May 28, 2014
I'm not sure how this is possible, but I've lived in southern California for 14 years and I've only been to Oregon once. And that was simply passing through, driving a Subaru WRX down from a press launch in Vancouver, Canada.
Clearly this needed to be rectified. So I decided to take a four-day weekend and head north to visit a friend in Eugene and another in Bend. I called it my Trees and Trails Tour. We don't have much in the way of trees down here in SoCal, and I've heard the mountain biking is spectacular in Bend. I aimed to find out.
I loaded up my mountain bike and gear into our long-term 2014 Acura MDX and hit the road.
May 20, 2014
Being a big fan of Honda and Acura (I've spent a fair amount of time in both), I was surprised by the navigation display offered in the 2014 Acura MDX , and not in a good way. The display seems washed out to me, the same way a television might look if somebody goes through the menu system and increases the brightness well past the medium mark. It is especially easy to notice because of the closeness to the super sharp multi-use display, which sits just a few inches below the navigation screen.
It didn't matter if the navigation system was in day or night mode, being used for navigation or as the display for the back-up camera. It still looked hazy.
March 27, 2014
At Edmunds.com's headquarters in Santa Monica, California, there really isn't much inclement weather. As you've likely heard, 2014 has been uncharacteristically dry, though a few weeks ago, there was a brief respite from the drought. About 3 inches of rain fell in 48 hours. But I barely noticed while commuting in our long-term 2014 Acura MDX.
Rain-sensing wipers come equipped on the MDX as a part of the Technology package, and they work flawlessly.
March 20, 2014
The first time I was in an Acura MDX I was a passenger. I was impressed with its comfort and many entertainment features. It's no surprise to find a wealth of features in a luxury crossover in this price range. But I think I actually prefer being a passenger is this car than driving it.
March 17, 2014
Last weekend my friend Jonathan and his wife Christine joined me for a trip up to Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, California, for some fun on the slopes.
Luckily, I was able to snag our recent long-term addition, the 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD, as much for its gargantuan space as for its all-wheel-drive capability.
March 12, 2014
My recent two-day trip to the Mojave Desert included a nighttime stargazing component away from the nearest town. Much has been said about the "Jewel Eye" LED headlights that adorn the front of our 2014 Acura MDX, but in-town conditions, especially here in L.A., don't tell the whole story. There are simply too many competing light sources.
But it's easy to get away from all manmade light in the desert. And good headlights are a must on dirt roads if you want to avoid driving into a tire-damaging pothole or washout, especially if you are carrying any speed. Our departed 2012 Jeep Wrangler, to cite a recent example, needed a headlight upgrade because its factory lanterns were so ironically pathetic off-road or in town.
After we'd finished checking out the stars I hung back while the other cars in our convoy went on ahead to our campsite at the Spring Hill Suites.
The three outboard bulbs are the low beams and the remaining two inboard ones are the high beams. You can see the difference in the shape of the corresponding reflection each one projects onto the outer lens cover that envelops them all.
March 11, 2014
It had to happen. Shortly after I completed the RTI measurement of our 2014 Acura MDX (and griped about its potential) I was invited to join a group of friends on a weekend trip to the Mojave Desert near Ridgecrest, California.
There would be twelve of us in three cars. I always like to drive on these sorts of trips, so I needed an SUV that could carry four adults, their luggage, daypacks and a big ice chest. The 2014 Acura MDX seemed to fit the bill.
Once there, our little convoy would spend 90 percent of the time on dirt roads and single-lane OHV trails on BLM land. Would its lack of suspension flexibility and weak approach angle cause trouble? There was only one way to find out.
March 6, 2014
A number of editors have commented on the form and function of the "Jewel Eye" headlights on our long-term 2014 Acura MDX. But here is something that isn't often considered: repair costs. After making a phone call to a friend who works at an Acura dealer, I can see why they call them jewel lights.
February 26, 2014
Here's what the light output looks like from the Jewel Eye LED headlights on our long-term 2014 Acura MDX. For comparison, I previously took a similar photo of our long-term Cadillac ATS's headlight output in the same dark garage.
February 18, 2014
When the term was first coined, off-road capability was assumed to be the primary sport alluded to by the leading "S" in the term SUV. One of the primary predictors of off-road prowess is maximum suspension articulation, and we can readily measure that with a quick trip up our 20-degree RTI ramp to measure Ramp Travel Index.
Because it is SUV-shaped and has all-wheel drive, our 2014 Acura MDX recently underwent this simple procedure.
And the MDX set a record, of sorts, for Worst RTI Score (So Far) with 249 points.
This shouldn't be all that surprising, because the MDX's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system, known by the SH-AWD acronym, is more about on-road handling in all weather conditions.
The system helps with dry cornering and is positively expert in snowy and wet-road environments. This RTI score tells us that actual off-roading was never much of a design consideration when the suspension was being conceived, though we suppose gravel roads of reasonable condition are just fine.
February 13, 2014
I'm not a regular user of seat heaters, but it was somewhat chilly when I headed off to work at 5:00 a.m. this morning. Our 2014 Acura MDX has them, so I stabbed the button that sits at the bottom edge of the touchscreen.
Well, that's not strictly true. What I mean is the seat heater failed to ignite.
February 12, 2014
A warning lit up on our 2014 Acura MDX's instrument panel yesterday to inform us that we'd better start thinking about its first regular maintenance visit. But the car had already crossed the 5,000-mile mark, so I wondered what the service interval could be.
I soon discovered the bulky binder that lives in the glovebox of our MDX has nothing like a maintenance schedule on the pages of the owner's manual or its many supplements.
It turns out that's because the schedule lives within the mind of the on-board computer that powers our Acura's Maintenance Minder system. The system monitors our driving behavior and adjusts the service intervals accordingly. Illuminated memos like the one above are how it prods us into action.
But the reminder above is no cause for immediate alarm. The first warning (Maintenance Due Soon) comes into being when oil life reaches 15 percent. In other words, we've got time to take care of this.
And the A1 code tells us what we'll need to have done: (A) an oil change and; (1) a tire rotation.
January 17, 2014
I finally got a new iPod Touch. It's the latest model and I was wondering if it would connect easily to our 2014 Acura MDX and our other long-term cars. My old player was so old that most cars in our fleet stopped recognizing it. I had to connect through the AUX jack, which allowed me to play my music but does not charge the iPod, nor does it allow for any control through the vehicle.
First world problems, right?
November 28, 2013
Our 2014 Acura MDX has an optional blind-spot monitoring system, which comes as part of the Technology package. I happen to like the layout of this monitoring system.
November 27, 2013
This is what the traffic looked like on the freeway. Cars all around me, slogging along.
If our 2014 Acura MDX's nav screen had shown me what I was driving into, I may have chosen a different route.
November 18, 2013
At first, I wasn't a fan of the Jewel Eye LED (light-emitting diode) headlights on our long-term 2014 Acura MDX. The five individual elements inside the headlight housing were hard to get used to in the daylight. But over the weekend I discovered that they look much better at night.
November 1, 2013
I like the inside of our 2014 Acura MDX a lot. These hard plastic cargo compartments are ideal for my weekly hikes. They allow for mess-free storage of my shoes, shirt and water bottle without getting dust and mud all over the carpeted surfaces. And when you move forward in the cabin, the MDX continues to impress.