Last post on Oct 13, 2006 at 3:04 PM
You are in the Acura MDX
What is this discussion about?
Acura MDX, Car Buying, SUV
#2 of 6 Flagship Status
Oct 13, 2006 (10:14 am)
Maybe we can get away from DVD players and power lift gates for a second. This is something which has come up in other threads, and other forums, in the past. With a new MDX on the scene, it might be worth some discussion again.
Since the demise of the Legend sedan, Acura has been hurtin' for a flagship vehicle. The 3.5RL was pretty much invisible by the time the MDX was launched in 2001. Even with the 2004 redesign of the RL, it hasn't captured many buyers attention. The moniker "RL" is damaged goods and the car, while pretty good, isn't good enough in the face of several others re-introduced at the same time.
In the past, it has been the contention of many MDX enthusiasts (myself included) that the MDX served as the brand's flagship from 2001 through 2004. While not the most luxurious vehicle in the line, it was the most luxurious vehicle that anybody knew about. In its early days, it chased the M-Class right out of the segment and gave the RX300 a run for its money.
After a six-year run, the current MDX is, of course, looking pretty silly as a flagship. The interior is dated, the driving dynamics (while good for an early CUV) are no longer up to snuff, and its lacks many important features. Others have rightly suggested that the 2006 MDX makes a sad statement as a flagship for the brand.
Enter the much-improved 2007 model.
This begs the question, "what makes a flagship the flagship?" And opinions will differ on that. But I'll ask anyway... Can this new MDX serve as the new flagship for the Acura brand?
#3 of 6 Re: Flagship Status [varmint]
Oct 13, 2006 (11:30 am)
I don't think so. I think Acura is a brand w/o a flagship. We only happened to test drive an MDX because the Acura dealer was right next to the Honda dealer where we were shopping for an Odyssey. The test drive impressed us so much that we thought an SUV might be an option, and went out and tested the Q7, XC90, M5, & LR3. And the MDX stayed on the top of our list.
But we would never have bothered to check out the MDX if we hadn't gotten tired of waiting for the Honda sales guy to come out & unlock the Odyssey. This is because the styling is boring, un-remarkable, and the entire Acura line is almost invisible on the road. The 07 MDX is a fairly dramatic change, but look at it's profile from the A pillar back, and it's almost indistinguishable from a number of the new SUV/CUVs.
The 07 will stand out more than previous years because of the (ugly IMHO) front end, but still won't be immediately recognizable to the masses as an Acura. The others we tested all make a more dramatic statement on the road than the MDX.
And I would strongly disagree that the driving dynamics of the 06 are not up to snuff. We actually preferred it's ride/handling to all but the '06 M5. And I agree that the interior seating is dated and should be much improved in the '07 model, but prefer the look & layout of the '06 dash and instruments.
Luxury flagships? Audi A8, BMW 7 series, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS, Lincoln Town Car, Mercedes S class.
#4 of 6 Re: Flagship Status [gene00]
Oct 13, 2006 (3:04 pm)
Yes, I don't see the MDX serving well as a flagship for the past year. I can understand you shopping the Ody first, then wandering over the MDX for no particular reason. But I think that's because it's a six year-old vehicle. The bloom wore off this rose years ago.
Back in 2001, there were six-month waiting lists for the MDX. Some buyers were happily paying more than MSRP for them.
Judged by today's standards, the styling of the 1st gen MDX is fairly ho-hum, but that's only because so many other vehicles have gone over the top since the design was penned. Most others were still trying to look a bit like traditional SUVs ('cept the RX), while the MDX was fairly avant guarde. It wasn't until after the MDX we got truly radical designs like the FX45 and Cayenne. These newer entries, of course, have made the old MDX seem benign.
The same with the handling. In 2001, the MDX was downright sporty. Since then, the X5, FX45, Cayenne, and a few others have all surpassed it. The original MDX is probably mid-pack, which means... unremarkable. Certainly not bad, but not good enough to stand out in the crowd.
Now, the new MDX is a whole new story. Many reviews have claimed that it soundly trumps the BMW in handling. (When was the last time an Acura bested a Bimmer in perceived handling?) That's something that will stand out. Several felt that it matched the Porsche!
I have my own issues with the styling (though I do like the grille), the interior, and even think it could use a few extra features. But those concerns pale in comparison with the technology they've brought to the table.
In 2001, the MDX chased the M Class out of the market and into a higher price bracket. It *looks* like this new model could do the same to the X5. Again, this is the sort of thing that makes a vehicle stand out.
The vehicles which have served in a flagship-like position have been the Legend and (to some extent) the original NSX. They did this by besting or matching the competition without requiring the same lofty prices. The original MDX did that back in 2001 and it seems like this one has a very good chance to do it again.