2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD Review

Thursday September 7th, 2017 at 9:99 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

Hypes: Strong Acceleration, Excellent Fit and Finish
Gripes: Hard-to-Read Lower GUI Screen

New for 2017 is the Hybrid version of Acura’s popular MDX. This addition to the model line boasts four engines – 1 gas powered, and 3 electric. The gas powered V6 displaces 3.0 liters, and features 24 valves managed by Honda’s patented VTEC camshaft technology. In consort with the triple electric motors, the MDX V6 produces 321hp and is capable of towing a 5,000 lb. trailer. If you forego the Hybrid’s electric motor complexity and opt for a straight gas-powered MDX, Acura will sell you a 3.5 liter V6 good for 290hp. Despite the fact that the Hybrid weighs more than 4,200 pounds, it still produces laudable economy figures of 26MPG in town and 27 MPG on the highway, with an overall rating of 27 MPG. The 3.5 liter V6 manages only 21 MPG overall. Regardless of engine choice, all MDX variants transfer power through a 7 speed dual clutch gearbox. Our top line Hybrid also included all-wheel-drive which continuously fed torque through all four Continental Cross Contact tires (245/50R20).

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

All MDX models this year, regardless of engine choice, are fitted with the AcuraWatch suite of safety measures, including Adaptive Cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keeping Assist. During my week with the MDX, I experienced one false positive with the Forward Collision Warning which blinked brightly to warn of an impending crash despite the fact that there was nothing in view to trigger the alert. I also found that it was easier to control the throttle on long freeway drives with my own right foot than it was to depend on the Adaptive Cruise Control which over managed acceleration and deceleration.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

The interior of this loaded MDX lives up to expectation in a vehicle priced at $58,975. Four lavishly padded captain’s chairs occupy the front two-thirds of the cabin, with a useful but restricted third row bench completing the 6 slot interior layout. The rear most bench easily folds flat to increase storage room. The rear captain’s chairs also fold flat with the pull of a lever, opening up the MDX interior to 34 cubic feet of storage space. A low rear lift-over threshold eases insertion and removal of bulky bike-size items like a bike. The keyfob activated tailgate assures ease of cargo insertion. A fixed button on the tailgate does the same for electric closure.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

This SUV is perfectly configured to provide a high level of comfort and roominess for a quartet of family members on holiday. The “Sport” seats are handsomely done, with contrasting stitching and perforated premium leather trim. Nor does Acura skimp on the back seats, which are every bit as comfortable and inviting as the pair up front. Matching center consoles front and rear offer a huge amount of deep storage.; Our test sample’s interior, finished in a delicious shade called “Espresso” also featured insert panels of real wood cleverly patinated to resemble reclaimed barn wood.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

The dashboard’s central column displays two separate screens. The lower screen is dedicated to HVAC settings, fan control and SiriusXM pre-sets. The upper screen carries some of the same infotainment information, plus maps for the Acura Navigation System and real time traffic reports from the AcuraLink communication system. Because the upper screen is shielded by an effective visor, it remains easy to read in broad daylight. The unshielded lower screen, however, is impossible to decipher when sun shines directly on its surface. At that point you only see dust and fingerprints.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

The MDX in Hybrid form is an exceptionally useful transportation module. It serves the needs of large families with the peace of mind that only Acura (Honda) products bring to the table. Since the MDX model line starts at about $45,000, the $58,000 base price of the Hybrid is significantly more expensive than an entry level MDX. But in the long run, this Hybrid’s excellent fuel economy and luxury appointments will pay for themselves over time. And you simply can’t get the kind of acceleration boost out of the gas-only V6 that the Hybrid provides. All in all, the Hybrid is the best version of the MDX you can buy. This MD is just what the doctor ordered.

