This week I bring you the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. This Alabama-built 7-passenger SUV is one of the best selling SUVs in America with a 3rd-row seat. MDX underwent a freshening in 2017 with a new, more attractive grill.
Looking under the hood, we have a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine that is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Together they produce 257-horses. Add to that three electric motors, and you end up with 321-horses total, 31 more horses than the gas version.
The Hybrid system in the MDX combines three electric motors that add a combined 64 horsepower, zero-delay responsiveness, aggressive handling, and combined fuel economy of 27 mpg. One electric motor is located in the transmission allowing the MDX to utilize Engine Idle Stop without delay when you are ready to accelerate. The twin motor unit on the rear axle takes Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system to the next level with Torque Vectoring, just like the NSX.
The MDX hybrid comes nicely equipped with two packages at no charge. You get the Advance package and the Tech package. In fact, there is not a single option on my review vehicle, everything you see is standard.
The Tech package gives you navigation system with voice recognition, AcuraLink with real-time traffic info, premium sound system, remote start, blind spot monitoring, and rear camera with cross-traffic alert.
Acura has stepped up its game on interiors.
The Advance package gets you leather sport seats that are cooled and heated, second row captain chairs, wood trim, a heated steering wheel, parking sensors, LED fog lights, and rear door shades.
Acura has stepped up its game on interiors. As soon as you open a door, you are greeted by a very clean and very plush interior. All materials are soft to the touch and very 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 on the steering wheel.
In the center console, you’ll find a 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, and you’ll find the IDS button, which stands for Integrated Dynamics System. It allows you to switch from normal, to comfort, to sport, and sport plus, 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 on the top screen, which is operated by a large, round dial and a row of buttons on both sides. You then 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 captain chairs are spacious and comfortable with a very nice center console between the seats. 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, and you actually have quite a bit of room with the 3rd-row seat up. Unlike some hybrids, you lose no storage space due to the hybrid batteries.
Driving dynamics of the MDX hybrid are exceptional and this SUV is actually a ton of fun to drive.
Other standard features include Bluetooth, a Pandora interface, pushbutton start, keyless entry, power moon roof, power tailgate, heated power seats, 20” wheels, a brake hold, and power tilt steering wheel.
For 2017, AcuraWatch becomes standard on the MDX, and offers terrific safety features like adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. With all the systems on the MDX, it is very close to being a self-driving SUV.
Driving dynamics of the MDX hybrid are exceptional and this SUV is actually a ton of fun to drive. Interior quietness is terrific, 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 four drive modes.
I like the gas version of the MDX a lot, but this hybrid has amazing acceleration, much better than the gas version. I find the MDX to be really attractive on the exterior with nice lines, a built-in rear spoiler, and dual exhaust. The wheels look terrific and I love the color on my tester, which is called White Diamond.
Fuel economy is fantastic for an SUV this size. It’s rated at 26 in town and 27 on the highway, for an overall rating of 27.
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 $58,975, which is less than I would have expected for an SUV equipped with all the technology, performance, fuel economy, and safety features of the 2017 MDX Hybrid. As I always say on the air, Honda quality and Acura luxury is an unbeatable combination.