2009 Acura MDX - Body

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OVERVIEW

The 2009 MDX fuses the model's traditional virtues of adaptable space, functionality, safety and environmental responsibility with a more exciting visual presence along with more accomplished handling and ride comfort.

Customers in the luxury SUV arena demand distinctive style. The 2009 MDX ups the game with standard 18-inch wheels and tires, standard Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights and a distinctive front grille. Driving excitement is equally embraced with a chassis tuned at the Nürburgring circuit and on autobahns in Germany.

The exterior has bold, clean and advanced styling details with European cache, and it was styled to connect with enthusiast drivers from the moment they first see it. Sitting in the vehicle - and then experiencing it - makes the desire even more intense. Besides featuring a 300 horsepower V-6, the MDX includes Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), an available Active Damper System along with lightweight aluminum components used in the suspension and body. Convenience features such as an available power rear tailgate further improve functionality and luxury.

EXTERIOR DESIGN GOALS

One of the primary goals in designing the second generation MDX was to keep its traditional strengths but advance its performance and image. The clear direction for the MDX was to create a bold and innovative look that clearly conveyed the "Driver's SUV" nature of the vehicle. The grille is free of molding breaks for a cleaner look and features dark silver satin plating.

STYLING DEVELOPMENT

The original MDX provided a fine blend of utility, luxury and style. The 2009 Acura MDX has powerful, dynamic styling that is a continuation of the themes that have been embodied in recent Acura products. Designers found inspiration in a high-powered mega yacht, which features an exceptionally bold, lean and contemporary design. The challenge was to apply the useful elements of the yacht design to an SUV, and designers found their answer in the adoption of large areas of clean surfaces and the addition of decisive line breaks and dynamic surface curvature. Large 18-inch wheels and tires not only benefit handling, but also create a muscular look. In front, the 2009 MDX has a distinctive, advanced Acura look. The platform is long, low and wide to enhance cornering and high-speed stability.

COMPETITIVE COMPARISON

The MDX has a significantly wider track than its primary market competitors. As a result it offers dramatic appearance, packaging and utility advantages.


2009 Acura
MDX
2009 BMW
X5 3.0si
2009 Lexus
RX 350
2009 Porsche
Cayenne
2009 Volvo
XC90 2.5T
Overall length, in. 190.7 191.1 186.2 188.9 189.3
Overall width, in. 78.5 76.1 72.6 75.9 74.7
Overall height, in. 68.2 69.5 66.1 66.9 70.2
Wheelbase, in. 108.3 115.5 106.9 112.4 112.6
Track, F/R, in. 67.7/67.5 64.7/65.0 62.0/61.2 65.2/65.8 64.3/63.9

BODY STRUCTURE

The 2009 MDX utilizes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which distributes collision forces through the structure during a frontal collision while helping to retain the integrity of the passenger compartment. The MDX uses a large amount of high-strength steel to help reduce vehicle weight while simultaneously increasing strength. Alternative materials including aluminum and magnesium are also used throughout the vehicle, further reducing vehicle mass, which helps improve fuel economy and increase performance.

Attaining a high level of dynamic body rigidity is essential for precise handling, ride quality and quietness inside the cabin. By researching the body's dynamic response to chassis loads resulting from everyday driving events, MDX engineers considered the unit body's "dynamic stiffness" as an entire system -- not just as a single component. Thus, body rigidity is not an end to itself, but rather it is an enabler for enhanced vehicle dynamics, riding comfort, and driving quietness.

Instrumented testing revealed that the "tailgate ring" - the open area surrounding the tailgate - is particularly important for handling, stability and ride. In the second generation MDX, this area has been markedly stiffened, providing the rear suspension with a more solid mounting and netting an improvement in handling precision. In addition, the MDX's floor frames are wider than before for improved packaging and rigidity.

HIGH-STRENGTH STEEL

The use of high-strength steel contributes to rigidity, excellent crashworthiness and light weight. High-strength steel is specified in different grades for use in different parts of the vehicle. Some unit body areas using this material include the roof arches, floor cross members, tailgate opening and front rails and body sides.

LIGHTWEIGHT ALUMINUM

In addition, about 4.1-percent of the 2009 MDX body components are constructed of aluminum. This material is ideal for certain components such as the hood and instrument panel support, where light weight is required but the strength of steel is not imperative.

The hood on the first-generation MDX was steel, and the weight savings of using aluminum instead of steel (for the 2009 MDX hood) is 15.5 pounds. Aside from using a unique metal conditioner and phosphate dip prior to painting, there are no unique production challenges for using an aluminum hood - and no ownership compromises either. To improve environmental efficiency, a factory separation line isolates different scrap materials, including aluminum, for recycling.

The aluminum instrument panel support saves an additional 10.5 pounds compared to a traditional steel unit. This support structure, which connects the A-pillars to the front floor crossmember, is a structural element consisting of cast parts, extrusions and sheet aluminum.

AERODYNAMICS

Acura MDX prototypes spent a total of seven weeks in the wind tunnel to test and develop its aerodynamic properties. The attention to detail in aerodynamic efficiency included the development of body side sills that help keep air from moving underneath the vehicle which can cause turbulence. Lift balance and the coefficient of lift were also addressed to keep the MDX stable at high speeds. In this area, internal testing revealed that the MDX exceeds the performance of the BMW X5.

WIND NOISE

Careful attention was paid to reducing wind noise inside the MDX cabin. An acoustic wind tunnel was used to identify and correct noise issues, resulting in the MDX's best-in-class wind noise performance (at the driver's ear point) according to Acura's internal measurements.

An added benefit of wind tunnel testing was the ability to rotate the MDX sideways into the airflow. This allowed engineers to approximate even the most severe gusting side winds and solve unexpected and unwanted wind noise that could accompany such severe conditions.