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD

  • Engine: 3.0 liter V6, SOHC, 24-Valve, Variable Cylinder Management
  • Horsepower: 321hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 26 MPG City/27 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $58,975
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance Review

Friday January 6th, 2017 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

By David Colman

Hypes: Fast, Solid Handling, Spacious
Gripes: Needs More Buttons, Fewer Menus

In the course of a test year, I drive almost all the mid-price SUVs. For the most part, they make little long lasting impression. Acura’s MDX, however, breaks the mold of boring conformity. This is without doubt the company’s best model, which also explains why it’s their best selling SUV. For 2017, Acura rightly calls the MDX “The SUV Redefined.”

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

From a safety standpoint, it scores extremely well in the government’s 5-star safety evaluation, posting a top-ranked 5-star “Overall Vehicle Score.” It also merits a “Recommended” check mark from Consumer Reports, an outfit that is notoriously picky about issuing endorsements. For 2017, Acura has standardized inclusion of all “Acurawatch Features” which had previously been available as extra cost options. These include adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation. As the industry moves ever closer to the self-driving vehicle, these safety enhancements become more and more common. Still, to find them offered as standard on a mid-price SUV comes as a pleasant surprise, especially since their operation proved helpful rather than burdensome during our week long test of the MDX.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

For 2017, Acura has also improved the vehicle’s appearance with a new front fascia derived from their Acura Precision concept car. Gone is the previous model’s broad swath of matte aluminum affixed to the upper grill. Below the beltline, an upturned body color blade functions as a front spoiler while also channeling air into the lower grill. The new look is clean and more practical than the ugly beak it replaces. Inside the MDX, you will now find 4 2.5 amp charging ports strategically located through the cabin which allow for quicker refreshment of your mobile devices.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

The front Sport Seats in the MDX feature handsome perforated premium leather trim. They are well proportioned and padded for long distance comfort and offer ventilation and heating. However, due to Acura’s annoying insistence on using a menu-controlled graphic interface, seat temp actuation requires double menu selection, This is a time-consuming and unnecessary procedure that distracts your driving attention span. Back seat riders are well looked after, with commodious seats and a mini-dashboard for ventilation and seat heater controls. Ironically, those back seater occupants – not tasked with driving – are given simple buttons to control their seat heaters and HVAC.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

All the good looks and vaunted safety ratings wouldn’t mean much if the revamped MDX proved unrewarding to drive. Fortunately, such is not the case. Let’s start under the hood, where a 3.5 liter V6, fitted with all the latest technical tweaks (direct injection, VTEC valve actuation) churns out 290hp which is fed to all 4 wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. I can recall a time when most bicycles didn’t boast 9 gears, let alone SUVs. The upshot of the drivetrain pairing is excellent performance across the board. The engine is explosive enough to drop 0-60mph acceleration times into the high 7 second range, compelling performance indeed for a vehicle weighing 4,200 pounds. The MDX AWD is also rated for 5,000 pound tow duty, and comes equipped with a factory installed receiver jack. The MDX stands 68 inches tall on its 8×20″ alloys. Although Acura does offer optional ($700) running boards they are hardly needed and also ruin the clean appearance of the streamlined body shell.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

The tires chosen for MDX use are Continental Cross Contact mud and snow rated radials measuring 245/50R20. These provided excellent dry and wet weather adhesion, and are responsible for the MDX’s quick cornering reflexes. Equally important is the console-controlled “Sport” driving mode setting (part of a 3-choice Integrated Dynamics System). “Sport” optimizes response of Acura’s Super-Handling AWD system. Manual override of the automatic gearbox via paddles adds to your sense of control here, and any chosen gear can be locked in by double tapping the “D” button on the selector console. Although this quirky shift module, situated between the front seats, does simplify console space, the device never falls readily to finger.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

Gear selection and menu GUI quibbles aside, the MDX is a top notch candidate for
your SUV consideration. It is fast, well built (in Lincoln, Alabama), comfortable and useful. You really can’t ask for more than that for your $57,340.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6, Direct Injection, VTEC, Variable Cylinder Management (VCM)
  • Horsepower: 290hp
  • Torque: 267lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $57,340
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Acura MDX AWD Review

Wednesday February 3rd, 2016 at 12:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Acura MDX AWD

