2009 Acura MDX
Benchmarked against some of the best performance SUVs in the world and tuned on the
Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, the MDX clearly establishes itself as a driver’s SUV.
Outfitted with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system and an
available Sport Package with Active Damper System, the MDX yields a combination of
handling and comfort that is truly on the cutting edge.
The 2009 MDX is equally daring in its styling and thorough in its safety and
environmental responsibilities. The MDX has an expansive array of safety features
included as standard equipment. The MDX’s 300-hp VTEC® V-6 makes as much power
as some competitive V-8s, yet delivers ultra-low emissions and excellent fuel economy.
Inside the 7-passenger interior, the MDX offers thoughtful luxury and an unmatched
range of advanced technologies, including the Acura Navigation System with Voice
Recognition™ and AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System with real-time traffic and
a spectacular 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System.
Altogether, the 2009 MDX embodies Acura’s commitment to performance, luxury,
quality and style, along with an emphasis on safety and environmental care. The 2009
MDX is the seventh Acura project to be designed and engineered in the United States
(including the 1997 CL, 1999 TL, 2001 CL, 2001 MDX, 2004 TL and 2009 TL) along
with several award-winning Honda products.
3.7-liter, SOHC, V-6 engine
300 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) valvetrain
2-piece, dual-stage magnesium intake manifold
Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission
Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)
EPA estimated mileage of 15/20 mpg* (city/highway)
EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards
*Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use
for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on
how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
2009 Acura MDX
Unit body structure with extensive use of high-strength steel
Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low-beam front headlights
MacPherson strut fully independent front suspension
Multi-link independent rear suspension
Torque-sensing, variable power-assist rack-and-pinion steering
18x8-inch aluminum wheels
P255/55R18 104H M+S all-season tires
4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution
(EBD) and Brake Assist
Vehicle Stability Assist™(VSA®) with traction control and Trailer Stability Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
5,000-pound tow rating
LED tail lamps and Center High Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL)
Heated outside mirrors with Reverse gear tilt-down and integrated LED
directional turn signals
7 passenger seating
Driver-oriented cockpit
Driver's 10-way power seat (8-way power seat with 2-way power lumbar support)
Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column
Two-driver custom memory system
Front passenger 8-way power seat
Heated front seats
Tri-Zone automatic climate control system with air filtration and humidity control
253-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, in-dash 6-disc
CD/MP3/WMA changer, XM® satellite radio, AUX jack connectivity along with
8 speakers, including 8-inch subwoofer
HomeLink® remote control
Multi-Information Display (MID) allows access to multiple electronic functions
Maintenance Minder™
Adaptive and flexible cargo space with multiple configurations
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface
Auto dimming rearview mirror
2009 Acura MDX
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
Side impact door beams
Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
Driver and front passenger dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplemental
Restraint System (SRS)
Driver and front passenger knee bolsters
Driver and front passenger side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position
Detection System (OPDS)
Side curtain airbags for all three rows with rollover sensor
Active front head restraints
3-point adjustable-height front seat belts with automatic tensioning system and
load limiters
3-point seat belts at all seating positions
Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractors (driver has ELR
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system
for the second-row seats
Technology Package
• Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ and rearview camera
• AcuraLink® satellite communication system with real-time traffic
• 410-watt, 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System with 6-disc
CD/DVD-Audio and DTS® changer, AM/FM tuner, XM® Satellite Radio and
AUX jack connectivity
• GPS-linked, solar-sensing, tri-zone, automatic climate control system with air
filtration and humidity control
• Power operated rear tailgate
Sport Package (in addition to the Technology Package features)
• Active Damper System
• Perforated, premium full-grain leather seating surfaces with high-damping frontseat cushion foam
• Exclusive alloy wheel design
• Auto-leveling headlights
• Textured metallic accents on radio, cupholder and shifter bezel
Entertainment Package (available with Technology or Sport Package)
• DVD Rear Entertainment System with wireless headphones and remote control
• 115-volt power outlet in center console
• Heated second-row outboard seats
2009 Acura MDX
MDX has been very important to Acura, accounting for about 30-percent of the division’s
sales since the vehicle’s introduction as a 2001 model. Equally important, the original
MDX attracted buyers from competitive luxury makes including BMW, Mercedes-Benz
and Lexus, starting new relationships for Acura. The 2009 MDX competes in the Mid
Premium CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) segment.
Focus groups with luxury customers were conducted in Seattle, Detroit, Chicago and Los
Angeles. These cities were carefully chosen to explore how customers use their SUVs in
cold climates, in areas that are traditional domestic-vehicle strongholds and in areas
known for their trend-setting character.
Early in the study process Acura also benchmarked performance SUVs such as the BMW
X5 – and polled their owners – to ensure that the second generation MDX would exceed
its performance. Satisfying these highly discriminating customers means that the MDX
would be well positioned to attract a wider group of potential buyers.
With the MDX, added performance and handling capabilities boost its appeal for
performance enthusiasts, while the luxurious and functional interior continues to satisfy
the needs of traditional luxury customers.
Developing 300 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, the MDX’s 3.7-liter V-6 output is
competitive with many V-8 engines – without the fuel-economy penalty most V-8’s
suffer. To widen the powerband and improve fuel economy, the 3.7-liter engine has
VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) valvetrain, a dual-stage
intake manifold and an electronic Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system. EPA estimated
mileage of 15/20 mpg* (city/highway) and a large 21-gallon fuel capacity mean the
MDX has a long cruising range. The MDX is designed to meet the latest emissions
requirements including strict EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV standards.
A 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift is designed to satisfy the
most performance-oriented drivers. Tuned on the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany,
the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system provides handling precision
that sets a new benchmark for SUVs.
SH-AWD® actively varies the torque distribution between front and rear axles – then
between the left and right rear wheels – to provide maximum grip under all driving
circumstances. Such torque vectoring operates seamlessly and allows the SH-AWD® to
overdrive the outside rear wheel up to 1.7-percent faster than the front wheels to create a
“yaw moment” allowing the MDX to better rotate around a corner while minimizing
2009 Acura MDX
*Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use
for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on
how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
The 2009 MDX sets new standards for SUV styling, engineering, handling and safety
standpoints. Its dramatic styling utilizes large surface areas, sweeping curves and decisive
angles. Longer, wider and lower (and with a longer wheelbase) than the original MDX,
the dimensions create a more athletic appearance.
In an effort to keep mass out of the vehicle, the MDX features widespread use of light
weight materials such as high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium. In addition, the
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is intended to bring new
levels of front crash safety to the MDX.
Befitting its position as Acura’s flagship SUV, the MDX is equipped with Xenon HighIntensity Discharge (HID) low-beam front headlights, a dramatic array of Light Emitting
Diodes (LEDs) in the rear tail lamps and center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL), and
exterior mirror-mounted turn signals. The Acura signature front grille reflects a fresh
look for the MDX. Careful aerodynamic tailoring reduces drag noise and high speed
dynamic stability.
The 2009 MDX features a track-tuned chassis to complement its 300-horsepower VTEC®
V-6 engine and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®). Engineers targeted the
BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne when developing the MDX chassis, and then tested and
refined it at Germany’s famed Nürburgring circuit. The Active Damper System, available
in the Sport Package, has proprietary fully active dampers that adjust (in less than five
milliseconds) to road conditions on a real-time basis. The MDX is also at home off-road
where its excellent engine torque, responsive suspension, and generous ground clearance
enable it to cross-step through rough terrain.
For family recreation, the MDX tows as well as it goes. With a 5,000-pound tow rating,
standard trailer pre-wiring, high-capacity radiator with twin cooling fans, transmission
fluid cooler and Trailer Stability Assist, the MDX needs only a dealer-installed hitch and
wiring to tow a substantial trailer.
The MDX features a luxurious yet functional interior. The cockpit environment is
focused on the driver, and features a host of technologies to make driving simultaneously
rewarding and relaxing. The interior styling and functionality perfectly coexist with a
driver’s cockpit that features a 10-way power seat including power-adjustable lumbar
support for the driver, electronic tilt and telescoping steering column, a 2-position custom
memory system, and a Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple
electronic functions.
2009 Acura MDX
The interior design is as dynamic and contemporary as the exterior, with a “4+3 seating”
concept that luxuriously hosts four passengers in the first and second row seats, while
also offering comfortable accommodations for three additional passengers (one in the
second row and two in the third row). The front passenger enjoys an 8-way power seat,
while everyone on board will appreciate the MDX’s Tri-Zone automatic climate control
system. All occupants will enjoy the 253-watt, 8-speaker Acura Premium Sound System
with in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3/WMA changer, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Satellite Radio.
An auxiliary jack for personal audio devices is also included. Standard convenience
features include HomeLink®, Maintenance Minder™ and adaptive and flexible cargo
space with six configurations.
The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure along with several
passive-safety technologies help bring the 2009 MDX to the next level of safety. ACE™
more evenly distributes collision forces and helps maintain the integrity of the passenger
cabin in the event of a severe frontal collision. The MDX is also less intrusive to smaller
vehicles in a head-on collision thanks to a special frame member located below the front
bumper that is designed to engage the front bumper of smaller vehicles.
The MDX is equipped with an active front head restraint system for front seat head
restraints along with knee bolsters for the driver and front passenger. The driver and front
passenger are also protected by dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplemental Restraint
System (SRS) and side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System
(OPDS). Side curtain airbags help reduce the likelihood of injury to the occupants in all
three rows of outboard seats A rollover sensor adds a further level of protection.
The 2009 Acura MDX furthers Acura’s commitment to “Safety Through Innovation”
with pedestrian injury mitigation features such as a deformable aluminum hood and hood
hinges along with breakaway windshield-wiper pivots.
Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario, is the assembly plant for the MDX.
A special dynamic quality-control process is employed to ensure the highest possible
level of attention to detail for every MDX produced. After assembly is completed, each
MDX enters a special Acura Quality line. The ability to immediately respond to the
smallest quality issue allows the MDX to excel in quality – and in customer satisfaction.
2009 Acura MDX
Given the MDX’s performance goals, its powertrain and driveline were required to
advance on multiple fronts. The result is one of the most powerful normally aspirated 6cylinder SUV powerplants currently available in America. In addition, the MDX returns
competitive fuel economy and meets tough EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II
ULEV emissions standards. To put the power to the ground and provide agile, responsive
handling, the MDX has standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®).
The MDX’s sophisticated 3.7-liter VTEC® V-6 powerplant develops 300 horsepower at
6,000 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. The MDX returns an EPA fuel economy
rating of 15/20 (city/highway) mpg*.
Compared to the previous generation MDX, the 3.7L engine gains 47 horsepower and 25
lb-ft of torque. Of that gain, 20 horsepower came from an increase in displacement and a
new 11.0:1 compression ratio and 15 more horsepower are due to new intake port shapes,
valve design and VTEC® tuning. The final 12 horsepower is credited to the 3.7L MDX’s
high-flow induction and exhaust systems. Although more powerful, the engine is actually
17.2 pounds (3.7-percent) lighter than the 3.5L engine it replaced. Durability upgrades
throughout the powertrain, including a high capacity radiator with twin cooling fans and a
standard transmission fluid cooler accommodate the MDX’s 5,000-pound tow rating.
A 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift is standard, giving the
driver the choice of fully automatic operation or manual shifting via a special shift gate.
With the electronically controlled Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and transmission
working together to execute shifts, the MDX delivers smoothly responsive acceleration.
The MDX has standard SH-AWD®, an exclusive all-wheel-drive system that actively
distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear axles but
also between the left and right rear wheels. The effect of such “torque vectoring” is
reduced understeer, superior cornering accuracy and more total cornering performance.
For the MDX, SH-AWD® is enhanced with hill logic which automatically adjusts the
front/rear torque split based on hill grade.
Compression ratio
Horsepower @ rpm
Torque @ rpm (lb-ft)
EPA estimated mileage City/Highway
Emissions certification (CARB/EPA)
Required fuel type
2009 Acura MDX
3664 cc
300 @ 6,000
275 @ 5,000
5-speed automatic
Premium unleaded
2009 Acura MDX
• 3.7-liter, SOHC, V-6 engine produces 300 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 275 lb-ft
of torque at 5,000 rpm
• VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control)
• 11.0:1 compression ratio
• 2-piece, dual-stage magnesium intake manifold
• Direct ignition system with knock control
• Variable flow exhaust system
• Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system
• Maintenance Minder™ system optimizes service intervals
Transmission and Drive System
• Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission
• 5-position transmission shifter
• Advanced shift-hold control limits upshifts during spirited driving
• Advanced Grade Logic Control System reduces gear “hunting” when driving on
steep hills
• External transmission fluid cooler
• Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)
Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH)
• 60-degree engine cylinder V-angle for inherently smooth operation
• Maintenance-free serpentine accessory drive belt system with auto tensioner
Emissions/Fuel Economy
• Dual high-flow, close-coupled catalytic converters plus under floor catalytic
• High capacity 32-bit RISC processor engine control unit (ECU)
• Meets strict EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emission standards
• 15/20 mpg* (city/highway)
*Based on 2009 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use
for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on
how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
2009 Acura MDX
The 3.7-liter VTEC® V-6 in the MDX is the largest production engine in Acura’s history
and it incorporates many of the refinements and improvements that have been developed
in other Acura powerplants. The MDX engine has a smooth-firing 60-degree V-angle,
compact overall dimensions, and it sheds 17.2 pounds from previous generation 3.5L
engine. Aluminum alloy block construction including special aluminum cylinder sleeves
saves weight and improves cooling, while VTEC® compatible cylinder heads operate
four valves per cylinder for maximum power output.
A high-flow intake system, high compression ratio, close-coupled catalytic converters
and high flow exhaust team to help the MDX engine produce strong torque.
The MDX’s lightweight, heat-treated die-cast aluminum-alloy block has unique cast-inplace aluminum cylinder liners. These high-silicon sleeves dissipate heat better than
traditional iron liners. The aluminum sleeves also allow a closer piston-to-cylinder
clearance for lower operating noise. A mechanical etching process during manufacturing
exposes silicone particles embedded in the aluminum sleeves, which provide a hard
piston ring sealing surface. The block also incorporates a deep-skirt design for rigid
crankshaft support and reduced noise and vibration.
The MDX uses a forged-steel crankshaft for high strength with minimum weight. With
their raised crowns, the MDX pistons raise the compression ratio (relative to the previous
MDX) from 10.0:1 to 11.0:1. This elevated compression ratio is possible due to an oil jet
system that sprays cooling oil on the underside of the piston crowns to keep temperatures
in check. Steel connecting rods are forged in one piece and then the crankshaft ends are
“crack separated,” creating a lighter and stronger rod with a perfectly fitted bearing cap.
Like other Acura V-6 engines, the MDX powerplant uses single overhead camshaft
(SOHC) cylinder heads. These lightweight components are made of pressure-cast, lowporosity aluminum, and improve overall packaging, enhance exhaust flow and allow the
optimal positioning of a primary close-coupled catalytic converter on each cylinder bank.
To save weight and reduce parts count, an exhaust manifold is an integral part of each
cylinder head casting. Magnesium cylinder head covers save a total of 2.6 pounds.
The MDX features lightweight camshafts. Assembled from tubular steel shafts with
splined steel lobes and journals that are pressed in place, this unique style of camshaft
design is a first for Acura.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX’s intake port design has an optimized shape that contributes to the MDX’s 300
horsepower output. Intake valves are 36mm in diameter (an increase of 1mm over the
previous engine design), yet weigh 13-percent less due to a reduction in material in the
valve head. The exhaust valves measure 30mm in diameter.
To ensure positive sealing, a 3-layer shim-type head gasket is used. A single Aramidfiber reinforced belt drives the overhead camshafts.
The MDX’s VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) operates the 12
intake valves in two distinct modes. Operation of the intake valves changes to optimize
both volumetric efficiency and combustion of the air/fuel mixture. At low engine speeds,
the intake valves have low lift and are open a comparatively short period of time during
cylinder filling. At high engine speeds where breathing is critical, the valves switch to a
high-lift, long duration mode to deliver improved volumetric efficiency. The VTEC®
changeover point occurs at approximately 4,500 rpm and is virtually undetectable to the
When the engine reaches the VTEC® changeover point, the powertrain control module
(PCM) triggers the opening of an electric spool valve that routes pressurized oil to small
pistons located in the intake valve rocker arms. The pistons slide into position to lock
together the three intake rockers for a given cylinder, which then follow a single high-lift,
long-duration camshaft lobe.
To improve engine breathing and engine sound, particularly at high rpm and large throttle
openings, the MDX has a low-restriction intake manifold system. With a large diameter
inlet, a pair of resonators and a low-restriction air filter element, the 3.7L MDX induction
system flows an additional 14-percent more than the previous 3.5L system.
The MDX doesn’t use a conventional throttle cable, but instead has smart electronics that
connect the throttle pedal to the electronic throttle-body. A programmed "gain" between
throttle pedal and engine offers better drivability and optimizes engine response to suit
driving conditions. The throttle profile of the new MDX provides low speed control,
followed by progressively building response at higher speed for improved linearity.
The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system evaluates the driving conditions by monitoring
throttle pedal position, throttle-body opening position, road speed, and engine speed. This
information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity. This gives the MDX throttle
pedal a predictable and responsive feel that better meets driver expectations.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX features a Multi-Point Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system that
continually adjusts the fuel delivery to yield the best combination of power, low fuel
consumption and low emissions. Multiple sensors constantly monitor critical operating
parameters such as throttle position, intake air temperature, coolant temperature, ambient
air pressure, intake airflow volume, intake manifold pressure, exhaust-air ratios and the
position of the crankshaft and cams.
The MDX uses a dual-stage intake manifold that is designed to deliver excellent airflow
to the cylinders across the full range of engine operating speeds. The 2-piece manifold is
also very light due to its cast magnesium design. The light-weight manifold combines
with the new exhaust system to contribute 12 horsepower to the MDX’s 300 horsepower
The induction system significantly boosts torque across the engine's full operating range
by working in concert with the VTEC® valvetrain. Internal passages and two butterfly
valves within the intake manifold are operated by the powertrain control module (PCM)
to provide two distinct modes of operation by changing plenum volume and intake
airflow routing.
At lower rpm these valves are closed to reduce the volume of the plenum and effectively
increase the length of inlet passages for maximum resonance effect and to amplify
pressure waves within each half of the intake manifold at lower rpm ranges. The
amplified pressure waves significantly increase cylinder filling and torque production
throughout the lower part of the engine’s rpm band.
As the benefits of the resonance effect lessen with rising engine speed, the butterfly
valves open at 3,800 rpm to interconnect the two halves of the plenum, increasing its
overall volume. An electric motor, commanded by the PCM, controls the butterfly valves.
The inertia of the mass of air rushing down each intake passage helps draw in more
charge than each cylinder would normally ingest. The inertia effect greatly enhances
cylinder filling and the torque produced by the engine at higher rpm.
The MDX’s powertrain control module (PCM) monitors engine functions to determine
the best spark timing. An engine-block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensor
"listens" to the engine, and based on this input, the PCM retards the ignition timing to
prevent potentially damaging detonation. The MDX has a coil unit for each cylinder that
is positioned above each spark plug’s access bore.
2009 Acura MDX
The exhaust manifolds of the 3.7L V-6 are cast directly into the aluminum cylinder heads
to reduce weight and to put the engine’s two primary catalytic converters as close as
possible to the combustion chambers. The 600-cell per-square-inch, high-efficiency
catalytic converters mount directly to the exhaust port of each cylinder head for
extremely rapid converter light-off after the engine starts— thus lowering emissions
output. A significant weight savings and reduction in parts count is realized by
eliminating a traditional exhaust manifold and converter design.
Downstream of the close-coupled catalysts, a hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries
exhaust gases to a single secondary catalytic converter located under the passenger cabin.
This high-flow unit has a revised shape and a large 62mm outlet. Downstream of the
underfloor catalyst, the system splits flow into a pair of underfloor chambers (the
previous MDX used a single chamber) to give the exhaust note a more refined sound.
Dual silencers near the rear fascia incorporate an exhaust pressure-activated valve to
balance the engine’s need for proper exhaust backpressure at low rpm and free flow at
high rpm. With the valve in each silencer closed, the exhaust sound level is muted for
quiet cruising. When exhaust flow increases sufficiently due to high rpm and a large
throttle opening, the silencer valves open and provide a secondary exit path inside the
silencer chamber. In total, the MDX’s exhaust system refinements substantially improve
flow potential.
The 2009 MDX meets tough EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions
standards, and per regulations, is certified to this level of emissions performance for
120,000 miles.
A number of advanced technologies are factors in this excellent emissions performance.
The cylinder-head-mounted close-coupled catalysts light off quickly after engine start up,
and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor in the powertrain control module (PCM) boosts
computing power to improve the precision of spark and fuel delivery. In particular, right
after startup, better fuel atomization is provided by the high-efficiency multi-hole fuel
injectors that more accurately deliver fuel to each cylinder.
The MDX’s Multi-Point Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system monitors the state
of the exhaust gas and tracks multiple engine inputs including intake manifold pressure,
throttle position, intake air temperature, coolant temperature, and such. Based on these
inputs PGM-FI continuously adjusts and optimizes the amount of fuel delivered to each
To ensure consistent starting, the MDX has a one-touch starter system that maintains
starter engagement until the engine starts, even if the driver releases the ignition switch.
2009 Acura MDX
To provide greater driving range while maintaining a comfortable interior climate, the
MDX has excellent air conditioner efficiency. By partially mixing cool cabin air with
fresh air in the blower, the amount of compressor operation can be reduced by up to 40percent compared to operating exclusively on exterior air. Over the course of a tank of
fuel, this partial recirculation mode can extend fuel economy by as much as 4-percent.
This function operates automatically when the HVAC system is in Auto mode.
The MDX powerplant is exceptionally smooth thanks to its 60-degree cylinder V-angle
and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block. A forged
crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts and a stiff cast-aluminum oil pan also help reduce
noise and vibration.
The MDX has a standard 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and Grade Logic
Control to maximize acceleration performance, fuel economy and driver control.
Compared to the previous generation MDX, this sophisticated transmission features
lower gear ratios for improved acceleration and towing power, upgraded shafts, gears,
bearings and clutches to match the engine’s greater power output and increased cooling
capacity to accommodate the MDX’s 5000-pound towing capacity.
Designed for a high level of durability and low maintenance, the MDX transmission has a
strengthened aluminum case that carries both high-torque clutches and high-strength
gears. A transmission cooler is positioned in the front of the MDX to help keep the
transmission fluid temperature within tolerance, particularly when towing.
Automatic Mode
The Sequential SportShift 5-speed transmission can be operated in conventional fully
automatic mode via a console-mounted shifter. The Grade Logic Control System and
Shift Hold Control are integrated into the shift programming to reduce gear "hunting" and
unnecessary shifting.
