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2018 Acura MDX

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Top Expert-Rated 2018 Luxury Vehicles
2018 Acura MDX Expert Review

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 9.4

A fun-to-drive luxury SUV, the extremely popular 2018 Acura MDX offers families seating for seven and the highest safety ratings. Prices for Acura’s largest and most expensive SUV start around $45,000 for a front-wheel-drive (FWD) model with a 290-horsepower V6 engine. All-wheel drive (AWD) is a $2,000 option. The new MDX, which is built in East Liberty, Ohio, competes with the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Infiniti QX60, Lexus RX, Volvo XC90 and Audi A7. Acura also offers a more fuel-efficient Hybrid model with 321 horsepower, which competes with the hybrid version of the Lexus RX and plug-in hybrid BMW X5. Five models are available, with prices topping out around $60,000 for an all-wheel-drive model with the Advance and Entertainment packages, while the Sport Hybrid model starts around $59,000.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a family-friendly 3-row SUV with strong performance, the highest safety ratings and a luxurious interior packed with technology, you’ll like the 2018 Acura MDX. The MDX Sport Hybrid also has a third row, while the Lexus RX 400h does not.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Unlike BMW and Land Rover, Acura does not offer a diesel model in this class. If you’re looking for the most power in the segment, BMW offers significantly more powerful versions of the X5, and there’s more horsepower offered in the Mercedes GLE lineup. Also, some may find the MDX’s third row a bit too tight for their needs.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.4
  • 9.2
  • 9.1
  • 8.5
  • 9.4
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#12

out of 25

Fuel Economy

#12

out of 25

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Acura MDX Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

Last year, the Acura MDX received a significant redesign, inside and out. This year the 2018 MDX gets an improved infotainment system with more intuitive menus and a redesigned dual-screen interface with faster response. The new system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Acura has also added two new reds to the MDX’s color palette.

Driving the MDX
2018 Acura MDX Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Powerful and agile, the 2018 Acura MDX is one of the more athletic 3-row SUVs out there. The Acura’s big V6 is more than strong enough for most...

... buyers and its 9-speed automatic transmission is responsive and smooth. Acceleration is quick enough to be thrilling, and there’s plenty of passing power. This is a big vehicle, but it never feels like an oversized land yacht. Its handling is exceptional. Its ability to turn corners will make you smile, especially models with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. The new Acura MDX is also comfortable and luxurious. It rides well. Around town its suspension filters out just enough of the road’s surface and it doesn’t crash over potholes. Visibility is excellent, the steering is light and the MDX is easy to park. Surprisingly the MDX Sport Hybrid is even quicker and it uses technology shared with the Acura NSX supercar to improve handling.

ACURAWATCH
One reason the 2018 Acura MDX gets the highest ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is AcuraWatch. Standard on every 2018 MDX, AcuraWatch includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, road-departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. These features often cost thousands extra on the Acura’s rivals.

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.

2018 Acura MDX Details
2018 Acura MDX Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Although not the largest 3-row SUV, the 2018 Acura MDX offers comfortable people space and impressive cargo volume. Behind its third row, the MDX offers 15.3 cubic feet of space, matching the Volvo XC90. Fold its third row, which is split 50/50, and there’s 43.4 cubic feet, which just betters the space in the Volvo. Fold the Acura’s second row and there’s over 90 cubic feet of space, which is strong for the class. The MDX Sport Hybrid matches those measurements. Fit/finish is excellent, as is front-seat comfort, but the third row is best used for kids. A pair of 2nd-row captain's chairs is available, but they decrease seating capacity to six. Ergonomically the MDX takes a little getting used too, especially its dual-infotainment screens and its push-button shifter.

Exterior
2018 Acura MDX photo

Once as homely and awkward as a 6-foot sixth grader, the 2018 Acura MDX has blossomed into a beauty. Last year’s restyle included Acura’s new, more attractive diamond-pentagon grille, as well as a new hood, front fenders and intricate headlights. Although the new look is a little less daring, it’s an improvement and should give the MDX even broader appeal. The SUV’s sporty, dual-exhaust outlets now feature a bright exterior finish, and its sloping window frame gives it a coupe-like look. Higher trims roll on 20-inch wheels, while standard models use 18-inchers. A capless fuel filler means no more unscrewing a cap.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2018 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 comes with an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD system with multiple USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity. The MDX features Siri Eyes Free compatibility for iPhone users as well as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Safety and driving features include a rearview camera, lane-keep assist, road-departure mitigation, automatic emergency braking, and traction- and stability-control systems.

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, Siri Eyes Free, 20-inch wheels and remote engine start. The Advance package adds the 2nd-row captain's chairs, upgraded leather, ventilated front seats, surround-view camera and front/rear parking sensors. A rear-seat entertainment package brings an entertainment screen, wireless headphones, rear-door sunshades and heated 2nd-row seats, but isn't available on Sport Hybrid models. Note: The rear-seat entertainment system comes with a 2nd-row bench, meaning you have to order it if you want an Advance model with seating for seven.

Under the Hood
2018 Acura MDX Engine photo

The Acura MDX uses a 3.5 liter V6 engine making a strong 290 horsepower. The standard setup is front-wheel drive with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive optional on any model. The Acura uses a refined 9-speed automatic transmission, and Advance models include the idle start/stop system, which shuts off the engine at red lights to save fuel. To further improve fuel economy, Variable Cylinder Management shuts down three of the six cylinders during cruising and deceleration. The standard MDX can tow up to 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: 19/27 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (FWD w/auto idle stop), 18/26 mpg (AWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD w/auto idle stop)

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

The 2018 Acura MDX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $45,000 when including the destination charge. All-wheel drive is an additional $2,000, and adding packages can lift prices several thousand more. A fully loaded 2018 MDX can approach $60,000. These prices are nearly in line with rivals like the Infiniti QX60 and Volvo XC90, and below competitors like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS. The MDX Sport Hybrid starts around $59,000, which is about $4,000 cheaper than a BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance, but it’s more than the starting price of a Lexus RX 400h, which seats five, not bad considering the technology involved. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Acura MDX's resale value is expected to be excellent in the years ahead.

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