By David Colman

Hypes: Movie Theater Back Seat, Tows 3500 lbs.
Gripes: Lag on Downshifts, Poor LED Headlight Pattern

In 2014, Acura brought an all new MDX to the mid-size SUV market segment. Since then, this entry, which remains unchanged for 2016, has become the all time top selling SUV with three rows of seating. In practice, this stretched Acura looks and behaves more like a minivan than a sports utility vehicle. Acura does provide something of a placebo to the sports minded with its Integrated Dynamics System (IDS). For example, switching from ‘Normal” to “Sport” by adjusting the IDS’ transmission-tunnel mounted control allows you to tighten steering effort from your driver’s seat perch. But really, the MDX’ long suit isn’t its sports personality. Rather this SUV serves primarily as a mobile comfort lab that crams all the comforts of home into its elongated 194 inch rolling chassis. If you want a real sports SUV, check out the X3 or X5 from BMW and the Macan or Cayenne from Porsche.

2016 Acura MDX AWD

At $58,000, the MDX represents decent value for the dollar if you’re the techie type who values whiz-bang communication protocols over the driving experience. From the technology standpoint, the MDX has few peers in the marketplace today. For example, our Acura included both the “Tech Package” and the “Advance Package” in its all inclusive price. The “Tech Package” consists of such comprehensive enhancements as Navigation with voice command activation, real time traffic information, warning systems for lane deviation, forward collisions, and rear cross traffic, plus 3 zone interior climate control. What Acura terms the “Advance Package” promises to save you from going off the road or crashing into a frontal impediment. These so-called “mitigation” features include a slow speed cruise control for traffic jam stop and go.

To be sure, the cabin of the MDX is a comfy, well designed home site with but one annoying exception. That would be the standard issue “Push Button Shifter” which is mounted on the center console. After a week behind the wheel of the MDX, I still failed to come to terms with its obtuse location and unneeded complexity. The problem here lies in the fact that each gear selection requires a different skill set: engaging “reverse” demands a backward push on a sunken rectangular button, while “drive” requires a downward push on a flush mounted circular button. If you’re good at patting your head while rubbing your tummy, you’ll love this arrangement. But for me, it produced hesitation and uncertainty. The simple act of gear selection, which has long been unconscious and automatic, is more complicated than it needs to be in the MDX.

2016 Acura MDX AWD

Once you do select “drive,” you’ll discover this Acura runs through 9 gears. The upside here is that you’ve got a gear ratio for every occasion. The downside is that it takes the transmission nearly 2 seconds to select a ratio when you floor the throttle in “drive.” This lag time compromises the abundant horsepower (290hp) and torque (267lb.-ft.) of the 3.5 liter V6 engine. And that’s a shame because this sophisticated power plant, with direct injection of fuel, and variable valve timing to maximize combustion burn, allows the MDX to crank off 0-60mph runs in the 6.4 second range. Thanks to the fuel efficient addition of variable cylinder management (VCM), the V6 loafs along on fewer than 6 cylinders when under light cruising loads. This produces an overall EPA estimate of 22MPG, which is unexpectedly frugal for a vehicle weighing in at a chubby 4,290 lbs.

2016 Acura MDX AWD

The strong suit of the MDX is neither its performance, nor the handling of its 245/55R19 Michelin Latitude tires, but rather its sensational list of comfort attributes. For example, where else will you find a 16.2 inch rear screen DVD with HDMI and wireless headphones included in the base price? Where else will you find the complete gamut of active safety devices – from Collision Mitigation Braking System to Road Departure Mitigation – included in the base price? Next year the federal government will be adding just such active safety measures to their testing and rating standards. You can be sure that the MDX will be one of the first SUVs to gain 5 stars in that new category.

2016 Acura MDX AWD

2016 Acura MDX AWD

  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6, SOHC 24 valves, Direct Injection, VTEC
  • Horsepower: 290hp
  • Torque: 267lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19 MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $58,000
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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2010 Acura MDX Review

Friday August 6th, 2010 at 8:88 AM
Posted by: hollyrrr

2010 Acura MDX SH-AWD
By Holly Roberts


  • Comfortable seats
  • Roomy interior
  • Ventilated front seats (my favorite in the summer!)
  • Nice safety features (that take a bit of getting used to)
  • All kinds of places to put things so they are out of sight


  • 3rd row seating is just for kids or those with very short legs!
  • Bluetooth kept dropping calls
  • Collision Mitigation Braking system (I hated it!)

