2008 Acura MDX - Introduction


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 2008 MDX is equally daring in its styling and thorough in its safety and environmental responsibilities. Included as standard equipment on the MDX is the largest array of passive safety features in Acura history. 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 and AcuraLink™ Satellite Communication System with real-time traffic and a spectacular 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround™ Premium Sound System.

Altogether, the 2008 MDX embodies Acura's commitment to performance, luxury, quality and style, together with parent company Honda's global mandate for safety and environmental care. The 2008 MDX is the sixth Acura project to be designed and engineered in the United States, including the 1997 CL, 1999 TL, 2001 CL, 2001 MDX, and 2004 TL along with several award-winning Honda products.

Powertrain features

  • 3.7-liter, SOHC, VTEC® V-6 engine
  • 300 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
  • 275 lb-ft of torque @ 5000 rpm
  • VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control)
  • 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)
  • CARB-Certified LEV-2 ULEV

*Based on 2008 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.

Body & CHASSIS features

  • Unit body structure with extensive use of high-strength steel
  • Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low-beam headlights
  • MacPherson strut fully independent front suspension
  • Multi-link independent rear suspension
  • Torque-sensing, variable power-assist rack-and-pinion steering
  • 18x8-inch aluminum-alloy 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

INTERIOR features

  • 7 passenger seating
  • Driver-oriented cockpit
  • Driver's 10-way power seat, including power adjustable 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 humidity control and filtration
  • 253-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, 6-disc in-dash CD, MP3, WMA changer and 8 speakers, including 8-inch subwoofer and XM® satellite radio
  • Auxiliary jack for personal audio devices
  • 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 is compatible with many Bluetooth® mobile phones
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror

SAFETY features

  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Side impact door beams
  • Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
  • Driver's and front passenger's dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)
  • Driver and front passenger's dual-stage knee bolsters
  • Driver's and front passenger's side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbags for all three rows with rollover sensor
  • Front active head restraints
  • 3-point adjustable-height front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters
  • 3-point seat belts at all seating positions
  • Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR) (driver has ELR only)
  • 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 multi-format 6-disc in-dash CD/DVD-Audio changer, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Satellite Radio
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, tri-zone, automatic climate control system with humidity control and filtration

Sport Package (in addition to the Technology Package features)

  • Active Damper System
  • Perforated, premium full-grain leather seating surfaces with high-damping front-seat cushion foam
  • Exclusive alloy wheel design
  • Auto-leveling Xenon HID headlights
  • Textured metallic accents on radio, cupholder and shifter escutcheon

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


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 2008 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, typically successful professional families with school-age children - to ensure that the second generation MDX would meet and 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.


With a displacement of 3.7 liters, the 2008 MDX features Acura's largest and most powerful V-6 engine. Developing 300 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque, the MDX's output is competitive with many V-8 engines - without the fuel-economy penalty that many V-8 engines suffer. To widen the powerband and improve emissions and fuel economy the 3.7-liter engine has VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control), 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 also has a long cruising range. The MDX is designed to meet the latest CARB-Certified LEV-2 ULEV emissions certification.

A 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift is designed to satisfy the most performance-oriented drivers. Tuned on the challenging 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 the maximum grip under all driving circumstances. Operating seamlessly and automatically, SH-AWD™ overdrives the outside rear wheel up to 1.7-percent faster than the front wheels to help the vehicle "rotate" around a corner.

*Based on 2008 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 2008 MDX sets new standards for Acura from 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 new 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™) unit 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 High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low-beam 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 new grille also reflects a fresh look for the MDX. Careful aerodynamic tailoring reduces drag noise and high speed dynamic stability.

The 2008 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 the famed Nürburgring circuit. The Active Damper System, available in the Sport Package, has proprietary fully active dampers that adjust - in less than five milliseconds (0.005 sec) -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 with aplomb.

For family recreation, the new MDX tows as well as it goes. With its 5000-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 more 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.

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 of their own, while everyone on board will appreciate the MDX's Tri-Zone automatic climate control system and new 253-watt, 8-speaker Acura Premium Sound System with multi-format 6-disc in-dash 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™ system, and adaptive and flexible cargo space with six configurations. Included in the available Entertainment Package is a power tailgate, the first on an Acura SUV.


The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) unit body structure along with several passive-safety technologies help bring the 2008 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's designed to engage the front bumper of smaller vehicles.

The MDX is equipped with active head restraints and dual-stage 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). Occupants in all three rows of outboard seats are protected by side curtain airbags. A rollover sensor adds a further level of protection.

The 2008 Acura MDX furthers Acura's commitment to "Safety Through Innovation" with pedestrian protection features such as a deformable aluminum hood and hood hinges, and breakaway windshield-wiper pivots.


Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario, was chosen as 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.

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