2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD – Review and Road Test
My cousin Michael only drives Acuras and his dedication to the brand long mystified me. In part, this was my own fault as I hadn’t spent much time behind the wheel of an Acura. To rectify this, I’ve spent several weeks behind the wheel of various Acura models and my experience gave me an appreciation as to why he likes them so much.
Acura holds the distinction of having been the first Japanese luxury automaker, having been introduced to the United States in 1986. Indeed, it quickly became a top seller and has continued as an innovator.
The Tokyo-based company’s first all-original SUV, the MDX, was launched for the model year 2001. On a warm October afternoon, a 2016 White Diamond Pearl MDX SH-AWD made an appearance at Frequent Business Traveler’s garage and it was time for a drive to catch the late fall foliage.
The third-generation MDX was shown as a prototype at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the production model followed a few months later at the New York Auto Show, with sales of the Alabama-produced truck starting in June.
A new 3.5-liter direct injected V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Manager made its appearance in the new MDX and fuel economy was up as well, with the SH-AWD (SHG indicates Super Handling) getting 26 mpg (9.0 l/100 km) on the highway, 19 (12.4) in town, when Idle Stop (start/stop) is engaged. On the minus side, the MDX lost its magnetic adaptive suspension, which has been replaced by a fixed suspension.
Also new are LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and a nine-speed automatic transmission (new for 2016).
The MDX makes a very favorable initial impression with a good-looking design. Its compliance with Acura’s corporate identity, with its somewhat controversial five-point grille, serves to give its vehicles a common identity. The new LED headlights – Acura refers to them as Jewel Eye headlights – further reinforces that.
The design is also deceptive: it looks like a typical five-passenger SUV belying the existence of a third row of seats until one opens the tailgate.