The 2014 Acura MDX SUV has been completely redesigned for this model year, and it is turning heads for all the right reasons. Acura has even made some thoughtful improvements under the hood that dictates significantly better fuel economy. Every MDX is powered by a strong 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. It gets a six-speed Sequential SportShift transmission that gives you the convenience of an automatic but also has paddle shifters, for those who enjoy a little more control. Properly equipped it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. As a front-wheel drive, it returns 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is impressive numbers for a full-size seven-passenger vehicle. Opting for all-wheel drive does decrease these numbers a bit to 20 mpg combined. Acceleration is impressive, the ride is plush, and the cabin is tranquil, even at highway speeds, thanks to absorbing acoustic glass, triple-sealed doors, and special insulation in the rear floor and wheelhouses. MDX also gets a new electric power steering system that has been fine-tuned for improved response and cornering. Comfort, Normal, and Sport settings are available for a customized driving experience.
• Audio - The standard eight-speaker audio system includes a touchscreen, CD player, iPod interface, satellite radio, and Pandora interface. A 10-speaker ELS Studio Premium Audio System is available with HD Radio™, 15GB hard drive media storage, and voice recognition.
• Navigation - Acura Navigation System will get you where you need to go with an eight-inch, full resolution touchscreen, voice recognition, and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ with Traffic Rerouting™.
• Rear Seat Entertainment - Keep rear passengers entertained with a 16.2-inch screen, HDMI input, and two additional speakers. A smaller, 9-inch screen with one speaker is also available.
• HomeLink - Operate three remote-controlled gates, garages, or security systems with buttons in the overhead console.
Crash test results are not available yet for the 2014 model. One can only hope that the redesign has not affected the vehicle in the safety department because the 2013 model dominated the segment. Last year's model received a -Good- rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in front, roof, and side-impact crash tests. Plus, it was able to stop from 60 mph in only 123 feet. A few standard and optional features include:
• Blind-spot monitoring
• Lane-departure warning system
• Forward-collision warning system
• Collision mitigation braking
• Lane-keeping assist
• Remote anti-theft alarm
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Vehicle stability assist
• Child seat anchors
• Rear door safety locks
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• Emergency braking assist
• Engine immobilizer
• Turn signal mirrors
• Traction control
• Daytime running lights
• Dusk sensing headlights
The 2014 Acura MDX is stunning from every angle. Its thoughtful lines and aerodynamic roofline make it appear smaller than it is, unlike other rivals that tend to look like a box on wheels. Its Jewel Eye™ LED headlights are a standout feature. MDX gets a power lift gate, rear privacy glass, sunroof, and 18-inch wheels, but 19-inch wheels are available.
If you are excited about the exterior, just wait until you slip behind the wheel. The cabin was designed for the driver, with easy to read gauges and a thick steering wheel tightly wrapped in leather. Those who felt the dash in the 2013 model was a little too busy will appreciate that the dash and center stack have been simplified for 2014. The first two rows are generous in leg and head room. Adults will fit in the third row, but may start to feel cramped after a bit. The third row is also very easily accessed through a push-button, power-sliding second-row seat.
Even with the third row is place, MDX gives you 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space, which is comparable to a large sedan. Fold the rear two seats down and you are awarded 90.9 cubes.