ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Don Adair's Seat Time

Acura MDX: Hitting its stride

Get Adobe Flash player

This should be a very good year for Acura’s MDX.

Fully made over, the 7-passenger crossover went on sale last year and enters 2014 already smashing its own sales records. Built on a new platform and featuring a new powertrain, updated cabin tech and more, the MDX is as fresh as the day it debuted in 2001 — and far more modern.

For the first time in its 13-year history, the MDX is available in a front-wheel-drive version. FWD pricing starts at $43,185, while $45,185 fetches Acura’s brilliant SH-AWD system. 

This year’s updates have an efficiency bias, but affect every aspect of the MDX. The new platform is narrower than before, for improved aerodynamics, yet cabin space grows.

A longer wheelbase, stiffer chassis and revised suspension improve driving dynamics and ride quality, already MDX hallmarks. The MDX sheds 275 pounds, due largely to increased use of high-strength steel.

In tandem with a revised steering system, its svelte new form gives the MDX a lighter and more agile feel from behind the wheel. 

It also enables a more efficient powerplant. The 290-horsepower V-6 that powers the new MDX is less powerful on paper than its predecessor but has a broader power band.  Despite a 17-percent efficiency bump, the ’14 MDX is quicker than before and can still tow up to 5,000 pounds.

EPA-estimated fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined, while the AWD version rates 18/27/21.

Inside the fully redesigned cabin, materials quality improves and new noise-abatement measures — ranging from thicker three-layer acoustic glass to a new floor “sealing plane” and Active Noise Control technology — significantly reduce cabin noise.

A new touchscreen system slashes the instrument-panel button count from 41 to nine. At first blush, the system seems to complicates such simple functions as seat-temperature adjustments but Acura says customizable shortcuts override that concern.

The large and comfortable front seats lose an inch of fore-aft travel, which may bother a handful of long-legged drivers, but second-row legroom grows. Second-row seats have a five-position recline feature and slide 5.9 inches fore and aft. At the touch of a button, second-row seats tip and slide forward to allow easy access to the third-row seating area.

Suspension changes drop the vehicle height by 1.5 inches and step-in height by 1.8 inches, easing ingress and egress and boosting aerodynamics. 
 
A new Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) offers three driving modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport. Comfort and Normal affect steering effort. Sport firms up steering feel and adjusts throttle response and SH-AWD torque proportioning. 

Good as it is in every other way, SH-AWD is the MDX’s true strength. It uses a network of sensors to anticipates and proactively offset traction losses, instantaneously directing power to the wheel(s) with the best grip. 

SH-AWD provides tremendous cornering power in dry conditions and is matchless in wintery conditions. As of this year, it’s also available in Acura’s all-new midsize RLX sedan.

Now in its thirteenth year and third generation, the MDX is just hitting its stride. A very good year, indeed.

2014 Acura MDX AWD ADV ENT
Vehicle base price: $42,290
Trim level base price: $56,505
As tested: $57,400
Optional equipment: Our AWD tester bundled the optional Tech, Advanced and Entertainment packages.
EPA ratings: 18 city/27 highway
Premium unleaded fuel recommended

 


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Don Adair's Seat Time

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Reviews and commentary about autos.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Don Adair's Seat Time.

Contributors

Don Adair

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here