2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD – Review and Road Test

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The first Acura I drove with this feature was the RLX (reviewed in our September 2015 issue) and at first I thought I would hate it. Just like BMW’s beer-keg like gear selector, I grew to like it as it’s nothing like the push-button transmissions of 1950s Chryslers and Edsels. It soon became second nature and I found myself getting ready to push the D button on other cars and wondering what was wrong with them.

Acura brings numerous driver assistance technologies to the MDX table. Among them are adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, a collision warning system, and rear cross-traffic monitoring. While I initially derided such features as being nanny-like a few years ago, given the growth in size of roof pillars and sail panels with a commensurate reduction in overall visibility (all in the name of safety for collision and rollover protection), I find that they have practically become necessities.

Once on the highway, I found the adaptive cruise worked well and the MDX very politely matched the speed of the vehicle ahead while the lane keeping assistant used discrete braking to keep the car within the lane markers. However, I sometimes felt the cruise control was a bit too responsive and was making a few too many adjustments.

The car’s Intelligent Dynamics System, via the IDS button, allowed me to choose among Sport, Normal, and Comfort. The choice affects throttle response (I mostly stayed in Sport mode because of that) and steering feel as well as shifting.

The suspension was neither too soft nor too harsh; it was just right and made me think more of a BMW X5 than a Mercedes-Benz GL.

BOTTOM LINE

The current Acura MDX SH-AWD may well offer the most fun a driver can have with three rows of seats. It’s quick and quiet and, while the button-based transmission selector may take getting used to, is clearly worth it.

THE DETAILS

2016 Acura MDX SH-AWD
Base price/price-as-tested $44,865/$57,080
Drivetrain Front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque 290 / 267
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Curb weight (lbs) 4,246
Wheelbase (inches) 111
Length x width x height (inches) 193.6 x 77.2 x 67.6
0-60 mph (seconds) 5.9
Fuel economy (mpg) (city/hwy) 19/26 (with Idle Stop)

 

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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