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2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel



ENGINE: 3.5-liter DOHC V6

TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 290 hp @ 6,200 rpm/267 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm

WHEELBASE: 111.0 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 193.6 x 77.2 x 67.6 in.

TIRES: P245/55R19

CARGO: 14.8/38.4/68/.4 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/3rd row seats down/2nd row seats down)

ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway

CURB WEIGHT: 4,268 lbs.

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Lexus RX, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX50

STICKER: $56,000 (includes $920 delivery)

BOTTOM LINE: There’s no question that this is a luxury SUV. It has all the features you would want, including three rows of seating, great comfort and power.

I had to laugh when I read that the Acura MDX is considered a small SUV. In no way is the MDX small. It is full-sized, to the extent that there are three rows of seats and a ton of cargo capacity.

Besides size, the MDX is loaded with accessories, which makes the $56,000 sticker understandable. Among the options, for example, are the Tech Package – navigation, Acura Link Communications system, Platinum audio, LED puddle lights, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot information – and the Advance Package – collision mitigation braking system, sport seats, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, remote engine start and heated second row seats.

The 3.5-liter V6 under the hood delivers very good power, enough to make the 4,268-pound MDX get up and go. Handling is excellent for a large vehicle. We took the MDX up over our twisty hillclimb route and had a ball. The 9-speed automatic has power shifters behind the wheel that are easy to use and work well. The shift into and out of manual mode is almost automatic.

I have encountered the Acura shifter before, so I wasn’t totally confused when I tried to shift. Rather than a manual shifter, the MDX has a row of buttons and switches on the left side of the center console. To park you push the button on the top, for reverse you pull a lever, for drive it’s a round pushbutton, manual shift is another button. It isn’t totally automatic, as it would be with a “stick” of some sort, but it does make you think a bit.

Front seats are comfortable with some side support. Both seats are power adjustable, heated and cooled. Second row seats (heated) offer very good leg room with a flat floor to make it easier for a middle passenger. They slide and lower for access to the third row, but access is still difficult for senior citizens. Better to put the younger, little ones back there. Leg room in the third row is surprisingly good. There is good visibility for third row passengers.

Behind the third row is what I consider is the most important feature of any SUV, cargo capacity. With all the seats up there are 14.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, about that of a large sedan. Fold down the third row seats and that explodes to 38.4 cubic feet. Lower the second row seats, like when you’re moving furniture or returning from a big day at The Home Depot, you have 68.4 cubic feet.

Facing the front passengers are two infotainment screens, one in the center of the dash and one above. Both are audio as a default, but if you’re looking to engage the navigation system, then that’s on top. It’s better there because it’s closer to the driver’s line of sight. Navigation is easy to program a destination with the central control knob.

Audio is very good, but I had some issues with accessing a variety of sources.

I liked the Acura MDX. It certainly isn’t small – more like a Ford Explorer is size – but it is maneuverable and offers very good ride quality.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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