The 2018 Acura MDX crossover SUV is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with an output of 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The unit is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and power is fed to either the front wheels only or all four wheels. A hybrid powertrain is available, which consists of a 3.0-liter V6 and three electric motors for a total output of 321 hp and 289 lb-ft. That is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission feeding the power to all four wheels. With the bigger six-cylinder engine under the hood, the acceleration was more than adequate and overtaking slow traffic was doable. Bottom-end thrust can be improved by maintaining the engine at high revs. Its 0-60 mph acceleration can be completed in 6.5 seconds, which is about average in its category. The all-wheel-drive allowed it to track accurately throughout the turn. It handled like a smaller vehicle than its size and body roll did not affect its cornering abilities. The different driving modes offered varying degrees of steering weight and they all felt appropriate depending on the driving style. The steering was responsive and there was no noticeable delay in changing direction. The brakes delivered adequate stopping power that was linear, and the pedal offered a good response to control the bite intuitively. It took 123 feet to brake from 60 mph, which was below average, but brake fade began to surface throughout the different testing scenarios.
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The base Standard trim includes automatic LED headlights, adaptive suspension dampers, a power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable heated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio, Bluetooth, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a CD player and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker sound system. Advanced safety and driver aids are also included in the base trim. The Technology trim adds automatic wipers, remote engine start, power-folding side mirrors, navigation, digital instrument cluster, HD radio and an upgraded 10-speaker sound system. More advanced safety and driver aids are included. The Advance trim adds LED foglights, automatic engine stop-start, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats and additional USB ports. The Entertainment package for the Technology and Advance trims adds a rear-seat entertainment system.
The 2018 MDX was tested by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and it earned five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and it scored “Good” for crashworthiness and “Superior” for front crash prevention. Its headlights only scored “Average” for crash avoidance and mitigation but overall, it earned a 2018 Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS Advanced safety and driver aids that are available for the base trim include automatic high beams, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. More features are added to higher trim levels and they include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera.
The 2018 MDX has a length of 196.2 inches, a width of 77.8 inches, a height of 67.4 inches, and a wheelbase of 111 inches. The MDX has a subdued aesthetic, which is rightly so since it is being positioned as an alternative to more expensive luxury SUVs. The front fascia is dominated by a pentagonal central grille and its overall look is restrained but with a distinctly Japanese flavor. The base trim comes standard with 18-inch wheels and higher trim levels come standard with 20-inch wheels. A sunroof and roof rails are standard for the base trim.
Getting inside took little effort because the ride height was manageable for the average passenger. Entering the front and middle rows was easy but getting into the third row was hampered by how the middle row folded down. The front and middle rows offered ample space but the middle row had less headroom. The third row was more suited for children and shorter passengers. Up to seven people can be accommodated in the three rows of seats. The seats were comfortable even during long drives and the heating and ventilation worked as expected. The leather upholstery was finished well and fit tightly. Even with its athletic cornering abilities, the ride quality was still acceptable for everyday comfort. Impacts were still transmitted but the suspension absorbed them to not feel jarring. Road and wind noise was not a problem at all and resulted in a fittingly luxurious atmosphere.
There is 15.8 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and there is 43.4 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats. Folding the second and third rows opens up 90.9 cu-ft of space available for cargo.