SUV of the Year

Acura MDX: 2017 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

Driving Acura's Refreshed and Quieter Three-Row Crossover

Driving Acura's Refreshed and Quieter Three-Row Crossover

We Like: The smooth ride and its responsiveness when driven hard.

We Don’t Like: Fussy transmission selector and dual-stack display.

For the mid-cycle refresh of its flagship three-row SUV, Acura clipped the chrome beak, added captain’s chairs and more premium leather and wood to the cabin, and enhanced a host of safety and technology upgrades.

Nearly every judge called out the MDX’s quiet, well-damped ride, particularly on the bumpy replica of L.A.’s 110 freeway.

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We also appreciated how Acura’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive system responded well when driven firmly, but Jason Cammisa questioned the need for torque-vectoring AWD in a soccer-mom hauler. “Sure, it’s great when you’re pushing the limit,” he said, “but is it really necessary?”

At lower speeds, some judges were put off by the “herky-jerky” response of the nine-speed transmission. Others had issues with the inconsistent “ping-ponging” performance of the MDX’s lane keep assist system, the cornerstone of the updated AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistance suite. And the array of buttons for cruise control, lane keeping, and infotainment controls are “indecipherable,” Mark Rechtin noted.

Jonny Lieberman rated the new-look MDX highly against the design criteria, but others saw the subtle styling tweaks as a missed opportunity. Alisa Priddle found the interior upgrades to be more premium than outright luxurious. All were impressed by a plethora of power points, ranging from 1.0- and 2.5-amp USB to 100- and 180-watt 12-volt outlets.

Acura’s substantial refresh of the MDX makes it a solid player in its category, but not against our six criteria. As such, it’s not the standout SUV for 2017.

2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD (Advance)
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN SOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 213.2 cu in/3,493 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 11.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 290 hp @ 6,200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
REDLINE 6,800 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 14.6 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.33:1/2.08:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.7:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 3.1
BRAKES, F; R 12.6-in vented disc; 13.0-in disc, drum, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 8.0 x 20-in cast aluminum
TIRES, F;R 245/50R20 102H (M+S) Continental CrossContact LX Sport
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 111.0 in
TRACK, F/R 66.3/66.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.2 x 77.2 x 67.6 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 7.3 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 14.9/17.4 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 38.7 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,222 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 58/42%
TOWING CAPACITY 3,500 lb
SEATING CAPACITY 6
HEADROOM, F/M/R 38.1/38.3/35.6 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 41.4/36.6/28.1 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 61.6/59.1/54.7 in
CARGO VOL BEHIND 3rd/2nd/1st 15.8/43.4/90.9 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.2 sec
0-40 3.3
0-50 4.7
0-60 6.2
0-70 8.1
0-80 10.5
0-90 13.2
0-100 16.9
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.2
QUARTER MILE 14.7 sec @ 94.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 121 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.83 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.0 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,800 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $57,340
PRICE AS TESTED $57,340
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 6 yrs/70,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 19.5 gal
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 19.6/32.4/23.8 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/26/22 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/130 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.90 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium