2008 Acura MDX SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Acura MDX SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Acura MDX Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.7 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 300 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Acura MDX

  • A seven-passenger luxury SUV that drives just like a sport sedan? Well, no, but the 2008 Acura MDX comes very close.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Exemplary handling, powerful yet relatively fuel-efficient V6 engine, high safety scores, stylish interior design.

  • Cons

    Fiddly center stack button layout, love-it-or-hate-it grille.

  • What's New for 2008

    After a full redesign last year, the Acura MDX heads into 2008 with no significant changes.

Full 2008 Acura MDX Review

What's New for 2008

After a full redesign last year, the Acura MDX heads into 2008 with no significant changes.


The term "performance SUV" comes very close to being an oxymoron. Really, if your number-one goal is performance, a big and boxy sport-utility is usually a poor choice to go about getting it. But for consumers who really like to drive, yet have certain constraints in their life that require an SUV (read: a family), such a vehicle can make a certain amount of sense. Enter the 2008 Acura MDX.

Acura's midsize luxury SUV was redesigned last year. As with the first-generation MDX, it's a car-based crossover SUV with V6 power and seating for seven. But the new model is considerably sportier. It's powered by the largest and most powerful V6 ever to grace an Acura (yes, including the NSX), giving it unparalleled juice and athleticism. With it, Acura promises V8-like performance while still maintaining respectable fuel economy.

On-road handling ability is also high on the MDX's resume. The ute benefits from a stiff chassis and an electromechanical all-wheel-drive system first seen in the RL sedan. This system, dubbed SH-AWD, can not only actively shift torque from front to rear, but also from side to side in order to maximize traction and stability in all situations. Actively controlled dampers are also available, and with them come two driver-selectable modes: Sport and Comfort. The default mode, in a nod to the MDX's mission, is the Sport setting.

Thankfully, there's still plenty of "Acura" to the MDX as well. The interior is attractively designed and solidly constructed, and one can outfit it with real-time traffic navigation and surround-sound audio. Technically, there's room for seven passengers, but the MDX works best seating four adults with the third row folded for cargo. That third row will handle small children, but like most midsize SUVs, it's for occasional use only.

Overall, the 2008 Acura MDX is a well-balanced midsize luxury SUV with solid sporting credentials. In its class you'll find other sport-oriented models such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Infiniti FX, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90. In terms of performance, the MDX matches or bests the V6-powered versions of those models, while often undercutting them by thousands of dollars even when equipped with a full list of optional features. True, you could spend more for a competitor's V8 model and get a smidge of extra performance and prestige. But for meeting the oxymoronic "performance luxury SUV" goal while keeping a realistic budget, the Acura MDX is about as good as it gets.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV. Base MDXs come equipped with 18-inch wheels, xenon HID headlights, a sunroof, power and heated front seats, driver seat memory, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an audio system with a six-disc CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. Three optional packages are available to provide additional features.

The Technology package adds a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic, a surround-sound audio system, a rearview camera, premium leather upholstery and solar-sensing climate control. The Sport package includes the features of the Technology package, and throws in an Active Damper system sport suspension, special wheels and perforated leather trim. Finally, an Entertainment package can be had with either the Technology or Sport packages, and includes a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, heated second-row seats, a power liftgate and a 115-volt power outlet.

Powertrains and Performance

The MDX's sole engine is a 3.7-liter V6 rated at 300 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, and power is directed to all four wheels through an advanced all-wheel-drive system. In testing, we found the MDX can sprint to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. Fuel economy, with a 2008 rating of 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway, is average for this segment. When properly equipped, maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.


Standard safety equipment for the MDX includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and stability control with a stabilizing feature for trailering. In government crash tests, the 2008 Acura MDX earned a top five-star rating in both frontal and side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the MDX a top score of "Good" for occupant protection in frontal offset and side-impact crashes. These crash-test performances are among the best in the MDX's class.

Interior Design and Special Features

With high-grade materials quality and a bevy of electronic features, the seven-passenger MDX's cabin is a comfy and luxurious place to be. We do have some quibbles, however. The center stack's button layout is complicated, and some drivers will take issue with the way the slim steering wheel falls to hand. Versatility comes via a 60/40-split-folding second-row seat and a 50/50-split-folding third row. The third row can be a little hard to get to, and its meager accommodations are for small children only. There are 83.5 cubic feet of cargo space available with the second and third rows folded.

