Launched for the 2001 model year, the MDX gave Honda’s luxury division its first entrant into the crossover SUV category. With seating for up to seven and an impressive load of standard equipment, the Acura MDX remains a comparative bargain in the category of near-luxury crossovers. This reasonable approach to premium family travel seems about right for a target market of families that have bills to pay, but appreciate some extra amenities on the road.
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2017 Acura MDX Overview
What's New for 2017
In addition to freshened exterior design, including a more sculpted hood and revised headlights, the MDX gains standard and optional equipment for 2017. Previously an option group, the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistance technologies is now standard. A new electric parking brake includes automatic brake hold. Available option packages now include 20-inch wheels, second-row captain’s chairs, SiriusXM 2.0 satellite radio, a heated steering wheel, and surround-view camera. A Sport Hybrid variant of the MDX with SH-AWD is scheduled to debut in spring of 2017.
Choosing Your Acura MDX
Offering three rows of seating, the MDX ranks as midsize. As such, it has less interior room than the largest crossovers. Regardless, cargo space totals an undeniably generous 91 cubic feet, with second-row and rear seats folded. Behind the rear seat, cargo volume measures 15.8 cubic feet. The standard power-sliding second row is a welcome touch that allows third-row passengers to get in and out with ease and without loss of dignity.
The sole engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with a pushbutton gear selection. Acura’s SH-AWD all-wheel drive system is available as a substitute for the standard front-drive setup, for an additional $2,000. Properly equipped, an MDX with SH-AWD can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Fuel economy is comparable to rivals, estimated by the EPA at 19 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway (22 mpg combined). The available idle-stop feature raises the estimate to 20/27 mpg (city/highway), or 23 mpg combined. All-wheel drive models are estimated at 18/26 mpg (city/highway), or 21 mpg combined.
The standard cabin is rather lavishly equipped with leather-trimmed upholstery, heated power front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and an eight-speaker sound system with Internet compatibility and satellite radio. Tech features include Bluetooth phone and audio, Siri Eyes Free, a multi-angle rearview camera, and dual display screens. Also standard are LED headlights, a moonroof, a power liftgate, and keyless pushbutton start. The MDX rolls on 18-inch wheels.
Now standard equipment on the MDX, the AcuraWatch suite of safety technology includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation.
In standard form, the MDX is priced at $44,890 (destination charge included). You can build on this single trim level with one or more option packages:
This $4,410 option group includes a navigation system with traffic rerouting and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS audio system, both with voice controls. Additional conveniences include rain-sensing wipers, GPS-linked climate control, a multi-information display with turn-by-turn guidance, power-folding mirrors, blind spot information system, and rear cross-traffic alert. Wheels are upgraded to 20-inch.
Treats rear passengers to a DVD entertainment system, and includes heated outboard second-row seats, a second-row bench, sunshades, and a household-style power outlet. Note that the Technology or Advance package is required with this $2,000 package.
For $6,040, you get perforated leather upholstery with contrast stitching, heated/ventilated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs (for six-passenger capacity), wood accents, a heated steering wheel, LED foglamps, front/rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system. Purchase of the Technology Package is required.
Almost no individual options are offered, other than backup sensors, bicycle mounts, bodyside moldings, and roof crossbars.
Making the AcuraWatch safety suite standard is a welcome step forward, although it was previously quite a reasonably priced option. Option packages include plenty of features for the money, but the total can add up quickly. When fully loaded, the price for an MDX with Advance and Entertainment packages soars to $57,340, or $59,340 with all-wheel drive.
2017 Acura MDX Review
Buyers continue to show their approval of Acura's long-running MDX, a seven-passenger luxury crossover that focuses more on value and safety than impressing the neighbors. This year's styling refresh and boost in standard equipment help solidify its position as a top choice among premium family vehicles.
Pricing and Equipment
The Acura MDX starts at $45,850 with front-wheel drive, or $47,850 with all-wheel drive. For that, you get features like:
- AcuraWatch Plus (a suite of active safety technology that mirrors Honda Sensing)
- Leather seating, heat in front, and driver memory
- A single-pane sunroof
- An 8-speaker sound system with internet and satellite radio.
The $4,410 Premium package tacks on navigation, remote start, surround sound, and a bundle of smaller features. Premium-equipped models can also get a $6,040 Advance package featuring numerous interior trim upgrades and a surround-view camera system. A rear entertainment system is available for $2,000. (All prices are MSRP before $975 destination charge.)
Every Acura MDX carries a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, matched a 9-speed automatic transmission.
- The engine goes about its business in near silence—and offers plenty of power for low-speed takeoffs.
- The optional all-wheel drive system isn't just for bad weather. It makes the Acura MDX remarkably nimble for a seven-passenger vehicle.
- The transmission's Sport mode and paddle shifters produce the quick, firm response of a manual transmission.
- We found the Acura MDX's steering to be rather numb, lacking the confident feel offered by key competitors.
- The transmission didn't always respond as quickly as we would've liked. Going heavy on the gas was sometimes necessary to provoke a downshift, and from a standstill, the gearbox was slow to engage.
- The electronic CVT doesn't help the engine noise problem, keeping the engine speed in the noisy part of the tachometer.
- The push-button transmission controls take up less space than a traditional shifter, allowing for more storage and elbow room in front.
- Active noise cancellation and a host of other sound-reducing measures make for an exceptionally peaceful cabin.
- The chrome trim around the center controls looks nice, but occasionally produced enough glare to interfere with our vision.
- With the rear seats folded flat, there are a lot of holes and gaps in the load floor. Loose items can get stuck or slip out of reach.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The Acura MDX's middle row is spacious enough for three adults to ride in all-day comfort. There's little difference between the MDX and the largest crossover SUVs on the market.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The are no individual options for the MDX. We're not nuts about having to spring for an expensive package (or two) just to get a single desirable feature.
The Bottom Line
The Acura MDX serves up a blend of comfort, technology, and refinement that feels just right for upwardly mobile families.
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