Acura MDX Ground Clearance

If you don’t want to lose your muffler (or something even more important), you should probably keep your Acura MDX on the road.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
It’s probably not a good idea to drive a brand-new 2022 Acura MDX off the lot and into a gravel pit—with minimal ground clearance, pricey materials, and little traction control, you could lose a lot more than your patience.
No sane person is comfortable putting the terms “premium performance SUV” and “off-roading” in the same sentence. Unless you have a bottomless budget, the idea of tracking dirt inside an
Acura
with open-pore wood accents, a hand-wrapped leather dashboard, and full-grain leather seating should make you grit your teeth. How much more convincing do you need?
We’ve done the research and written up the full list of reasons you should keep your Acura MDX on the road, so let's get started!
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2022 Acura MDX ground clearance by trim level

Whereas the trim levels of an off-road champ like the
Toyota Tundra
drastically affect the vehicle’s ground clearance, the Acura MDX keeps a low profile across every option:  
  • Base
    ($49,195): 7.3 inches
  • Technology
    ($52,625): 7.3 inches
  • A-Spec
    ($58,125): 7.3 inches
  • Advance
    ($61,675): 7.3 inches
  • Type S ($67,745): 6.7 inches
The fact that the MDX’s highest trim level lowers its suspension tells you everything you need to know: this car was built for hugging clean roads. Take it out of its comfort zone and you can bet the grille will be chewing on a mouthful of rocks and roots in no time.

Acura MDX ground clearance over the years

Despite massive changes to the MDX’s interior and exterior over the years, little (if any) differences exist between each generation’s ground clearance. Design, connectivity, infotainment, driver-assistive technology—but nowhere in the MDX’s press releases and brochures will you find mention of off-roading.
Here’s a look at the MDX’s ground clearance over the years: 
  • 1st generation, YD1 (2001 - 2006): 8 inches
  • 2nd generation, YD2 (2007 - 2013): 7.3 inches
  • 3rd generation, YD3 (2014 - 2020): 7.3 inches
  • 4th generation, YD9 (2022 - present): 7.3 inches
Trim levels with names like Technology, A-Spec, Advance, and Type S also don’t inspire confidence when it comes to adventurous driving. Neither your choice of powertrain, nor drivetrain, transmission, trim level, or options package will add to this SUV’s height.
MORE: The 10 best SUVs for towing

Why you should care about ground clearance

Ground clearance is essential to off-roading. It measures the distance between your vehicle’s chassis and the ground below—in other words, it tells you how big of an obstacle you can drive over. A ground clearance of 6.6–8.7 inches is recommended for gravel, 8.8–9.4 inches for over-landing, and at least 10.8 inches for rock crawling
With a minuscule margin of 7.3 inches below the undercarriage, you’re likely to damage important components like the engine, fuel lines, or fuel tank if you take the MDX on anything more rugged than gravel.
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Is the Acura MDX a good off-road vehicle?

No. With just enough ground clearance to pass over gravel, the most off-road you can get in an MDX is an unpaved lane to a cottage in the Muskokas. If you want a passenger car, utility vehicle, or pickup truck that can roll with the punches, opt for a
Jeep Wrangler
,
Ford Bronco
, or
Dodge Ram 1500
.

The best coverage for an Acura MDX

The Acura MDX is the dream car for drivers looking for a blend of luxury and utility, but quality
car insurance
coverage can be hard to come by at the right price. That’s where
Jerry
comes in. 
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Our users agree—that’s why Jerry is the #1 insurance app in the App Store, with a 4.7/5 star rating!
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