2003 Acura MDX -- Interior - Part 1

In the MDX, clean, solid forms on the instrument panel and door areas define a wide open and luxurious space. Positioned within that space are the driver's cockpit and a multi-use console reminiscent of other Acura models. Wood-patterned panels, chrome accents and the generous use of leather trim complement the design. For 2003, a variety of enhancements were made to enhance quality and safety and refine the design of the MDX interior. These changes include:

  • Auto-up driver's side window with auto-reverse feature
  • Available Acura DVD Entertainment System with infrared wireless headphones and wireless remote control unit
  • Third generation Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition' and rearview camera
  • Revised front airbag logic combined with driver and front passenger seat sensors
  • Redesigned sunglasses holder
  • New interior color - Quartz

The focal point of the instrument panel is the personal computer aspect of the center control panel for climate control, music system, trip computer and, in the MDX with Touring Package, the available Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition and Acura DVD Entertainment System. The console storage compartment offers a wealth of functional features without diminishing the overall sense of roominess.

Control switches, beverage holders, storage pockets, power outlets, and audio speakers are located throughout the interior to offer a remarkable degree of ergonomic functionality while upholding the desired clean, purposeful theme. Seats are designed with a luxurious, stylish appearance and a sporty image consistent with this product's athletic driving attributes.

Front and side air bags for the driver and front seat passenger are standard, as are a headrest and 3-point safety belts for all seven passenger seating positions. For 2003, the front air bag system receives added sensors and new system logic. Weight sensors have been added to the front passenger seat. If total weight on the passenger seat is less than 65 pounds (as if occupied by a small child or car seat) the airbag will not deploy. Also new for 2003, a position sensor has been added to the driver's seat - if the seat is within half an inch of the most forward position, the front airbag will only deploy in the dual-stage mode. If the seat is farther than a half inch from the forward position, the airbag deploys in either single or dual-stage mode based on the severity of the collision and seat belt usage. In the interest of versatility, second- and third-row seats were designed for easy configuration from seven-passenger vehicle to cargo vehicle with a flat cargo floor - or any layout between the two extremes. And to make the most use of the interior volume, an under-floor storage compartment is also provided behind the third row of seats.

The Acura MDX's interior provides more seating and cargo space than any of its key luxury SUV competitors- without resulting in a bulky exterior. This was achieved by taking advantage of its extra-wide wheel-track dimensions and an innovative driveline that delivers robust power, performance, and all-wheel-drive traction without intruding on interior space. MDX's interior has a low, flat floor for the first- and second-row seating positions for easy entry and egress. The lack of a large and intrusive driveshaft tunnel and unwieldy rear-axle intrusion yields room for up to seven passengers in three seating rows, a highly versatile center console and a cargo area wide enough to accept four-foot-wide sheets of building materials.

In keeping with Acura's tradition of selling fully-featured products, MDX offers a wealth of power accessories, conveniences, and refinements as standard equipment. The MDX is the world's first SUV with a synchronized front and rear climate control system engineered for rapid warm-up in cold weather, expedient cool-down during summer months, and maximum all-around comfort for all seven passengers.

The center console is designed to provide a front-seat armrest, a handy storage compartment, and second-row-passenger's serving tray. A large central LCD display screen houses the standard multi-function trip computer and in MDX models equipped with the optional Touring Package, the available DVD-based satellite-linked Acura System with Voice Recognition and Acura DVD Entertainment System. Climate-control buttons and displays are also integrated within the display screen for easy access, viewing and operation. Both the standard and premium Acura/Bose® music systems play AM/FM/CD, and cassette source material. The premium Acura Bose® system adds an in-dash, six-CD changer and an additional 8-inch speaker. In MDX models with the Acura DVD Entertainment System, the CD changer is relocated under the driver's seat.

MDX's steering wheel uses a thick rim section for a sporty, substantial feel. The leather cover is perforated in grip areas to prevent slippage. Cruise control switches are positioned between the right-side spokes while the music system control switches are in a corresponding position on the left.

The transmission shift lever is also covered in matching perforated leather. It moves through a gate that helps the driver quickly find the desired gear position. The center panels of the leather seating surfaces are also perforated to provide additional ventilation.

Three-row seating - two bucket seats in front, a three-passenger, 60-40-split middle-row bench seat, and a two-passenger 50-50-split bench seat in back - is standard. Leather-trim on seating surfaces for the front two rows is also standard. Third-row seats are upholstered in a leather-like, matching vinyl material for resistance to spills, dirt and scuffing.

The driver's seat features eight-way power adjustment and a special adjustable lumbar support that flexes to match the natural curve of the spine under the weight of a passenger. Both the upper torso and the pelvis are held in an orthopedically correct position. The lower cushion design provides excellent comfort, even for larger occupants.

Side bolsters are configured to comfortably hold the driver during spirited driving without impeding ingress and egress. The relatively flat, open design of both front seats give the driver and front passenger the freedom to adjust seating positions easily for added comfort on long trips. Integrated headrests, which were redesigned for 2003, and electric heating elements are standard in both front seats. In MDX models with the Touring Package, memory seating positions - as well as the rearview mirror pre-sets - are matched to either one of the two keyless remote entry fobs, and automatically adjust to each driver's pre-selected positions.