The MDX is definitely an SUV, and a very luxurious one at that.  Having seen a lot of MDX’s on the road over the last few years, I had no idea how roomy they really were.  In my opinion, the design of the 2nd generation model is a huge improvement over the first generation models.  Naturally, we get to review the most-blinged out models, and this one surely did not disappoint!

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2008 Acura MDX Review and Driving Impressions

Wednesday December 26th, 2007 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: twain

2008 Acura MDX
By Twain Mein


  • An SUV that handles well
  • Every electronic gadget you could imagine
  • Luxurious interior
  • Real 3rd row seating


  • Modest acceleration
  • Mediocre gas mileage
  • Electronics overload


This is the upgrade to the very popular mid/full-sized SUV, the Acura MDX. This SUV slots between the Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Tahoe in size and offers 3rd row seating. Equipped with lots of features, 300 horsepower, and bold new styling, its no mystery why the MDX is already Acura’s best selling model.

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2008 Acura MDX Review – Putting the Sport Back in Sport Utility Vehicle

Thursday December 13th, 2007 at 7:1212 PM
Posted by: AKramer

2008 Acura MDX
By Alex Kramer


  • Truly inspired handling
  • Bold interior and exterior styling
  • Smooth, refined drivetrain
  • Awesome DVD based multi-channel audio/video system


  • Acceleration could use a little more “oomph”
  • Operation of navigation system could be made easier
  • 3rd row seats are for kids only
  • Cartoonish front grill

Driving Impressions
Traditionally, driving a large SUV has meant making certain trade-offs. To gain the extra utility and off-road capability of an SUV, sacrifices in performance and handling are required, as any driver of a Ford Explorer or Chevy Blazer could attest to. Some of the recent car-based crossover designs have injected a bit more zip into the driving equation, but given the option of a sports sedan or a crossover SUV for tackling a set of switchbacks, and the choice is still obvious.

After driving the 2008 Acura MDX for a weekend, all I can think is that the engineers over at Acura must have missed this portion of SUV design school. This is the first large SUV I’ve driven where the phrase “it handles well” doesn’t need to be followed with “for an SUV”. The MDX handles so well that you’ll probably forget it seats seven, has a full leather interior, a DVD entertainment system, and all the other features of a large luxury SUV. Let’s take a closer look at the vehicle that puts the sport back in sport utility.

2008 Acura MDX

Every MDX is packed with lots of standard features, including leather upholstery, sunroof, heated front seats, power everything, and airbags all around. Our MDX featured the top of the line sport and entertainment packages, which add such features as an adjustable suspension, navigation system, and DVD entertainment system. All this fancy technology is packaged within a car that is very solidly built, from the door hinges to the windshield wipers. As up-scale as the MDX might be, this car comes from the same extended family as the trustworthy Civic and Accord, which should reassure any potential buyer worried about long-term reliability.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
When I first sat down in the driver’s seat of the MDX, it felt more like sitting in a cockpit than getting behind the wheel of a car, with the front seats fully separated from each other by a continuous center console. There are buttons, knobs, and controls everywhere, and everything has a very modern, technological feel to it. Although I enjoyed having everything at my fingertips, the interior will be too cluttered and overwhelming for some.

Acura MDX center console Acura MDX rear seat DVD entertainment Acura MDX 3rd row seating

Our MDX came equipped with a DVD based entertainment system, with a fold down LCD screen for rear seat passengers and built-in wireless headphones. A discrete multi-channel, DVD-Audio sound system is also included, with 10 speakers and over 400 watts of power. This system was custom designed for the MDX and the result is stunning sound, among the best I’ve heard in a car. As wonderful as this system sounded, figuring out how to control it is no picnic. The buttons and knobs related to the entertainment system are tightly clustered and not intuitively laid out. Similarly, the navigation system is less than user friendly, with a hard to use joystick-like device that you use to access the various menus and functions. Note to Acura: touch screen user-interfaces are cool!

