New 2019 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SUV New 2019
Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The 2019 Acura MDX is among the most recommendable and all-around competent 3-row luxury SUVs available. A complete package, it comes with impressive safety features, standard V6 power, and the reliability that is inherent to Honda’s premium brand. With a starting price just over $45,000, it undercuts European rivals such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. For those seeking more aggressive looks, the 2019 MDX is debuting an A-Spec sport model that comes standard with Acura’s laudable Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system. The sophisticated MDX Sport Hybrid, meanwhile, is both more powerful and more efficient. 

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You'll Like This SUV If...

If you’re looking for a 3-row luxury-crossover SUV with a reputation for reliability, good resale value, premium amenities and strong safety/driver-assist features -- all at a price that undercuts European brands, the 2019 Acura MDX checks all the boxes. The hybrid MDX variant boasts higher fuel efficiency and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

The Acura MDX may not have the badge appeal of rivals from brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. If you need to seat more than seven passengers or tow over 5,000 pounds, you’re probably better off in a full-size SUV. 

What's New for 2019

For 2019, the MDX is introducing an A-Spec model with standard all-wheel drive and aggressive design elements. The MDX has again updated its 9-speed automatic transmission for further refinement, and made restarts faster for the now-standard idle start/stop system.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The Acura MDX’s something-for-everyone attributes extend to its road manners. Its standard V6 is a good companion that offers strong acceleration and passing power. Further refinements to the 9-speed automatic continue to quell past criticisms we’ve had about its smoothness. For this 2019 update, Acura has given the MDX the ability to essentially cut out a gear by prioritizing starts in second gear instead. When in Sport mode or demand is needed for quicker acceleration or uphill and towing situations, though, first-gear starts are prioritized. The MDX’s all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is among the more advanced of its kind. Its rear-biased, torque-vectoring setup makes this model feel more athletic than the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) versions, and would be our recommendation if you live in a cold-weather state where road traction can be compromised. New this year is the availability of an active-damper system that was previously exclusive to the hybrid. Speaking of, the Acura MDX Hybrid Sport is not an oxymoron. Harnessing a V6 engine and three motors -- one in front to help power the front wheels and two in back to assist with rear-wheel torque vectoring -- the system is a technological marvel. It works seamlessly under the skin, resulting in athletic yet more efficient driving manners.

Favorite Features

ACURAWATCH
All models of the 2019 MDX include a host of active-safety and driver-assistance features known as AcuraWatch. The suite includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.


SH-AWD
Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system is a sophisticated system that improves dry-weather handling as well as foul-weather safety. The system continuously divides the engine’s power seamlessly as you drive, sending more to the front when cruising for improved fuel economy, more to the rear to aid acceleration and side-to-side when cornering. For $2,000 the system is a strong value.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Acura’s 3-row SUV can seat seven or six depending on how you want it configured. To seat seven, the second row is a 3-across bench. If 6-passenger seating works for your family, you can opt for 2nd-row captain’s chairs, which make the second row more comfortable and allow easier access to the third row. As with most 3-row midsize-crossover SUVs, the last row is best suited for kids, though it’s okay for occasional use by adults, something that can’t be said of the new Lexus RX L and its restrictive third row. The Acura makes better use of its passenger space, while also providing good room for cargo. Unlike some hybrid SUVs, the MDX Sport Hybrid doesn’t sacrifice interior space for its electrified powertrain. Overall fit/finish is very good, and the driver’s seat has above-average levels of comfort with its 14-way-power adjustability and standard Easy-Entry feature that moves the seat back when you exit the vehicle. The infotainment system that bundles audio, climate and other controls takes some work to use, with simple tasks like changing fan speed and mode requiring multiple touches. Our editors are also split on their opinions of the button-operated gear selector.

Exterior

Acura’s new MDX enjoys a good balance of looking elegant yet tough, luxurious yet practical. As with other models from Acura, this flagship SUV recently gained an attractive diamond-pentagon grille, and it’s hard to miss Jewel Eye LED headlights. Roof rails can be had to both toughen up the MDX’s personality and provide additional practicality. Hybrid versions of the MDX look almost identical to the standard version. The new, sportier Acura MDX A-Spec has 20-inch wheels that are a half-inch wider than the standard model, unique front fascia, larger-diameter exhaust finishers, and gloss-black accents.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2019 Acura MDX is surprisingly well-equipped out the gate. A standard model comes with the AcuraWatch suite of safety and semi-autonomous driving features, leather interior, power-operated and heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, power tailgate, power moonroof and the HomeLink garage-door opener. On the audio/entertainment front, the MDX includes an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD system with multiple USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity. The MDX also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Siri Eyes Free integration. The front seats benefit from 14-way-power adjustment for driver and 12-way for the passenger. Also appreciated is a power-adjustable steering wheel.

Notable Optional Equipment

Aside from all-wheel drive, most major options are bundled into packages. Sport Hybrid models start at the Technology package level, which includes navigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, 10-speaker ELS premium audio system, perforated leather seats, 20-inch wheels and power-folding side mirrors. The new A-Spec package, not available on the hybrid model, includes features in the Technology package, and adds its own interior and exterior aesthetic upgrades. The top-line Advance package adds premium Milano leather upholstery, the active-damper system, ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel, surround-view camera, and auto-dimming side mirrors. Note that the Advance package also comes standard with 2nd-row bucket seats for total seating capacity of six. If you want a bench and seating for seven, you can order it with the rear-seat entertainment system.

Under the Hood

Making a strong 290 horsepower is the MDX’s 3.5-liter V6 engine. The standard setup is front-wheel drive with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive optional on any model. The engine is linked to a standard -- and again updated -- 9-speed automatic transmission. Unlike last year in which the engine idle start/stop feature was reserved for the Advance package, it’s standard across the lineup for the 2019 Acura MDX. Work has been done to make the restarts quicker, but it’s defeatable if you want to switch off the feature. To further improve fuel economy, Variable Cylinder Management shuts down three of the six cylinders during cruising and deceleration. A front-wheel-drive (FWD) MDX can tow up to 3,500 pounds, while an all-wheel-drive (AWD) model is rated for 5,000 pounds. The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.0-liter V6 combined with an electric motor, routed through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission developed from the NSX supercar's 9-speed. In the rear on the Sport Hybrid are two electric motors, one for each rear wheel.

3.5-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD), 19/25 mpg (A-Spec)

3.0-liter V6 + electric motors (Sport Hybrid)
321 combined horsepower
289 lb-ft combined torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/27 mpg

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Pricing Notes

The 2019 Acura MDX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $45,295, only a $100 increase vs. last year. All-wheel drive is an additional $2,000, and adding packages can lift prices several thousand more. A fully loaded 2019 MDX can top $60,000. These prices are nearly in line with rivals like the Infiniti QX60 and Volvo XC90, above the Buick Enclave, and below competitors like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS. The MDX Sport Hybrid starts in the low-$50,000 range, which undercuts hybrid versions of Mercedes’ GLE and Volvo’s XC90, but is higher than the Lexus RX hybrid. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new luxury SUV. The Acura MDX’s resale value is expected to be very good in the years ahead.

OK, so what's next?
I'm interested in this car. What's for sale near me?
I'm interested in this car, and I'd like to trade in my current car while I'm at it.
Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.

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