For 2003, Acura upgraded its MDX sport utility with the addition of several new under-thehood features. While the look of the vehicle remains the same the performance and safety aspects of the vehicle are improved. The car-like, family-sized luxury SUV continues to compete with the BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and the ML320. “We positioned the MDX right in the middle of the family market target area,” says John Watts, manager of Acura product planning.
Engine: Acura increased the horsepower on the MDX from 240 to 260 while increasing torque and lowering emissions. To do this Acura reduced the intake port length. The shorter velocity stacks increase the intake flow at high rpms. The company also increased cam lift by 0.5 mm and replaced pintle type fuel injectors with orifice type injectors. A new high-flow exhaust system adds close coupled catalytic converters, which removes the need for double-walled exhaust pipes. The ’03 MDX also has a drive-by-wire throttle system that is similar to the system used on the Acura NSX. It controls the throttle during shifting providing for smoother shifts. It also allows throttle control to be integrated into the vehicle’s four-wheel drive and stability assist systems.
Optional Features: The MDX gets Honda and Acura’s voice recognition system and updated navigation system. As part of the navigation system a rear view camera is located under the lift gate and when the vehicle is shifted into reverse a picture of the area behind the vehicle is displayed on the system’s screen. The camera provides visual proof that a driver is not backing over a bike, garbage can or, in the worst case, a child.
The numbers: Acura says demand has been strong for the MDX since it was launched in Oct. 2000. “Our supply of inventory has been about one week since the launch of the vehicle,” says Watts. The company expects to sell about 50,000 MDX’s during 2003. Some 25 percent will be equipped with the optional navigation system while 30 percent of buyers will choose the DVD entertainment system.
What we think
Installing VSA on the MDX helps it perform outstandingly on ice. On pavement, it is also a smooth and quiet ride – much smoother than some of its sportier competitors. The rear view camera is a very handy, but expensive, addition. It is available only with the navigation system and to get the navigation system a buyer must also upgrade to the touring package. This pushes the price upwards of $40,000 compared to the base $35,700 MDX.
2003 Acura MDX
What is it: A car-like, family-sized luxury SUV
Engine: 3.5L, SOHC V-6
Horsepower: 260 hp at 5,750 rpm
Torque: 250 lbs-ft at 3,500-5,000 rpm
Redline: 6,300 rpm
Displacement: 212 cubic inches
Layout: Transverse mounted, front engine, four wheel drive
Transmission: All-new, shorter, quieter and smoother 5-speed automatic
Four-wheel-drive and vehicle stability assist: Acura remapped its VTM-4 fourwheel-drive system and installed a new vehicle stability assist (VSA) system
Alpine: Navigation System
American Showa: Steering Gear
Collins & Aikman: Floor System
Intertec: Instrument Panel
Johnson Controls: Seat Assembly
Listowel: Floor Console
M-Tek: Door Trim Panel, Headliner
Omron: Keyless Entry Control Unit
North American Lighting: Headlamp Assembly
Stanley: Tail Lamp
Takata: Airbag Module
|Acura upped the horsepower on its 3.5L V-6 from 240 to 260. Torque was also increased while emissions were cut.|