It hardly seems like the Acura MDX has been around for 17 years. But while competition has increased with the ever-expanding popularity of sport utility vehicles, the mid-size luxury crossover has retained its strong pace among three-row SUV options.
Honda, which manufacturers Acura via its luxury nameplate, states the MDX was the first and current best-selling three-row SUV in history. More than 700,000 had sold by the end of 2014.
The 2017 Acura MDX faces strong competition from Lexus, the best-selling luxury crossover SUV, as well as Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volvo. The Acura has the same platform as its cross-brand rival, the Honda Pilot. But the Pilot seats eight.
While remaining the same generation, the new MDX is substantially upgraded for 2017. The front end features a new grille (it looks like a honeycomb) and a new headlight design. Capless fueling, an electronic parking brake, auto high beams, additional USB ports and the AcuraWatch suite of active safety aids also among new standard features.
Second-row captain’s chairs, upgraded wood trim, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view camera, power-folding mirrors, LED foglights, and automatic locking are standard. Twenty-inch alloy wheels are in the mix of standard features and options via Advance and Tech packages.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
The 2017 Acura MDX features a 3.5-liter, 290-horsepower with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but my weekly driver featured the optional all-wheel drive.
While not to swiftest midsize SUV, the new Acura’s performance is more than adequate in most driving scenarios. The engine has an optional start-stop feature to conserve fuel when the vehicle isn’t moving. The concept works to achieve better gas mileage. But when re-engaging after a stop sign or stop light, there’s an awkward hesitation.
The transmission works via a push-button system between the two front seats. It’s convenient and a refreshing alternative to standard automatic transmission shift levers. But the engine’s choices and the timing of gear-shifting don’t always seem to be right.
Although it’s a seven-seater and classified as a mid-size SUV, the MDX drives “small.” It maneuvers nimbly and precisely and with ease. Steering and turning are accomplished with a short radius. The MDX has a superior suspension system that absorbs lots of road interruptions. The drive, city or highway traffic, is quiet thanks in part to the thick acoustical glass.
The interior is classy, with charcoal gray leather seats complemented by lighter gray stitching. There are silver matte trim and subtle wood inlays in the dash, doors, and storage area. It’s a stylish accent touch, further adding to the overall handsome vehicle.
Easy access, easy to configure and easy to use third-row seating.
Push-button automatic transmission.
Lots of storage compartments.
Engine shut off system hesitates on restarts.
Overall shifting in the nine-speed automatic sometimes shifts at the wrong time.
Facts & Figures: 2017 Acura MDX
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.5 seconds.
Fuel economy: 19 mpg (city), 26 mpg (highway), 22 mpg (combined), nine-speed, push button automatic transmission.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $56,400.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: www.acura.com.
Price As Tested: $57,340.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 6 years/70,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage.
What Others Say:
“Overall, the 2017 Acura MDX is a handsome crossover that better aligns itself with the luxury market. It would not look underprivileged at a country club or golf course parking lot.” — topspeed.com.
“The 2017 Acura MDX still can’t quite match the upscale feel of European rivals such as the Audi Q7 or Volvo XC90, but the gap is smaller than ever. Throw in the MDX’s practical advantages, and you’ve got a top contender in this class.” — edmunds.com.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“A strong choice, particularly if you don’t need expansive cargo room or are only interested in performance. The 2017 Acura MDX isn’t as luxurious as its rivals, but it’s still a solid choice — as it has been for a long time.”