By Zach Vlasuk
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
When it debuted for the 2001 model year, the Acura MDX established itself as the quintessential luxury crossover SUV for the soulful-yet-sensible family car shopper. While staying true to its original formula, the completely redesigned 2014 Acura MDX displays a number of incremental improvements, including easier access to the third row, class-topping fuel economy and an entirely new body structure that yields significant reductions in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). The 2014 MDX also bucks the "bigger is better" trend by shedding over an inch in height and width. The upmarket Audi Q7, stylish Infiniti JX (renamed the QX60 for 2014), and 5-passenger Lexus RX are strong alternatives, but for those who seek the ideal middle ground, it doesn't get much better than the MDX.
Looking for a no-compromises luxury SUV with comfortable accommodations for seven, exceptional urban maneuverability and a sticker price that won't break the bank? The 2014 Acura MDX won't disappoint. Above all, the MDX's reputation for long-term reliability, low maintenance costs and upstanding resale value equates to one of the most rewarding ownership experiences in the business.
If you can do without the premium badge, the recently refreshed Mazda CX-9 deserves your attention, delivering a near-equal measure of athleticism and versatility for thousands less. On the other end of the spectrum, enthusiasts might tilt toward the dynamically superior but notably more expensive 2014 BMW X5 (available late 2013).
Now in its third generation, the Acura MDX is all-new for 2014.
Driving Impressions Thanks to a thoroughly reworked suspension, increased structural rigidity, and an extensive diet of high-strength steel, the 2014 Acura MDX settles into corners with the aplomb of a vehicle half...... its height. We're big proponents of the single calibration suspension, as the MDX's ride quality strikes the right balance between the sofa-soft Lexus RX and high-strung BMW X5 without the complexity, weight and cost associated with electronically actuated systems. And while damping forces are non-negotiable, the 2014 MDX comes standard with Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, which lets you tailor the throttle response, steering effort, and all-wheel-drive (AWD) settings (if so equipped) by way of three driver-selectable modes. In terms of acceleration, the new 3.5-liter V6 dishes out plenty of passing power throughout the rpm range, while gearchanges from the long-refined 6-speed automatic go virtually unnoticed. Around town, the use of additional sound-deadening materials, acoustic front glass and active noise cancellation help make this MDX the quietest ever.
JEWEL EYE LED HEADLIGHTS
Designed to recreate the color of daylight, the MDX's standard LED headlights deliver greater contrast to help lessen eyestrain and improve reaction times.
PUSH-BUTTON 3RD-ROW ACCESS
Though its "wow" factor may not thrill, the MDX's new one-touch walk-in function will tug at the heartstrings of on-the-go parents everywhere. For quick 3rd-row access, simply press a button located on either side of the vehicle to slide the 2nd-row seats forward and fold the seat backs.
As is the case with most Acuras, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury inside the 2014 MDX, wherein the key emphasis is placed upon comfort and ease-of-use. Interior materials are of a higher quality than those found in the Infiniti JX, and on par with the Lexus RX and BMW X5. On the other hand, faux wood, dull textures and basic shapes fail to evoke the rich ambiance of the JX, RX and Audi Q7. Instead of a sea of dash buttons, the 2014 MDX directs most vehicle functions through a pair of LCD displays, bringing the total number of center stack buttons to nine (down from a staggering 41 last year). And, unlike some competitors, the MDX's 2nd-row seat slides and folds with minimal effort.Exterior
Save for the multi-projector "Jewel Eye" headlights, you'd be hard pressed to distinguish the 2014 Acura MDX from its 2013 predecessor. Nevertheless, the overall look is by no means dated. The spec sheet shows, dimensionally, that the 2014 MDX measures about 2 inches longer, 1.3 inches narrower and 1.5 inches shorter than the outgoing model. Because of its leaner proportions, the new MDX easier to maneuver through narrow spaces than the Audi Q7, and you won't have to think twice about squeezing into tight parking spots.
The 2014 Acura MDX is offered in one trim level with four progressive options packages. In base form, the MDX offers the longest list of standard equipment in the segment. Highlights include energy-efficient LED headlights, keyless access and start, a backup camera, leather, 3-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power liftgate and an 8-speaker audio system with Aha Radio and Pandora connectivity. The Audi Q7 and Lexus RX don't include heated seats, a backup camera or non-halogen headlights as standard fare. Safety features consist of seven airbags, Acura's reinforced ACE body structure, and trailer stability control for AWD models. Moreover, Acura anticipates the 2014 MDX will earn top crash-test scores.
The $4,200 Technology Package includes goodies like Acura's next-generation navigation system with class-exclusive surface street traffic overlays, 19-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a forward-collision warning system that uses visual and aural alerts to warn you of a potential impact. For those who want it all, the Advance Package adds such high-tech goodies as a rear-seat entertainment center with a 16.2-inch split-screen display, a 12-speaker ELS premium audio system, full-range adaptive cruise control that employs millimeter wave radar to maintain a specified following distance behind the vehicle ahead, and Acura's new Lane Keeping Assist System, which provides automatic steering assistance to gently nudge the MDX back into its lane.
