Confirming that it offers "a strong indication of the styling and design direction" of the production model that will hit the showrooms by mid year, Acura officially unveiled the 2014 Acura MDX Prototype in Detroit. "Our goal is to advance on MDX's already great dynamic performance while improving fuel economy and luxury comfort," said Mike Accavitti, vice president of national marketing operations at the reveal. To that end, the design team re-crafted virtually every aspect of the new Gen III MDX package, from its underlying structure to its powertrain to its new strain of "Aero Sculpture" styling.

While light on specific detail, Acura says the 2014 MDX will be spun from an all-new unitized platform structure that's both lighter and more rigid than the current package and incorporates the latest version of the automaker's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body design. Recast front and rear suspension components along with revised chassis tuning promise to give the MDX even more confident handling with a sportier feel while motivation will be supplied by a new 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management that will deliver more torque and more "spirited" performance with even better -- read class-leading -- fuel economy. Although the well-proven and highly regarded Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system will remain a cornerstone of this 7-passenger mid-size SUV, for the first time Acura will offer the MDX in an even-more-affordable front-drive configuration to satisfy demand from would-be buyers who live in warmer climates.

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While the implementation of Acura's new Aero Sculpture styling on the 2014 MDX-to-be yields a more contemporary appearance that's lower, wider, and sleeker, the most tangible benefit of the transition is a package that's up to 16 percent more aerodynamically efficient than the wrapper on the current model current model. Acura chose to hold back interior details on this new Gen III MDX for a later show date. However, Jon Ikeda, chief designer, Acura Design Studio, did indicate that despite its 1.5-inch lower roofline, the 2014 MDX would have a more spacious and versatile cabin that provides greater comfort and is significantly quieter. Part of the extra people and cargo room in the next MDX will be the result of a longer wheelbase that increases second-row legroom and facilitates access/egress to the innermost third tier.

Like other Acura offerings, the 2014 MDX will be available with a host of advanced safety and connectivity features. On the safety front, that formidable roster includes items like Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems, Blind Spot Information, Lane Keeping Assist System, Active Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Multi-Angle Rearview Camera. For those seeking to get and stay connected, the new MDX also will feature the next-generation AcuraLink cloud-based connected-car system with Pandora connectivity, SiriusXM radio, SMS text messaging, and cloud-based Aha by Harman connectivity along with a number of new fee-based premium convenience/assistive/security feature. The MDX's option list also will include a premium Acura/ELS audio system.

No word yet on pricing on for the 2014 Acura MDX, but when the new iteration does come on line, production will be moved from the current facility in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, to a Honda/Acura plant in Lincoln, Alabama, that presently builds the Honda Odyssey, Ridgeline and Pilot models as well as V6 engines.  


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