While traveling uphill or downhill, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission’s shift
schedule, reducing shift frequency and improving speed control. Throttle position,
vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration rate are continuously measured, then
compared with a map stored in the transmission computer. When the system determines
the MDX is on a hill, the shift schedule is adjusted to automatically hold the transmission
in a lower gear for better climbing power or increased downhill engine braking.
2009 Acura MDX
In spirited windy road driving, where the throttle is quickly released and the brakes are
applied (as might be the case when decelerating to enter a corner), Shift Hold Control
prevents upshifts to higher gears (4th and 5th). This reduces disturbance to the chassis and
ensures abundant power is immediately available without a downshift. On curving roads,
Shift Hold Control significantly improves throttle responsiveness and reduces
unnecessary shifting.
Manual Mode
The Sequential SportShift transmission can be shifted into manual mode by moving the
console-mounted gear selector lever laterally to a special gate to the left of the "Drive"
position. When in manual mode, a forward push of the selector lever commands an
upshift, while a rearward pull commands a downshift. The current transmission gear is
shown in a digital display within the tachometer face. To heighten control and driver
involvement, special shift logic in manual mode delivers quicker, firmer shifts than in
fully automatic mode.
An array of features are active when the transmission is in manual mode to help protect
the engine and drivetrain from inadvertent damage. The ECU cuts off fuel flow to the
engine if there is a possibility of over revving. In the rare situation where the fuel cutoff
alone is unable to prevent engine over revving (as could happen on a steep downhill) the
transmission will upshift itself to prevent engine damage. Also, when downshifting, the
transmission won't execute a driver-commanded downshift that would send the engine
beyond redline in the lower gear. Regardless of the selected ratio, the Sequential
SportShift transmission will automatically downshift to first gear as the vehicle comes to
a stop thus preventing pulling away from a stop in a higher gear.
The MDX has an intuitive 5-position shift gate that simplifies the operation of the
transmission. When operated in automatic mode, the transmission allows the driver to
choose D (1st through 5th gear) or D3 (1st through 3rd gear). The D3 position selects only
the first three gears for increased engine braking or reduced shifting during city driving.
Both shift speed and smoothness are improved by cooperation between the Drive-byWire™ throttle system and the electronically controlled automatic transmission. Since the
engine can be throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and
downshifts, the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for
faster, smoother shifting. As a result, the peak g-forces (or "shift shock") are reduced
significantly during upshifts and downshifts.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX has Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) as standard equipment.
This innovative full-time all-wheel-drive system actively distributes the optimum amount
of torque not only between the front and rear axles but also between the left and right rear
wheels. This “torque vectoring” improves cornering traction and steering precision by
creating a yaw moment that helps the MDX turn. In addition to providing exceptional
performance on dry pavement, the MDX’s SH-AWD® system provides significant
performance gains in snow and ice, as well as similar gains in off road performance. In
fact, the SH-AWD® system knows when it is going up a hill and automatically shifts
torque to the rear to improve launch traction – done before the vehicle starts to move.
SH-AWD® enhances stability on snow and ice in cooperation with the MDX’s VSA®
system. During acceleration and cornering, SH-AWD® first maximizes available traction
by “preemptively” moving torque to the wheels with the maximum load. However, if the
available traction limits are exceeded, the SH-AWD® system can directly modify the
drive torque distribution to stabilize acceleration and reduce the potential for oversteer.
Direct Yaw Control promotes precise line trace in all conditions
Full-time “active and intelligent” all-wheel drive requires no driver interaction
SH-AWD® direct control electromagnetic clutches provide ultra-quick response
Grade logic control allows worry-free starting on steep grades with up to 70percent of available torque being sent to the rear wheels
Up to 70-percent of available torque can be directed to the rear wheels during hill
climb acceleration for maximum traction
Up to 90-percent of available torque can be transferred to the front wheels during
cruising to help maximize fuel efficiency
In hard cornering, up to 50-percent of available torque can be directed to the rear
axle for enhanced chassis balance and increased cornering capability
Up to 100-percent of the torque sent to the rear axle can be applied to either rear
wheel as the traction conditions dictate
37-percent increase in rear torque capacity as compared to the previous MDX
VTM-4® system
7-percent reduction in weight compared to the previous VTM-4® system
When accelerating on slippery surfaces, cooperation between SH-AWD® and
VSA® greatly enhances stability and control
Effect of SH-AWD®
By overdriving the MDX’s rear wheels up to 1.7-percent faster than the speed of the front
axle, SH-AWD® can provide a “yaw moment” while accelerating into and through tight
corners. The torque vectoring ability of SH-AWD® to directly create a yaw moment to
allow the vehicle to track exactly as the driver intended is called Direct Yaw Control.
This reduces unwanted understeer (or vehicle “push”) during everyday driving and when
the driver chooses to go for a spirited drive on a favorite stretch of mountain road.
2009 Acura MDX
Up to the available traction limits, direct yaw control delivers an uncanny level of
precision and driver confidence. Since direct yaw control acts preemptively, VSA® brake
and throttle interventions are less intrusive. In changing and challenging road conditions,
SH-AWD® reacts to adjust drive torque more quickly than the VSA® can apply
stabilizing brake torque.
During acceleration and cornering on slippery surfaces, a conventional 4WD vehicle
distributes torque evenly between the two rear wheels. This may lead to loss of traction of
the inside rear wheel as load is transferred to the outside wheel due to load transfer during
cornering. However with SH-AWD® the side-to-side rear torque distribution varies
according to the lateral g (and associated load transfer of the rear tires). For all situations
including low-traction roads, the side-to-side torque distribution is naturally aligned with
the tire vertical loads. This enhances traction and allows maximum utilization of the
available road surface grip during acceleration and cornering.
Electronic Controls and Parameters – VSA®
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is included as standard equipment on the MDX. By
continually monitoring the vehicle’s operating parameters (such as road speed, throttle
position, steering wheel position, accelerating, braking and cornering loads), VSA®
anticipates if the vehicle is approaching oversteer or understeer. To help correct either of
these situations, VSA® first acts to transfer torque bias to the axle with the most traction.
This preventative measure significantly reduces the number of brake and throttle
interventions. The response is so quick that the instability may be corrected even before
the driver knows it is occurring. Traction Control is integrated into the VSA® which helps
the MDX accelerate smoothly on slippery surfaces. The VSA® can request the SHAWD® to adjust its torque level, thus allowing direct yaw control of the MDX to
maximize stability under all driving conditions.
SH-AWD® System Layout
The MDX’s SH-AWD® system is closely related to the system in the 2009 RDX. (The
system in the RL sedan differs mechanically between the RDX and MDX systems, but is
similar in principle.) A torque transfer unit is bolted directly to the front-mounted
transaxle. Attached to the front differential's ring gear is a helical gear that provides input
torque to the transfer unit. A short horizontal shaft and a hypoid gear set within the case
send power to the propeller shaft, which in turn carries it to the rear drive unit. The MDX
rear axle is designed to turn up to 1.7-percent faster than the front axle.
Direct Electromagnetic Clutch Systems
Located on either side of the hypoid gear that drives the rear axle, two identical direct
electromagnetic clutch systems control the amount of drive torque that reaches each rear
wheel. These clutch systems can be controlled as a pair to alter the front/rear torque split
or can be controlled independently to allow up to 100-percent of the total rear axle torque
to go to one side of the vehicle. The fast acting clutches coupled with smart control logic
means traction is maximized in most conditions, without the need for driver intervention.
2009 Acura MDX
An electric coil controls the pressure in each clutch device. The amount of available rear
axle torque transmitted to each rear wheel can vary continuously, ranging between zero
and 100-percent, depending on the conditions. Since the clutches are electromagnetically
operated, the amount of drive torque delivered to each rear wheel can be controlled
quickly and precisely, reducing wheel slip in low traction conditions.
The clutch packs and friction material are specially designed for the small amount of
continuous slip between front and rear axles (created by the 1.7-percent speed
differential), while ensuring the expected level of Acura durability. An oil-temperature
sensor allows the ECU to estimate the clutch plate coefficient of friction (which changes
with heat) in each clutch pack and then adjusts the current sent to the electromagnetic coil
that controls the compensation of each clutch. To ensure that the amount of torque
transmitted remains optimized as miles accumulate a coil provides a feedback loop that
the ECU uses to adjust current to the electromagnetic clutches to compensate for clutch
An Maintenance Minder™ system monitors the vehicle's operating conditions to eliminate
unnecessary service visits while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained. When
the Maintenance Minder™ system determines that maintenance is required, the driver is
alerted via a series of messages on the Multi-Information Display (MID). The alerts occur
well in advance of required maintenance for scheduling convenience.
This resettable system indicates when maintenance is due on many normal service parts
and systems, including oil and filter change, tire rotation, air cleaner, automatic
transmission fluid, parts replacement and more. The MID monitors operating conditions
such as oil and coolant temperature along with total engine rotations to determine the
proper service intervals. Maintenance alerts are presented when the ignition is first turned
on, not while driving, unless an urgent need arises. The driver can also check the
remaining oil life at any time through the MID.
2009 Acura MDX
The 2009 MDX fuses the model’s traditional virtues of adaptable space, functionality,
safety and environmental responsibility with a more exciting visual presence along with
more accomplished handling and ride comfort.
Customers in the luxury SUV arena demand distinctive style. The 2009 MDX ups the
game with standard 18-inch wheels and tires, standard Xenon High Intensity Discharge
(HID) headlights and a distinctive front grille. Driving excitement is equally embraced
with a chassis tuned at the Nürburgring circuit and on autobahns in Germany.
The exterior has bold, clean and advanced styling details with European cache, and it was
styled to connect with enthusiast drivers from the moment they first see it. Sitting in the
vehicle – and then experiencing it – makes the desire even more intense. Besides
featuring a 300 horsepower V-6, the MDX includes Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™
(SH-AWD®), an available Active Damper System along with lightweight aluminum
components used in the suspension and body. Convenience features such as an available
power rear tailgate further improve functionality and luxury.
One of the primary goals in designing the second generation MDX was to keep its
traditional strengths but advance its performance and image. The clear direction for the
MDX was to create a bold and innovative look that clearly conveyed the “Driver’s SUV”
nature of the vehicle. The grille is free of molding breaks for a cleaner look and features
dark silver satin plating.
The original MDX provided a fine blend of utility, luxury and style. The 2009 Acura
MDX has powerful, dynamic styling that is a continuation of the themes that have been
embodied in recent Acura products. Designers found inspiration in a high-powered mega
yacht, which features an exceptionally bold, lean and contemporary design. The
challenge was to apply the useful elements of the yacht design to an SUV, and designers
found their answer in the adoption of large areas of clean surfaces and the addition of
decisive line breaks and dynamic surface curvature. Large 18-inch wheels and tires not
only benefit handling, but also create a muscular look. In front, the 2009 MDX has a
distinctive, advanced Acura look. The platform is long, low and wide to enhance
cornering and high-speed stability.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX has a significantly wider track than its primary market competitors. As a result
it offers dramatic appearance, packaging and utility advantages.
Overall length, in.
Overall width, in.
Overall height, in.
Wheelbase, in.
Track, F/R, in.
X5 3.0si
RX 350
XC90 2.5T
The 2009 MDX utilizes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body
structure, which distributes collision forces through the structure during a frontal collision
while helping to retain the integrity of the passenger compartment. The MDX uses a large
amount of high-strength steel to help reduce vehicle weight while simultaneously
increasing strength. Alternative materials including aluminum and magnesium are also
used throughout the vehicle, further reducing vehicle mass, which helps improve fuel
economy and increase performance.
