2012 Acura MDX SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 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 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 300 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Acura MDX

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • Both sensible and desirable, the 2012 Acura MDX is a standout for its brand and its class.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Capable handling; user-friendly high-tech features; finely crafted interior; relatively roomy third-row seat.

  • Cons

    Not as much interior space as some larger rivals; busy control layout.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Acura MDX carries over unchanged.

Full 2012 Acura MDX Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Acura MDX carries over unchanged.


The 2012 Acura MDX could be the best luxury crossover you haven't yet considered. Lost among the European-style icons, the American bulk carriers and its own Japanese rivals, the Acura MDX is a quiet challenger. It offers some of the nicest luxury appointments, top comfort and safety technology, and satisfying driving dynamics in the class without relying on brand cachet to get your attention.

Much of the MDX's dynamic enjoyment comes from its "Super Handling" all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD). Many luxury crossover shoppers will only consider a rear- or all-wheel-drive model, and the Acura uses its AWD system to apportion power automatically to outside wheels during cornering. While the MDX is still mostly driven by the front wheels in straight-line cruising, the system kicks in undetected to all but the savviest drivers during spirited maneuvers on twisting sections of road. The net effect is a crossover with predictable driving dynamics in all kinds of weather conditions, plus communicative steering that makes this utility vehicle feel smaller than it is.

Inside its cabin, the MDX rivals Acura's flagship RL sedan for quality. Soft leather, handsome wood trim, and buttons, switches and knobs with a precise action to them demonstrate Acura's attention to detail. The base MDX comes with a wealth of standard features, but three available packages push the tech and luxury into territory more familiar to buyers of European models.

For the money, the 2012 Acura MDX makes a lot of sense. Crossovers like the Buick Enclave and Ford Flex are roomier, but lack the MDX's refinement. The BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class offer slightly more premium environments, but in smaller, more expensive packages. The Lexus RX 350 is more comfortable but lacks a third-row seat. Certainly, all have distinct benefits, but when it comes to a deft blend of luxury, technology and drivability, the MDX is peerless.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Acura MDX is available in one trim level.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlamps, foglamps, heated side mirrors, a power liftgate, a sunroof, privacy glass, heated eight-way power front seats, two-way adjustable driver lumbar, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated rearview camera, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker sound system with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

The Technology package adds a multi-view parking camera, GPS-linked and solar-sensing climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, a navigation system with 8-inch display and dial controller, real-time traffic and weather, voice controls and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with digital music storage and an iPod/USB interface.

The Advance package includes all Technology package features and adds 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), auto-leveling headlamps, a sport steering wheel and ventilated front seats. The Entertainment package, which can be added to the Technology or Advanced packages, adds a rear-seat entertainment system and heated second-row seats.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Acura MDX is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.

In Edmunds performance testing, the MDX accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Properly equipped, the MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds.


Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Acura MDX includes antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, traction control and stability control with a stabilizing feature for trailer towing. The optional CMBS monitors following distance and closure rate, and uses visual and auditory warnings to alert the driver to a possible collision. If the system senses an imminent collision, it can apply hard braking and cinch up the front seatbelts.

In government crash testing, the MDX received four out of five possible stars for overall frontal crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MDX its top score of "Good" for occupant protection in frontal offset and side-impact crashes. In Edmunds brake testing, the MDX came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average result for this class of vehicle.

Interior Design and Special Features

The MDX's cabin is a technology lover's dream. Thankfully, the MDX's connected creature comforts are easy to use via a multipurpose knob and a selection of voice commands. As in most Acuras, the center stack is loaded with buttons for climate control and multimedia. It's an intimidating array at first, but the learning curve is short. The Panasonic/ELS surround-sound audio system is one of the best in the business, as is the navigation system.

The MDX is pretty spacious for a three-row midsize luxury crossover SUV. The rearmost seats are better suited to children, but adults can ride there for short journeys without complaint. Second-row seats recline for additional comfort, but if you need legitimate room for adults in the third row, the Buick Enclave and Ford Flex are better choices. The MDX yields 83.5 cubic feet of cargo space with its second and third rows folded, which is above average for a midsize luxury crossover.