The sole powertrain combination in every 2014 Acura MDX is a new 3.5-liter V6 matched with a carryover 6-speed automatic transmission. The V6 mill features Variable Cylinder Management, which "shuts off" three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising and deceleration to improve fuel economy. And speaking of efficiency, a 275-pound weight-loss regimen together with refined aerodynamics and a 19-percent reduction in rolling resistance qualify the 2014 Acura MDX as the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid SUV in the category. Lastly, to the delight of those living in Sunbelt states, Acura will, for the first time ever, offer the MDX with front-wheel drive in addition to the automaker's sophisticated Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system for the snowbirds.
290 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 18/27 mpg (AWD)
At just over $43,000, including destination, the 2014 Acura MDX starts about $1,000 less than the 2013 model. The 2014 lineup also includes a more generous serving of standard equipment, though all-wheel drive has been removed from the standards list. Adding the Technology and Entertainment Package will set you back an extra $6,200, while a top-of-the-line model equipped with all-wheel drive and the Advance Package checks in right around $57,000. The 2013 BMW X5 and Audi Q7 start in the $48,000 range and flirt with the $80,000 mark when fully optioned. The Lexus RX and Infiniti JX start at $40,000 and $42,000, respectively, but can't match the MDX when it comes to standard features. Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to take a look KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2014 Acura MDX. As a long-term investment, the 2014 MDX is expected to maintain some of the highest residual values among luxury SUVs.
By Rob on Thursday, February 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acura quality, great on gas"
Cons: "Need a little more driver room, better USB interfa"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Traded an 04 Acura MDX reluctantly for a new Chevy Traverse and was not happy with it, decided to get a new Acura MDX w/ SH-AWD and Tech package, couldn't be happier. Interior and exterior fit and finish is near perfect except for a couple of loosely fitting trim pieces and some air pockets in their acoustic laminated glass. Seats hold you firmly in place but are extremely comfortable, sliding arm rest and power adjustable steering wheel provide excellent ergonomic positioning. Although I wish Acura had added power adjustable pedals or one more inch of driver's seat adjustment. The steering wheel is thick with padded leather and little bolster bump outs, feels very comfortable in my hands. Exterior visibility is actually quite good compared to other crossover vehicles. Gauges are clear and well lit, a convenient LCD screen in the center of the cluster provides almost all your information without having to look away from the road. The LED headlights are the best I've ever used, even surpassing a good set of HID projector lamps. I love having an eyeglass holder, a simple little item often overlooked by most manufacturers. The two screen setup is a little overwhelming at first, but once you get used to the redundancy it actually becomes quite easy to operate. The one-touch third row access is simple and works well, also, the second row seating can slide fore and aft to accommodate a mixed bag of passenger sizes. The Honda motor runs exceptionally smooth and quiet as expected. The six speed trans is a little dated but adequate, there is an occasional shudder as if it shifts into fourth a little too soon sometimes, I'll have to keep an eye on it, as Acura transmissions have always been the Achilles heel of the MDX. The MDX accelerates quickly and tracks nice (very car like handling). The steering feel is adjustable through the Acura IDS, I normally leave it set on normal for back roads and sport for highways. The other power controls in the vehicle operate smoothly and uneventful. Cabin noise is very hushed, except for low speed driving where the suspension noise seems to be transferred directly into your ear, very clunky sounding, and low speed suspension damping seems very harsh, but accelerate to 45 MPH and greater and the problem seems to disappear, as if the high speed damping is more finely tuned. But Acura has always seemed prone to these issues, so its like second nature coming from another MDX. Also, I might need some flash cards to help remember voice commands, as there are hundreds. The USB audio when used with a flash drive is extremely slow, especially when scrolling through music files, I might just use bluetooth audio exclusively for now on. Overall, I have been very happy with this MDX so far, feels like putting on an old glove."
By WingManCrash on Sunday, February 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,025overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Jewel Lights, Seating, esp second row, new styling"
Cons: "Touch screen Learning Curve"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is our 3rd Acura MDX, 2005, 2007, and now 2015 Tech SHAWD.Live in Florida, no snow but can have heavy downpours so all wheel drive is important to us. Like Blind spot system but can be annoying when turning with two lanes turning side by side causes the unit to beep and flash but err on the safe side especially with all the tourists. Lane assist is good along with the collision assist. The touch screen does take sometime to get used to it but love the way to enter information with a type screen. Some complain about not being able to enter some information while driving but that is a NTSB ruling, not Acura's. Love the ability to be able to select driving Standard, Comfort (my choice) or Sport, which firms up the steering and suspension. The Owner's Manuel is now on disk but you can read the Owner's Manual on the Acura Website. Plus you now have apps for your smart phone to use. You can read text messages but if you have a certain Smart Phone, *****, due to legal, they will not allow the Smart Phone to respond while driving."
26 people out of 41 found this review helpful
By Fed Up on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The seat belts lock up for no reason. When I get into the car they are locked and I can't put them on. I tug and tug and can't get it to release. Now my steering wheel is doing the same thing. They have replaced the seat belts and they still do the same thing. Can't wait to get rid of this car."
12 people out of 25 found this review helpful