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 abrar_ahmed on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Relaible, Good Looking, Fun"
Cons: "EXtremely choppy ride, feels very heavy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD Tech Package Things I like: - Extremely comfortable Seats and Hand rest - Looks amazing, almost better than any other crossovers out there - Touch Screen Display - Amazing headlights, almost lights up the whole road - Perfect Height Things I don't Like: - The climate settings are very hard to get to via the touch screen interface - Steering Wheel is too thick and heavy - Fog lights are not standard - Audio system is not up to par, would like some more power out of it - All season tires are not ideal for snow - Extremely choppy ride Things I would like to see in the next model: - Overhead display - More Power - Stop and Start Technology - More Gears - Buttons for AC Fan and temperature control for easy access - Faster and better looking Multimedia Interface - Thinner, Smaller and more powerful Steering Wheel - Softer Suspension - Third row seat AC Vents - Standard Adaptive Cruise Control - Differential control for AWD locking"
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Blonde on Friday, January 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fine vehicle for its utility and price point"
Cons: "Computer entry very non-intuitive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Not a very exciting vehicle to drive. I sold two vehicles and tried to combine them into one...ie a puckup and a convertible. My choice was a SUV that had some room to carry/haul some things yet was fun and practical to drive. Vehicle is fine and delivers most of my wants. My other vehicle is a Ford Taurus SHO and the computer system and GPS are very intuitive. Not so with the MDX. I've had the MDX 7 months now and still am guessing at how to do things with the touch screen usually unsuccessfully and if successful have tried manny, many entries that I forgot how I got to my goal. My wife riding in the passenger seat with the instruction book open is usually no more successful. One objection to the tech package is that it does not include radar driven cruise control that the Ford has. Acura wants the $5k entertainment package to get this! Also you cannot enter an address while the vehicle is moving as a safety issue, fine but how complicated would it be to detect a passenger and let them enter a destination while in motion?"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Richie on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great in the mountians of NC and the open road"
Cons: "a little tech for me but OK"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second MDX and have enjoyed driving and owning an Acura, it fits with my life style and can handle 4 golfer and their clubs. This size SUV is the only one I know of that can accomplish this in confort, and I also own a Grand Cherokee and no can do."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful