By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.5
The Acura MDX has earned a reputation as one of the best loved, most reliable luxury crossover SUV’s on the market. True to its roots, the 2015 Acura MDX continues to offer luxury and convenience, not to mention handling on par with much sportier rivals – especially when equipped with Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The MDX’s recent makeover saw marked improvements in 3rd-row-seat access, fuel economy and body structure, the latter greatly improving the MDX’s strength and safety. Unlike some luxury SUVs, the MDX for 2015 remains reasonable in both size and weight, keeping it competitive with newer SUVs such as the Infiniti QX60 and Audi Q7, and making it a viable alternative to such luxury giants as the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX.
If you’re looking for a luxury crossover SUV big enough to hold the entire family, luxurious enough to impress the neighbors, and reliable enough to keep well past the last payment date, the 2015 Acura MDX is an easy pick.
KBB Expert Ratings
Fresh from its 2014 redo, the 2015 Acura MDX luxury crossover SUV cruises into the new year with no major changes.
When Acura remade its 7-passenger MDX, it didn’t just pretty it up with a new face and a few extra features. The 2015 Acura MDX luxury SUV benefits from an...
... improved suspension, a stiffer structure and liberal use of high-strength yet lightweight steel. The changes result in a driving experience that's more sport sedan than tall SUV, with the MDX able to round corners and respond to steering inputs in a way few SUVs can. Acura’s suspension setup strikes a perfect balance between the softly sprung Lexus RX and the abruptly harsh (and complex) BMW X5. The driver is allowed some input, however, in the form of Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System that allows throttle and steering modulation, as well as three driver-selectable modes on models equipped with SH-AWD. As for power, the tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 never disappoints and is barely noticeable thanks to the MDX’s extremely quiet cabin.
JEWEL EYE LED HEADLIGHTS
Not only are they stunning in appearance, the 2015 Acura MDX’s “Jewel Eye” headlights recreate the spectrum of daylight, delivering better visibility at night with less eyestrain.
PUSH-BUTTON 3RD-ROW ACCESS
Sometimes, the simplest designs are the most impressive. The MDX’s one-touch walk-in feature allows quick and easy access to the 3rd-row seat without having to strain, lug or tug to move the 2nd-row seats.
As is the case with most Acuras, drivers will find a restrained show of luxury inside the 2015 MDX crossover SUV, with an emphasis placed upon comfort and ease-of-use. Interior materials are of a highest quality, 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 QX60 and Audi Q7. Instead of a sea of dash buttons, the 2015 MDX directs most vehicle functions through a pair of LCD displays. And, unlike some competitors, the MDX's 2nd-row seat slides and folds with minimal effort.
Save for the multi-projector “Jewel Eye” headlights, you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish the 2015 Acura MDX from its predecessors. Nevertheless, the overall look is by no means dated. The spec sheet shows that the MDX measures about two inches longer, 1.3 inches narrower and 1.5 inches shorter than the last generation, which appears to be just the right size for most repeat buyers. Because of its leaner proportions, the 2015 MDX is 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 2015 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. Safety features consist of seven airbags, Acura’s reinforced ACE body structure, and trailer stability control for all-wheel-drive models. Moreover, Acura anticipates the 2015 MDX will again earn top crash-test scores.
The Technology Package includes goodies like Acura’s next-generation navigation system with class-exclusive surface street traffic overlays, 19-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, and a forward-collision warning system that uses visual and aural alerts to warn you of a potential impact. The Advance Package adds such high-tech gems 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 Lane Keeping Assist System, which provides automatic steering assistance to gently nudge the MDX back into its lane.
The sole powertrain combination in every 2015 Acura MDX is a 3.5-liter V6 matched with an efficient 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, the 2015 Acura MDX qualifies as the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid SUV in the category. Lastly, to the delight of those living in Sunbelt states, Acura offers the MDX with front-wheel drive in addition to the automaker’s sophisticated Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system for the snowbirds. Alas, to achieve maximum power and fuel efficiency, the MDX requires Premium fuel.
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 (all-wheel drive)
At just over $43,000, including destination, the 2015 Acura MDX is priced just a few hundred dollars more than the 2014 model. Adding the Technology and Entertainment Package will set you back an extra $6,275, while a top-of-the-line model equipped with all-wheel drive and the Advance Package checks just under $58,000. The 2015 BMW X5 and Audi Q7 start closer to the $50,000 mark and flirt with the $80,000 figure when fully optioned. The Lexus RX starts just below the MDX’s base price 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 2015 Acura MDX. As a long-term investment, the 2015 MDX is expected to maintain some of the highest residual values among luxury SUVs.