2008 Acura MDX Review

2008 Acura MDX
List price range
$6,992 - $7,495
2008 Acura MDX

Pros & Cons

  • Exemplary handling, powerful yet relatively fuel-efficient V6 engine, high safety scores, stylish interior design.
  • Fiddly center stack button layout, love-it-or-hate-it grille.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Acura MDX models

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.

2008 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Acura MDX.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

SH-AWD Will Make Everything Better
marko221,03/02/2011
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!
Brake Rotor Problems
Brake Problems,10/03/2008
My MDX is mostly a pleasant SUV to drive and own. However, I was surprised when I had problems with the brake rotors at a low mileage and Acura told me that I "brake too hard" and I would "burn" the rotors because of my driving style. Well, I am a rather slow driver and 70 % of my driving is highway driving. I have had 4 Toyota SUVs prior to this one and never had a brake issue. Could there be a quality issue with the rotors on the 2008 MDX? Compared with my previous Toyotas I feel the MDX seats too hard and uncomfortable on longer rides.
Back to lexus
raindude,01/01/2012
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....
60K and still loving it!
Chrissy,08/28/2010
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.

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 7
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 7
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 7
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 7
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2008 Acura MDX features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2008 Acura MDX
Used 2008 Acura MDX Overview

The Used 2008 Acura MDX is offered in the following submodels: MDX SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology, Entertainment Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD w/Sport, Entertainment Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD w/Sport Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV AWD w/Power Tailgate, Technology Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A), and 4dr SUV AWD w/Power Tailgate, Sport Package (3.7L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Acura MDX?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Acura MDX trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Acura MDX Base is priced between $6,992 and$7,495 with odometer readings between 129112 and184649 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Acura MDXES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Acura MDX for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2008 MDXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,992 and mileage as low as 129112 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Acura MDX.

Can't find a used 2008 Acura MDXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura MDX for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,998.

Find a used Acura for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $12,286.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura MDX for sale - 4 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $25,323.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 8 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $20,704.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Acura MDX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Acura lease specials
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