Driving Impressions

For a three-row SUV, the 2012 Acura MDX rarely acts like one. The all-wheel-drive system, while biased toward the front wheels, does an outstanding job of shifting torque during hard cornering. Body roll is well-contained and the MDX's center of gravity feels lower than it looks to the eye. The active dampers (available with the Advance package) soak up the bumps when necessary and firm up when the pace quickens, though the standard suspension works just fine (and without the added cost).

Acceleration from the 3.7-liter V6 is a little soft until the revs reach the midrange. From there the engine pulls with enthusiasm, while the MDX's six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly. Overall, the MDX is one of the most rewarding luxury crossovers to drive.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Great reliability fun to drive

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

Approaching my 2 yr. of ownership with just over 22k. and I still look at it when I park and walk away. Only visit to dealer is for regular maint. Speaking as a mechanic for more then 30 yrs. this vehical is solid, well built, and really rocks in any adverse weather conditions with its SH-awd system. Yeah think Im gonna keep this baby for awhile.

Buyer beware...

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Advance Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

I spent over $50,000 on an SUV that is all talk and no walk. Everything about this vehicle exudes quality and detail - until you try to go up a steep hill like your driveway. WTF. The vehicle shifts up immediately, then slows down almost to a stall, then shifts down hard, goes 20ft then shifts up again. I was embarrassed as hell, and as soon as I can dump it I'm going to. Don't waste your time or money. I'm headed straight toward a real SUV like the new Yukon Denali etc... this was a wast of time and money and reputation on Acura's part. The dealers know about the shift problem, but they won't discuss it with you (I know an out of town dealer srvc rep that confirms this). Angry now.

Great value and decent features

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

We've had this for a little over a year and 30k miles. It was really no more expensive than a loaded Honda/Ford/GM SUV. Normally I wouldn't buy a "luxury" brand for our family hauler given the 25k-30k miles per year we drive, but operating costs on an Acura are a fraction of the Euro brands. Depreciation also appears to be significantly more favorable. Transmission is relatively lazy and you have to keep after it to capitalize on the 300hp. Backup camera is terrible at night. Gas mileage is as expected...averaging 19.5 and 21-22 on long trips at 75mph. Unless you're comparing it to something significantly more expensive or smaller, this is a great overall vehicle.

Great luxury midsize suv

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Advance and Entertainment Packages 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

After researches on most of the luxury midsize SUVs and driving tests on new Lexus RX350, Mercedes-Benz ML350 and Acura MDX, I decided to go with MDX Elite, mainly based on its performance, comfort, handling, safety features and value. I have no regrets with my purchase of this fantastic crossover since I drive it for almost two years.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Switched from a volvo xc60

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

I had an awesome 2012 XC60 T6 R type that was a thing of precision and style. Sadly it was also wretchedly uncomfortable.....rock hard seats, rock hard suspsension. I'm a mom with a bad hip and back who loves to drive fast but I just couldn't take it. So I went for my gently used MDX. My husband has a TL that is still running great at 70K, so now we're a two Acura family. I agree that build quality is certainly not up to some of the European standards. But this should be fine for a suburban mommy mobile that might see light off road duty on easy dirt roads on scout campout weekends.

Not luxury car quality

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Acura MDX Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)

Its an ok car, but maybe I set my standards too high, the quality and craftsmanship compared to the germans or to even lexus is sorely lacking. I am downright shocked, I can see carpet staples, the carpeting stops in odd places so it looks cheap, the fake wood is horrible...some hard to tough interior parts. The service is horrible, at two dealer, one makes excuses, I point out issues and he shows me new models that have the same issues...such as a sticking glove box handle, squeaking at the b-pillar, hood plastic cushions that fall off, etc. Outside of the relatively poor build quality and craftsmanship (clearly not built in japan mind you) its an ok car, but acura needs to improve.

Talk About The 2012 MDX

Read more about the 2012 Acura MDX

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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