All seating positions have three-point seat belts. Front seat belts are equipped with pretensioners and automatic load limiters that are activated during severe frontal collisions. The MDX comes with standard driver's and passenger's front dual-stage, dual-threshold air bags. These air bags can deploy at the most appropriate of two rates - depending on the severity of the crash. New weight sensors on the front passenger side, a seat position sensor on the driver's side and deployment logic for the front airbags further enhance safety.

The driver's and front passenger's seats also feature side air bags mounted in the seat bolster closest to the door. The passenger's seat is equipped with a system designed to disable side air bag deployment and help prevent injury to a child (or small-statured adult) if they lean into the side air bag deployment path. Once the occupant returns to an upright seating position, the side air bag will reactivate so it can deploy and help protect the passenger in a side impact.

MDX's middle-row seat is a 60-40-split design with comfortable room for three passengers, height-adjustable headrests, and a fold-down combination armrest and dual cupholder. To comfortably accommodate taller passengers, MDX engineers located seat height a reasonable distance above the flat floor and made the door openings larger for unrestricted entry.

Second-row seatbacks can be adjusted through seven positions of recline. The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is included on outboard second row seats. The LATCH system features built-in anchors and ready-to-use tethers that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system.

To fold the second row seat, a special four-bar linkage automatically cantilevers the bottom seat cushion both down and forward as the seat back is folded down to create a flat load floor. In contrast to some competitor's SUVs, releasing, lowering, raising, and re-latching the folding second-row seat are simple one-handed operations. Placing a child in the second row seating area or loading a grocery bag into the cargo through the back door are, thanks to design ingenuity, simple tasks.

A convenient walk-in feature is provided at the right (curb) side of MDX's second-row seat. Lifting one lever permits the whole seat to slide forward on its tracks and the backrest to tilt forward, providing an entry path to the third row seats. Simply pushing the seat rearward again re-latches the seat in its rearmost position. The seat-tilt mechanism, step-in height, and the opening provided between the open second-row seat and the door frame are all sized for easy and convenient use by children. A hand-hold is also provided on MDX's rear side wall trim to simplify passenger access to the third row seats.

MDX's third row is an occasional seat configured specifically for children or small adults. A slightly elevated hip point height provides good forward visibility for third-row passengers while headrests are both height adjustable and removable. Like the second row, backrests can be reclined through six positions. Two tether anchors are provided for securing one or two tether-style child safety seats in the third row seats.

When not in use, either half of the third-row seat can be folded flat on a 4-bar linkage (similar to the second row seat) that brings it flush with the floor. Handles positioned at the top-outboard corners are accessible both from the rear doors and from the tailgate. This lift handle also releases each half of the seat so it can be raised or lowered independently. The third-row seat headrests can be stored in the cargo compartment located under the rear floor.

Engineers configured MDX to handle a wide range of contemporary family storage needs. In addition to the center console bin and beverage container holders, MDX has a long list of built-in features and the easy adjustment necessary to serve drivers of premium SUVs.

The hinged glove box is illuminated, lined with flocking material, and lockable. A motion damper allows a controlled, fluid opening motion - preventing the lid from banging open against a front passenger's knees.

The front door pockets are purposely configured to hold maps, guide books, and road atlases while the rear door pockets are just right for sunglasses, small toys, treats, and bottled beverage containers. Armrests for the third-row seating area have small storage boxes covered by latchable lids. A rear under-floor compartment is ideally located for easy access through the open liftgate. Pockets stretched across the rear of the front bucket seats are ideal for storing a variety of things for easy access by front-row and second-row passengers.

MDX's impressive cargo volume - the single attribute that attracts most buyers to SUVs in the first place - is, as you would expect, versatile and practical. Four-foot wide sheets of building materials slide in between wheel wells with ease - an attribute not matched by MDX's direct competitors. With second- and third-row seats folded down, MDX offers 82 cubic feet of cargo space to swallow virtually whatever you may need to carry.

A low load floor and seats that fold flat are the keys to versatility. To simplify conversion of the seats to a cargo area the third-row and second-row center seat belts easily detach from their floor anchors with a patented and simple-to-use mechanism. Six cargo tie downs are located strategically around the perimeter of the load floor to help secure objects susceptible to sliding or rolling. And since both the second- and third-row seats are split designs, six cargo/seating configurations are possible to suit carrying needs. Various accessory hardware is available from Acura dealers to safely and conveniently carry bicycles and other gear inside the vehicle and the roof rack (standard on MDX with Touring Package, optional on MDX) is useful for hauling skis, surfboards, or bulky camping equipment.

Thanks to the wide-opening liftgate and flat floor, large items, such as the box for a 32-inch TV will slide right into place for convenient transport. And it's possible to tote home 15, 3-cubic-foot bags of garden mulch without blocking outward vision. When the middle seating row is in use, there's still 49.6-cubic feet of space available, more than a full size car's trunk. And if it's necessary to use all three rows of seats, MDX still provides 14.8-cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat - enough for eight paper grocery bags, four duffels and a cooler, or a full set of golf clubs.

A separation net is offered as a dealer-installed accessory that attaches to four built-in attachment points, two in the floor and two in the ceiling, and provides a separate area for cargo behind the second row of seats, along with a cargo liner and liftgate apron that can be folded out over the rear bumper when the liftgate is opened.

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