After being so impressed by the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander on display at the 2015 New York Auto Show, we got to thinking about other popular SUVs on the market today. That led us to the Acura MDX, sold in many international markets as the Honda MDX – it’s a car that has historically been a top contender in the three-row crossover segment. The car we’re looking at today is a 2003 Honda MDX up for auction in Japan.
While today’s Japanese car auction find may not be the most up-to-date version of the MDX, it’s still a great car with lots to offer at a great price. And honestly, it’s not even that outdated… The MDX only this past year entered its third generation, so this car would’ve been produced towards the end of the car’s first generation.
But, we’ll let the exterior design mostly speak for itself.
What has always separated the Honda MDX from other larger SUVs is the unique combination of three-row seating, decent on-road performance and surprisingly conservative fuel economy (EPA estimate 23 mpg highway / 17 mpg city). Honda actually boosted the 3.5L powertrain’s output for the 2003 model year to 265 hp up from the 240 hp offered the year before.
What allows the MDX to offer such stable and engaging driving dynamics is Honda’s automatic four-wheel drive system, codenamed VTM-4, which is also used in the Honda Pilot and Ridgeline. This AWD system allows the MDX to drive in regular FWD for normal cruising; a big part of the great gas mileage. However, the system still offers access to the rear wheels when needed. For example, you can access “lock mode” which is the equivalent of a temporarily locked rear differential – it activates the rear wheels at low speeds for maximum traction, designed to get the MDX up steep hills or out of a ditch.
The Honda MDX has always had an indulgent cabin. Even before automakers cared about interiors, the Honda MDX had an extremely quiet and spacious interior. Driver and front passenger both get plenty of legroom, as you can see in the picture above, and while some people will miss the third seat from the back row, the two passengers that CAN fit in the back will enjoy the extra elbow-room.
You can see on the auction sheet below that this MDX also offers a number of amenities inside the cabin… Automatic air conditioning, power steering and Windows, a sunroof and an LCD infotainment system are all included. For more information, you can get a full translation of the auction sheet below:
“Interior C, first registered June 2003, Exclusive model, 4WD, FAT, climate contro, sunroof, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, leather, original navigation system, airbag, leather seats, seat heatear, roof rail, 7-seater, spare key, remote control, headphones, electrical retraction mechanism on mirrors not working, load area scratches, dashboard scratches, seats sagging and have grime, rust underneath, scratches and dents, marks as per map”