Roomy crossover SUVs are important for some families. With eight-passenger seating and all-wheel drive available, the 2018 Acura MDX is one worth considering.

Best Value

The 2018 MDX is available in one trim, though Entertainment, Technology, and Advance packages offer further customization. Our recommended model is the 2018 MDX with all-wheel drive adn the Technology Package, to unlock driver convenience and safety features.

  • Model:2018 Acura MDX
  • Engine:3.5-liter V6
  • Output:290 hp/267 lb. ft.
  • Transmission:Nine-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
  • MPG:19 city / 26 highway
  • Options:All-wheel drive costs an extra $2,000, while the Technology Package ($4,400) adds 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, rain-sensing windshield wipers, remote start, a blind-spot information system, rear cross-traffic alert, and navigation.
  • Base Price:$45,195 (including $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$51,595 (including $995 destination charge)

Performance

Kia Sorento

The 2018 MDX houses a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Sport Hybrid version utilizes a 3.5-liter V6 and a seven-speed automatic transmission along with two electric motors, delivering 321 system hp. The hybrid offers an intriguing proposition, but we think most shoppers will stick with the standard model.

The MDX prioritizes ride and comfort over performance. The shocks do an admirable job of smothering road imperfections, a desirable attribute. Drivers can sense a slight body lean when turning, but that’s common for tall crossovers.

We aren’t entirely pleased with the nine-speed transmission. Although entirely competent, there were times it seemed overloaded with cogs and unable to decipher when best to shift. Shifting to "Sport" mode allows drivers to select their own gears with the paddle shifters, but that requires high levels of experience to master.

Interior and Exterior

The MDX’s clean, sweeping lines suggest a model that’s more wagon-like than SUV. It’s a welcome departure from the upright roof pillars traditional SUVs typically offer. We like the current fascia design, which seems less busy than before, while delivering a determined, yet elegant expression. Sporty touches on the bumpers and an improved LED layout display raise this SUV’s premium quotient.

The cabin is open and sophisticated, with a push-button shifter and dual infotainment screens certain to appeal to technophiles. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility come to the MDX this year, later than some competitors, but welcome nonetheless. The standard cargo area is small, but the second- and third-row seats fold flat with ease.

AcuraWatch is a welcome standard driver-assist package. You’ll find such items as lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, and road departure mitigation. Clearly, Acura is out in front of what customers want in their vehicles from a safety perspective.

The Best and Worst Things

We’re happy to see a hybrid join the product line. Its the fuel efficiency leader of the lineup and offers slightly better road handling. We’re not especially fond of the costly package options.

Right For...

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Families who want a rich blend of utility, technology, comfort, and premium features. It's almost as if the MDX took the best features of a minivan and applied them to this crossover.

Wrong For...

People who just don’t like crossovers. Then again, there aren’t too many traditional luxury SUVs left, at least not in the MDX’s price range.

The Bottom Line

One year removed from a major refresh, the 2018 MDX tweaks the tech upgrades to move in step with the competition. The all-new Sport Hybrid provides an interesting twist on the mid-size three-row crossover theme, therefore, we’ll be following its progress to gauge customer interest.