From Acura press: The Acura MDX™ was created to define a new era in the evolution of luxury sport utility vehicles, treading beyond the limits of existing SUVs in terms of handling, packaging efficiency and environmental impact. The MDX was developed with the over-riding goal of setting new benchmarks for luxury SUV performance. That performance goal applies to the three main themes of the development concept, to establish new performance benchmarks in the SUV category for versatility, responsibility and dynamic performance.
As the development process progressed, an additional development goal was added - furnishing the vehicle with an array of cutting edge features that effectively "defeat winter" for its driver and passengers - limiting the harsh effects of the cold winter months on MDX occupants.
These development goals encompass all areas of development, even when they are seemingly at odds with each other. For example, a 240-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine -more performance than any 6-cylinder SUV in its class - powers the Acura MDX yet it meets ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) standards in all 50 U.S. states. MDX also achieves an impressive EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 23 miles per gallon on the highway. In a similar manner, MDX's stylishly sculpted exterior belies the spacious and versatile interior - boasting the only 7-passenger seating of any SUV in its class, and many easily configured seating/cargo layouts. And the confident on- and off-road performance of MDX does not detract from its thorough active and passive safety systems.
The MDX was created to be the best luxury class SUV, designed as a Multi-Dimensional Cross Trainer - an athlete that excels on many playing fields.
For the 2002 model year, the MDX comes in four new exterior colors and receives a variety of enhancements aimed at reducing Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) for an even quieter, more comfortable ride. These enhancements include thicker windshield glass, the addition of sound damping roof lining and new "diffsuer" side mirrors.
An advanced powertrain is essential to meet MDX's primary goals of outstanding performance, class-leading low emissions, and excellent fuel economy. To that end the MDX is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter, V-6, VTEC engine that delivers 240 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 245 lb.-ft. of torque from 3000 to 5000 rpm.
Acura's renowned Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC™) valvetrain, first used in the NSX supercar, adjusts the timing, duration, and lift of the intake valves according to engine speed. In conjunction with a two-stage intake manifold, VTEC yields high peak-rpm performance, muscular response at low- and medium-rpm, very low emissions, and best-in-class fuel efficiency.
MDX's new 5-speed, automatic transaxle has several features engineered specifically for use in a mid-sized luxury SUV, including: extra-wide gear ratios to optimize both start-up acceleration and highway cruising comfort, a lock-up torque converter and a rigid alloy case design.
The MDX's innovative VTM-4™(Variable Torque Management™ 4-Wheel Drive) all-wheel drive system provides extra traction during acceleration and slippery road conditions. Additional benefits are improved dry-road vehicle dynamics, medium-duty off-road capability, and a lock feature to aid extraction from severe "stuck" conditions. A compact transfer case is bolted directly to MDX's front-mounted transaxle. A two-piece propeller shaft delivers torque from the transfer case to a rear axle drive unit. Two computer-controlled, electromagnetically-powered clutches engage as needed to provide torque to the rear wheels.