2005 Acura MDX Interior Part 2

8/31/2004 8:55:00 PM


As in other Acura vehicles, the driver's cockpit is organized ergonomically to avoid distractions from the task of driving. Exterior lighting and turn signals and cruise control are positioned to the left of the steering wheel to prevent operation by passengers, while wiper controls are mounted on a right-side column stalk. Radio and cruise control switches are positioned just below the horizontal steering wheel spokes for easy use. Secondary switches are spotted near the instrument cluster. Moonroof controls are incorporated into the roof console.

A three-dial instrument cluster conveys vehicle system information to the driver: engine rpm, vehicle speed, fuel level, coolant temperature, and shift-lever position. The instrument cluster features meters backlit with ambient blue lighting, making them easy to read and providing an attractive, modern appearance. An array of indicator lights is positioned at the bottom of the tachometer and at the top and bottom of the combination temperature gauge and fuel level display. The speedometer is marked in both mph and kph to a full scale reading of 140 mph/225 kph.


The centerpiece of the instrument panel is a large multi-function display screen. MDX models not equipped with the Acura Navigation System feature trip computer, compass, and climate control information in this highly visible location. The seven-inch (diagonal measurement) LCD screen is flat with a curved bezel. It displays current and average fuel economy, range remaining, compass heading, outside temperature, time of day, climate control mode, air-conditioning on/off, and fan speed. A trip button to the left of the display cycles between trip and mileage information. A separate button resets fuel economy, trip mileage, and elapsed time registers. There's also a slide switch to adjust the brightness of the display screen.

Pressing an on-screen mode button varies the direction of air flow through the front climate-control system. Pressing an A/C button switches the A/C compressor on and off. The fan button selects from five speeds.

Adjacent to the central display screen are two adjustable vent registers, a master light switch, a hazard switch, a "passenger airbag off" indicator and a small control panel for managing the synchronized front and rear climate control systems.


The MDX equipped with the Touring Package now features a standard HandsFreeLink™ hands free phone interface that is designed to work with many recently manufactured Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones (sold separately). Bluetooth is a radio frequency-based cable replacement technology that lets portable devices like mobile phones PDAs, laptops and other devices communicate wirelessly. The HandsFreeLink system is compatible with Bluetooth enabled cell phones that have the Hands Free Profile (HFP). Some early Bluetooth-enabled phones do not have this communications protocol, but any newly released phones should have the HFP. After the driver completes a one-time "pairing" process, the MDX can communicate wirelessly and securely with the driver's cell phone when it's within about 10 feet of the car. The phone needs to be on, but can be stowed in a pocket, briefcase or purse-or anywhere inside the MDX cabin.

HandsFreeLink allows the driver to send or answer calls without taking his or her hands from the steering wheel. When a call comes in, the number of the incoming caller is displayed on the Multi-information display located in the speedometer face. The phone ring tone is also played over the audio system. If the driver chooses to answer the call, a press of the steering wheel-mounted "Pick up" button mutes the audio system and the incoming caller is heard over the audio system speakers. An overhead microphone picks up the driver's voice. Algorithms built into the HandsFreeLink™ system cancel "echo effect" and reduce background noise to improve the transmission quality of the driver's speech.

To send a call hands free, the driver can dial the number by voice, again using fingertip controls mounted on the steering wheel to activate the system. The driver also can store frequently called numbers with voice tags in the system's memory. Up to six different compatible mobile phones can be paired with the HandsFreeLink™ system at one time.


The MDX features the DVD-based, satellite-linked Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition as an option on the model with Touring Package. For 2005, the system has been enhanced with more memory, and a faster processor to provide faster calculation times, more points of interest, additional voice recognition commands and the ZAGAT Survey Restaurant Guide. Some of the system's features include:

  • Faster system start-up time (new for 2005))
  • Faster route calculation and search speed (new for 2005)
  • Expanded voice recognition function with over 560 navigation commands (up from 217 commands in 2004) minimizes the need for manual character entry
  • Voice recognition system recognizes city and street names as spoken words (new for 2005)
  • A comprehensive destination guide with seven million points of interest are stored on an updateable DVD
  • Business and recreation directory of virtually the entire continental United States and Hawaii complete with phone numbers
  • Rearview camera
  • 3-D graphics for freeway on and off ramps
  • 8-inch touch screen display
  • Split screen mode for displaying additional route information
  • Day/night visualization modes with user-selectable screen background appearance
  • Turn by turn voice guidance in either male or female voice
  • Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide (new for 2005)
  • Make calls to on-screen points of interest with HandsFreeLink (new for 2005)
  • User selectable Day/Night screen or display off modes
  • Trip routing can include up to five user-chosen way points
  • Trip routing can avoid user-selected areas
  • Exit list shows what businesses are available at a given highway exit
  • On-screen picture of highway interchanges indicates which lane to use to stay on route
  • Larger on-screen fonts and buttons for better visibility
  • Greater map contrast and simplified visual presentation

System Operation

Based on positioning data from up to 12 orbiting Global Positioning Satellites (GPS), the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition tracks the vehicle's position. If the GPS antenna is blocked by a tunnel, tall building or parking garage, an internal gyroscopic system and a speed sensor track the location of the vehicle to keep the mapping information current and reliable until satellite reception is restored. A DVD is located in the trunk in the system's ECU. Updated DVD data discs are available on an annual basis on-line or by calling a toll-free number.

