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Acura MDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

Illustration for article titled Acura MDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

The MDX is Acura’s best selling vehicle. Why? Because, while it’s not thrilling, it’s actually damn good at Luxury SUV-ing. What do you need to know before you buy an Acura MDX? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.


The Acura MDX is Acura’s bread-and-butter SUV. It usually sits second or third on the luxury SUV sales chart and like the top dog in that segment, the Lexus RX, it’s not exactly what we’d call a canyon carver.

But the best luxury SUVs aren’t the ones that leave 100-foot rubber stains on your quiet neighborhood street. No, the ones at the top of the chart are reserved, muted, comfortable cruisers. They’re soft and cushy.

So, as Patrick George says in his review, there’s plenty to like about Acura’s money-maker:

It’s roomy, it’s comfortable, it’s extremely well built, and it’s got plenty of features that make it attractive for parents who need to shuffle their brood to and from schools, lacrosse practices, musical recitals, and religious services...It may also very well be the best car Acura currently makes...

So, while it’s not a vehicle for enthusiasts, it’s comfy and cushy. And, in this segment, comfy and cushy is good.

What’s New About The 2016 Acura MDX

Illustration for article titled Acura MDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

The third generation Acura MDX launched at the 2013 North American International Auto Show as a 2014 model. The new MDX got an all-new purpose-built platform designed from the ground up for the MDX (it shares the platform with the new Honda Pilot). It’s 275 pounds lighter, stiffer, two inches longer, lower, more aerodynamic and quicker.

The all-new direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 with cylinder deactivation made more low-end torque than the last MDX and, when coupled with the redesigned six-speed automatic, got the MDX to 60 mph faster than the 2015 model by about half a second. It’s was also more efficient than the outgoing powertrain.


The third generation MDX also brought a front-wheel drive model (previous generations only offered AWD), revised electronic power steering system, revised rear multilink suspension and new strut-type front suspension and new infotainment and safety features.

Acura didn’t make many changes to the MDX for 2015, but 2016 brought a new standard nine-speed transmission, a fresh all-wheel drive system and some changes to the driver-assist safety features.


Which One We’d Buy

The Acura MDX comes in two main models: MDX and MDX SH-AWD, both of which can be had as base models, with AcuraWatch Plus, with Technology Package, with Technology and AcuraWatch Plus Packages, with Technology and Entertainment Packages, with Tech., Ent. and AcuraWatch Plus Packages, with Advance Package, or with Advance and Entertainment Packages. This gives you a total of sixteen models to choose from on Acura’s configurator tool.


All MDXs come with electric power steering, a multi-link rear suspension design and a MacPherson strut setup in the front. Brakes are 12.6-inch vented rotors in the front and 13-inch solid discs out back.

On the standard content front, the MDX gets seven-passenger seating, a power tailgate, power heated leather front seats, multi-view rear camera, three-zone automatic climate control, eight-speaker 253-watt audio system, eight-inch information screen, seven-inch infotainment display and 18-inch alloy wheels.


In Patrick’s review, he mentions that the real value in the MDX line is at the bottom of the range:

The MDX’s advantage over comparable luxury SUVs is that it starts at $42,290. I really and sincerely believe SH-AWD is worth it, and that means an upgrade to $44,290. At that price range, coupled with its overall quality and unquestionable Honda reliability, I think you’re looking at a pretty good deal.


So we had to buy an MDX, we’d grab the base MDX AWD. That would put us back $45,805 with destination.

[Build Your Acura MDX]

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $42,865-$57,080 Top Speed: 120 MPH (estimate)

Acceleration: ~6.0s to 60 (estimate)

MPG: 20 city/ 27 hwy / 23 combined [FWD w/idle stop]

Engines: 3.5L V6

Max Horsepower/Torque: 290 hp/267 lb-ft

Max Advertised Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds

Curb Weight: 3,960-4,268 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick + (‘15MY)

Transmissions: 9-speed automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Acura




Surprised they’re not getting more HP/torque from that motor. Interesting that the rotors in the rear are larger, why is that?