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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld


Updated: Jan 19, 2020

This week we are reviewing the 2020 Acura MDX with the Tech plus package. Our vehicle was assembled at the East Liberty Plant in Ohio. Our test vehicle has an MSRP of 61280.00 CAD

Fun Factor: 6

Can it Family: 9

Fuel-Friendly: 6

HWY-warrior: 7

Karaoke Friendly: 7

Baby-friendly: 9

City Cruising: 5

The Acura MDX we tested came with the 3.5L i-Vtec V6 producing 290hp with a max torque figure of 267 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm. As it's been proven, all this power is transmitted through a traditional 9-speed transmission. While the vehicle offers paddle shifters to make it look more sporty, the transmission has nothing sporty. It gets by fine for everyday usage; however, compared to other premium or luxury brands, the acceleration doesn't make it class-leading. The acceleration we observed to 100km/h from a stillstand was 8.55 seconds. We obtained these results while using winter tires; these naturally affect its performance, with sportier tires, you can easily shave off an additional second to this test. While the engine doesn't evoke sportiness, it has shown to be very reliable for Acura and proven to be very solid; hence so many people choose the MDX over the competition and keep coming back. Around corners, the MDX can't hide its weight; here we can see the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), it was helpful maintaining speed and stability around corners compared to other SUVs in this segment where it's more a fancy nameplate.

The MDX is sure one of the go-to SUV for larger families with its 3 rows has been outselling the competition for several years now and, as per ACURA, is the number 1 in lifetime sales in its segment. The MDX has a seating capacity of 7 passengers and offers exemplar seating comfort for 4 adults, including the driver. The additional seating capacity is mainly for young children, such as the 3rd row and the middle seat in the 2nd row. The front seats are 12-way power-adjustable, including the lumbar support. As for winter comfort, in our Tech Plus variant, we got heated seats for the front passengers and heated seats for the outer rear seats. The driver also gets a heated steering wheel. The interior is well insulated, and conversations between passengers can happen in a more relaxing way. Now for the trunk, in a 5-passenger configuration, it provides enough space to fit the largest stroller and still leaves plenty of space for groceries and shopping. When used in a 7-passenger configuration, you'll have enough space for a medium-sized stroller. If you place the strollers vertically, you have the possibility of fitting 2 in the trunk.

The fuel economy we observed with the Acura MDX during the week we tested was 9.6L per 100km on the HWY and 15.2L per 100km in the City for an average fuel consumption of 12.6L per 100km over a 600km test. The temperatures observed during our test were between +2c and +18c. Acura announces the following fuel consumption 9.2L per 100km on the HWY and 12.3L per 100 in the City for a combined result of 10.9L per 100km. A couple of factors may explain our lower fuel efficiency in the City: Our test vehicle had winter tires while outside temperatures were quite warm that week, which isn't ideal for winter tires and; our test included heavy traffic.

As an HWY family hauler the Acura MDX does its job quite well, we tested it on our drive to the cabin in the Eastern Townships, in Quebec, to see how it would handle the mountains and sinuous roads in the area. During our test drive on the HWY, we were hit with more than we wished for; we got sunshine, rain, ice rain and snow all in one day. This gave us a good idea of how the Acura handles in a quickly changing weather situation. We gladly saw that whatever mother nature throws at it, the MDX will take and bring you to destination.

Now for the sound system, our vehicle was equipped with the premium 11 speaker sound system. That sounded good and gave enjoyment to the whole family. Acura offers the possibility of an even bigger system in the Elite & Hybrid versions of the MDX. As for the infotainment, it offers 2 screens; one that works for services such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and that you can navigate using only the click wheel; the second, a touch screen, for the vehicle settings. While we normally prefer this type of feature, the placement of the click wheel has a natural feeling as it's located just underneath the touchscreen. While ACURA does offer an updated system, it's not available in the current models of the MDX. We would like to see a more simplified system with only one screen or a larger screen to fit everything all at once. Items such as heated seats don't need to be integrated into the infotainment.

The MDX offers the possibility to have 3 car seats attached to a lower teether in the second row, but it will block access to the back row. It will be more practical to have only 2 car seats on the 2nd row and a child with a booster or an older child, which don't usually need to be fixed, hence allowing passengers to access the 3rd row. In the 3rd row, you may install 2 car seats using a rear anchor teether only. The lower teethers in the 2nd row can be hard to reach when it comes to installing the car seats since they are hidden underneath the seats; the same goes when unlatching them. For kids, getting in and out of the MDX is easy enough; you'll need to open the door for them; then, with the push of a button, the seat leans and moves forward to allow them to find a quiet spot in the 3rd row. An inconvenience we found, is that when you have a passenger in the center seat of the 2nd row, the belt pulls down from the roof and blocks our rearview. All in all, the MDX is the perfect option for larger families as it can really fit a family and doesn't just offer a + 2 seating capacity when needed.

Now for the City, the ACURA MDX does have an imposing presence. In our test, the fuel economy was quite high, luckily ACURA does have an alternative powertrain in form as a Hybrid for those that are looking to use the ACURA mainly in the City. As for parking, even with its larger size, it is quite simple; the only negative point we found is that the button-based transmission can be cumbersome in certain instances when trying to parallel park in a tight spot. The rearview camera is a little pixelated and would need an update, especially coming from a luxury brand, all models come with front and rear sensors except the base model, and in the Elite model, you also get a full surround camera view. As for the suspension in town, it takes potholes quite well without upsetting the vehicle.

Why would we buy the 2020 ACURA MDX or what we liked about it: Very spacious interior, a hybrid version is available, proven reliability over time

Why we wouldn't buy the 2020 ACURA MDX or what we didn't like about it: Slow powertrain for a luxury/premium vehicle, infotainment system setup with 2 screens of different screen quality doesn't say premium.

ACURA has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle, we have no affiliation with Honda Canada, and the above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the vehicle referred above.

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