2014 Acura MDX Elite
3.5L V6 SOHC i-VTEC® - 6-Speed Auto
290 @ 6200
267 @ 4500
11.2 / 7.7
447 - 2,575
The 2014 Acura MDX is here and this time it is not just a yearly refresh. It is the all-new 3rd generation and lots have changed.
The exterior certainly looks a lot like the previous model but according to Acura, that was done on purpose. The final result is a tasteful and discrete update to what was there before. The front grille is less of a beak and also less of a screamer. The jewel style LED headlights are beautiful and add a posh appeal to the front. The sides and rear have slick lines that look very elegant and hide the large dimensions. Grab a measuring tape and park it side by side with the outgoing model and you will find out that it is in fact shorter, longer and narrower.
It is 49mm longer (length), 17mm shorter (height), 276mm narrower (width), the wheelbase has grown by 70mm but the biggest change is the one not visible to the naked eye; or measuring tape. The usage of lighter materials had a substantial impact to the vehicle’s weight which is now 1970kg, which is 139KG less than the outgoing gen.
Less is also what you get under the hood, the 3.7L V6 has retired and in its place you’ll find a “greener” 3.5L V6 which outputs 290 BHP and 267 lb-ft of torque which is 10 BHP and 3 lb-ft less than before. But before you say “boo”, let’s do some math.
(Kg/bhp – Less is better)
2013 MDX – 2109kg / 300bhp = 7.03kg/bhp
2014 MDX – 1970kg / 290bhp = 6.79kg/bhp
So increasing the power is not the only way to improve the power to weight ratio.
What is not less is the price tag. Prices start at $51,935 and go all the way up to $67,935 for an Elite like the vehicle we tested.
Inside the cabin, it’s all very familiar but all so different. The redesigned dashboard has been improved in areas the previous model was hurting and the result is an enhanced ergonomic and visual experience. Top quality soft to the touch materials have been used, fit and finish are excellent but once again some spice is missing and it still doesn’t feel as appealing as some German rivals do. It is perhaps too clean and technical.
On the other hand, when it comes down to value for money, the list of equipment offered by the MDX is longer than the “to do” list of a virgin freshman in college. You get all the safety gear known to man, including Collision Mitigation Braking System and adaptive cruise control. On the entertainment side, you get the amazing ELS sound system with a rear superb widescreen for the kids and a very responsive colour LCD screen with haptic feedback in the dash. Convenience features like heated seats and steering wheel are of course present and Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and Surround View Camera System are features that couldn’t be missing. Also note that the Acura Navigation System is exceptional.
The rear seats are comfortable enough for 3 adults, the headroom and legroom are adequate but the narrower body translated to less available width. The third row of seats is more accessible thanks to the quick access system. Two kids will happily sit there but adults will think twice before even trying.
The trunk is a very satisfying 447lt with all seats up but with the third row stowed away that number becomes a truly impressive 1,277lt. With all seats stowed away, maximum capacity is 2,575lt.
The 3.5L V6 Direct Injection SOHC i-VTEC® engine sounds great when the IDS (Integrated Dynamics System) is set to sport and it pulls well throughout the rev-band. At low revs it is civilized and refined, characteristics it retains even higher up where it feels most powerful. In combination with the overall weight loss, performance is good as acceleration is quick. 0-100 takes 7.6″ seconds and Acura claims that it is a lot faster than the old model around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Ha!
Fuel economy is also much better since the weight lugged around is less and the first complaint we had regarding the old model has been addressed. 12.2lt/100km of premium unleaded combined is more than 15% less than before.
On the road, it corners with poise and shows its teeth around the bends. It grips like a sport sedan and beyond its limits it reacts progressively and maintaining control is easily done though the quick steering and good throttle response. The IDS can be set to comfort, normal and sport, so obviously we were not the only ones that complained about the absence of the normal mode in the past. Unfortunately, it no longer has any effect on the suspension as it is no longer adjustable. But that is not a bad thing since Acura has done a brilliant job tuning the suspension to be dynamic and comfortable at the same time, while the impact the IDS has on the SH-AWD is enough to make the car feel active. On the highway it keeps its heading well and is not affected by cross winds of unevenly paved tarmac. The sense of sturdiness is somewhat lacking once again compared to some German rivals, but being the lightest of the lot, you are rewarded with the best agility sensation. Cruising is pleasant, especially with the ELS sound system on and comfort levels are high even over rough surfaces.
The brakes feel sufficient and will resist reasonable abuse. From 100km/h, it came to a complete stop in 42m which is better than average.
Overall the MDX is an obvious improvement over the outgoing model and despite the increase in price, running costs should now be less. If a luxurious overall performer on a budget is what you are looking for, look no further.
Sense of sturdiness