Driving Impressions

For a three-row SUV, the 2008 Acura MDX does a fine job of driving like it's not one. On curvy roads, the MDX is an eager partner thanks to the SH-AWD. There's a sensation of the torque shifting from wheel to wheel during hard cornering, clueing the driver into the magic behind the electronic curtain, but it all happens so effectively that it's encouraging rather than distracting. Equipped with the Sport package, the MDX's two-mode dampers soak up the bumps when necessary and firm up when the pace quickens.

The 3.7-liter V6 isn't quite as smooth as we've come to expect from Acura's past V6s, but it's hard to argue about its power. Acceleration is a shade soft until the tach needle builds momentum, at which point the engine pulls with enthusiasm. Downshifting readily when the throttle is prodded, the MDX's manually shiftable five-speed automatic transmission provides transparent and smooth shifts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Best handling suv i have

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

We bought this car the first day of 2008. We owned at that time a 2003 MDX that we sold privately to the first person that came to see it. We now have 45,000 miles on the 2008 MDX. We drove most of the better SUVs that were available in 2008. IMHO this was the best one regardless of price. The only other one that drove about as well as the MDX and felt luxurious was the Buick Enclave. My wife mostly wanted a 3 row vehicle so Lexus was not really considered. The other finalist was the smaller Caddy. To me the MDX is a great handling SUV. It is really fun to drive. Not a Vette, but for a big car this is the cat's meow. Repairs have been needed but better than average.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

Back to lexus

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

So i bought my mdx with 80k miles on it dec 2009. The technology, room, power, etc were great. I thought that this was finally e vehicle that i could run to 300k. Not. Turns out the torque converter was going bad at 95k miles. The dealership said that these things happen. I brought car to a local transmission place for a better price. They said their are many many problems with the mdx and pilot transmissions. They recommended a full trans rebuild since it would need one eventually anyhow. Not sure why acura and honda havent corrected this but the problem has been going on for 10 years. Bye bye acura. Bought my lexus instead....

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

Sh-awd will make everything better

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

During the recent snowstorm we received at Lake Tahoe, our MDX simply blew past everyone installing chains and kept up with the 4x4 rigs with the huge mud/snow tires and lift kits. Even on icy surfaces, we held our traction. The OEM Bridgestones have 5/32" tread left but the power distribution to the fronts, rears, or left or right was incredible! It can be monitored on the computer within the dash. My confidence kept building during our 3-hour commute up the mountain. A hazard warning blipped on and off when I intentionally tried to "drift" the vehicle on an icy patch at the gas station. Note to all: the commercials regarding the SH-AWD are fact!

Acura doesn't stand by product

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

Nice driver, poor quality. When I hit around 30,000 miles I noticed my lower paint chipping badly and starting to get rust on bottom of my mdx. Went to my acura dealer to see if they would remedy the problem. They will not stand by their design or workmanship. On new mdx's they added a plastic strip and plastic flare guard on door. So they know the design was bad but will not fix the problem. My 2nd mdx, also have an rdx, will never buy another Honda product. There are many other nice suv's out there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Rear end thump/squeak noise

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology, Entertainment Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

I love the handling of this SUV. I had my rear end noise fixed as per TSB 09-002. Problem came back after few months went to the dealer to fixed it again. I hope the parts replaced the second time will last.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

60k and still loving it!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura MDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology, Entertainment Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A)

3 years and 60 k and I still love this car. It has been the most reliable car I've owned. Before my MDX I was averaging a new car every year. Two Infiniti SUVs and one Escalade later I bought this. I LOVE IT! It has all the luxuries for a fair price with a beautiful fit and finish. It's definitely a keeper! It's comfortable, fun, safe, and easy to drive. I put a lot of miles on my cars and this one has been the best of them all. No problems whatsoever. Before buying my MDX I test drove every Luxury SUV on the market. This one was the best driving, one of the best interiors, great technology, and most affordable of them all.

Talk About The 2008 MDX

2008 Acura MDX Discussions See all Started By

makes it my choice. Honda already made the MDX a clone of the BMW X5 -- from my perspective, losing a good bit of the prior gen MDX's family friendliness in the process. This leaves the extremely p...

Last week I drove my 2008 MDX through a cow farm area that had bad cow smell. I hit the recirculation button in advance to make sure the bad smell did not come in but I still smell very bad cow smell ...

I recently leased a 2008 MDX base. While cleaning around, I noticed a loose connector under the dash on the driver's side. There is a plastic black cover right under the dashboard below the streering ...

Read more about the 2008 Acura MDX

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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