The system can be controlled by voice, or by choosing menu options or spelling out a word through a touch-sensitive on-screen keypad. Only a few entries are needed to enter destinations and route calculations are made expeditiously.

A matte finish is used on the display screen to enhance legibility while resisting fingerprints. The same screen used for navigation also displays trip distance, average fuel mileage, remaining range (miles to empty), elapsed time, outside temperature, and climate control setting information.

For voice operation, the driver simply presses the "Talk" button on the steering wheel and says any of a number of preset command phrases. The system responds to over 560 command phrases, as well as to spoken city and street names.

When the "Talk" button is pressed, the audio system is automatically muted, and an overhead microphone receives the command from the driver. Commands can be given in plain English, like "Display gas stations, "Find nearest hospital" or "Find nearest Chinese restaurant." You can choose to display points of interest on the map (like restaurants, or grocery stores, for example), or have the system provide turn-by-turn navigation-all by voice. The extensive point-of-interest database includes phone numbers, which can be dialed easily by using the HandsFreeLink™ system and the driver's cell phone.
Compared to the previous generation Acura navigation system, the MDX system start-up time has been reduced and search speed increased significantly.

If desired, a route with up to five destinations can be pre-programmed. The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition has the ability to track vehicle position by means of dots on the screen for those areas not covered by DVD map data - especially helpful when driving off-road.

The onboard database has now been expanded to include the Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide, and the accuracy of all road data has been increased. Expanded voice control saves time and simplifies operation of the system. Sophisticated voice recognition technology allows the MDX owner to simply speak city and street names aloud, and the system responds by displaying matches available in the database.

Another notable enhancement is the addition of a rearview camera. This camera, located on the liftgate sends a picture of the area directly behind the MDX to the navigation system screen when the transmission is moved to the "reverse" position. The view shown extends to over 13 feet behind the bumper with a view width that is wider than the MDX itself.


MDX engineers conducted a major cupholder R&D program to make the MDX extremely occupant-friendly. The first thing they learned was the daunting array of beverage containers in daily use - rectangular juice boxes, 12-ounce cans, 20-ounce bottles, various-sized paper cups from fast-food outlets, insulated coffee cups, and bottled water vessels galore. Ten beverage holders were designed into the MDX's interior to accommodate a variety of passenger needs.
Real innovation was necessary to accommodate as many different sizes and types of containers as possible and to securely hold them during stopping and cornering maneuvers. For example, pockets built into the bottom portion of the rear door trim are purposely deep to hold either a 20-ounce soda bottle or larger bottled water containers. Cup holders molded into the armrest areas adjacent to the third-row seat feature notches necessary to accommodate juice boxes. Cup holders positioned near the center of the vehicle (two ahead of the storage console, two built into the console lid's inside surface, and two more integrated with the fold-down, second-row armrest) have stepped bottom surfaces to grab and hold different-diameter containers. Front-seat cup holders are a three-tier design with a rubber lip to help restrain a teetering container. Third row cup holders are also a three-tier design, but without a rubber lip, while second-seat cup holders are a slightly shallower, two-tier design.


MDX sound systems are engineered for optimum performance and tuned specifically for this vehicle's acoustical characteristics. The standard system provides premium sound quality and clarity, especially in the first and second seating rows. A head unit integrated into the center-dash features AM/FM stereo, cassette, and a single-disc CD player. A micro antenna positioned at a discreet center-rear location on the roof receives radio broadcasts. Switches mounted below a left-side steering wheel spoke allow the driver to adjust play volume, choose another radio station, or select a different CD track without shifting attention from the road.

This system features standard XM® Satellite Radio for 2005. XM® Satellite Radio provides more than 100 channels (all 68 music channels are commercial-free) of digital program material with near-CD quality sound. A text display provides information text on the program material. XM® provides virtually uninterrupted coverage of the 48 contiguous states, and a three-month subscription is included with the MDX. Note that XM® Satellite Radio is not installed on MDX models sold in Alaska and Hawaii-service for these states does not exist at this time.

Four integrated, 30-watt amplifiers and one 35-watt amplifier drive a total of seven speakers. A 16 cm midrange speaker is mounted in each door. There's also a 2-inch tweeter in each front door and a 10-inch sub-woofer in the right-rear interior trim panel.


The MDX with Touring Package is equipped with an Acura/Bose® Music System that features a powerful 225 watt amplifier, high power neodymium magnets in the front and rear doors and high power rear twiddlers working together to provide superb entertainment in all seating positions. XM Satellite Radio is standard for 2005.

