4.5 TRIM LEVELS
Let’s get through the four main trims, which seat seven, come with AcuraWatch driver assist features, and have standard 20” wheels - then I’ll touch on the 0.5.
There’s a well-equipped base model, which they simply call the MDX, that goes for $53,690 (sadly without blind spot monitoring).
The NAVI, as you can guess, includes a stellar navigation system with voice recognition and a 501-watt Premium Audio System, plus more, for $57,190.
Next up is the TECH trim giving you a 529-watt sound system, heated second row seats, premium Milano leather, and the Acura DVD Entertainment System with 9" display and more for $60,190.
At the top sits the ELITE trim (which was my tester for the week) that includes ventilated front seats, Acura DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System with 16.2-inch display and HDMI® input jack, genuine olive ash or black limba wood trim, a 546-watt 12 speaker and subwoofer sound system, plus a few other bells and whistles for $65,790.
The 0.5 option comes via the ELITE trim where you can opt for captain’s chairs as opposed to the bench for no additional cost. Personally, I’d opt for the six-seat configuration and give my middle passengers a bit of added comfort.
With close to $10K from bottom to top, I’d go with the ELITE trim as it’s a relatively small increase for all the extras you get.
BENEATH THE HOOD
All 2017 MDX models get a nine-speed automatic gearbox run through a 3.5L i-VTEC V6 motor producing a healthy 295 horsepower and 267 lb-ft. of torque through a lineup-standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
Fuel economy for all but the ELITE trim rings in at 12.6/9.0/11.0 L/100 km for city/highway/combined. The ELITE trim is slightly better at 12.2/9.0/10.7 L/100 km and all MDX models run on up to 73.8 litres of suggested but not mandatory 91 octane fuel. Smartly, there’s variable cylinder management, where the engine will run on only three cylinders when max power isn’t needed.
For Acura’s largest offering, the nine-speed engine runs through its gears quite smoothly on both urban and rural roads. There will be some that say nine is overkill and that Acura should’ve stuck with the six speeds from the outgoing model. Me, I like the added three as it doesn’t feel muddy in the mid-gear range and there’s no confusion beneath the hood in lower gears.
ABOUT THAT GEARSHIFT
Today, we have levers, dials and buttons on the centre console and in the traditional place, beside your knee. What the 2017 MDX has done is remove the lever aspect give it three buttons and a small lever for reverse. It’s far from conventional and more futuristic than anything else. The gear choice illuminates to let you know what gear you’re in, which is smart, and the reason that they did away with the lever was to create more space up front, which is nice. However, it took me a couple of days of grabbing at an invisible lever (force of habit since 1994, I suppose) to remember that it wasn’t there. Reverse is the only non-button control to dramatically reduce erroneously putting the car into reverse instead of park or neutral. Ready or not for the next iteration of gearshifts, the MDX has it for you.
ACURAWATCH DRIVER ASSIST
Here’s what comes standard on all MDX models:
Road departure mitigation (steering and braking), adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, Bluetooth, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and automatic high beams.
The base model is without blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert warnings, which to me is odd since the blind spot technology is now on many other cars far below the $50K mark. Oh, and there’s an available surround view camera system that’s quite handy to avoid hitting anything.
A DUAL SCREEN CENTRE CONSOLE
The top screen gives you the navigation, for example, and the bottom screen gives you everything else (audio, HVAC, settings, etc.)
While on the surface, two large screens give you more of a visual aid, there were times where I fiddled with the lower screen (a touch screen) to put my heated seat on or change direction of the air flow as it led me to another set of options.
I do like the dual screen as the navigation screen stays constant and doesn’t disappear if you want to do something else, like change the radio station. The top screen can also show you full audio controls and information, not just navigation. I only wish that some of the controls were a bit easier to maneuver.
ITS GOT GREAT LOOKS ALL AROUND
Thankfully, the 2017 model has a redesigned front end with a beautiful diamond-pentagon (their words, not mind) grille and those beautiful jewel-headlights. The hood is also redesigned with more definition as well. A new chrome rocker panel design and the revised rear bumper, body coloured skid garnish and the addition of twin tailpipes make a world of difference. The interior also looks sharp with a modern design full of clean lines (ditto for the exterior) and there’s certainly a luxurious feel throughout.
Enjoy the full gallery below: