• Car Review

2017 Acura MDX Review

By Autolist Editorial | September 23, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Powertrain delivers good fuel economy.
  • Many available features to meet one's specific tastes.
  • SH-AWD system is surefooted in poor weather conditions.

Cons:

  • Engine stop-start system could be improved.
  • Some rivals offer more refined interior materials.
  • Fancy dual-screen dash setup feels unnecessary.

Would we buy one? Yes.

Vehicle Type: Four-door, three-row midsize crossover SUV with seating for up to seven.

Price Range: Starting MSRP pricing is $44,890 - $55,340, including a $940 destination charge but before options.

Powertrain: A 3.5-liter V6 engine making 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

A 3.0-liter hybrid V6 engine with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission is available.

Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

Competitors: Infiniti QX60, Lexus RX L, Lincoln MKT, Audi Q7, BMW X5, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, and Volvo XC90.

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Overall Score: 8.8/10

Safety Features: 9/10

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The Honda Acura MDX scores high marks with safety in a segment that tightly rations advanced driver features. The AcuraWatch package comes standard on all trim levels and includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, stability control, and collision mitigation braking along with standard airbags. Advanced options are available that include lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Acura MDX five out of five stars in crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) designated the MDX as a 'Top Safety Pick Plus,' giving it high ratings in most crash categories.


Value: 9/10

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The 2017 Acura MDX is undeniably a good value for a midsize luxury SUV that will appeal to a broad range of new car shoppers. Rivals like the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 are priced higher and may be less accessible to some consumers, though they have more unique luxury options than the MDX.

There are five trim levels for the Acura MDX models: Standard, Technology, Entertainment, Advance, and Sport Hybrid.

The MDX Sport Hybrid model is available with the Advance or Technology Package only.

The trim levels build on one another and add more features and luxury options while increasing pricing.

The MDX Standard trim level starts at $44,890 MSRP. Technology trim start pricing is $49,300 MSRP. MDX Entertainment starts at $51,300 MSRP. The MDX Advance starts at $55,340 MSRP.

$52,950 MSRP start pricing for the Sport Hybrid.

All prices include a destination charge.

We would get the Advance Package with the MDX SH-AWD and go all out. It is a good value at around $58,000 fully-loaded compared to pricier rivals like the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE.


Tech Features: 7/10

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Standard infotainment for the 2017 Acura MDX includes an eight-speaker audio system, automatic high beams, USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. A rear surround sound system is available for an enhanced entertainment system.

The Advance Package adds LED fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, auto stop-start, a surround-view camera, a navigation system, remote start, satellite radio, and other amenities.

The Entertainment Package and a Technology Package is available. Some optional equipment includes a 9-inch backseat-facing screen, a 16.2-inch HDMI-compatible screen, premium audio systems, wireless headphones, and other useful features. Upgraded trim levels can add considerable cost but are attractive enough to be worth a look.


Practicality: 6/10

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Third-row seating space is subpar in the Acura MDX. The third-row seat offers the least legroom for large adults and, better reserved for children or smaller people. Entering and exiting the rear seats is easy thanks to pushing buttons that slide the seats forward. Headroom is good in the front seats but decreases in the rear seats. The cabin is kept comfortable with standard automatic tri-zone climate control, and the center console stows small items.

At 14.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the far rear, it is on the small side. With the third-row seat down, the MDX gets 38.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which improves payload capacity.

The MDX has a surprisingly decent towing capacity. It stands on par with the competition at about 3,500 pounds with front-wheel drive and 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive. Bright LED headlights enhance driving visibility.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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Acura emblems tag the grille, and exterior fender styling provides the front end body style a refresh over the previous MDX model year. Interior leather seats and wood finishes add some class to the Acura MDX, helping it find its place in the crowded luxury crossover SUV segment.

Upgraded second-row captain's chairs, ventilated front seats, larger 20-inch alloy wheels, moonroof, and a heated steering wheel add to the upper-tier trim configurations' comfort levels.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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The MDX is a dependable midsize SUV. We liked how the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) drivetrain with torque-vectoring and the capable 3.5-liter V6 negotiate corners and adverse roadways with steady traction and handling.

The start-stop capability can feel slightly temperamental when engaged, but the powerful V6 coupled with the 9-speed automatic shifts quickly with decent acceleration to diminish any stutter. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel give the driver optional manual gear control.

Rivals like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 tout extreme performance beyond what the MDX can offer. At a higher price, of course. The Mazda CX-9 provides arguably better driving dynamics than the MDX for a comparable price.


Fuel Efficiency: 9/10

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The Acura MDX gets better gas mileage than some segment competitors, but its hybrid variant is not as efficient as some hybrid models.

3.5-liter with the nine-speed automatic FWD setup gets 20/27/23 MPG city/hwy/combined according to EPA estimates. The SH-AWD variant with the same engine gets 19/26/22 MPG city/hwy/combined.

The 3.0-liter hybrid variant gets 26/27/27 MPG city/hwy/combined according to EPA estimates.


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