2020 Acura MDX A-Spec SH-AWD Review

2020 Acura MDX A-Spec SH-AWD Review

This week I bring you Acura’s second best-selling vehicle, the flagship MDX SUV. This three-row SUV seats up to seven, and is currently second in sales to the smaller RDX which went through a recent redesign. The next-gen MDX is expected in 2021 (and we hear the all-new lineup will include a Type S performance version!) That said, you don’t need to wait for the next-generation to ride in style and be impressed by a great handling SUV.

Exterior

The current MDX looks terrific especially in the A -Spec form in Apex Blue Pearl Paint ($400). The MDX’s jewel LED headlights flank a unique A-Spec dark chrome surround grille with matte graphite diamond mesh. The A-Spec package also adds exclusive front and rear bumpers and 20-inch Shark Gray wheels, larger tires and LED fog lights. In the back, the lineup comes with standard LED tail lights.

The A-Spec trim also gives you piano black window trim and a piano black rear spoiler along with dark chrome tail lights, LED puddle lights and body color door handles. The lineup comes standard with a moonroof, but I’d love to see a panoramic one offered.

Interior

Inside, the A-Spec’s perforated leather and alcantara-trimmed interior is impressive and is complimented by Metallic Pattern and Metal Trim. The two-toned red and black interior features nice contrast stitching. The A-Spec Sport front seats are 12-way power adjustable with lumbar support as well as heated and ventilated. On the comfort scale they’re well designed with the right amount of support and side bolstering. The A-Spec’s stainless steel sport pedals greet your feet.

The well-designed interior includes an A-Spec badged leather wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters. The A-Spec’s red illuminated, colorful gauge cluster looks sporty but the digital display seems on the smaller side. Rain sensing wipers are there when you need them.

On the fairly wide center console you’ll find an easy to use push button gear shift. It also houses drive mode select, and dynamic mode as well as a button to turn off the stop/start system. A large multifunction console storage bin is roomy.

Other standard lineup features include an electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, ambient lighting, active sound control, hill start assist and push button start.

Technology

The MDX uses two separate screens for the navigation and media functions. One sits back deep in the dash, the other embedded below on the center stack. The setup and overall graphics quality both look somewhat dated to me. The top screen displays the available 3D View Navigation system with Real-Time Traffic and Traffic Rerouting.

The lower touchscreen doubles as your multi-view rear camera with guidelines. It’s also where you can control your music, apps and other features including Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto,SiriusXM, HD radio. The lineup comes standard with 4 USB ports (if you want two USBs in the third row you’ll need to add the Advance package.) My test model is equipped with a 10-speaker ELS sound system, but I found myself wishing for more and discovered other packages offer up to 12.

Utility

This is a roomy three-row SUV for the first- and second-rows, and tri-zone A/C will keep all occupants happy. One-touch sliding center row seats give you easy access to the 3rd row. The third-row is best suited for kids not adults. If you’re looking for a power-folding third-row you won’t find one here, this one is manual. But you do get a power tailgate and there is plenty of cargo area and a hidden cargo area with a lid will hide your belongings.

Powertrain

Under the hood you’ll find a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a nine-speed transmission that delivers 290-horsepower and 267-lb.-ft of torque, a combo I felt was perfectly matched for this 4,200 pound SUV. The engine features idle stop which can be disabled. Handling is one of the Acura MDX’s biggest strengths, thanks to Acura’s optional Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). (Note: you can’t get it on the hybrid version.) The ride feels great, too, due to its four-wheel independent suspension.

Options

Along with the aforementioned A-Spec package features, a Technology package gives you navigation with voice recognition, the 10-speaker ELS premium audio system, remote engine start, rain sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, LED puddle lights. Both of these packages include blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as well as front and rear parking sensors.

Safety

Standard Acurawatch safety features include adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, auto high beams, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. If you want a head up display and surround view camera you’ll need to add the Advance package.

What You’ll Pay

This A-Spec trim comes with a $56,295 price tag including an extra $400 for the special paint hue. As with Hondas, Acuras are solid values with great resale value.

Verdict

The MDX is a nice, near-luxury SUV with terrific handling but I’m really looking forward to some infotainment system updates like you see in the redesigned RDX and would also love to see the next generation offer a 16-speaker sound system.

2020 Acura MDX A-Spec SH-AWD

  • What I liked most: Looks, interior quality and all-wheel drive handling.
  • What I would change: Ditch the two-screen set up and update the infotainment system.
  • MSRP: Base $54,900; $56,295.
  • Official color: Apex Blue Pearl.
  • Fuel economy: 19 city/25highway/21 overall.
  • Odometer reading when tested: @10,500 miles.
  • Spare tire: Temporary compact.
  • Weight: 4266 pounds.
  • Length-width-height: 196.2” long/77.7” wide/67.4 ” high.
  • Fuel-tank capacity: 19.5 gallons with the capless fuel filler on the driver’s side. Premium Fuel recommended.
  • Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds.
  • 2020 MDX in a few words: A stylish near-luxury SUV that shines when it comes to comfort and handling but could use an infotainment update.
  • Warranty: 48 months/60,000 miles Basic Warranty; 72 months/70,000 miles Powertrain with roadside assistance.
  • Final assembly location: East Liberty, Ohio.
  • Manufacturer’s website: www.acura.com