Attaining a high level of dynamic body rigidity is essential for precise handling, ride
quality and quietness inside the cabin. By researching the body’s dynamic response to
chassis loads resulting from everyday driving events, MDX engineers considered the unit
body’s “dynamic stiffness” as an entire system— not just as a single component. Thus,
body rigidity is not an end to itself, but rather it is an enabler for enhanced vehicle
dynamics, riding comfort, and driving quietness.
Instrumented testing revealed that the “tailgate ring” – the open area surrounding the
tailgate – is particularly important for handling, stability and ride. In the second
generation MDX, this area has been markedly stiffened, providing the rear suspension
with a more solid mounting and netting an improvement in handling precision. In
addition, the MDX’s floor frames are wider than before for improved packaging and
The use of high-strength steel contributes to rigidity, excellent crashworthiness and light
weight. High-strength steel is specified in different grades for use in different parts of the
vehicle. Some unit body areas using this material include the roof arches, floor cross
members, tailgate opening and front rails and body sides.
2009 Acura MDX
In addition, about 4.1-percent of the 2009 MDX body components are constructed of
aluminum. This material is ideal for certain components such as the hood and instrument
panel support, where light weight is required but the strength of steel is not imperative.
The hood on the first-generation MDX was steel, and the weight savings of using
aluminum instead of steel (for the 2009 MDX hood) is 15.5 pounds. Aside from using a
unique metal conditioner and phosphate dip prior to painting, there are no unique
production challenges for using an aluminum hood – and no ownership compromises
either. To improve environmental efficiency, a factory separation line isolates different
scrap materials, including aluminum, for recycling.
The aluminum instrument panel support saves an additional 10.5 pounds compared to a
traditional steel unit. This support structure, which connects the A-pillars to the front
floor crossmember, is a structural element consisting of cast parts, extrusions and sheet
Acura MDX prototypes spent a total of seven weeks in the wind tunnel to test and
develop its aerodynamic properties. The attention to detail in aerodynamic efficiency
included the development of body side sills that help keep air from moving underneath
the vehicle which can cause turbulence. Lift balance and the coefficient of lift were also
addressed to keep the MDX stable at high speeds. In this area, internal testing revealed
that the MDX exceeds the performance of the BMW X5.
Careful attention was paid to reducing wind noise inside the MDX cabin. An acoustic
wind tunnel was used to identify and correct noise issues, resulting in the MDX’s best-inclass wind noise performance (at the driver’s ear point) according to Acura’s internal
An added benefit of wind tunnel testing was the ability to rotate the MDX sideways into
the airflow. This allowed engineers to approximate even the most severe gusting side
winds and solve unexpected and unwanted wind noise that could accompany such severe
The MDX’s moonroof is larger than used in the previous generation and is also the
widest of any direct competitor. A finely tuned deflector ensures that the moonroof does
not add objectionable wind noise when in the open position, even at highway speeds.
Attention to detail in the sealing of the doors and tailgate also heightened the
performance of the MDX’s overall wind noise level.
2009 Acura MDX
Engineers attacked noise from virtually every source inside and outside the MDX. Their
primary goal was to reduce noise at its source. One creative noise-reduction technique is
the use of composite seals in the exterior door panels. These composite seals actually
serve two purposes – to reduce the transmission of noise through the doors and to shield
the interior components from dirt and water while driving through rain or puddles. The
new door insulators provide a substantial reduction in objectionable sound – up to five
decibels on some roads.
The MDX’s door handles are sized for comfort as well as ease of use, regardless of
whether the user is bare handed or wearing winter gloves. There are three door checker –
the detent mechanism that holds the door partially open – positions instead of the usual
two, thus providing a convenient “in between” position useful during tight parking
situations. The door openings are finished with an attractive composite garnish that hides
the doorsill when the door is open.
Normally only sports cars use windshields with highly compound curves. Deeply
contoured glass is more complex and costly to make, thus it is usually reserved for lowproduction vehicles. Designers specified deeply curved acoustic glass for the MDX for its
styling appeal as well as to improve aerodynamic efficiency and quietness. The 2009
MDX uses an acoustic glass front windshield that incorporates a unique PVB film to help
quell wind and windshield wiper noise from entering the cabin. The rear glass is also a
deep wraparound design – the deepest in the Acura product range.
The MDX has an auto up/down feature for the driver and front passenger’s 3.5mm thick
side windows. The 2009 MDX offers 273-degrees of outward visibility compared to 266degrees of visibility for the BMW X5, which is a significant accomplishment considering
the increased size of the MDX’s head rests mandated by the government’s FMVSS 202
safety regulations.
All glass from the B-pillar rearward has a gray tint to reduce eyestrain and heat buildup
inside the cabin. In addition, the outside rearview mirrors use a special blue glass
(sourced from Germany) that provides bright imaging along with excellent glare
2009 Acura MDX
All 2009 Acura MDX models include Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam
front headlights with halogen high beams. The advantages of HID headlamps include
greater lighting power, daylight-color light balance and reduced power consumption. In
addition, the cut lines of the new HID headlights are extremely precise, providing
maximum nighttime visibility without distracting other drivers.
The 2009 MDX features Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which automatically turn on
with the activation of the ignition. An MDX fit with the optional Sport Package features
an auto-leveling feature that keeps the headlights level regardless of how the vehicle is
loaded with passengers or cargo.
To ensure a high degree of theft prevention, the HID headlights are attached to the unit
body with multi-strand steel cables. Halogen fog lamps are also included as standard
equipment on all MDX trim levels.
Two Light-Emitting Diode (LED) arrays, comprised of 12 LEDs apiece, are used for the
tail lamps of the 2009 MDX. Likewise, the Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL)
features a single array of 16 LEDs. Advantages of the LED taillights include an elegant
contemporary appearance, quicker turn-on time compared to a conventional incandescent
bulbs and significantly greater service life. LEDs are also brighter, smaller, lighter and
produce less heat than incandescent lights. The LED CHMSL was selected for its
appearance and ability to produce the required lighting brightness while retaining slender
physical dimensions. LEDs are also used in the MDX’s outside mirror housing-mounted
turn signals, improving visibility during lane changes or turns.
Acura’s power tailgate system is included on MDX models optioned with Technology or
Sport packages. The power tailgate can be operated via the remote key fob, from a button
on the driver’s door panel, or from a button located inside the tailgate. The location of the
motor in the MDX’s D-pillar (instead of in the roof) allows excellent headroom for the
third-row seats. The tailgate can also be operated manually.
The MDX fuel filler door is operated remotely from inside the vehicle via a switch on the
driver’s door panel. The fuel-filler door is made of a composite resin material that is
lightweight, dent resistant and corrosion proof. For a better appearance the inside of the
door features a flangeless resin design.
2009 Acura MDX
The front and rear bumpers are constructed of a structural beam covered with a plastic
fascia rated to withstand impacts of up to five mph without sustaining significant damage.
An attachment point for a tow hook is located under a small cover on each bumper fascia.
Removing the cover allows access to a threaded boss that accepts a steel eyebolt located
in a holder in the jack storage area.
Inspired by the smooth finishes on fine pianos, Acura set out to achieve a mirror-smooth
paint finish with a wet, glossy look. To advance the surface smoothness, “orange peel” –
the finely undulating surface found on some paints resulting from the evaporation of the
paint solvents – had to be all but eliminated. Seven environmentally safer waterborne
exterior colors are available, and each uses a durable clear-coat finish that resists
scratching and airborne pollutants. For 2009 the MDX is available with two new colors:
Bali Blue Pearl and Mocha Metallic.
Exterior Color
Aspen White Pearl
Bali Blue Pearl
Billet Silver Metallic
Dark Cherry Pearl
Formal Black
Mocha Metallic
Sterling Grey Metallic
Paint Type
Interior Color
Assembled in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, every 2009 MDX that comes down the
assembly line goes through a special inspection area. Here inspectors focus on finding
and solving any concerns. The inspection process is dynamic, with changeable
parameters based on where concerns lie.
Along with the RDX, this represents the first time Acura vehicles are separated from
Hondas during the assembly process. It represents Acura’s commitment to being at the
leading edge of quality and it is befitting of the most exclusive Acura SUV ever created.
2009 Acura MDX
From its inception the MDX targeted the dynamics and driving feel of its strongest
European competitors. The essential elements of this engineering goal included steering,
suspension, braking and overall dynamic performance, as well as noise, vibration and
harshness (NVH) control.
At the beginning of MDX development, engineers tested European luxury SUV
competitors including the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML350, Porsche Cayenne and
Volvo XC90. These experiences provided real-world understanding of how these luxury
SUVs functioned in everyday driving on their “home turf.” Although later development
testing was conducted in the United States, the DNA of the MDX was largely formed in
One essential tool that Acura used was the famed Nürburgring Nördschleife road circuit
in Germany. This 13-mile course contains over 170 corners, numerous altitude changes
and is considered the toughest natural road course in the world. Engineers used the
Nürburgring as a “weakness finder” because it quickly exposes problems with a vehicle’s
dynamics, making them easier to identify and fix.
In order to build in a combination of increased handling agility, increased stability and
comfort, the current MDX’s wheelbase, tread width, and suspension technology were
changed from the first-generation MDX. Engineers changed the lift and squat
characteristics of the suspension to provide a flatter takeoff. Thanks to its extended
wheelbase together with SH-AWD®, the 2009 MDX offers both exceptional high-speed
stability and responsive handling.
The entire front chassis area was tuned to provide the best balance of handling precision,
road isolation, and impact after-shake damping. MacPherson struts with inversely wound
coil-over springs and forged-aluminum lower control arms reduce unsprung weight,
while the front subframe “floats” on rubber mounts to provide road and engine isolation.
The front suspension also uses newly developed hydro-compliance bushings to provide
superior ride isolation as well as chassis vibration control. Suspension and engine mounts
are specifically tuned to provide minimum vibration transfer to the occupants, and the
front struts employ internal rebound springs to improve ride and handling. Anti-dive
properties were revised to improve impact harshness and ride comfort.
The MDX’s rear suspension is a multi-link design mounted on a separate steel subframe.
Squeeze-cast aluminum uprights (or “knuckles”) reduce unsprung weight for improved
response, while revised trailing-arm mounting points (compared to the previous MDX)
reduce body squat during acceleration. Coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar are
tuned for the optimum combination of ride and handling.
2009 Acura MDX
Rear subframe mounts and lateral control link bushing rates were significantly revised to
create a discrete level of lateral force steer at the rear axle. Since the SH-AWD® system
constantly varies drive torque at the rear axle, the longitudinal and lateral force steer
properties were carefully developed for optimum response, stability and consistency.
Included with the optional Sport Package, the Active Damper System gives the MDX an
elevated level of handling precision designed to satisfy the most discriminating drivers,
while maintaining a smooth and controlled ride. Acura considered all of the available
technologies before choosing electronically controlled, fast-acting Magneto-Rheological
fluid dampers as the ideal technology to maximize ride comfort and handling in one
integrated system.
The overall goal of the Active Damper System is to achieve outstanding levels of
handling response while maintaining refined levels of ride comfort. This allows the driver
intuitive vehicle control in a relaxed environment – free from neck straining head toss
and other sudden vehicle motions. This is made possible by the quick response of the
dampers and by the computer algorithms that keep the dampers a step ahead of the actual
body movements.
