2009 Acura MDX Expert Review

You'll Like The 2009 Acura MDX If...

The perfectly practical MDX is also one of the most powerful, most tech-savvy V6 SUV on the road, giving it assured access to the top tier of any premium midsize SUV shopping list.

You May Not Like The 2009 Acura MDX If...

If you prefer the softer, tamer side of a premium lifestyle, you might be more comfortable in the Lexus RX 350 or Lincoln MKX.

What's New

he biggest change for 2009 is the availability of a power rear liftgate on models equipped with either the Technology or Sport packages.

Interior Features

In its pursuit of greater performance, the 2009 Acura MDX has given up nothing in practicality. For example, the MDX offers 15 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third row, which is just two cubic feet less than the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe. For bigger loads, both rear rows fold flat. The reclining second-row seats offer enough legroom for those six feet tall and more, while the third row is best suited for smaller folks riding on shorter trips. The MDX even offers a minivan-like 10 cupholders. Up front, the MDX is an attractive mix of sport, luxury and technology, with highlights that include perforated leather or premium leather seats, wood-like or metallic trim and a collection of intuitive controls.

Exterior Features

Complementing its wider, lower, more aggressive stance, the boldly styled MDX features a shield-like take on Acura's five-sided grille, thick wheel arches filled with 18-inch wheels and prominent oval tailpipes. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, mirror-integrated turn signals and LED taillamps further the cutting-edge appearance, as does a radio antenna that's been cleverly integrated into the rear spoiler. The MDX is longer, wider and taller, by varying degrees, than the Lexus RX 350 and Volvo XC90. The 2009 MDX can be had in two new colors, Bali Blue Pearl and Mocha Metallic.

Driving Impressions

The fact that Acura introduced the MDX on a racetrack with other high-performance SUVS says quite a bit. The fact that it was indeed the MDX that put the biggest smiles on our faces says even more. When pushed hard, the MDX's 300 horsepower, sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and optional active damping system combine to deliver an SUV that's fun to drive even at or near its limits. We were also impressed by the MDX's off-road ability, which we were able to sample on a short but extreme course. Fortunately, because very few will ever negotiate a racetrack or even a muddy trail, the handily athletic MDX is even more pleasing around town and on the highway than any MDX before it.

Pricing Notes

The 2009 Acura MDX starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $41,500 and extends to around $50,000 when fully equipped. As a recently redesigned, premium-badged vehicle, we expect our Fair Purchase Prices to reflect real-world selling prices close to those MSRPs. The well-rounded, well-equipped MDX makes a worthy competitor to a wide-range of premium SUVs – from the Volvo XC90 to the Porsche Cayenne – with pricing that we feel compares favorably to anything in the category. As for resale value, we expect the MDX to perform better even than the excellent, but aging, Lexus RX 350.

Notable Equipment

Some of the bigger features included at base price include the powerful V6 engine and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, power and heated front seats, power moonroof, HID headlamps, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, an impressive audio system, three-zone automatic climate control, an auto dimming mirror, steering wheel-mounted controls, six airbags and electronic traction and stability controls.

Notable Options

All of the 2009 Acura MDX's optional features are bundled into three packages. Technology Package highlights include a sophisticated navigation system with real-time traffic info and Zagat restaurant reviews, plus a DVD-Audio Surround Sound system and power rear liftgate. Sport Package features include an active suspension, premium leather and an exclusive wheel design. The Entertainment Package includes a DVD rear entertainment system.

Favorite Features

Technology Package

With a navigation system that provides real-time traffic info and an audio system that delivers amazing six-channel Surround Sound via DVD-Audio disc, we'd be hard-pressed not to check this option box.


Squeeze the throttle while in the middle of a corner and the MDX's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system transfers more torque to the rear outside wheel, delivering truer steering response and perceptibly higher cornering limits.

Under the Hood

The MDX features Acura's most powerful engine ever, connected to a five-speed automatic transmission and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system that distributes torque not only between the front and rear wheels, but also between the left and right rear wheels. In addition to cornering advantages, the system also makes for a less-intrusive stability control system. The available Active Damper System, in which the shock absorbers can change from soft to firm in milliseconds, helps mitigate the traditional trade-offs between a comfortable ride and spirited handling. The MDX features unibody construction and a fully independent suspension, and can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the added benefit of a Trailer Stability Assist feature.

3.7-liter V6

300 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

275 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20

Editors' Notes

By combining manageable dimensions with seven-passenger capacity, a comfortable highway ride with responsive in-town handling and car-like construction with respectable off-pavement capability, the MDX has been one of our favorite SUVs since its introduction for the 2001 model year. In fact, as it trails only the Lexus RX 350 in category sales, the MDX has proven to be a favorite of many. In 2007, Acura introduced an all-new MDX, designed with new emphases on performance, technology and styling. Fortunately, the characteristics that made the original MDX appealing are still present in the current model. The newest MDX goes largely unchanged in 2009.

Road Test Video Reviews

  • 2009 Acura MDX 3 7 SH AWD Technology Package|P10437A
    2009 Acura MDX 3 7 SH AWD Technology Package|P10437A
  • 2008 Acura MDX Owner Review. Reliable Used SUV
    2008 Acura MDX Owner Review. Reliable Used SUV
  • 2007-2013 Acura MDX Review | Consumer Reports
    2007-2013 Acura MDX Review | Consumer Reports
  • Acura MDX: Advice for Buying and Shopping Used
    Acura MDX: Advice for Buying and Shopping Used
  • 2009 Acura MDX. Start Up, Engine, and In Depth Tour.
    2009 Acura MDX. Start Up, Engine, and In Depth Tour.
  • 2007-2013 Acura MDX Review (2nd Generation)
    2007-2013 Acura MDX Review (2nd Generation)

Owner Reviews


31 Reviews

48% 32% 16% 2 star 0% 3%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

Our car leaves us not wanting anything more. It meets all our needs.

Our mdx is always maintained properly by my husband, whether it be tires, oil changes etc. So the car is very reliable. We take a lot of road trips with no worries. Radio and CDs are great with the sound system. We love the car and it's smooth ride. Our passengers always comment on the comfort of the ride. It is definitely a luxury vehicle.

- Mary-margaret S

Perfect car - spacious - smooth ride

I absolutely love my car! It's very roomy and comfortable for me my husband and my two children. I love that it has a third row that I can pull up or lay down if I don't need it. It has tons of space to haul things and it is a very reliable car! I would definitely consider buying another one in the future!

- Michele W

The 2009 mdx is a winner!

I have had few problems with my mdx, overall. Most of the repair items have been simply because things wear out on the vehicle due to it is age. The vehicle is a great size for carrying our two dogs in the back. It also has many amenities such as navigation, 6 CD changer, heated seats, backup camera, etc.

- Marse G