Acura is launching its first hybrid SUV. By incorporating part of the hybrid technology from the NSX, the luxury brand not only wanted to improve fuel economy but also sought to increase the performance of its best-selling model. The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid arrives with more power than the regular MDX, and with standard all-wheel drive it delivers a confident drive with no compromise.
2017 Acura MDX Exterior & Styling
A lot of criticism has been heaped on Acura for its shield-style grille, but that look is now on the way out in favor of the new pentagon-shaped design worn by the 2017 MDX. Inspired by the Acura Precision Concept car, the grille updates the MDX’s front-end look.
Perhaps I’ve just grown accustomed to that shield grille, but I can’t say that the new front-end design is appreciably better. Different, for sure, but not better. Where other luxury brands, such as BMW and Audi, have tweaked their already distinctive corporate grilles, Acura is still looking for its design identity. This new look doesn’t convince me it’s found one.
2017 Acura MDX Interior
The Acura MDX seats seven among three rows, with bench seats in the second and third rows in the base trim. Up front, the MDX’s seats are supportive and comfortable, providing ample room. Passengers in the middle row can slide the seat forward and backward for more or less legroom. The third row is cramped, especially when tall passengers occupy the second row and slide it back.
Standard features in the MDX include tri-zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio system, satellite radio, a power moonroof, a proximity key, and a dual-screen infotainment system with an upper 8-inch display and a lower 7-inch touch screen. For the 2017 model year, the AcuraWatch suite of driver assistance features is newly standard, and it comes with active lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Optional features include remote start, GPS-linked climate control, navigation, a 10- or 12-speaker ELS audio system, HD Radio, voice recognition, two USB ports in the third row, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, the AcuraLink telematics system, and a 16.2-inch or 9-inch rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones.
2017 Acura MDX Under the Hood
When the third generation of the MDX was shown at the 2013 New York auto show, the engineers had already designed the chassis to support a hybrid system without sacrificing interior space or cargo volume. But it wasn’t until a year after the three-row luxury SUV received its mid-cycle refresh that Acura showed the hybrid version. The MDX Sport Hybrid’s powertrain is composed of a 3.0-liter V-6 coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a built-in electric motor. A twin motor unit in the back provides torque to the rear wheels for a more responsive driving experience. There’s also a power control unit and an intelligent power control unit with a 1.3-kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack located beneath the driver’s seat. Both units come straight from the NSX. A regenerative brake system provides energy to the battery in a hardly noticeable way. The result is a total output of 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. That’s 31 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque more than the regular MDX. Fuel economy is up 45 percent in city driving according to the EPA, delivering 26/27/27 mpg in city/highway/combined.
2017 Acura MDX Price
A base MDX Sport Hybrid with the technology package starts at $52,935 and the advance version we drove starts at $58,975. It’s priced slightly below its main competitors the Infiniti QX60 hybrid, Lexus RX450h, and BMW X5 xDrive 40e.