Advantages of the Active Damper System include:
• Flat cornering feel with minimal body roll or pitch— even during spirited driving
• Responsive, precise and secure steering feel
• Elimination of unwanted under-damped body heave, roll and pitch motions
• Improved tire adhesion, vehicle stability and road isolation
Real-Time Damper Control
The secret to the MDX’s Active Damper System is its fast-acting shock absorbers. These
dampers are built and tuned specifically for the MDX and offer the ability to individually
adjust from minimum to maximum damping force in as little as five milliseconds (0.005
seconds). This ability hinges on the principle of electromagnetic induction. Each damper
carries a unique coil that generates an electromagnetic field when current is passed
through it. Proprietary damper fluid contains microscopic (on the order of 10 microns in
diameter) ferric spheres that align when surrounded by the electromagnetic field,
dramatically and instantly changing the effective fluid viscosity. Not only is the overall
range of damping force available significantly more than that of a conventional damper,
but there are hundreds of damping steps within that range.
The current that passes through the field coils is controlled by an electronic control unit
(ECU) that uses special algorithms to determine the best damper setting for the road
conditions. This, combined with nearly instantaneous reaction time of the dampers,
allows damping control to occur before the vehicle’s tires or body are allowed to have
any extraneous motion.
2009 Acura MDX
The Active Damper System will operate with low damping when the road is smooth and
level and the vehicle is being driven at a constant speed. Such limited damping further
reduces the amount of vibration and harshness that passes from the suspension to the
body thus quieting and improving the vehicle’s ride quality.
Using the dampers’ 5-millisecond response time, the Active Damper System reacts to
sudden changes in driver or road inputs. The high damping force achieved in this short
time allows the dampers to aid the springs and stabilizer bars in roll and pitch control,
greatly improving the handling of the MDX.
The result of the improved transient handling, road isolation, and body control is that the
MDX with the Active Damping System noticeably reduces the driver’s workload when
compared to other performance-oriented SUVs. The system is able to achieve the benefits
of a sporty suspension without the traditional ride comfort tradeoffs. The overall benefit
is more enjoyment, better control and less fatigue over the long haul.
Sport or Comfort Mode
The Active Damper System provides two driver-selectable settings – Sport and Comfort.
Sport mode prioritizes handling response, vehicle body control and tire adhesion to allow
for spirited driving with high levels of precision and composure. Comfort mode allows
for a more relaxed driving experience by prioritizing road isolation and reduced
passenger fatigue caused by road inputs. Either Sport or Comfort mode can be used in
any type of operating conditions as preferred by the driver.
The Active Damper system maintains the same quality, durability and performance as all
other Acura components, does not require any special maintenance and has no scheduled
replacement interval.
Of the luxury SUVs that Acura targeted in developing the MDX, the BMW X5 3.0i
offered the best steering quality. Acura set out to exceed the BMW’s combination of
linearity, precise feel and security at high speed with using torque-sensing, variable
power-assist rack-and-pinion steering.
Acura engineers spent considerable energy studying steering “on-center” feel in an effort
to elevate the quality of steering feedback the driver receives. Beyond offering the correct
steering effort level, the MDX provides subtle transient steering feedback that is an
integral part of its subjective handling quality. Notable geometry changes include
increasing the rake and trail over the previous MDX to provide a stronger steering feel.
2009 Acura MDX
The 2009 Acura MDX has standard 18x8-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels with
P255/55R18 104H M+S all-season tires. The tires were specially developed for the MDX
by Bridgestone and Michelin and offer a significant traction improvement in dry and wet
conditions, while maintaining the previous MDX’s level of snow/ice traction. Michelin
P275/45R19 summer tires are also available with the Acura accessory 19-inch aluminum
alloy wheels.
Acura designers purposefully moved the wheels and tires to the high end of the
competitive set. In 2009, the MDX has larger tires than all of its base-level AWD/4WD
competitors and it is the only vehicle in the group with standard 18-inch tires.
The 4-wheel disc brakes on the 2009 MDX are the largest brake system ever featured on
a production Acura vehicle. The brake system is engineered to provide best-in-class
braking capability in dry conditions, as well as while driving in rain, snow or icy
Engineers benchmarked the existing MDX as well as the top competitors including BMW
X5 and Porsche Cayenne for braking performance and pedal feel. The 2009 model has
short pedal travel and firm pedal feel, in keeping with the direct feel that enthusiast
drivers want. The ventilated front brake rotors are 13-inches in diameter with a thickness
of 1.1-inches, while the solid rear rotors are 13.2-inch diameter units with a thickness of
0.43-inches. Dual-piston cast iron brake rotors are used in front and single-piston cast
iron calipers are fit in back.
The MDX brake design is validated by a severe fade test utilized by the German
enthusiast magazine Auto Motor und Sport and by rigorous testing at the Nürburgring.
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is included as standard equipment. By continually
monitoring the vehicle’s operating parameters (such as road speed, throttle position,
steering wheel position along with acceleration, braking and cornering loads), VSA®
anticipates if the MDX is approaching oversteer or understeer. To help correct either of
these situations, VSA® first acts to transfer torque bias to the axle with the most traction.
This preventative measure significantly reduces the number of brake and throttle
interventions. The response is so quick that the instability may be corrected even before
the driver knows it is occurring. Traction Control is integrated into the VSA®, and it
helps the MDX accelerate smoothly on slippery surfaces. In addition, the VSA® can
request the SH-AWD® to adjust its torque level – thus allowing direct yaw control of the
MDX to maximize stability under most all driving conditions.
2009 Acura MDX
An onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warns the driver if the air pressure
decreases significantly in any tire. The system helps reduce the chance of damaging a tire
or losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow
leak, such as one that might be caused by a nail or road debris, might not be easily
detectable but could cause loss of grip and potentially, a blowout.
TPMS uses a sensor mounted on each wheel that continually monitors tire pressure and
sends a coded signal to the TPMS electronic control unit (ECU). The process begins with
a signal initiator located inboard of each tire on the chassis. The initiator sends a unique
signal for each TPMS sensor. Then the TPMS sensor sends tire pressure data to the
TPMS ECU, which compares the values for each tire’s pressure against an acceptable
range of pressures.
When a tire’s pressure drops significantly below the proper level, a “check tire pressure”
alert will appear on the Multi-Information Display (MID) alert screen. The system can
display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the MID, making it simple to
locate a low-pressure tire.
At the driver’s preference, the MID can continually show the air pressure in all four tires.
Regardless of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still
occur if a tire drops below specification.
Acura took thorough measures to ensure that off-road enthusiasts would be satisfied with
the MDX. The vehicle meets design criteria developed for the original MDX, which was
based on research at different off-road areas across the country. This research was the
foundation for specific minimum performance criteria for the new MDX, including travel
through standing water nearly 19-inches deep, steep approach and departure angles (28degrees front and 23-degrees rear), rocks, off road and paved grades up to 60-percent.
Components located underneath the vehicle are tucked away to avoid damage in offhighway driving and the evaporative canister is protected by a high-strength steel guard.
The high-torque V-6 engine, SH-AWD® system with hill logic and computer-controlled
traction capabilities help the MDX meet typical off-road challenges without the need for
low-range gears. The MDX outperforms its predecessor without the need for a driverselected 4WD “lock” mode.
The same technologies that make the MDX capable off-road also enhance its
performance in snow and ice. The SH-AWD® system with grade logic and computercontrolled traction capabilities work together with the standard M+S tires to maximize
grip and driver control during winter driving conditions.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX uses an array of technologies to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
in the passenger cabin. Acura began by attacking vibration in the body during the
engineering phase instead of simply adding materials to the body to damp it out later.
Two examples of this process are new rear suspension mounting points, which are now
attached to the unit body for greater rigidity and reduced vibration, and the stiffening of
the front and rear subframes, which allowed the mounting bushings to be made softer.
Engineers paid strict attention to addressing two specific issues – concrete road noise and
drumming – neither of which is acceptable to luxury customers. By nature SUVs are
susceptible to drumming noises in the cabin interior because of their large open area.
Where necessary, meltsheets are used in critical areas on the front bulkhead and floor,
and lighter insulators are used on the bodysides, doors and roof. A new hybrid carpet and
padding system further reduces noise intrusion by balancing the transmission loss and
absorption properties of the carpet.
To verify that the results were on target, engineers dynamically shook the MDX body and
measured vibration by scanning with lasers the floor to find the “hot spots”. This
provided exact information on where to focus efforts. As a result, the MDX is 20-percent
stiffer and quieter than the previous version, registering just 64 dBA at 60 mph.
With a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds the MDX can tow a boat or camper trailer with
equal confidence. Standard towing equipment includes a high-capacity radiator with twin
160-watt fans, an automatic transmission fluid cooler, a heavy-duty power-steering cooler
and pre-wiring for an electric brake controller. A Towing Package is available as dealerinstalled accessory and includes a hitch, receiver, ball and wiring harness.
One of Acura’s durability tests was towing a 5,000-pound trailer in Death Valley
National Park during summer, including climbs up steep Townes Pass and Daylight Pass
with outside air temperatures between 113º and 120º F. Testers also targeted the toughest
boat ramp they could find – at Shasta Lake in Northern California. The ramp is extremely
steep, and its length varies depending on the lake level. They also proved the MDX
trailer-pulling skills elsewhere in California as well as in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Every 2009 MDX comes with standard Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) that includes
special Trailer Stability Assist algorithms. Trailer Stability Assist interprets oscillation
(or wag) in the vehicle/trailer combination while driving. This may occur if the trailer is
not loaded correctly, or under certain speed and road conditions. Using a combination of
torque reduction and individual brake application, Trailer Stability Assist activates to
stabilize the vehicle after sensing oscillations of the vehicle and trailer system.
2009 Acura MDX
The core MDX themes of driving enthusiasm, intelligent functionality, technology and
luxury are clearly evidenced in the interior. Acura’s flagship SUV blends sport sedan
intensity with the best elements of SUV utility. In keeping with Acura tradition, the MDX
integrates the latest technology into a seamlessly intuitive package that puts the emphasis
on driving.
New attention to detail and luxury distinguish the MDX interior. Softer leather seating,
highly supportive front bucket seats and a driver-oriented cockpit make it clear that the
MDX is focused on the driver – but not at the expense of passenger comfort. The power
driver seat adjusts 10 ways (8-way power seat with 2-way power lumbar support) for
optimum comfort, and the front passenger seat is 8-way power adjustable. The secondrow seats mirror the style and lateral support of the front seats, giving the MDX interior a
unique 4+3 feel that highlights its blend of sport and utility. Convenience and cargo
features abound, including under-floor storage in the cargo compartment and an available
power-operated rear tailgate.
As Acura’s flagship SUV, the MDX offers a formidable list of standard equipment. A
leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel provides the driver with fingertip control
of key functions in an interior environment that’s maintained by a Tri-Zone climate
control system with humidity control. Backlit LED instrumentation with spun metal
appearance trim and Acura’s legendary attention to control function and feel make the
MDX driver seat the place to be. A standard 8-speaker Acura Premium Sound System
plays nearly every type of current audio format, and it includes standard XM® Satellite
Radio and an auxiliary jack for the easy connection of a personal audio player. With the
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface (compatible with many
Bluetooth® mobile phones), staying connected while on the road is not a problem. The
system also allows for up to six compatible mobile phones to be electronically linked
with the ability to store up to 50 phone numbers with unique voice tags.
