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2019 Acura MDX AWD A-Spec Review by David Colman +VIDEO


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2019 Acura MDX A-Spec

A top pick for a large family looking for all weather transport in high style

By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel


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2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Acura expands the MDX model line with a stunning new addition for 2019: the A Spec model. Although you can buy a base model MDX for $45,500, the A Spec will set you back an extra ten grand. Our metallic white sample carried a base price of $54,800. Since both the base model and the A Spec utilize the same 290hp 3.5 liter V6, just what do you get for your extra outlay? A lot of significant upgrades, the most important being all-wheel-drive, which is standard on A Spec models. To distribute what Acura calls "Super Handling AWD," to all four corners, the A Spec plants 20 inch diameter, gun metal grey alloys that mount Continental 265/45R20 Conti LX Cross Sport mud and snow rated tires (treadwear rating of TW 430). AWD plus M&S rubber allow the A Spec MDX to sail past chain control points in the mountains without the need to mount chains.

The A Spec is also visually distinctive from lesser MDX models, thanks to an exclusive styling package that provides a different front fascia, larger exhaust tips, and body-colored side sills. These refinements lend the A Spec a muscular, beefy appearance that sets the top line MDX apart from all other Acura SUVs. The upgrades continue inside the spacious, three row cabin. A thicker-rimmed, perforated leather steering wheel is a pleasure to grasp. Black leather sport seats with Alcantara inserts and contrasting red stitching are supportive and soothing. Both front seats are ventilated and heated, though the steering wheel lacks heat. Standard fitment on this model is the Tech Package which consists of a navigation system with voice recognition, AcuraLink communication, and the house brand ELS premium audio system featuring 10 speakers.

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2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
Tech Package also adds a number of useful safety features, such as blind spot information, rain sensing wipers LED puddle lights, rear cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. The front sensor is especially useful because without it it's virtually impossible to detect the length and girth of the MDX from the driver's chair. Further tech package inclusions are power-folding side mirrors which greet you as you approach by spreading themselves and lighting up. It's the charming automotive equivalent of the family dog's ears perking up when you enter your house. Finally, this array of improvements includes a remote engine start feature which can be commanded via the keyfob.

The AcuraWatch suite of safety nannies is all too evident. There's collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. Although some of these may prove useful to the preoccupied driver, most of them prevent you from operating the vehicle in peace and quiet. So I spent about 15 minutes perusing various menus on the dashboard's "Multi-Use Display Screen" in order to disable a number of these features, eliminating as well valet seat slide, key off steering wheel lift, and automatic door locking. Thusly re-configured, the MDX was a pleasure to drive.

Part of that pleasure stemmed from the lively response of the V6 engine, which feeds 267lb.-ft. of torque to all four wheels through a 9 speed automatic transmission. I am finally beginning to feel comfortable with the new Acura/Honda method of gear selection which eliminates the conventional shift lever and gear quadrant in favor of a series of transmission tunnel mounted slides and buttons. Since this system is not intuitive and doesn't save any console room compared to a conventional shifter, I'm not sure what the justification for the redesign is. However, after a week behind the wheel, the push and press system felt almost comfortable to use.

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2019 Acura MDX A-Spec
You'll enjoy a surfeit of room inside the MDX, with 34 cubic feet of storage space available with 2nd and 3rd row chairs folded flat. Since the MDX stands tall at 67 inches, you'll benefit from a panoramic view of highway congestion, thanks to oversize side windows, and a particularly large rear hatchback pane. These excellent sight lines from the driver's seat make it possible to position the MDX accurately and safely, even without the help of lane keeping assistance.

The latest A Spec MDX AWD is a top pick for a large family looking for all weather transport in high style. Acura enjoys an excellent reputation for durability, earning Consumer Reports top rating for used vehicle reliability. If you seek fast, safe, efficient transport in a handsome new package, check out the latest A Spec MDX.

2019 ACURA MDX AWD A SPEC

    • ENGINE: 3.5 liter VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management
    • HORSEPOWER: 290hp
    • TORQUE: 267lb.-ft.
    • FUEL CONSUMPTION: 19MPG City/25 MPG Highway
    • PRICE AS TESTED: $56,195

HYPES: Eager V6, Relaxed 9 Speed Automatic, Plush Interior

GRIPES: Too Many Nannies

STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10




MORE: Official 2019 Acura MDX Prices, Specs, Crash Ratings, Accessories, More(PDF)