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Posts tagged: Super-handling All-Wheel-Drive

2014 Acura MDX: SH-AWD still on the job

In my previous post, I promised the lowdown on the 2014 Acura MDX, which should start arriving in dealerships by summer.

As you may recall, I’d come across a rumor that Acura would dropSuper Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) from upcoming versions of the MDX. PR boss Chuck Shifsky was quick to respond to my query to that  effect.

“Bad rumor,” he said.

Acura show the new MDX at the Detroit Auto Show today and, in fact, SH-AWD is still onboard. 

The only real change, traction-wise, is that for the first time the MDX will be available in a front-wheel-drive format. This comes in response to requests from Sun Belt dealers.

Otherwise, the ’14 MDX gets a full facelift. Its new “Aero Sculpture” styling not only looks good but also improves aerodynamic efficiency by up to 16 percent.

It will be shorter by 1.5 inches and ride on a longer wheelbase, which should enhance ride quality and boost cabin and cargo space. A new chassis is lighter and more rigid and new front and rear suspension designs are expected to produce in a sportier ride-and-handling package.

There’s a new engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 that’s expected to produce more torque while improving fuel efficiency to class-leading levels.

Acura will load the MDX with a host of safety technologies and expect to see the next generation of Acura’s cloud-based AcuraLink connectivity initiative.

Acura aims to make me happy

I’m never going to own a large crossover — i.e., one with three rows — but if I did, it would be Acura’s MDX.

The MDX rides well, though it’s not the least bit sporty. It’s strong and handsome, though not at all flashy. It’s comfortable and quiet, though a bit old-school in certain ways.

To wit: Unless I’m misreading the spec sheet, that spiffy, new 2013 MDX you’re eyeing isn’t available with such a commonplace feature as keyless entry and ignition.

This isn’t a huge surprise. Acura is Honda’s up-market division and Honda’s strong suit is engineering. They’re less interested in key-fob transponders than in the greasy bits down below. When they do engage ones and zeros, it's generally in an effort to tackle a pressing need, not whether I can open the car without taking the keys out of my pocket.

Many buyers value Honda's go-slow approach — it tends to reduce failures and increase resale value, though I’m certain it costs the company sales.

There is one piece of Acura tech I’m particularly fond of. Its Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system — is simply the best of the breed. I've never driven a more surefooted car in the snow.

A new, 2014 MDX is coming in 2013 and there are rumors afloat that Acura will drop SH-AWD for a lesser system, presumably in an effort to reduce the price of the MDX.

I’m not a prospective owner, so my vote doesn’t count for much. Still, I look forward to my annual winter test, simply because it’s so much fun to drive a capable rig in ugly conditions. Plus, largely because of SH-AWD It’s a car I never hesitate to recommend.

Let's just say I have an interest.

Today, I reached out to Chuck Shifsky in Acura’s PR office, asking for the official line on the SH-AWD question.

“Bad rumor,” he wrote. “We’ll share more on 14 MDX next week in Detroit.”

I won’t be at the Detroit Auto Show next week, but I’ll look forward to getting the lowdown — and when there’s more to tell, I’ll pass it along.

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