The available Technology Package adds even more capability, and integrates perfectly
into the MDX’s performance-oriented driving environment. The Acura Navigation
System with Voice Recognition™ with rearview camera has a brilliant 8-inch display
screen and includes the AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System with real-time
traffic, which can help the MDX driver navigate around congested freeways. The
Technology Package’s spectacular 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound
System with multi-format 6-disc DVD-Audio changer, AM/FM tuner and XM® Satellite
Radio provides a state-of-the-art soundtrack. An MDX with the Technology Package can
import up to 1,000 names into the Navigation system phonebook.
For even more luxury, the available Sport Package includes extra-soft perforated Milano
premium leather seating surface inserts. The optional Entertainment Package includes a
DVD Rear Entertainment System complete with a flip-down 9-inch TFT screen, dual
wireless headphones, a wireless illuminated remote control, and 115-volt plug in the
center console.
2009 Acura MDX
Interior Features
• Dynamic and layered styling theme
• Driver-oriented cockpit
• 4+3 seating design
• Driver's 10-way power seat including power adjustable lumbar support
• 2-driver custom memory system
• Front passenger 8-way power seat
• Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column
• Tri-Zone automatic climate control system with air filtration and humidity control
• 253-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, in-dash 6-disc
CD/MP3/WMA changer and 8 speakers, including an 8-inch subwoofer
• Auxiliary jack for connection of personal audio devices
• HomeLink®
• Multi-Information Display (MID) allows access to multiple electronic functions
• Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface is compatible with many
Bluetooth® mobile phones
Technology Package
• Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ and rear view camera
• AcuraLink® satellite communication system with real-time traffic
• 410-watt, 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System with 6-disc
in-dash DVD-Audio/CD/DTS changer, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Satellite Radio,
AUX jack
• GPS-linked, solar-sensing, Tri-Zone, automatic climate control system with air
filtration and humidity control
• Power operated rear tailgate
Sport Package (includes all of the features of the Technology Package)
• Perforated Milano premium full-grain leather seating surfaces with high-damping
front-seat cushion foam
• Textured metallic accents on radio, cupholder and shifter escutcheon
• Exclusive alloy wheel design
• Active Damper System
• Auto-leveling headlights
Entertainment Package (available with Technology or Sport Package)
• DVD Rear Entertainment System with wireless headphones and remote control
• 115-volt power outlet in center console
• Second-row heated seats for outboard seating positions
The interior styling of the MDX is based on three key concepts: a driver’s oriented
cockpit, 4+3 seating, and a dynamic and layered overall interior look.
2009 Acura MDX
Driver-Oriented Cockpit
To put the MDX’s various systems under the clear control of the driver, a “DriverOriented Cockpit” theme guided the design of the cockpit. Analog central
instrumentation is supplemented with digital and graphic displays. The interface with the
MDX’s many advanced systems is simple and intuitive. Sight lines are clear with
important items placed within easy view.
Frequently used systems, such as the audio system and cruise control, have switches
conveniently positioned on the steering wheel. The multifunction Interface Dial, which
operates navigation system functions, is positioned just ahead of the shifter lever within
easy reach.
4+3 Seating
The concept of 4+3 seating emphasizes the comfort, luxury and style of the front seats
and the outboard second-row positions. These seats share the same styling theme, and
have substantial side bolsters to provide secure lateral support when the MDX is
cornering. The second-row center position and the two seating positions in the third row
are used less frequently, and as such styled more stealthily. Nested headrests in these
positions provide a clean appearance, and in the third row, allow the seat to be folded flat
without the need to remove the headrests.
Dynamic Styling
The MDX envelops its passengers with dramatic shapes that sweep from the center
console, across the instrument panel and then into the door panels. Sculptural and warm
wood-patterned trim creates a zone of luxury for the front passenger. Rich textures
interplay with sleekly technical metallic accents in the MDX interior to create an
atmosphere of luxury and advanced technology.
The MDX’s driver-focused control layout is evidenced in the steering wheel. Audio
system controls are positioned on the left spoke, and cruise control switches are on the
right spoke.
The five o’clock position on the steering wheel has switches that operate the MultiInformation Display (MID). The seven o’clock position is reserved for Bluetooth®
HandsFreeLink® and Technology Package navigation system controls, including a pushto-talk button to activate the voice recognition system, which provides voice control over
a wide range of features.
2009 Acura MDX
The MDX pushes interior luxury to a new level with a range of thoughtful touches.
Special care has been taken to create surfaces with a pleasing tactile feel. Door grab
handles have a soft-touch grip, the instrument panel has a soft feel and a seamless
passenger airbag cover, and passenger grab handles have a dampened motion. Quality is
further revealed in the soft, low-gloss instrument panel top, detailed door panels, door
sash garnishes and flush seatbelt upper anchors.
In keeping with its 4+3 seating arrangement, the MDX offers two types of seating. To
provide a blend of sporting support and comfort for four passengers, the MDX has
deeply-bolstered sport sedan seating in front and in the outboard second-row positions.
The front bucket seats and outboard rear seats have pronounced side bolsters to provide
lateral support for aggressive cornering, along with abundant comfort for long drives. On
the Sport Package, the front seats feature a new type of seat base foam that improves
damping of small vibrations for improved comfort. Redesigned seat frames and power
adjustment mechanisms reduce flex for a more solid feel. The driver seat is 10-way
power adjustable (8-way power seat with 2-way power lumbar support) and is part of a 2driver automatic memory system that includes settings for the exterior mirrors, climate
control, and electronic presets. The front passenger seat is 8-way power adjustable. Both
front seats are heated, and with the Entertainment Package MDX the second row
outboard seats are heated as well.
For easy access to the third row of seats, the passenger-side second-row seat slides
forward and the seatbacks flip forward.
All MDX models feature high quality leather seating surfaces as standard equipment for
the first and second row seats that utilize a soft and flexible tanning system, solid
embossing and color coating. The result is a softer, richer feel coupled with excellent
In addition, the perforated Milano premium leather included in the Sport Package is the
softest leather ever offered in an Acura. This full grain leather has not been corrected or
altered and shows the natural leather grain. A soft, flexible coating system provides
maximum softness while retaining excellent abrasion resistance. Breathable perforated
inserts in the first two rows add to passenger comfort. With the premium Milano leather,
leather application is increased to the second row center passenger area.
2009 Acura MDX
Thoughtful features abound in the MDX interior. The front center console has individual
armrests for driver and passenger to allow for storage access without disturbing the other
armrest. A pocket in the passenger side of the console provides room for small items. In
the second row, the flip-down padded center console features pullout dual cup holders.
All four doors offer storage pockets, and storage for sunglasses is provided in the front
overhead console. Storage pockets and cupholders add convenience to the third row
seating area. Under-floor storage, grocery bag hooks and cargo tie-down points boost
cargo area usefulness.
The MDX easily adapts to a variety of missions. In all, there are six possible
configurations for the MDX’s three rows of seating. Behind the rear seats, there are 15
cubic feet of storage that’s easily accessible though the flip-up rear hatch (the hatch is
power-operated in the Technology and Sport Packages). With the 50/50 third row seats
folded flat (the headrests can be left in place), the cargo capacity jumps to 42.9 cubic feet.
For the maximum cargo volume of 83.5 cubic feet, the 60/40 split-folding second row
seats can also be folded down, producing a flat load floor in the rear.
Acura’s power tailgate system is included on MDX models optioned with Technology or
Sport packages. The power tailgate can be operated via the remote key fob, from a button
on the driver’s door panel, or from a button located inside the tailgate. The location of the
motor in the MDX’s D-pillar (instead of in the roof) allows excellent headroom for the
third-row seats. The tailgate can also be operated manually.
Significant engineering went into the MDX’s interior lighting to provide clear visibility,
the right ambience and optimized illumination levels regardless of ambient lighting. The
analog instruments are LED backlit, with high-contrast markings and a subdued blue
accent hue. Transparent illuminated pointers provide clarity and a high-end look. Auto
Interior Dimming automatically and progressively adjusts the instrument and navigation
system (if so equipped) illumination to suit the ambient lighting conditions. The
sensitivity is owner-adjustable to one of five different levels, or interior dimming may be
switched off entirely.
The MDX has a progressive self-illuminating gauge package. When the door is first
opened, the instrument lighting comes to life, and then brightens progressively when the
ignition is switched on. The illuminated instrument needles and enunciator lights then
come alive, indicating that the MDX is ready to drive. When the ignition key is switched
off, the instrument lighting dims progressively.
2009 Acura MDX
For easy location in the dark, all of the MDX’s switches are illuminated, including those
on all four doors and the steering wheel. Low-level blue LED ambient lighting in the
ceiling illuminates the front center console and map lights are provided for the two front
seats as well as for the two outboard second row seats. A dome light is provided above
the third-row seats. All four doors have courtesy lights that are illuminated when the
doors are open and the rear tailgate has a light that illuminates the area immediately
behind the vehicle for easier cargo loading. The MDX interior lights feature "theater
dimming," which can be set via the MID by the driver to any of three dimming times.
To maximize passenger comfort, the MDX has standard Tri-Zone automatic climate
control that allows the driver, front passenger and rear zone to be set to different
temperatures. Rear zone controls are conveniently positioned on the rear of the center
console. With the touch of a button, the driver can synchronize the rear temperature with
that of the driver area at any time.
When equipped with the Technology Package, the climate control benefits from GPSlinked, solar-sensing actuation. Based on its continuously updated vehicle position
information, the navigation system determines the position of the sun relative to the
driver and passenger. When in AUTO mode, this information is combined with input
from the solar sensor located on top of the instrument panel to automatically adjust the
temperature from side to side as needed to compensate for asymmetrical solar heating.
Humidity Control System
To help avoid window fogging, the MDX’s automatic climate control system has a cabin
humidity control system. This new control system provides greater passenger comfort
and minimizes the time the air conditioning runs. When set to operate in AUTO mode, a
temperature and humidity sensor located in the front of the passenger cabin monitors the
interior climate. If the system determines that there is a low probability of window
fogging, it maintains a comfortable humidity level of around 20-percent.
If the system determines that potential window fogging conditions exist, it changes the
climate control parameters to help keep the windows clear. In these situations, the air
conditioning system is set to MAX, the air outlet mode is switched to HEAT/DEF and the
fan speed is gradually increased to reduce the chances of window fogging.
A LCD Multi-Information Display (MID) positioned in the instrument cluster provides
important vehicle information to the MDX driver. An illuminated control on the
instrument panel lets the driver cycle through various screens, including vehicle mileage
and trip mileage and trip computer functions including average and instantaneous fuel
2009 Acura MDX
The Maintenance Minder™ system also alerts the driver of upcoming maintenance needs
via the MID. The MDX has controls positioned near the steering wheel hub that allow the
driver to cycle the display through multiple screens of information while keeping both
hands on the wheel.
The overhead console incorporates a variety of useful features. Controls for the standard
HomeLink® system are positioned here within easy reach. This latest generation of
HomeLink® is simpler to program. Other overhead console features include sunglasses
storage, controls for interior lighting and the power tilt/slide moonroof.
To give owners excellent sound quality along with the ability to enjoy a wide range of
audio formats, the MDX comes standard with a 253-watt Acura Premium Sound System
with AM/FM tuner, in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3/WMA changer and 8 speakers, including an
8-inch subwoofer.