The head unit is curved in two directions to coordinate with the center-dash design. This system offers AM/FM, cassette, and a 6-CD in-dash changer. The steering wheel-mounted controls described above also command the system.

A special six-CD changer function allows the unit to conveniently store extra discs ready for playing without a separate magazine. Touching a load button once opens the changer's door to allow the insertion of one CD. Holding that button down facilitates loading up to six CDs. Since the door opens only during loading and eject operations, there's less likelihood that foreign objects will jam the mechanism. This sound system can select any desired CD track or shuffle through stored material at random to provide hours of audio entertainment.

The Acura/Bose Music System features eight speakers including a powerful rear-mounted 2.5-inch twiddler speaker. Six integrated 37.5-watt amplifiers drive the mid-range, tweeter, and twiddler units, and a 10-inch sub-woofer.


The MDX can be equipped with an available factory-installed Acura Rear Entertainment System. This multi-faceted system features a 7-inch wide screen LCD display (for optimum visibility) that flips down from the ceiling at the push of a button for easy viewing by rear seat passengers. The extended capabilities of the DVD system allow for either DVD, CD, radio, cassette tapes and auxiliary accessories (such as video games, VCRs or cameras) to be played in the rear seating areas while the front passengers listen to a different audio source.

The DVD player can be conveniently controlled from three locations - the front audio system controls, the rear seat controls near the LCD screen, or a wireless remote control. Additional audio and video input jacks allow for a wide variety of additional equipment - ranging from camcorders to VCRs to game consoles - to be attached to the system. The system comes with two infrared (IR) wireless headphones and a wireless remote control as standard equipment.


New for 2005, all MDX models equipped with the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition are also equipped with standard OnStar service in-vehicle communications and assistance service. OnStar can offer emergency assistance, accident notification, air bag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, door unlock command and vehicle tracking, plus other features that provide an extra level of security and convenience.

Pressing an activation button located in the overhead console provides quick access to a live OnStar service advisor 24 hours a day. Using input from orbiting GPS satellites, the OnStar service advisor can easily pinpoint the location of the owner's vehicle to help provide assistance.

In the event of vehicle theft, subscribers need only contact the OnStar Center (after filing a police report) and provide a personal identification number. An OnStar service advisor can then pinpoint the car and direct authorities to its location.

The OnStar service system is integrated into the car's suite of electronic conveniences. This allows the system to dial phone numbers displayed on the navigation system by automatic voice command.

This version of OnStar service is equipped with a Digital/Analog Tri-mode phone. This means that in addition to Analog communication, the phone operates on both CDMA bands (Cellular and PCS) used by all CDMA digital networks in the US.

OnStar Personal Calling offers a hands-free, voice-activated, wireless phone that is built into the system in case the driver's hand-held cell phone is lost, forgotten or has a low battery. Personal Calling can be activated at the same time the OnStar service account is activated online, or by pressing the blue OnStar service button at anytime and talking to the Advisor. Pre-purchased minutes can be billed to a credit card. There is no activation fee or additional long distance or roaming charges.

In the MDX, phone numbers can be dialed through OnStar Personal Calling. Customers can speak the phone digits they wish to dial in a steady stream, with no pauses (e.g., "2485551212"), rather than pausing between digits.

The MDX comes with a free three-month subscription to the Safe and Sound Plan. In addition, MDX owners can choose to upgrade to the Directions and Connections Plan ($399 per year) which adds route support, convenience services and ride assist.

Finally, a Personal Calling Package, which includes wireless phone and "Virtual Advisor" Internet services, is available as part of both plans for an additional charge.


Overhead lamps are provided for all three rows of seating. An additional cargo light mounted to the tailgate provides ample illumination both inside the vehicle and on the ground for convenient loading at night and lights in the footwells of the front seats allow for easier entry and egress at night. When the lamps are switched off by closing the doors or inserting a key in the ignition switch, they fade out over a six-second period.

Ambient illumination is also provided for front seat occupants. A subtle pale blue light is emitted from the footwells and shifter column during night driving providing occupants with a warmer cabin feel and giving off just enough light to help improve occupant's visibility within the vehicle. The ambient lighting is extinguished when the headlights are turned off. All power window switches are illuminated for convenient night-time operation.


To avoid interference from cellular telephone and pager transmissions, MDX's keyless security system communicates via FM (instead of AM) signals. In models with the Touring Package, when doors are unlocked remotely, outside mirrors and the driver's seat automatically move to pre-selected memory positions. Two fobs are provided to distinguish one driver in the family from another.

The fob itself has three buttons. At the top, there's a large triangular-shaped button to command the lock function. A smaller round button with a raised nib for tactile identification commands the vehicle to unlock all doors. Operation of the locks is confirmed by an audible chirp. The third button at the bottom of the fob is recessed; pressing this "panic" button activates loud dual trumpet horns to signal distress.