The 2023 Acura MDX excels as one of the best choices within the luxury three-row midsize SUV segment. It caters to the diverse needs of families, seamlessly combining practicality with an eye-catching, modern and sleek design. We truly admire the exterior and interior aesthetics of the new MDX – Acura has done an excellent job. While it performs admirably, the only notable drawback is the touchpad infotainment system, which might pose some frustration for users.
Performance & Handling
The Acura MDX is equipped with a V6 engine that, while not particularly awe-inspiring, meets the needs of most drivers seeking a family-friendly luxury SUV. It provides sufficient power for daily commuting and carrying passengers. During our tests, we recorded an acceleration time of 7.9 seconds when going from 0 to 100 km/h. This makes the MDX slower than most other SUVs in the luxury 3-row segment. On the bright side, Acura does offer a more performance-oriented version of the MDX, the Type S variant. The Type S delivers significantly quicker acceleration, catering to those who desire a more spirited driving experience. However, it’s essential to consider that this model comes with a higher price tag but it might be worth it depending on your needs. Complementing the V6 engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission that is both responsive and smooth. This transmission ensures that the power from the engine is efficiently delivered to the wheels, enhancing the overall driving experience. It contributes to a sense of control and refinement while driving the MDX.
One thing that really stands out in the MDX is its remarkable steering and handling capabilities, making it a strong contender in the luxury three-row midsize SUV segment. What sets the MDX apart is Acura’s latest iteration of the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, which elevates the vehicle’s nimbleness and ensures confident traction, even when the roads are a little wet. The MDX strikes a fine balance between a comfortable ride and the ability to tackle corners with agility, an unexpected trait for a three-row luxury SUV. Furthermore, the steering is also surprisingly good, offering a level of accuracy and a natural feel that enhances the driving experience. Whether you’re navigating tight corners or cruising on highway stretches, the MDX’s steering adapts seamlessly to suit the situation.
Interior & Comfort
The MDX’s cabin showcases premium craftsmanship, featuring leather-trimmed dashboards, open-pore wood, elegant metal accents, and polished piano-black finishes. While the piano-black elements contribute to a sleek appearance, it’s worth noting that they will show wear and scratches over time. This combination of materials results in a luxurious interior, elevating the cabin’s overall appeal. It provides an inviting and refined space, making it an attractive choice for families seeking an upscale driving experience. The front seats are not just luxurious but also ergonomic, providing substantial support and comfort for long drives. They also come with 16-way power adjustability and 4-way lumbar support to perfect your seating position and are heated and cooled for more comfort. Passenger space is another strong suit of the MDX. The first and second rows offer ample legroom and headroom for occupants, ensuring a comfortable journey. However, the third row is best suited for children, as it may not provide the same level of comfort and space as the preceding rows. Entering and exiting the cabin is effortless, thanks to Acura’s user-friendly push-button seat release for the second row. Moreover, the versatility of the second-row seating stands out, as the middle seat can be removed to create a captain’s chair setup, accompanied by a center pass-through that makes third-row access even more convenient.
In terms of visibility, the MDX excels, thanks to its large windows that offer a commanding view of the road and surroundings. Additionally, the MDX comes with a surround-view camera system on the Platinum Elite trim. This technology provides a comprehensive view of the vehicle’s surroundings, ensuring that you can effortlessly see everything around the vehicle. It enhances your situational awareness and aids in maneuvering the MDX with ease.
When it comes to ride comfort, the MDX does a great job of providing a smooth and comfortable ride. The suspension system effectively absorbs the majority of road imperfections, minimizing the impact of bumps and uneven surfaces. This results in a smoother and more pleasant ride, which is essential for a family-oriented SUV, especially a luxury SUV. The comfort also extends into the cabin at highway speeds, thanks to minimal intrusion of road and wind noise.
The climate control system within the MDX is also user-friendly thanks to physical buttons, making it easy to change climate settings. It consistently maintains a comfortable cabin temperature even during extended periods behind the wheel. However, the lack of ventilation in the third-row cabin might lead to some discomfort for rear passengers.
Technology & Connectivity
Every MDX comes with a large 12.3-inch center display, powering the infotainment system. While the infotainment itself has an appealing design, it’s worth noting that it utilizes the True Touchpad Interface, which has been a topic of controversy amongst journalists and buyers. Our experience with the MDX and other Acura models has shown that, while the touchpad interface can be challenging initially, it becomes more intuitive with time. The large infotainment screen not only adds to the cabin’s aesthetics but also offers a clear and user-friendly display. However, the split-screen design is not something that we were big fans of and prefer the option to use the entire screen when using Apple CarPlay.
For those who appreciate exceptional audio quality, the available 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D sound system is truly impressive. It’s not only capable of delivering a substantial volume of sound throughout the cabin but also maintains clarity and precision, ensuring that your music or audio experience remains enjoyable without distortion.
Every passenger gets the convenience of USB ports as they are provided for all three rows, ensuring that passengers throughout the MDX can easily charge their devices. What’s more, the MDX comes equipped with wireless connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This means you can seamlessly activate these smartphone integration systems without the hassle of dealing with USB cables, enhancing the overall user experience.
The MDX offers a robust set of driver-assistive technologies designed to enhance safety and convenience. Among these features, the adaptive cruise control system stands out for its smooth operation, making congested rush-hour traffic a little easier to handle. These advanced technologies contribute to a well-rounded driving experience, combining safety and ease of use, making the MDX a compelling choice for families.
The MDX impresses with its remarkable cargo capacity and storage adaptability. Even when the third-row seats are in their upright position, you benefit from a generous 461L of cargo space. Fold down those third-row seats, and you get an impressive 1,107L of cargo capacity. These figures surpass the offerings of many other luxury three-row SUVs in this segment. Furthermore, there’s a bonus storage area located underneath the rear cargo floor, ensuring a clutter-free and organized cargo area.
Stepping into the vehicle, there’s room for improvement in the front cabin’s design to enhance spaciousness, particularly up front. Despite this, you’ll find a decent amount of space in the front area. Notably, the sizeable door bins offer ample storage and the center armrest bin is also spacious, making it easy to stow essentials and keeping them well-organized.
Moving to the second row, practicality for families is evident with car seat anchors thoughtfully placed in the middle row. This allows for the hassle-free installation of child safety seats side by side, catering to families with multiple young passengers. The MDX’s consideration for families and storage solutions contributes to its overall appeal as a family-friendly luxury SUV.
All MDX models, except for the Type S variant, have a fuel efficiency rating of 12.6/9.4/11.2 L/100km (City/Highway/Combined). During our test, we achieved an average of 10.7 L/100km, though it’s important to note that this included a trip to Detroit for the auto show, primarily involving highway driving.