The MDX is billed as a 7 passenger vehicle and the interior is quite spacious on the whole. With both rows of rear seats folded down, you can easily slide large items in through the rear hatch, and throwing something like a bicycle in the back is a piece of cake. Cargo room was still quite good with only the 3rd row of seats folded down, but once this final row is deployed, there is unfortunately almost no cargo space leftover. Acura must have only had kids in mind for this 3rd row of seats, since they are quite cramped and feature almost no leg room.

Acura calls it super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD). Most drivers will call it “Holy !!@%*! This thing can corner!” SH-AWD distributes optimal engine torque not just between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheel. This allows the driver to apply a lot more throttle when cornering, since the system automatically channels the power to the appropriate wheel to prevent under or over steer. To put it simply, it is almost impossible to get the car unglued from the pavement, no matter how silly you get with the throttle.

The active damper system on our MDX allows the driver to chose between comfort and sport modes. Final suspension tuning was reportedly done on the Nürburgring race track in Germany, which explains why driving the speed limit often feels painfully slow, especially with the dampers set in sport mode. Although a bit harsh for every day driving, the sport mode provides a level of stability and confidence that is truly remarkable, especially for such a large car. This puppy was designed to fly through sweeping turns at autobahn speeds.

Steering is somewhat heavy, but provides excellent feedback. With the suspension set in comfort mode, the ride is supple yet firm enough to prevent excessive body roll. Braking is powerful and fade-free, with the wide 18” Michelin all-season tires providing plenty of bite. I can only imagine what levels of grip would be attained if these were swapped for some high-performance summer tires.

Acura MDX 300-hp 3.7L V6 Acura MDX gauge cluster

Acura MDX 5-speed automatic transmissionThe MDX is motivated by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300-horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. This is the most powerful engine ever offered by Acura and like other high-revving Honda motors, she eagerly climbs to the redline with a nice snarl over 5,000 rpm. Yet, given that the MDX weighs over 4,500 lbs, even 300 hp isn’t enough to provide head-turning acceleration, which a 0-60 time of approx. 7.5 seconds confirms. At times you’ll find yourself wishing for some extra torque, especially since the SH-AWD provides such sure-footed power delivery.

What the MDX gives up in sheer grunt it largely makes up for with drivetrain refinement. The 5-speed automatic transmission is very intuitive in its gear shifts and also features a manual shift option, should you decide to switch gears yourself.

Having just watched the recent Transformers movie, I can’t help but chuckle every time I see the front grill of an MDX. It’s almost like the car was designed to be an extra in the movie, with its transformers badge proudly on display! What can’t be denied is that this is one macho SUV. From the aggressive front end to its wide rear hips and twin exhaust pipes, the MDX looks poised to launch down a runway. Unlike some of the other new crossovers, this is one SUV that will definitely stand out from the minivan crowd.

With an MSRP of $40,195, the MDX isn’t cheap, but you get a lot for what you pay for. Equipped with extensive technological features, and featuring the best handling in a large SUV this side of Bavaria, the MDX is an impressive tour de force of automotive engineering. Sure, you can get a full-size crossover SUV for a bunch less, but it won’t be nearly as athletic or luxurious as an MDX. And there are quite a few pricier luxury SUVs that would have a hard time keeping up with an MDX in the mountains. All of which leaves the MDX in a class of its own: a vehicle that is truly sporty, quite luxurious, and utilitarian enough for the masses.

Who should buy it?
Not enough garage space for both an S2000 and an Odyssey? Buy an MDX and you get the best of both worlds, with a touch of luxury too!

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.5 4.5 4.0 5.0 4.5 4.5 4.5/A-


2008 Acura MDX Photo Gallery

Acura MDX

2008 Acura MDX Specs

AcuraThe official website of Acura – www.acura.com

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