I word my bias right here – I as soon as owned an Accord – however I don’t suppose my former possession of a used Honda is throwing me off. My commentary, troublesome to quantify because it admittedly is, appears right.
Particular to Acura’s case, the posh model was panned earlier this decade for unflattering styling, subpar luxurious accouterments for the category, and a slide in efficiency. Not all of this criticism was honest – a guide ILX is on my “bizarre automobiles I’d prefer to personal however most likely by no means will” checklist, as a result of that factor was spunky – however however, Acura has seemingly addressed it, and addressed it effectively, in current historical past.
Add the latest MDX to the “check out me now” checklist. Particularly for those who imagine driving a three-row crossover doesn’t imply the top to enjoyable.
We’ve written lots on the MDX over the previous few months – Acura’s PR push has been fixed – however for many who want a refresher, the massive adjustments for the fourth technology of this crossover embody a digital gauge cluster, wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, new platform, double-wishbone entrance suspension, detachable second-row center seat, and extra claimed passenger area. A Sort S efficiency trim is deliberate for late summer time.
Different information contains the addition of a 10-speed automated transmission and a brand new infotainment system touchpad.
Energy comes from a 3.5-liter V6 (290 horsepower, 267 lb-ft of torque) and all-wheel drive is offered. The most important change to the engine/powertrain is the addition of a shutter grille. In sure conditions, shutters within the decrease a part of the grille shut to be able to divert air across the MDX. That reduces drag. When the engine wants extra cooling from the air, the shutters reopen.
My check was temporary – quick mortgage attributable to COVID, and I needed to work round winter climate that quickly turned some roads to slush. As soon as the snow was plowed, I obtained out for a bit and located the MDX to be pleasant to drive, with little sacrifice by way of consolation and luxurious. The double-wishbone entrance and multilink rear suspension assist put the “sport” in sport-utility. As does steering that’s typically well-weighted and correct, regardless of some synthetic really feel.
Sport is relative, in fact, and the MDX handles effectively for a crossover, however there are limits. An aggressive push on an off-ramp induced a little bit of understeer and just a little physique roll, and at a decrease restrict than I anticipated. To be honest, the pavement might not have been absolutely dry, and it was straightforward to maintain the proceedings beneath management.
Whereas the MDX handles effectively – and journey high quality is sort of nice, even in Sport mode – the V6 does wrestle a bit with the 4,565 lb. curb weight.
The cockpit has eye-pleasing supplies and neat tips to its format (reminiscent of a pop-up for the USB port), though the touchpad for the infotainment system has a steep studying curve that infuriates – it’s arguably worse than Lexus’ related system. To be honest, the system most likely will get simpler to make use of over time – this can be a kind of issues that drive auto journalists nuts throughout a brief mortgage however homeowners get used to.
If you wish to swap drive modes, a giant silver knob is true there for you. The transmission is operated by the now-familiar Honda/Acura push-button shifter, which I undoubtedly have gotten used to over time.
The cabin isn’t good, because of some hard-plastic contact factors, however a lot of the supplies feel and look applicable for the category.
I wasn’t capable of get Alexa to speak to me, however I believe that was partly as a result of I pressed the push-to-talk button for the infotainment system, which Acura PR tells me is pointless. I additionally had my COVID masks on, so maybe my voice was muffled.
My check unit got here commonplace with options reminiscent of digital gauges, touchpad infotainment, satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth, wi-fi Android Auto, wi-fi Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hotspot, built-in Amazon Alexa, heated entrance seats, tri-zone local weather management, panoramic moonroof, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, blind-spot info system, heated sideview mirrors, and keyless beginning and entry. The $4,700 Tech Bundle added navigation, ambient lighting, ambient cabin lighting, low-speed braking management, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding sideview mirrors, second-row sunshades, and entrance and rear parking sensors.
This tester additionally got here with the $7,050 Superior Bundle (requires you to go for AWD and the Tech Bundle) that added a 360-degree digicam, energy tailgate with hands-free help, head-up show, distant begin, 16-speaker premium audio system, 16-way energy entrance seats, sport seats with perforated leather-based trim, cooled entrance seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming sideview mirrors, and LED fog lamps.
Patrons get the AcuraWatch suite of driver aids, which incorporates: Adaptive cruise management, collision-mitigation braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help system, road-departure mitigation, traffic-jam help, and automated excessive beams.
The bottom worth of $60,650 balloons to $62,175 with the $500 Efficiency Crimson Pearl paint and $1,025 in vacation spot charges.
Gasoline economic system, for many who ponder such issues, is listed at 19 mpg metropolis/25 mpg freeway/21 mpg mixed.
Acura continues to slowly return to kind as a luxurious model that additionally provides up driving enjoyable. The street again to success isn’t good – the touchpad infotainment system annoys, the sticker worth pops eyes, and the MDX, like most three-row crossovers, is hampered some dynamically by weight – however the MDX reveals that Acura hears the cries of the critics and at the least tries to repair the issues.
The MDX additionally reveals that mature folks with obligations that necessitate the possession of a three-row crossover can nonetheless have enjoyable behind the wheel.
Acura is making strides, and the MDX is additional proof of that.
[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC, Acura]