Honda MDX March 2004 Boat News, Review & Advice –

1 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda MDX March 2004 Boat News, Review & Advice –
Honda MDX

Honda MDX

(March 2004)

Honda is not renowned for building offroaders, yet the CR-V has quietly worked its way to the top of compact 4WD shopping lists. Can the MDX do the same in a fiercely-competitive prestige 4WD market?

The MDX is a medium-to-large prestige 4WD with a 3.5lt V6 engine and light- to medium-duty offroading in mind. It’s predominantly aimed at urban types, though its ability to offer true seating for seven or to stow the rear two seats for a perfectly flat cargo area will widen its appeal. As will MDX’s standard equipment list, which is impressively longwinded.

The MDX costs a few hundred more than the Mercedes ML-320 on paper, but according to Honda’s figures it carries close to $15,000 more value.

MDX is competitive on size: compared to an ML-320 it is 160mm longer, 150mm wider and 50mm less tall. Inside, the MDX carries seating for seven, with three-point seatbelts in every position and five child-seat anchor points. The rear two seats will accommodate adults, though not in comfort.

Headroom and legroom is ample in the front two rows, and adequate in the rear.

The interior is tastefully decked out in a mix of leather, woodgrain and high-quality plastics. It’s a clean, classy layout that only adds to the feeling of luxury. The sole aesthetic hiccup is the gearlever and surround, which looks borrowed from a Civic and has no tiptronic gear-change function – something taken for granted on prestige cars these days.

Both front seats are electrically adjustable for height, slide and tilt. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and tilt. Electric mirrors and windows are standard, as is climate-control air conditioning, cruise control, CD player and heated front seats.

The MDX is equipped with a very good five-speed automatic gearbox. Almost invisible, like a good trannie should be, it changes up and down with the minimum of fuss. But venture too high and a very rough and rude rev limiter above 6000rpm slaps you on the wrist.

Its 3.5lt V6 engine offers a very competitive 191kW of power, and a somewhat peaky 343Nm of torque. Honda claims there’s 90 per cent of peak torque available right across the rev range, but be sure the two-tonne MDX needs a head of steam up – below 3200rpm there’s simply no urgency in the way it increases speed.

Honda MDX

The gearbox/engine combo made light work of towing our subscriber giveaway boat, which admittedly doesn’t weight more than a tonne. However, MDX is not rated for more than two tonnes even with trailer brakes, so big-boat boys should look at Patrols or LandCruisers instead.

Is this a big issue? Let’s look at the competition: MDX’s 2045kg tow rating is higher than the Lexus RX330 (1500kg) and Volvo XC90 (1800kg) but less than BMW X5, Merc ML and VW Touareg which are all above 2500kg.

The MDX’s steering was criticised as being too light by our stablemate CarPoint, but it makes easy work of pinpoint accurate trailer-backing. Narrower trailers are a challenge, because the MDX’s wide body makes it hard to catch a turning trailer early while reversing.

MDX’s 4WD system won’t thrill bush bashers, but for ease of use it’s excellent. In cruising conditions the MDX sends all the power to the front wheels, which is more fuel efficient. During acceleration or on slippery roads, it’s able to apportion up to 55 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels via a centre differential and two clutch packs.

The MDX allows manual locking of the system via a dash-mounted switch, but this only works in first and second gears and under 30kmh – if you exceed those restrictions, the system assumes grip is no longer a crucial problem and switches itself off.

MDX is an accomplished vehicle that mounts a strong value and performance argument as a prestige 4WD. As a tow vehicle it has its limitations, but if your needs come in under the tow capacity, it’s hard to see a downside to buying an MDX.

Honda MDX
Honda MDX
Honda MDX

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