model. 2020 Acura MDX
price. $45,395 (incl $995 dest)
as tested. $56,295 (SH- AWD A-Spec)
seating/style. 6-7-pass/4-door SUV
powertrain. 290-hp 3.5-liter V6
transmission. Nine-speed auto
driveline. FWD, AWD available
fuel economy. 19/25/21
words. Rebecca Lindland
visuals. courtesy of Acura
The popular Acura MDX is a premium crossover mainstay. It offers attractive exterior styling with seating for six or a cozy seven, ideal for active families. The SH-AWD A-Spec I drove features a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a 9-speed smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Acceleration is good, although handling feels heavy and not as athletic as competitors; think draft horse versus Thoroughbred, even with “super handling” (SH) AWD. The ride quality is composed and the brakes sharp, but require a firm press to engage stop-start.
The cabin materials are recently upgraded and the A-Spec provides Alcantara suede inserts and sporty, comfortable seats. Acurawatch driver assistance, standard in every MDX, delivers non-intrusive and highly useful audio and haptic feedback.
The MDX has two large center-dash screens: a high mounted one for visibility and a smaller lower one within comfortable touch-screen distance. But the system is cumbersome, with the volume knob awkwardly placed. Voice recognition was poor, with “Pardon?” a frequent (and maddening) refrain. It may take time (read: weeks) mastering this system.
If budget allows, add the Technology Package ($5,000) and AWD ($2,000). The MDX won’t disappoint, but shop around, as competition is fierce in this category.