2014 Acura MDX

Like Riding an Executive Jet—Minus the Flight Attendant
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
May 20, 2014 Updated: May 20, 2014

The MDX is sleek and muscular, but distinctive in a style that is yoked to an air of elegance. The MDX sets the standards for a smart luxury SUV that seats seven.

Acura engineers have refined the 290 hp 3.5 liter V6 direct injection engine that performs with exhilaration, yet still gets an estimated 28 mpg highway in front-wheel drive configuration. My driving experience netted me just a tad under that. The 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential sport/shift added to the positive vehicular atmosphere. 

There are three distinct driving styles—Comfort, Normal, and Sport. The different settings affect the feeling of the steering, acceleration, and engine sound. Comfort and Normal were my selective choices. I did try Sport once, but bit my tongue accelerating after just stopping for a red light. 

Whatever the mode, MDX has crisp handling as the Agile Handling Assist System used active braking of individual wheels, helping to track through curves with much less effort. And the AWD system continuously monitored driving dynamics and distributed the optimal level of power between front and rear. 

Tests in Nürburg, Germany confirmed that MDX passed a split-surface traction test on a 30-degree grade.

The MDX cabin was beautiful, comfortable, and quiet. Adequate seating, tri-zone climate control, and amplitude reactive dampers are examples of comfort features. The driver’s seat adjusts 10 ways and passenger’s seat 8 ways. 

Personally, I like the large center console allowing for easy storage. Plus the maximum 90.9 cubic-feet of available cargo storage space behind the first row seats, not counting a rear hidden storage bin for precious cargo. One brief touch opens the space. 

There is easy access to the convenient third-row seats, enabled by automatically folding and sliding second-row seats. Just push the One Touch Walk-In button.

Multi-Use Display offers quick interfacing with a full array of media choices. 

The MDX is constructed with excessive high strength steel throughout. Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure goes way beyond “crumble zones” by distributing frontal crash energy more evenly over a large area in the event of a collision.

Inside, the MDX is equipped with a driver’s knee airbag as well as front, side, and side curtain airbags.

Acura offers a 4-yr/50,000-mile limited vehicle warranty and a 6-yr/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. 

There were three optional packages: Tech Package, Advanced Package, and Entertainment Package. These packages were included in the $56,500 MSRP of the fully-loaded test vehicle. Here is a sampling of the features listed for each package.

Technology Package:
Acura Navigation System
Acura Premium Audio System with HD Radio and 10 speakers
Voice Recognition System for nav, audio, Bluetooth
AcuraLink connectivity system
Blind Spot Information System
Forward Collision Warning
Lane Departure Warning
19-inch Alloy Wheels

Entertainment Package:
Acura DVD Rear Entertainment System with 9-inch VGA display
Heated second row seats
Center console 110V outlet

Advance Package:
Includes Technology Package
Premium Audio System with HDD media storage and 12-speakers
DVD Rear Entertainment System with 16.2-inch ] ultra-wide display 
Auto-dimming side mirrors
Remote engine start
Parking sensors
Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System
Adaptive Cruise Control with low-speed follow
Perforated Premium Milano leather-trimmed interior
Sport seats with perforated backs. Fitted backs were uncomfortable to me.

Durhl Caussey writes an auto column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.