Acura MDX

2016 Acura MDX

The Acura MDX has been further refined for 2016 following a complete redesign for the 2014 model year.

The 2016 Acura MDX gets a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a push-button gear selector that frees up interior space. Meanwhile, a new twin-clutch SH-AWD all-wheel-drive system has been made available to 2016 MDX models. New safety features and more technology, including Siri Eyes Free voice recognition are available. Inside are new refinements, including a drivers seat that moves rearward when the door is opened making it easier for driver entry and exit.

MDX is a premium midsize SUV in the same class as the Lexus RX, Volvo XC90, Buick Enclave, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX60, and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. Acura first introduced the MDX in 2001 and it is now on its third generation.

MDX seats seven, with three rows. All models use a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

MDX looks sharp and offers sharp handling and quick acceleration performance. The new nine-speed automatic allows quicker acceleration than did the previous six-speed automatic. Luxurious and enjoyable to drive, with a versatile interior, MDX has a proven record for being reliable and holding its value well.

EPA-estimated fuel mileage is 19/27/22 mpg City/Highway/Combined with front wheel drive, or 18/26/21 mpg with all-wheel drive. A Stop/Start feature comes on upper-level models that lowers the EPA City ratings by 1 mpg. Acura recommends Premium gas.

The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system works well for wintry conditions. The 2016 MDX SH-AWD features a new twin-clutch rear differential that directs power between the front and rear wheels and also between the left and right rear wheels. SH-AWD improves handling stability.

We found the new nine-speed worked well most of the time, but it sometimes hesitated before selecting a gear, for example going from steady throttle on an on-ramp to acceleration for getting onto the highway.

Handling is responsive in Sport mode, but Sport and Normal are uncomfortably firm on beat-up streets; Comfort mode is better on broken pavement. The MDX is quiet underway.

The interior is roomy and comfortable and controls are intuitive and easy to operate. The front seats are comfortable and luxurious, and ingress and egress are easy. The 2016 MDX gets a revised driver seat that moves to the rear when the driver door is opened, making entry and exit easy.


2015 Acura MDX

Acura MDX is a rare animal, a seven-passenger luxury crossover with high performance. Its unchanged for 2015 because the 2014 was new from the ground up. Compared to the previous generation, MDX has quicker acceleration, better fuel mileage, more room and comfort inside, tighter dimensions outside, a longer wheelbase, nimbler handling, shorter stopping distances, and a better ride. Its longer, lower, lighter, and narrower at the nose, sides and rear, with its shape driven by the wind tunnel.

Acura MDX might be cross-shopped with Infiniti QX60 or Volvo XC90. The MDX is more powerful and fuel-efficient than either, with nimbler handling than the XC90 and a better ride than the soft QX60.

The MDX design was developed at Hondas R&D facilities in Ohio. There, with a rolling ground plane and computer modeling, engineers worked on the underbody and airflow through the engine compartment, as well as the skin, to get the coefficient of drag down and the fuel mileage up.

The 3.5-liter V6 is Acuras first direct-injected engine, incorporating a new i-VTEC valvetrain with two-stage Variable Cylinder Management, cutting the fire to three cylinders at times. Its architecture comes from Acuras successful endurance racing engine, a 60-degree aluminum V6, single overhead cam with 24 valves. It makes 290 horsepower and 267 foot-pounds of torque, with a lot of it down low where you need it. The engine is mounted transversely, which improves balance enormously.

Its coupled to a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission with three modes and paddle shifters. With SH-AWD, the torque moves between the front and rear axles and left and right rear wheels, to deliver all-weather traction and control.

Fuel economy is an EPA-rated at 23 mpg Combined for the front-wheel-drive MDX, compared to 21 mpg Combined (18 City/27 Highway) for the all-wheel-drive MDX with Acuras SH (super handling)-AWD.

In 302 miles behind the wheel of a fully loaded 2015 MDX SH-AWD, both city and highway, we averaged a good 24.7 miles per gallon. The bad news is that Premium fuel is recommended, and needed to get the best mileage. Direct injection engines manage fuel in a precise manner, but their high compression ratio needs high-octane gas.

Interior materials are of soft and high quality, with standard premium leather and simulated wood-grain trim. The backlit LED gauges are lovely and clear, and the instrumentation well organized. Touch-screen control of the higher-tech available features is problematic. Voice command was so deaf we gave up.

Acura calls its body structure ACE, for Advance Compatibility Engineering. Its designed to absorb and deflect frontal crash energy, while isolating the cabin from destruction. It uses the worlds first ultra-high-strength hot stamped steel, in whats basically a cage around the cabin, from front doors to A-pillars to roof rails to B-pillars to lower frame members.

