Three-row luxury crossovers continue to be popular with Canadian consumers who desire the finer things in life but need practicality, space, and comfort. For more than 15 years, Acura has catered to this customer with the MDX, and for 2017, the midsize crossover has been overhauled with a new look, new upscale features and technologies, and for the first time in the model's history, an avaialble hybrid powertrain.
The new MDX trades its former "beak" grille for a new angular pentagon-shaped unit. Restyled Jewel-Eye LED headlamps, and a refreshed front bumper and hood round out the changes to the front end. The base trim gets restyled 18-inch wheels, while Navi, Tech, and Elite trims feature larger 20-inch wheels. Fog lights, limited to the Elite trim, now use LEDs instead of regular bulbs. Around back, all MDXs get a new rear bumper design with integrated dual tailpipes. A new colour, Black Copper Pearl, joins the pallet.
While the interior styling hasn't changed, the new MDX features more standard features than before. A heated steering wheel is now included, as is an upgraded tire pressure monitoring system that honks the vehicle's horn when filling up tires to alert the driver that the proper pressure has been reached. Equipment levels on the base trim are generous with a one-touch power fold and slide second-row seat, power tailgate, remote starter, and proximity key with push-button start all standard. Although the standard infotainment system has been upgraded to include USB ports with 2.5-amp fast-charging abilities, the MDX does not feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Siri Eyes-Free is, however, included. Navigation is standard on Navi trim levels and up, while an ultra-wide 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system with HDMI inputs is included on Tech and Elite trims.
The standard-issue engine on the MDX is a 3.5-litre direct-injected V6 engine that develops 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. It also features cylinder deactivation which can run on three or six cylinders; the range-topping Elite trim goes one step further with an engine idle-stop system. The MDX's V6 drives through a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic with paddles for manual shifting. All vehicles feature Acura's torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which defaults to a rear-biased (30/70) power split, and can shuffle torque between the left and right rear wheels for a more nimble feel. Tow ratings range between 3,500 and 5,000 lbs.
While the MDX offers fuel efficiency ratings of as little as 12.2 L/100 km city and 9.0 L/100 km highway, those desiring lower consumption figures may wish to hold out for the new MDX Sport Hybrid. Leveraging the same system as used in the RLX Sport Hybrid, it features a 3.0-litre V6 engine paired to three electric motors and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Total power jumps to 325 hp. The flagship of the MDX range, the Sport Hybrid also receives unique suspension tuning, too.
Buyers concerned about safety should note that as of 2017, all MDXs come standard with the AcuraWatch suite of active safety features. Radar cruise control with low-speed follow, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, emergency autonomous braking, and forward collision warning all come standard. It's a significant value-add given the MDX's starting price has only increased by $440.
Speaking of price, the 2017 MDX starts at $53,690, and rises to $65,790 for the Elite. Pricing for the Sport Hybrid will be released closer to its on-sale date.