This week I bring you the refreshed 2017 Acura MDX that is sporting a new front fascia and more standard features this year. Also new for 2017, the MDX is now available in a hybrid version. This Alabama-built 7-passenger SUV is one of the best-selling SUVs in America with a 3rd row seat.
I’m a fan of the 9-speed transmission.
Looking under the hood, we have the tried-and-true Honda 3.5-liter V6. Mated to that, is a 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.
This MDX is a two-wheel drive, but you can also get the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, although you lose just a little fuel economy, but the handling of the all-wheel SUV is fantastic.
My review tester is loaded.
The MDX comes nicely equipped, and for 2017, there are three packages you can add, the Advance, the Entertainment, and the Tech package. My review vehicle has all three.
Together, all three packages add roughly $12,500 to the base price.
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, you know that system annoys me. 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 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 back 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, and you actually have quite a bit of room with the 3rd row seat up.
It’s not short on standard or safety features.
Standard features at no charge include Bluetooth, a Pandora interface, pushbutton start, keyless entry, power moon roof, power tailgate, 20” wheels, a brake hold, and power tilt steering wheel. Brake hold is awesome by the way, it allows you to take your foot off the brake after you come to a complete stop, it then releases when you touch the gas pedal.
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.
It’s fun to drive.
Driving dynamics of the MDX 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 are distinct differences among the three drive modes.
Fuel economy is good at 20 in town and 27 on the highway, for an overall rating of 23. 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.
It costs less than you’d expect.
MSRP is $57,340, which is less than I would have expected for an SUV equipped with all the technology, performance, and safety features of the 2017 MDX. As I always say on the air, Honda quality and Acura luxury is an unbeatable combination.