For 2017, Acura has updated the MDX with the new spindle grille. With updated bumpers as well the MDX is refreshed and gives it a new life on an outdated platform.
The new Acura shield is a nice update comparing to the old. Featuring a 7″ diameter Acura logo hiding the vehicle’s sensors. Nestled underneath is 25% of the vehicle’s around view camera.
Parked next to the RDX, the MDX grille does look better and gives the car a sportier appearance. It almost makes the RDX look old, even though it’s from the same year.
Acura’s signature muti-pod LED is updated as well with new turn signals and Acura emblem. With Auto high-beam, the vehicle can sense upcoming vehicle and switch the high beam on and off as needed.
Just a bit lower features these Elite exclusive LED fog lights. To the side of the fog lights, there’s an air scoop which directs air over the front wheels to decrease aerodynamic drag.
Looking at the side profile the vehicle isn’t that long. With such compact dimensions, it’s surprising that Acura engineers manage to fit three rows of seating inside.
Opening the doors reveal Acura’s luxurious cabin. Just watch your step as the sills do get dirty as mud and debris tend to get stuck here.
The Elite trim gets contrast piping on the Nappa leather seats. The front row are heated and ventilated which aids comfort. These seats are supportive with good bolstering and ample back support. Even the passengers are treated to the same seat adjustments as the driver with full controls including lumbar support.
The cabin is a bit outdated as it remains largely unchanged since it’s debut in 2014. But there are still a few detail pieces that stand out and are very attractive.
The centre console, for example, features real wood on the sliding compartment cover. It also has incorporates grippy rubber strips to hold on to your device as they charge.
To bring the MDX to life, there’s a little red button located above the driver’s right knee.
Above the driver’s left knee, you’ll find this cluster of buttons. To activate the emergency brake you’ll have to press down on the button rather than pulling it up. It’s reverse from what you ordinarily find in other vehicles.
Out on the road the MDX is quiet and refined. The cabin is treated with thicker glass and triple layer foam sealing around the doors. Driving the MDX around town it feels pretty normal. It’s not until you put your foot down where the MDX begins to show its strengths. With it’s super handling all wheel drive system and a powerful V6 the MDX hauls out of corners much better than other SUVs. The suspension is also tailored for a sportier ride but a drawback would be the ride is a bit harsh over uneven surfaces. It won’t float like some other luxury vehicles.
Sitting up front is the 3.5L V6, making 290hp and 267lb-ft of torque. This powerplant is old school, unlike turbocharged powerplants from some other manufactures this V6 needs to be worked to the peak to get all its power and torque. Mated to the engine is a 9-speed automatic, the shifts are smooth and frequent. It seems to shift up as soon as it can to aid fuel consumption. During my week, I averaged 15L/100km in the city and about 10L/100km on the highway. The manufacture claims it’s possible to get 12L in the city and 10L on the highway.
Adjusting the vehicle’s climate control is a bit of a hassle. As the haptic feedback touchscreen isn’t the most responsive unit to use and there’s a delay that is bareable but not welcomed.
If you owned an Acura product in the past decade the navigation system would be similar. It hasn’t really changed and comparing to some others in the market its graphics is outdated. Even controlling the screen with the rotary dial isn’t the most intuitive. Using the Navigation is also difficult when the car’s in motion the only way to enter destination is via voice prompt. But there’s no way to add a new address, it has to be a previous destination or something that was saved. You will do have to fully stop and enter it in manually via the control knob.
With the around view camera that’s found only in the elite model, the 8″ screen is a bit small to see all the details. Especially in the rain, the cameras do get blurry which causes visibility to be difficult.
New for 2017, Acura’s safety suite is now standard. Including collision mitigation braking, radar guided cruise control, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning this suite will keep the occupants safe and it’s nice that even the base model has it as standard equipment rather than an optional extra.
Found in the back of the console is where the hookups and rear HVAC controls are located. For those of you that can’t let go of the past, there’s also RCA hookups.
Overall the MDX is an upscale SUV that delivers fully on the sport but not so much on the tech. For $65,000 it’s missing a lot of modern items such as Apple Carplay and panoramic Sunroof so it’s hard to say that it’s a bargain. But in terms of fun to drive, when you do push the MDX it’s great. The car is very rewarding and gives a push to feel of a smaller rear wheel drive platform.