Previewed as a prototype earlier this year in Detroit, the production 2014 Acura MDX made its impressive debut in the Big Apple. All new from the ground up, the third generation of Acura's popular 7-passenger crossover SUV will arrive in showrooms this summer with more of just about everything that matters. Beyond tidier styling, the litany of upgrades in the new MDX runs the gamut from a more robust structure and enhanced creature comforts to better dynamics and improved fuel economy -- while tossing in a new, more affordable front-drive variant for good measure.
Looking like a virtual clone of its well-received one-off predecessor, the 2014 MDX boasts more crisply rendered "Executive Aero Sculpture" styling with a shape honed in the wind tunnel that allows it to slice through the air with 17 percent greater efficiency. A greater emphasis on advanced lightweight materials -- primarily high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium -- helped engineers trim 275 pounds from the basic package while creating an even stronger and more rigid unit body that Acura expects will help it earn top safety marks from both NHTSA and the IIHS. The new MDX also will be the quietest ever produced thanks to an equal emphasis on noise attenuation and diversion. In addition to tighter body panel fits, acoustic glass and more extensive use of sound deadeners, this refined Acura also features Active Noise Control technology.
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Slightly longer and lower than the current model, the new MDX rides on a 2.75-inch longer wheelbase, a dimensional change that works with a revamped rear suspension to improve passenger space in both the second and third rows as well as increase cargo space. Elsewhere in its now more-welcoming cabin, the MDX boasts a restyled dash with enhanced display screens and improved control layouts as well as leather upholstery, power heated front buckets and a more spacious center console. Along with next-generation AcuraLink cloud-based connectivity, the 2014 MDX options roster includes an Acura/ELS premium audio system and rear-seat DVD entertainment systems as part of two upgrade packages that also include a navigation system.
The sole engine in the 2014 MDX is a new direct-injected i-VTEC 3.5-liter "Earth Dreams" V6 with econo-enhancing Variable Cylinder Management. Making 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, it will be paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that features Sport Mode and shifter paddles. In addition to delivering quicker acceleration, this combo also bests the existing MDX in the EPA stats department. Where the current vehicle with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) earns 16/21 mpg city/highway figures, its 2014 counterpart boasts 18/27 mpg numbers and the new front-drive MDX clocks in with 20/28 mpg marks. An impressive improvement.
Already highly regarded for its handling prowess, the significantly lighter 2014 MDX promises to be an even more proficient corner carver. Track-tested on the grueling Nürburgring racing circuit, its redesigned suspension features new Amplitude Reactive Dampers that work with precision-enhanced steering and upgraded brakes to give a more confident feel under any condition. It also will introduce a new Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) that allows the driver to adjust steering effort, throttle response and SH-AWD programming as well as the MDX's active exhaust sound to Comfort, Normal or Sport modes.
To be built in Lincoln, Alabama, the 2014 Acura MDX will be available in four different grades: the base model, MDX with Technology package, MDX with Technology and Entertainment packages, and MDX with Advance and Entertainment packages. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date.
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