It’s good to lean on a rock, once in a while. Having something or someone solid to depend on can seriously help one through tough times. Acura’s MDX has been a rock for the brand since its arrival in 2001.
Consumers craving SUVs were all too happy to swing by their local Acura dealers in their Legends, Integras and even NSXs to add to their fleet of favourite, great driving luxury cars.
As Acura continues to weather the brand-identity storm, their MDX persists as the rock on which sales and business is based. Completely revamped for 2014, this latest MDX is the best ever, a leap ahead of the previous vehicle, and will continue to support Acura as long as needed.
The fine line
Whatever you do, there’s always that fine line that should (and I do mean should) not be crossed, and if one can hold that line then all will be good. How this applies to the MDX is in how Acura’s engineers managed to make everything in the MDX work well without sacrificing or negatively affecting something else.
The balance between luxury, comfort and performance is just about perfect, equal or better than any of the MDX’s competitors -- and I include some costing up to 50% more dinero.
Room for everyone
The 2015 MDX’s cabin is an absolute hit. For as long as Acura’s been making cars, they’ve been fabricating seats correctly. The front perches are immensely supportive over long hours. The 2nd row bench is well padded while the 3rd row can be used with ease thanks to the One Touch Walk-In feature (the 2nd row seats fold and slide automatically). The boot is huge and well finished as a luxury vehicle should be.
On the subject of craftsmanship, the MDX’s serves as an example of what’s best below the six-figure purchase mark. The materials are classy; the genuine olive ash trim is an especially nice touch.
The dashboard is well laid out, but the dual screens may be the only place where Acura crossed the line. Depending on the menu, some redundancy occurs between the two and it can occasionally be slightly annoying.
With Elite trim, the MDX includes Acura’s Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), and true niceties such as ventilated front seats, a remote engine starter, and a premium Acura/ELS Surround 546-watt audio system.
Drives like an Acura should
The 2015 Acura MDX packs Honda’s much used and appreciated 3.5L V6. Within the confines of Auto123.com’s favourite midsize luxury utility vehicle’s engine bay, it develops 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque.
This engine’s refined operation surprised me each time I pressed the start/stop button. Smooth and sufficiently audible, the V6 is plenty powerful to get the MDX up to speed. It won’t win any drag races, but will easily hold its own in day-to-day traffic.
The equally suave 6-speed automatic transmission seamlessly glides from one cog to another. Never hesitant, it responds quickly and efficiently to any throttle prod. In the event that the driver should want to be more involved, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are standard.
The MDX’s ride is properly calibrated for handling urban and freeway roads. The suspension’s dampers are taut yet compliant, providing good road feel and stable cruising. The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering’s assistance is well judged with good precision. I found the brake pedal to be somewhat soft at the top of its travel, but braking power is good.
The design front
The $49,990 MDX plays it safe where styling is concerned. Apart from the now-signature LED headlights, the midsize luxo CUV blends in with its surroundings. This aspect is ideal for those looking to avoid flash (although I know very few people like that…).
The tested $63,990 Elite version packs little visual difference, as the 19” wheels are included as soon as the Navigation package is selected. As such, the MDX’s front fascia is an adapted grille/bumper/headlight that is found on all the latest Acuras. It works well and possibly best on this vehicle.
There are few other noteworthy details. The 2015 Acura MDX is very Japanese in both looks and execution, and it works very well.
The market is flooded with CUVs of all shapes and sizes. This category blends three-row offerings with typical five-passenger ones.
Of the ones most like the MDX, the Buick Enclave comes close in every respect except for powertrain operation where the Acura wins. The Infiniti QX60 is another alternative but also comes up short.
If three rows of seating are not required, the Volvo XC70 is a nice “car” alternative, and I also like the Mercedes M-Class.
In the end, the rock that is the MDX for Acura is an excellent go-anywhere-do-anything luxurious way to get around. If Acura keeps with the times and consumer requests with this CUV, it’ll always be there to count on.