Prominently positioned just below the center instrument panel vents, the MDX audio
system has large-format controls that make the audio system easy to operate. The system
sends a total of 253 watts of power through six channels and eight speakers. The
instrument panel has a 1.5-inch soft-dome tweeter positioned on each side, with a 3-inch
mid-range polypropylene cone speaker centered atop the dashboard. Mid/low-range 6.5inch dual thickness polypropylene-cone speakers are positioned in each door, and an 8inch subwoofer is located in a special tuned enclosure in the sidewall of the cargo
The audio system can play CD, CD-R/RW, CD-Text, and MP3/WMA discs, in addition
to AM/FM radio bands. Embedded text information on CDs can also be displayed. To
make a high-quality audio connection simple for owners who have personal music
players, the MDX has an easily accessible auxiliary input jack with a nearby 12-volt
power outlet. Speed-dependent volume control automatically adjusts as road speed
increases to maintain a clear and comfortable sound level. The amount of compensation
can be set to three different levels or turned off completely.
The MDX audio system includes XM® Satellite Radio, which provides more than 170
channels of digital program material and near-CD quality sound. Informational text on
the programming appears on the audio system display. XM® Satellite Radio offers
virtually uninterrupted coast-to-coast coverage of the 48 contiguous states and coverage
to densely populated regions of Canada; service for Alaska and Hawaii is not available at
this time. Three months of complimentary XM® service is provided with the MDX.
When equipped with the Technology Package or Sport Package, the complimentary
period also includes real-time traffic service. After the complimentary period, XM®
Satellite Radio requires a monthly subscription.
2009 Acura MDX
Engineered by multiple Grammy® Award-winning recording engineer and producer
Elliot Scheiner, Panasonic and Acura, the available Acura/ELS Surround® Premium
Sound System brings a new level of audio performance to the MDX. Included in the
available Technology and Sport Packages, the system pumps 410-watts through 10
speakers, to provide a total of six discrete audio channels.
Audio Head Unit
Like the MDX’s standard Acura Premium Sound System, the Acura/ELS Surround®
Premium Sound System is remarkably versatile. The 6-disc in-dash changer can play CD,
CD-R/RW, CD-Text, and MP3/WMA discs. In addition, it can also play DVD-Audio
discs (the system will not play DVD movies). The system also includes AM, FM and
XM® Satellite Radio. It’s easy to connect a personal music player to the system via an
auxiliary input jack with nearby 12-volt power. The auxiliary input jack is located at the
rear of the center console in the Entertainment Package, and in the center console for all
other packages.
Large-format controls make the system simple and intuitive to operate. A prominent
display below the center instrument panel vents shows the current audio system status at
all times, independent of the navigation system (which is also included in the Technology
Package). Screens within the navigation system menus display the current audio system
status, audio track listings and more. Items that appear on the navigation system screen
can be navigated and selected via the interface dial, which is conveniently positioned on
the console.
Acura/ELS Surround® Sound
Acura/ELS Surround® Sound gets its name from Elliot Scheiner’s industry-recognized
moniker “ELS.” His goal with the system was to capture and reproduce music the way it
is heard in the recording studio. The key to accomplishing this is through the use of the
extra data-encoded on each DVD-Audio disc, which has six channels of information
instead of just two channels of stereo information. In addition, DVD-Audio material can
be recorded at a much higher resolution than CD material. Produced and mastered for the
surround format, DVD-Audio recordings give recording artists and producers
dramatically more creative freedom and control. The Acura/ELS Surround® system
makes the most of this added information, reproducing it with spectacular accuracy and
power, without processing or modifying the artist’s original creativity.
The system delivers a remarkable listening experience even when not playing DVDAudio discs in Acura/ELS Surround® Sound mode. Specially engineered equalization for
each media type allows the sound quality to be optimized regardless of whether the
system plays XM® Satellite Radio, conventional CDs, or any other format. The system
also features selectable Dolby Pro Logic II signal processing that creates simulated 5.1channel surround sound from CD, MP3/WMA, XM® or AUX. For optimum sound
regardless of vehicle speed, the system includes automatic speed-dependent volume
2009 Acura MDX
Amplification/Speaker System
Advanced electronics in the Acura/ELS Surround® sound system gave Scheiner the
ability to precisely tune the acoustics of the MDX cabin and time of each of six audio
channels (traditional systems use two channels) to achieve the truest possible
reproduction. The Acura/ELS Premium Surround® system uses a 24-bit D/A converter
and a 192 kHz sample rate for smoother sound.
High-energy Neodymium magnets are used throughout the speaker system for optimum
sound quality and substantially reduced weight. The carefully optimized speaker
positions create an uncanny surround sound experience particularly for front seat
passengers. There is a 6.5-inch mid/low-range dual thickness polypropylene-cone speaker
in each door and a 1.5-inch soft-dome tweeter near each A-pillar. A 3-inch mid-range
polypropylene cone speaker is centered on top of the instrument panel, and two more are
positioned just behind the second-row seats, positioned high and angled into the interior.
A special 8-inch Super Low Distortion subwoofer with a new cone design is positioned in
a tuned enclosure on the right sidewall of the cargo area so it does not intrude on
passenger room or useful storage space.
The MDX includes the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface.
Designed to work with many Bluetooth®-enabled mobile telephones (sold separately),
Bluetooth® is a radio frequency-based cable replacement technology that lets portable
devices like mobile phones, laptops, PDAs and other devices communicate wirelessly.
Bluetooth®-enabled cell phones that have the Hands Free Profile (HFP) are compatible
with the MDX system.
After a one-time "pairing" process, the MDX can communicate wirelessly and securely
with the driver's cell phone when it is within approximately 10 feet of the vehicle. The
phone must be on, but can be stored anywhere inside the MDX cabin – even in a pocket,
briefcase or purse.
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® boosts convenience by allowing the driver to send or answer
calls without taking hands from the steering wheel. The number of the incoming caller is
displayed on the Multi-Information Display (MID) located in the instrument cluster and a
ring tone is played over the audio system. A press of the steering wheel-mounted "Pick
up" button mutes the audio system and the incoming caller can be heard over the audio
system speakers. A microphone in the overhead console picks up the driver's voice and
algorithms built into the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system cancel "echo effect" to
reduce background noise and improve the transmission quality of the driver's speech.
Using fingertip controls mounted on the steering wheel to activate the system, phone calls
can be sent hands-free by dialing the number by voice.
2009 Acura MDX
On all models with the navigation system, up to 50 names with one number per name can
be stored with voice tags in the system's Voice Tag Phonebook. For users with large
phonebooks in their mobile phone memory, the available navigation system, working in
conjunction with Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, can import up to 1,000 names with 10
phone numbers per name. Up to six different compatible mobile telephones can be paired
with the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system. Additional information can be found at
www.acura.com/handsfreelink or www.handsfreelink.com.
The MDX with Technology and Sport Packages are equipped with the latest generation
Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™. This highly capable system —
similar to the units in the RL and RDX — is designed for intuitive and quick operation.
Feature Summary
• 8-inch screen for clear viewing
• Interface dial is centrally located to provide simple control of system and is
accessible to driver and front seat passenger
• Voice recognition function with 832 commands allows control of most audio,
climate and navigation features
• Voice recognition system recognizes city and street names as spoken words
• Seven million points of interest are stored on updatable DVD
• Business and recreation phone directory for the continental United States
• Improved data accuracy of all road data
• Audio system automatically mutes for turn-by-turn voice guidance in either male
or female voice (which can be turned off at any time)
• Destination memory includes current trip addresses, previous destinations, a
stored “home” location, selecting locations on the map and user address books
• Directory categories include restaurants (searchable by type of cuisine), lodging,
shopping, airports, hospitals, recreation areas and more
• Zagat Survey® restaurant guide provides detailed information and reviews on
select restaurants in database, which can be read on-screen or spoken over the
audio system by a synthesized voice
• Split-screen mode features a simultaneous "map view" and selective "3-D" route
visualization showing details of your next turn
• Make calls to on-screen points of interest with Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®
• User selectable day/night screen or “display off” modes along with automatic
screen brightness control
• Trip routing can include up to five user-chosen way points
• Trip routing can avoid user-selected areas
• Exit list shows which businesses are available at a given highway exit
• On-screen picture of highway interchanges indicates lanes to use to stay on route
2009 Acura MDX
System Operation
Based on positioning data from up to 12 orbiting Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), the
Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ locates the vehicle's
position. If the GPS antenna is blocked by a tunnel, tall building or parking garage, an
internal gyroscopic system and a speed sensor track the location of the vehicle to help
keep the mapping information current and reliable until satellite reception is restored. A
DVD database is located in the system's ECU. Updated DVD data discs are available on
an annual basis on-line or by calling a toll-free number.
The navigation system can be controlled by voice, or by the interface dial. For voice
operation, the driver simply presses the "Talk" button on the steering wheel and says any
of a number of preset command phrases. The system responds to 832 command phrases,
as well as to spoken city and street names. Sophisticated voice recognition technology
allows the MDX owner to simply speak city and street names aloud, and the system
responds by displaying matches from the available database.
When the "Talk" button is pressed, the audio system is automatically muted, and an
overhead microphone receives the command from the driver. Commands can be given in
plain English, like “Display gas stations,” “Find nearest hospital,” or “Find nearest
Chinese restaurant.” You can choose to display points of interest on the map (like
restaurants, or ATMs, for example), or have the system provide turn-by-turn navigation –
all by voice. The extensive point-of-interest database includes phone numbers that can be
dialed by using the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system and the driver's compatible
Bluetooth® cellular telephone.
The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ and AcuraLink® real-time traffic
can also be controlled via the interface dial by choosing menu options or spelling out a
word (e.g., an address, business name or place) using the interface dial to select
characters from an on-screen keypad.
The MDX with Technology and Sport Packages comes with the latest generation of the
AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System with real-time traffic. AcuraLink® allows
for 2-way communication between Acura and the vehicle, providing customers with the
latest information specific for their vehicle. In cases where communication to and from
the Acura server is needed, the owner's Bluetooth®-compatible cellular telephone is used
(once the owner has paired it with the vehicle and enabled its data-transmission function).
AcuraLink® messages consist of a displayed text plus full details via Text-To-Speech that
can be heard over the MDX audio system. Each message is prioritized by importance.
High priority messages are displayed immediately upon receipt. Other messages trigger
an icon on the navigation display. In all cases, the MDX owner can choose to read the
message immediately, or archive it to be read later.
2009 Acura MDX
A variety of messages can be viewed in the MDX, including Maintenance Minder™
system (detailed information regarding the next required maintenance), Quick Tips
(information to help maximize the benefit and enjoyment of MDX features), Feature
Guide (supplements to the Owner's Manual), Diagnostic Info (detailed information and
instruction should an onboard system issue arise), and Dealer Appointment Reminders.
Depending on the message type, the owner may contact their dealer, Acura Roadside
Assistance, or the Acura Client Assistance Center using their Bluetooth® phone directly
from the message. The MDX owner has complete control over the types of messages
received. All AcuraLink® preferences can be set via the Owner Link® web site.
Since the system allows 2-way data communication between the MDX and the Acura
Server, AcuraLink® can provide the owner with vital information that previously has been
unavailable. For example, if a “CHECK VSA SYSTEM” warning light should appear on
the MDX instrument panel, AcuraLink® will automatically send a trouble code to the
Acura server (if a paired phone is in range and the user has authorized data transmission),
which interprets the code, then sends a message back to the MDX, such as “AcuraLink
server results: VSA and TCS may not operate. Regular brakes work." This way, the
owner knows if a particular fault is serious enough to cancel a trip, if it can be dealt with
later or if it requires special driving techniques. AcuraLink® messages as well as the data
connection are enabled even if the monthly XM® service package is not in effect.