The MDX's moonroof is larger than used in the previous generation and is also the widest of any direct competitor. A finely tuned deflector ensures that the moonroof does not add objectionable wind noise when in the open position, even at highway speeds. Attention to detail in the sealing of the doors and tailgate also heightened the performance of the MDX's overall wind noise level.

INSULATION

Engineers attacked noise from virtually every source inside and outside the MDX. Their primary goal was to reduce noise at its source. One creative noise-reduction technique is the use of composite seals in the exterior door panels. These composite seals actually serve two purposes - to reduce the transmission of noise through the doors and to shield the interior components from dirt and water while driving through rain or puddles. The new door insulators provide a substantial reduction in objectionable sound - up to five decibels on some roads.

DOORS

The MDX's door handles are sized for comfort as well as ease of use, regardless of whether the user is bare handed or wearing winter gloves. There are three door checker - the detent mechanism that holds the door partially open - positions instead of the usual two, thus providing a convenient "in between" position useful during tight parking situations. The door openings are finished with an attractive composite garnish that hides the doorsill when the door is open.

GLASS

Normally only sports cars use windshields with highly compound curves. Deeply contoured glass is more complex and costly to make, thus it is usually reserved for low-production vehicles. Designers specified deeply curved acoustic glass for the MDX for its styling appeal as well as to improve aerodynamic efficiency and quietness. The 2009 MDX uses an acoustic glass front windshield that incorporates a unique PVB film to help quell wind and windshield wiper noise from entering the cabin. The rear glass is also a deep wraparound design - the deepest in the Acura product range.

The MDX has an auto up/down feature for the driver and front passenger's 3.5mm thick side windows. The 2009 MDX offers 273-degrees of outward visibility compared to 266-degrees of visibility for the BMW X5, which is a significant accomplishment considering the increased size of the MDX's head rests mandated by the government's FMVSS 202 safety regulations.

All glass from the B-pillar rearward has a gray tint to reduce eyestrain and heat buildup inside the cabin. In addition, the outside rearview mirrors use a special blue glass (sourced from Germany) that provides bright imaging along with excellent glare resistance.

XENON HID HEADLIGHTS

All 2009 Acura MDX models include Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam front headlights with halogen high beams. The advantages of HID headlamps include greater lighting power, daylight-color light balance and reduced power consumption. In addition, the cut lines of the new HID headlights are extremely precise, providing maximum nighttime visibility without distracting other drivers.

The 2009 MDX features Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which automatically turn on with the activation of the ignition. An MDX fit with the optional Sport Package features an auto-leveling feature that keeps the headlights level regardless of how the vehicle is loaded with passengers or cargo.

To ensure a high degree of theft prevention, the HID headlights are attached to the unit body with multi-strand steel cables. Halogen fog lamps are also included as standard equipment on all MDX trim levels

LED TAILLAMPS

Two Light-Emitting Diode (LED) arrays, comprised of 12 LEDs apiece, are used for the tail lamps of the 2009 MDX. Likewise, the Center High Mount Stop Lamp (CHMSL) features a single array of 16 LEDs. Advantages of the LED taillights include an elegant contemporary appearance, quicker turn-on time compared to a conventional incandescent bulbs and significantly greater service life. LEDs are also brighter, smaller, lighter and produce less heat than incandescent lights. The LED CHMSL was selected for its appearance and ability to produce the required lighting brightness while retaining slender physical dimensions. LEDs are also used in the MDX's outside mirror housing-mounted turn signals, improving visibility during lane changes or turns.

POWER TAILGATE

Acura's power tailgate system is included on MDX models optioned with Technology or Sport packages. The power tailgate can be operated via the remote key fob, from a button on the driver's door panel, or from a button located inside the tailgate. The location of the motor in the MDX's D-pillar (instead of in the roof) allows excellent headroom for the third-row seats. The tailgate can also be operated manually.

RESIN FUEL FILLER DOOR

The MDX fuel filler door is operated remotely from inside the vehicle via a switch on the driver's door panel. The fuel-filler door is made of a composite resin material that is lightweight, dent resistant and corrosion proof. For a better appearance the inside of the door features a flangeless resin design.

BUMPERS

The front and rear bumpers are constructed of a structural beam covered with a plastic fascia rated to withstand impacts of up to five mph without sustaining significant damage. An attachment point for a tow hook is located under a small cover on each bumper fascia. Removing the cover allows access to a threaded boss that accepts a steel eyebolt located in a holder in the jack storage area.

EXTERIOR PAINT

Inspired by the smooth finishes on fine pianos, Acura set out to achieve a mirror-smooth paint finish with a wet, glossy look. To advance the surface smoothness, "orange peel" - the finely undulating surface found on some paints resulting from the evaporation of the paint solvents - had to be all but eliminated. Seven environmentally safer waterborne exterior colors are available, and each uses a durable clear-coat finish that resists scratching and airborne pollutants. For 2009 the MDX is available with two new colors: Bali Blue Pearl and Mocha Metallic.


Interior Color
Exterior Color Paint Type Ebony Taupe Parchment Bordeaux
Aspen White Pearl Pearl
Bali Blue Pearl Pearl

Billet Silver Metallic Metallic

Dark Cherry Pearl Pearl

Formal Black Pearl
Mocha Metallic Metallic



Sterling Grey Metallic Metallic



MANUFACTURING

Assembled in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, every 2009 MDX that comes down the assembly line goes through a special inspection area. Here inspectors focus on finding and solving any concerns. The inspection process is dynamic, with changeable parameters based on where concerns lie.

Along with the RDX, this represents the first time Acura vehicles are separated from Hondas during the assembly process. It represents Acura's commitment to being at the leading edge of quality and it is befitting of the most exclusive Acura SUV ever created.

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