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Saturday 10 December 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Acura MDX Review

Test Drive: 2016 Acura MDX Review

2014 brought a redesigned Acura MDX, but the 2016 I am reviewing this week has a host of refinements, safety features, and options.

Speaking of options, pay close attention to everything I tell you about because it all comes standard with the MDX Advance package.


Starting under the hood, we have the terrific carryover 3.5-liter V6. Mated to that, is a new for 2016 9-speed automatic transmission. Together they produce 290-horses, which is very pleasing in an SUV this size. Acceleration is strong and I love the way the 9-speed transmission shifts. Unlike many of the 8- and 9-speed transmissions I’ve tested, you never feel like it is searching for the right gear. The MDX weighs 4200 pounds, and is rated to tow 3500 pounds, but with some dealer modifications, that can go to 5000.

MDX comes in two-wheel drive, but my tester has the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, and trust me, although you lose just a little fuel economy, the handling of this all-wheel SUV is fantastic.   

The MDX comes in five levels, starting with the base model that is priced at $43,000.  From there, you move to the Technology, then Technology with Entertainment package, next is the Advance package, which is what I am driving this week, and finally the Advance with Entertainment.

Acura has stepped up its game on interiors.  As soon as you open a door, you are greeted by a very clean and a super-plush interior.  All materials are soft to the touch and inviting.  As you sit behind the wheel, the dash is well laid out with tachometer on the left, speedometer on the right, and a driver information system in the middle.  Scroll through the info and functions from the steering wheel.

New for 2016 is the pushbutton transmission, which was very quick for me to get used to.  The bonus to the transmission buttons is a clean look and a massive amount of storage in the console.  If you are a cubby person, MDX is the SUV for you.  Also on the console, I immediately turn off the start/stop feature when I crank the MDX (irritates me), and that is where you’ll find the IDS button, which stands for Integrated Dynamics System.  It allows you to switch from normal, to comfort, to sport that completely changes the steering, shift patterns, and sound of the MDX.

Above the center console you’ll find two color screens.  While I have heard some people complain about this, I actually like it.  I keep the navigation map up on the top screen, which is operated by a large, round dial and there is a row of buttons on both sides.  You can operate the audio, air conditioning, etc. from the lower screen, which is a touch screen.  The two screens operate independent of each other and actually complement each other.

The second row seat is spacious with a pull down center console, or you can seat three adults without any issues.  One push of a button on the side of the rear seat and you have easy access to the back seat.  This is the easiest way to get to the 3rd row seat I have seen.  Bear in mind, this 3rd row seat is primarily for children, not adults.  Most people leave it folded down for cargo room, which is more than ample.

As mentioned, everything comes standard on the Advance model.  Most notable is navigation system, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, a power moon roof, power tailgate, keyless entry with remote start, 19” alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring, and an 11-speaker audio system.

Also for free, you get AcuraLink, which gives you real-time traffic info, Bluetooth, voice recognition, a Pandora interface, parking sensors, air conditioned front seats, heated front and rear seats, and power tilt wheel with shift paddles.

2016 brought a host of new safety technology to the MDX.  Collision Mitigation will warn you and bring you to an 80% stop if a frontal collision is sensed.  It has adaptive cruise control to keep you the same distance from the driver in front of you, and it has Lane Keeping Assist, which puts you back in your lane if you stray out of it without using your turn signal.  You can also get a warning when the Lane Departure warning system is on.  This is very close to a self-driving SUV.

Driving dynamics of the MDX are exceptional with the all-wheel system, and I don’t say this often, but this SUV is actually a ton of fun to drive.  Interior quietness is extremely good, and depending on the IDS mode you choose, it can have a soft luxury ride, or a much firmer and sportier ride.  There is a distinct difference between the three drive modes.

Fuel economy is good at 19 in town and 26 on the highway, for an overall rating of 22.  I actually got a little better fuel mileage on the highway when the V6 cuts down to three cylinders.  The MDX also offers one of the best warranties in the industry, with 6-years or 70,000 miles on the powertrain, 4 years and 50,000 bumper-to-bumper.

MSRP is just over $56,000, which is less than I would have expected for an SUV equipped with all the technology, performance, and safety features of the 2016 MDX.  As I always say on the air, Honda quality and Acura luxury is an unbeatable combination.

Special thanks to Vandergriff Acura in DFW for supplying my review vehicle this week.

  • What I liked best:  Interior, driving dynamics, and value proposition.
  • What I would change:  Really nothing, I liked this SUV a lot.     
  • MSRP: Base price $56,170 as equipped $56,170.
  • Fuel Economy: 19 City, 26 Highway, 22 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 19.5 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
  • Dimensions: 193.6” long/77.2”wide/67.6” high.
  • Weight:  4246 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  3500 Pounds as equipped.
  • Miles When Tested:  32 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Lincoln, Alabama.
  • 2016 Acura MDX in a few words: A fun to drive, super handling luxury SUV.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain  warranty with roadside assistance.
  • Manufacturers website: Acura

Photo Credit: Acura