Real-Time Traffic Information
The navigation screen can display up-to-the-minute traffic information including flow
(traffic speed where available), accidents, incidents, construction and weather on
freeways in 77 major metro areas. The information is aggregated by NAVTEQ™ from
multiple sources including police and highway patrol accident reports and transportation
departments and then transmitted by XM® Satellite Radio satellites to the MDX where it
is graphically displayed on the navigation system.
MDX drivers can select an icon on the map to see incident details. Traffic information is
continuously updated, allowing drivers to avoid congestion en route and choose the best
path to their destination. The system gives MDX owners a useful timesaving tool on
freeways. Unlike radio or television traffic reports, the AcuraLink® real-time traffic
system provides a constant flow of relevant information reflecting conditions along a
driver’s chosen route. AcuraLink® real-time traffic data services are offered on a
subscription basis for a nominal fee following the 3-month free trial period. In addition to
the on-screen traffic information, MDX owners who maintain their XM® service also
receive more general audio traffic information that runs on a 2-3 minute loop in selected
metropolitan areas.
2009 Acura MDX
77 major metropolitan markets
(Traffic flow data and incident reporting coverage vary by market)
Albuquerque, NM
Allentown-Bethlehem, PA
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Baltimore, MD
Birmingham, AL
Boston, MA
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbus, OH
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
Dayton, OH
Denver-Boulder, CO
Detroit, MI
Fresno, CA
Grand Rapids, MI
Greensboro-Winston SalemHigh Point, NC
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC
Harrisburg-LebanonCarlisle, PA
Hartford-New BritainMiddletown, CT
Houston, TX
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL
Kansas City, KS
Lancaster-York, PA
Las Vegas, NV
Lincoln, NE
Little Rock, AR
Los Angeles
Louisville, KY
Memphis, TN
Miami-Ft. LauderdaleHollywood, FL
Milwaukee-Racine, WI
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Mobile, AL
Naples-Ft. Myers, FL
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
New York City, NY
Norfolk-Virginia BeachNewport, VA
Oklahoma City, OK
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Portsmouth-Manchester, NH
Providence-WarwickPawtucket, RI
Raleigh-Durham, NC
Richmond, VA
Rochester, NY
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Francisco-Oakland, CA
San Jose, CA
Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
Seattle-Tacoma, WA
St Louis, MO
Syracuse, NY
Tampa-St. PetersburgClearwater, FL
Toledo, OH
Tucson, AZ
Tulsa, OK
Washington D.C.
West Palm Beach-Boca
Raton, FL
Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA
Wilmington, DE
DVD ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM (Available with Technology or Sport Package)
The MDX is available with an Entertainment Package that features a rear display screen.
With a 9-inch flip-down Thin Film Transistor (TFT) screen mounted in an overhead
console, the system provides entertainment for the second and third row passengers.
Audio plays through the MDX’s speakers in Dolby Digital surround sound via two
wireless Personal Surround headphones and through three audio jacks. The system also
includes a separate LCD control screen that makes operation clear and intuitive. An AUX
input jack in rear of the center console is provided for video game play or other inputs. A
115-volt, 100-watt outlet inside the center console to provides power for a video game
console, laptop computer or other small electronic device. The system also plays the
audio content available from the MDX audio system, complete with on-screen
information. The RES can also operate independently, allowing the rear passengers to
enjoy one type of programming, while the front passengers listen to another. The Rear
Entertainment System main controls and DVD player are built into the center section of
the MDX instrument panel, just below the audio system. An illuminated and removable,
wireless remote control is also positioned in the overhead console for easy operation by
second- and third-row passengers.
2009 Acura MDX
The 2009 Acura MDX continues the MDX’s commitment of advancing SUV safety.
Standard features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, active head restraints
for driver and front passenger, side curtain airbags and driver knee bolsters. In addition,
the MDX features the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure,
designed to disperse frontal collision forces and improve car-to-car collision safety.
Acura engineers term this compendium of safety features as “360 degree safety” as quite
literally passengers are completely surrounded with safety features. The 2009 MDX
meets the highest crash-test standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Specific Safety Targets
• Newly upgraded FMVSS208 frontal and FMVSS301 rear collision standards
implemented by the federal government
• 5-Star* rating in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) NCAP
frontal crash and SINCAP side impact crash tests
• GOOD ratings in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Frontal Offset, Side
Impact and head restraint tests
• Enhanced crash compatibility with smaller vehicles in a car-to-car collision compared
to previous generation vehicles
• Advanced protection for pedestrians in the event of a collision
*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car
Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SABs).
The 2009 MDX passed all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests at the highest levels. NHTSA
tests include NCAP frontal crash, SINCAP side impact, and Rollover Resistance, while
IIHS tests include Frontal Offset, Side Impact (also known as SICE), and Rear Crash
Protection indexes.
NHTSA test results:
• NCAP Driver – 5-Star
• NCAP Passenger – 5-Star
• SINCAP Front seat – 5-Star
• SINCAP Rear seat – 5-Star
• Rollover Rating – 4-Star
2009 Acura MDX
IIHS test results:
• IIHS Frontal Offset – GOOD
• SICE Side Impact – GOOD
• IIHS Rear Crash Safety – GOOD
The new requirements for NHTSA’s FMVSS 301 include a more severe rear crash test.
In the current test, a 3,015 pound deformable barrier sled strikes 70-percent of the
vehicle’s width at 50 mph. In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 4,000 pound flat
rigid moving barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new test
requires that the vehicle absorb more crash energy than before.
As the popularity of small size vehicles has soared recently, so has the risk of these large
vehicles colliding head-on with smaller vehicles. The disparity in vehicle mass – as well
as the higher bumper height of the larger vehicles – put the smaller vehicles at a
disadvantage. For the MDX, however, engineers integrated a more stringent internal
vehicle-to-vehicle collision standard to help correct this discrepancy.
Like all 2009 Acura models, the MDX features Advanced Compatibility Engineering™
(ACE™) body design. ACE™ more evenly distributes frontal crash forces to help reduce
cabin intrusion and deformation as well as to help absorb frontal crash energy forward of
the passenger cabin. ACE™ also helps maintain the structural integrity of the passenger
cabin during a severe car-to-car offset frontal crash. ACE™ does this by distributing
forces through multiple load paths during the crash, thus allowing more uniform energy
absorption and less cabin intrusion.
If the MDX should collide head-on with a smaller and lighter vehicle, ACE™ helps
provide good engagement of the small vehicle’s frame. This helps reduce the risk of
intrusion while simultaneously helping to disperse the crash energy across a wider area at
the front of the vehicle. The upper portions of the ACE™ front structure also improve
cabin protection.
The 2009 MDX achieves a “GOOD” rating in the rigorous IIHS Side Impact
Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE) evaluation, which measures how well a vehicle
withstands intrusion from a large SUV in a side collision. The MDX’s high-strength steel
safety cage and the use of high-strength side door beams help make it resistant to
2009 Acura MDX
The 2009 MDX is fitted with active front head restraints designed to help reduce the
likelihood of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint is
mechanically linked to a lumbar plate located inside of the front seatback. In a rear
impact, the passenger’s body pushes against the seatback, causing the head restraint to
move forward in a carefully prescribed arc. This motion helps equalize the impact forces
transmitted to the head, neck and spine as the occupant’s head moves backward during
the collision. Effectively managing and dispersing this energy is critical to help reduce
the likelihood of injuries.
Acura’s safety interests extend beyond care for vehicle occupants. The MDX hood area is
specially designed to deform if contact is made with a pedestrian. Underneath the hood
are energy-absorbing supports and hood hinges, the windshield-wiper pivots are a
breakaway design and the front fender brackets are also designed to bend if a collision
with a pedestrian should occur. Research shows that features such as these dramatically
improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.
Both of the MDX front seat belts have an automatic tensioning system with load limiters
to help protect the driver and front passenger in a collision. Research has shown that seat
belts that are snugly secured around the occupants provide better protection, so in the first
few milliseconds of a collision the tensioners – powered by a pyrotechnic device –
automatically tighten the front seat belts. Then if the deceleration forces rise above a
predetermined threshold, the load limiter releases a small length of seatbelt webbing to
reduce the pressure on the occupant in a controlled manner. This helps reduce the injuries
that seatbelts can cause in a severe high-speed collision. In addition, the driver’s seatbelt
has a dual-stage load limiter. This provides a higher initial load, then steps down to a
lower load after a certain amount of belt spools out. It is specially designed to prevent too
much forward driver movement, given the close proximity of the steering wheel.
Dual-stage airbags are provided for the 2009 MDX driver and front passenger. These
airbags are designed to maximize protection for the head and chest during a moderate to
severe front collision. Each airbag inflator has two stages that can be deployed at
different times instead of a traditional single inflation stage. Combining dual-stage and
dual-threshold technology with technology that detects if the occupants are belted or
unbelted, the airbags are deployed in a sequence based on crash severity.
2009 Acura MDX
Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Airbag Parameters
• Airbag deployment characteristics are finely controlled depending on the severity of a
• The dual-stage, dual-threshold strategy applies to front airbags only and does not
affect operation of side airbags or side curtain airbags
The MDX airbag system uses a seat weight sensor to assess the weight of the front
passenger. The front passenger airbag is shut off if the weight sensor indicates that a
small child or a baby carrier is occupying the front seat. A seamless instrument panel
cover fully conceals the passenger airbag. The driver’s seat has a seat position sensor. If
the seat is in a more forward position, where the occupant will be close to the airbag, the
airbag is fired with a longer delay to reduce the chance of any injury caused by the airbag
itself. The driver-side airbag is located in a small steering wheel mounted housing.
To help prevent injuries to the driver or front passenger’s legs in a frontal collision, the
2009 MDX has energy absorbing knee bolsters. They are designed to help dissipate
collision forces if the driver or front passenger’s legs should contact the lower instrument
panel during a frontal collision. In addition, the driver’s side has dual-density knee
bolsters that are designed to provide additional protection to small-stature occupants who
have to sit close to the steering wheel.
Side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each MDX front seatback are designed to
provide upper torso protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the front
passenger's seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an
innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small-stature
adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an
upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the
occupant in a side impact. This unique system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback
to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determine if it is safe to deploy
the side airbag.
In a sufficient side impact or rollover, the MDX’s side curtain airbags deploy from roofmounted modules to provide head protection for all three rows of seating. Side curtain
airbags effectively cover the side window area from the front seats all the way to the
third-row seat. Tests show that the g- forces acting upon an occupant’s head are far lower
with side curtain airbags.
2009 Acura MDX
In the 2009 MDX the side curtain airbag system includes three satellite sensors and a
main unit that work in concert to detect a crash within 5-7 milliseconds. Even though the
latest MDX is projected to offer better rollover stability than the previous MDX, the
system includes a rollover sensor and performs solidly with a 4-Star* rating in the
NHTSA rollover category.
*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) New Car
Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SAB).
The 2009 MDX includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat
mounting system for the second-row seating positions. LATCH features built-in lower
anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats
to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. Additionally, the LATCH
system simplifies child-seat installation when using a LATCH-compatible child seat.
The MDX’s 21-gallon fuel tank is positioned in front of the rear body-deformation zone
to minimize the risk of damage in a collision. Locating the fuel tank in this protected area
optimizes vehicle balance by moving the weight of the fuel tank farther forward. Thus,
handling characteristics are minimally affected whether the fuel tank is full or near
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