a luxury SUV can be," said Tom Elliott, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Before MDX, if you wanted an SUV with a flexible interior capable of seven passengers, you could expect to drive a gas-guzzling monster truck. If it was European handling and performance you desired, a lofty price bought you limited space and utility. The MDX is the first luxury SUV to deliver the sport and the utility consumers desire in one thoroughly refined vehicle." Designed as a true luxury performance SUV, the Acura MDX combines a highly rigid unit body structure, advanced all-aluminum 3.5 liter VTEC V-6 engine and four-wheel independent suspension to deliver sports sedan-like driving performance in a luxury sport-utility vehicle capable of transporting seven passengers.
An innovative new fully automatic four-wheel drive system combines the best elements of full-time and automatic four-wheel drive to deliver a truly superior level of driver control in all types of weather and road conditions.
The MDX delivers more performance than any of its direct luxury competitors, providing 240-horsepower and 245 lb.-ft. of torque from an advanced, all-aluminum, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with VTEC (Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control) technology mated to a five speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Engine enhancements similar to those found in Acura's new high-performance coupe, the 3.2 CL Type S, provide for exhilarating power and a broad, flat torque curve (95-percent of peak torque available from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm).
A four-wheel fully independent suspension, standard 17-inch alloy wheels and specially designed P235/65R-17 all-season tires further enhance the MDX's sporty performance and all-weather handling capabilities.
Flexible Seven-Passenger Seating
A uniquely transformable interior delivers unprecedented levels of flexibility and utility in a luxury SUV and is capable of accommodating seven passengers.
Second- and third-row seats that split and fold flat into the floor make for an interior that can be quickly and easy reconfigured to accommodate anywhere from one to seven passengers and a wide variety of cargo, from recreation to gardening equipment, including a six foot ladder. A wide track and flat floor design further enhance the vehicle's passenger and cargo carrying capabilities.
Ultra-Low Emissions and Best-in-Class Fuel Economy In keeping with the company's role as a leader in environmental technologies, the Acura MDX will be the first sport-utility vehicle to meet California's Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) requirement in all 50 states and the first SUV equipped with an on-board vapor recovery system to reduce emissions from fuel evaporation during refueling. The MDX also boasts the best fuel economy performance of any vehicle in its class with an estimated EPA city/highway rating of 17/23 mpg, making it one of the cleanest, most fuel-efficient, sport-utility vehicles on the road.
MDX engineers targeted the highest levels of safety for all passengers and equipped the MDX with a comprehensive list of advanced safety features. Internal crash test data confirms an expected NHTSA five-star rating in safety performance for all passengers in frontal and side collisions. Advanced safety features include dual-threshold front airbags; dual-stage passenger airbag; driver and passenger advanced side air bags with passenger size and position sensors; energy-absorbing body structure with passenger compartment safety shell; side-impact door beams and four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock brakes. The front structure of the MDX was also designed to attain crash compatibility with passenger cars in frontal collisions.
Acura VTM-4 Four-Wheel Drive
Delivering power to all four wheels is Acura's innovative new VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management-4WD) fully-automatic four-wheel drive system. Using advanced electronic sensing and exclusive control mechanisms, VTM-4 monitors the vehicle's dynamic condition and proactively transfers engine torque from front to rear to counteract wheel slippage and other undesirable handling characteristics like torque steer and snap oversteer. Unlike conventional automatic 4WD systems, VTM-4 proactively distributes engine torque during acceleration before wheel slip occurs. Test engineers logged thousands of miles achieving the optimal balance between the chassis, engine, tires and the VTM-4 system. The result is a vehicle that delivers tremendous levels of agility and controllability in all types of weather and varying road conditions.
The MDX also communicates Acura style in a bold new way with a strong and athletic appearance -- lean, clean, muscular and refined. Acura's signature pentagon grille and bright, clean headlight treatment highlight the sharply chiseled front fascia. A wide stance (2.5 to 4.8 inches wider than its closest competitors) further communicates a message of broad-shouldered strength and stability.
Interior styling was inspired by the wide open spaces and flowing architectural style of the southwestern United States. Large, flowing shapes dominate the instrument panel and center console, while the overall feeling of the cabin is one of spaciousness with superb outward visibility.
Defeat Winter System
A unique "Defeat Winter" system combines Acura's innovative new VTM-4 four-wheel drive system with a comprehensive list of winter features to provide passengers with superior protection against the elements. Defeat winter features include heated front seats, heated side mirrors, fluidic front and jet-type rear windshield washer nozzles, a large 1.2-gallon washer fluid reservoir with low-fluid warning light, sealed lower doorsills and a storage bin in the rear cargo compartment for winter-related items. The MDX also boasts the world's first Synchronized Climate Control system, which allows for simultaneous or independent operation of both the front and rear air conditioning systems for greatly improved interior heating and cooling performance. An auxiliary heating and cooling unit and fan built into the center console preserves interior headroom while boosting rear-seat climate control performance to best-in-class levels.
Available this fall as a 2001 model, the MDX is projected to be priced in the mid- to high-$30,000 range with first year sales of 35 - 40,000 units. The MDX will be assembled at Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Ontario, Canada.
Like all Acura products, the MDX comes equipped with a comprehensive list of standard luxury features including leather seating surfaces* and door inserts; wood grained trim; keyless remote entry; power windows, door locks and mirrors; power tilt and sliding moonroof; cruise control; seven-speaker AM/FM/Cassette stereo with in-dash CD player; power adjustable heated front seats; and a multi-function digital trip computer. The Touring package adds a remote-linked, two-position driver's seat and mirror memory system; 8-way power adjustable passenger seat; roof rack; and an upgraded 200-watt, eight speaker Acura/Bose music system with in-dash, 6-disc CD changer.
An optional Acura Navigation System with DVD (digital versatile disc) contains mapping of the continental US on a single disc and features a new line trace function that leaves "electronic bread crumbs" on the navigation screen for tracing your steps during off-road excursions in unmapped areas. The MDX, like all Acura vehicles, comes equipped with a comprehensive 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty that includes Acura's TLC (Total Luxury Care) customer service package.
*First and second row seats