2014 Acura MDX

Acura MDX exudes confidence

9 Exterior
8 Interior
7 Performance
8 Fuel Economy
6 Value
7.6

They say confidence is contagious. Whoever they is. But they is correct when it comes to my tester for the week (now this analogy has taken my grammar astray).

The 2014 Acura MDX is a confident crossover.

This 7-passenger vehicle is confident in its looks thanks to a complete redesign for this model year. That confidence was bolstered when it was named a finalist for North American Truck of the Year. And get behind the wheel and you’ll feel confident as a driver.

This 7-passenger vehicle is confident in its looks thanks to a complete redesign for this model year.

Previous generations of the MDX shared a platform with the Honda Pilot. This year, the MDX has its own platform which gives it a more distinctive ride style from the Pilot. I happen to own a Honda Pilot, so I can speak of the difference between the two vehicles. The Pilot drives a little more like a truck, while the MDX offers a smoother, more crossover-like driving performance.

This year’s MDX looks quite a bit different than the previous generation. Still in place is the “beak-like” grille, synonymous with most Acuras, but otherwise, the 2014 MDX has new flare and modern styling. A downplayed grille is more luxurious and less aggressive looking. The side panels have indentations and curves that aren’t too cutesy and portray an air of luxury. Dare I say confidence? The back end protrudes out a little underneath a rear spoiler. Overall, the MDX is more curvaceous with a lot more distinguishable traits than the blander previous generation.

Following an automotive industry trend, Acura dropped weight and shrunk the engine size, all to improve fuel economy.

The engine has been overhauled too. Following an automotive industry trend, Acura dropped weight and shrunk the engine size, all to improve fuel economy. But, rest assured, the 10 horsepower decrease is not noticeable at all. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine makes 290 hp but still has 267 lb.-ft. of torque. It does not drive underpowered. A 6-speed automatic transmission is the only available option. It does have a sequential sport shift option where you can change the way you wish the vehicle to drive, including a sport mode, which was the way I typically drove it.

During my week with the Acura MDX, there was significant snowfall on the roads, including ice. After chiseling it out from an icy tomb, I took it out on the snow-covered roads to see how it performed. The MDX was a champ in those conditions. It was, what’s the word I’m looking – confident – in the snow and ice. Front-wheel drive is standard but my tester did have all-wheel drive.

Inside, the MDX separates itself from even a high-end Honda with luxury you expect from a brand like Acura. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels good, and the leather seats are comfortable, and are even better when heated. The center stack is clean and the infotainment system is simple in its design.

The second row seats can easily and comfortably fit three adults. There’s easy access to the third row with the push of one button, where the second row slides up. The two spots in the third row are best left for smaller passengers. Cargo space is limited behind the third row seat, smaller the Honda Pilot.

Inside, the MDX separates itself from even a high-end Honda with luxury you expect from a brand like Acura.

Acura kept things simple with their offerings on the MDX. There’s one trim level that you can just add options too. To me, that’s a win for the consumer who can get overwhelmed with various trims and what comes with each. Standard features for the MDX include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, a power lift gate, sunroof and heated front seats. My tester had three optional packages including a tech package (with advanced navigation, blind spot detectors and rain sensing wipers), advance package (collision avoidance system, adaptive cruise control and lane departure system) and entertainment package (rear DVD entertainment system). The Advance Package is a nice option to add for those who like the extra safety it offers with the collision avoidance system and blind spot detectors.

A stripped down MDX will have a starting MSRP around $43,000. With all the extra packages and fully optioned out, my tester had a final price of $57,490. But again, Acura allows the consumer to pick and choose what they do and don’t want.

The MDX has its best-ever fuel economy. With a 17 percent improvement over last year, Acura achieved a main goal of making this a crossover that won’t guzzle. Front-wheel drive models have an EPA estimate of 20 city and 28 highway while AWD models have a rating of 18/27. In a week’s worth of driving, in less-than-ideal road conditions, I averaged nearly 20 mpg. And I was very glad to have the all-wheel drive, that’s for sure.

With quiet confidence, the 2014 Acura MDX shows off its many charms.

There are so many options for crossovers, even in the luxury side of the category. So it’s nice when one vehicle can stand out from the crowd. With quiet confidence, the 2014 Acura MDX shows off its many charms.


Photo Credit: Acura

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