The MDX has won many awards, in addition to five-star crash ratings from NHTSA for frontal and side impact for 2014, and four stars for rollover resistance, as well as a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


2014 Acura MDX

The 2014 Acura MDX is the third generation of this seven-passenger luxury crossover with high performance. For all its years until now, the unibody MDX was built on Honda's Global Light Truck platform. The 2014 model is the first ground-up MDX, and boy is it ever ground-up. Everything is new, everything mechanical is better. And it was very good, before. For this new MDX, engineers focused on three areas: fuel mileage, comfort and safety.

Compared to the previous version (2007-2012), the 2014 MDX has quicker acceleration, better fuel mileage, more room and comfort inside, tighter dimensions outside, nimbler handling, shorter stopping distances, and improved ride.

The 2014 MDX is two inches longer, on a wheelbase that's 2.8 inches longer, than the previous-generation MDX. It's 1.5 inches lower and 1.4 inches narrower at the nose; 1.8 inches lower at the sides, 1.3 inches at the hips, and 1.2 in the tail. Longer, lower, narrower. Driven by aerodynamics, driven by fuel mileage. Win-win.

Here's an MDX first: front-wheel drive. For years, we've been hearing about Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Has Acura lowered its Super standards? No, don't forget about Texas. We used to think you didn't need all-wheel drive in Florida too, but that was before the floods.

The front-wheel-drive MDX is EPA-rated at 28 mpg Highway, numbers apparently worth stealing the power from two wheels for. That's 23 mpg Combined city and highway, compared to the SH-AWD at 21 mpg Combined. Texans, you're good with FWD. Unless the droughts turn the streets to sand. We recommend getting the all-wheel drive for most people, however. It seems a shame not to have all-weather capability on an SUV.

The all-new 2014 Acura MDX is 275 pounds lighter than before, like a 120-pound person losing eight pounds. The weight dropped from the best place, the core, now with 64 percent high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium. That plus the 16 percent improvement in aerodynamics, and the 19 percent reduction in rolling resistance, and we're talking real gains. Now the car weighs about a football player more than two tons.

The body of the 2014 MDX was developed using a new 40-percent-scale wind tunnel laboratory at Honda's U.S. R&D facilities in Ohio. With a rolling ground plane and computer modeling, engineers worked on the underbody and airflow through the engine compartment, as well as the skin, to get the coefficient of drag down.

For sharper response and isolation of road noise and vibration, the torsional body rigidity is up 12.4 percent. The new electric power steering ratio is quick. The new suspension, struts in front and multi-link in rear, is attached to lighter and more rigid subframes, with suspension mounting points 67 percent more rigid. The shock absorbers are fancily called Amplitude Reactive Dampers, because they use variable damping rates depending on the terrain and speed. It all makes for a more solid, comfortable and in-control ride.

Of course the gains move to the engine. The new 3.5-liter V6 is Acura's first direct-injected engine, incorporating a new i-VTEC valvetrain with two-stage Variable Cylinder Management, cutting the fire to three cylinders at times. The engine architecture comes from racing, specifically the LMP2 class Acura prototypes that took first and second in the 2103 American Le Mans Series, including a sweep at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The 60-degree aluminum V6 is single overhead cam, with 24 valves. It makes 290 horsepower, 10 less than before. The peak torque of 267 foot-pounds drops a bit too, but there's more torque below 2750 rpm. Bottom line is you'll never feel the loss, but will feel the gain. The outgoing engine was 3.7 liters, so the new 3.5-liter engine makes more horsepower and torque per liter. The engine is mounted transversely, which improves balance enormously.

There's a reengineered 6-speed automatic transmission with three modes and paddle shifters, smooth gear changes and reduced internal friction. There's Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, moving torque between the front and rear axles, and the left and right rear wheels, to deliver all-weather traction and control. The SH-AWD gets an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg City/Highway, or 21 miles per gallon Combined. Premium gasoline is recommended. Direct injection engines manage fuel in a precise manner, but their higher compression ratio wants the best gas.

The MDX body uses Acura's Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) structure, to absorb and deflect frontal crash energy, isolating the cabin from it. Acura designed the ACE structure in 2007 with the second-generation MDX. The new 2014 MDX features the world's first ultra-high strength hot stamped steel, one-piece stiffener ring for the driver and front passenger front door areas, from the A-pillar to roof rails to B-pillars to lower frame members.

Acura expects the 2014 MDX to earn a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the highest rating of GOOD in the Institute's stringent new small overlap frontal collision test.



 

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