When building a vehicle to challenge the off-road trails in Moab, Utah, a 2002 Acura MDX probably wouldn’t be the first choice for most people. However, this video shows that the brand’s luxury crossover can handle the rugged environment.
This MDX doesn’t appear to be stock. The ride height looks taller, and it rides on knobby tires for better off-road traction. There’s a skid plate underneath the front end. The roof rack is useful but wouldn’t affect off-road ability. At the end of the video, the owner mentions the SUV now being lighter because he’s no longer living in it. A glimpse inside the open hood doesn’t indicate any powertrain updates.
This era of MDX has a 3.5-liter V6. For the 2022 model year, it makes 240 horsepower (179 kilowatts) and 245 pound-feet (332 Newton-meters) of torque. The power runs through a five-speed automatic with all-wheel drive.
The MDX driver is off-roading with buddies in a first-gen Porsche Cayenne on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab. It measures about 6.5 miles long and has a rating of six out of 10 from the Red-Rock Four-Wheelers group.
Things start out easy for the MDX. The terrain is rocky but not particularly challenging. The difficulty ramps up a few minutes into the video. There are moments when the SUV has one wheel in the air, and the all-wheel-drive system has to sort out where to put the power.
Things get even harder in the second half of the clip. The Acura climbs some rocks that require using the engine’s power and picking the right line. It’s a challenge to both man and machine.
There are a few times when the Acura slams its exhaust into a rock. Other than that, there are no serious problems.
The owner freely admits that this kind of driving is not what an Acura MDX is supposed to do. He figures Hell’s Revenge is the most challenging trail the vehicle can take. Even with that being the case, it can clearly handle a lot.