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RobR
May 01, 2018
4
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
I have owned my 2015 MDX for 39 months and driven it appx. 42,000 miles. Performance is great. Great acceleration, great cornering, great braking. Fuel economy is great but savings are offset by the fact they want you to use premium grade fuel. Ride quality is still a little clunky and interior noise is a little high for a luxury SUV. A lot of little interior rattles, not indicative of a luxury SUV. The fit and finish of this MDX is far lower than the models of the past. Exterior and interior panels are flimsy and don''t line up properly. Windows are loose and rattle when opened partially.
Scott
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 30, 2017
39,000 miles
|
Owned 3 years 10 months
4
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
The Acura MDX remains the most cost controlled luxury SUV offering a usable third row of seating. Combine this with the reliability of Honda parts and it a winning option.
Anonymous
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 26, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
great car that i drive.. buy acura MDX add more technologies and increase HP and create sports package
Fred
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 25, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
I have a 15MDX. My wife has a 14RDX. Both are great rides. I promise you'll be pleased with an Acura. That's the car. The dealership.. not so much. We are not at all happy with the service department at the Acura dealer in Arlington, Texas. When the warrantee is over, so are we. Great cars...dealer's the pits!
Carlos
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 25, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
The Acura MDX is a joy to drive in town and on extended trips. The ride is smooth and the interior is very comfortable. I am impressed with the driver controls and the visibility is excellent. With more than 30-years of Honda ownership the Acura is a significant step up in value and automotive excellence. This MDX is preferable over our previous Honda van/sedans.
Lisa
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
43,000 miles
|
Owned 2 years 1 months
4
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
Love the comfort of my MDX. Drives like a car. Plugging in to charge my phone is easy. Bluetooth always connects when I get into my car. Navigation is slow and not easy to use. Text message does not always work and voice commands never work. I have a trailer hitch and I use it and love it. It fits 7 people comfortably. Cargo space in the back is small when 3rd seat is up.
John F
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
54,500 miles
|
Owned 2 years 10 months
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
The MDX has all the bells and whistles that anyone would want. The MDX gets great gas mileage on the highway (30+ mpg) and you feel like you are riding on air. It also has plenty of power to get you where you need to go.
Norm H.
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
83,000 miles
|
Owned 3 months
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
VEHICLE IS VERY RELIABLE ONLY FAULT IS THAT IT DIDN'T COME WITH A SPARE TIRE-ONLY A TEMP FIX FOR A LEAK NOT FOR A SERIOUS TIRE ISSUE
Ed
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
I chose the Acura MDXfor it's comfort ,looks, and reliability. The car drives smoothly and quietly. You can feel the weight of the car as it hugs the road and although I have never calculated the gas mileage it seems very efficient. Still learning some technology features and am impressed with the many safety features . It came with a backup camera but no warning when objects are close. Was standard in the 2016 model though. I have a very short wife who would request adjustable pedals as opposed to the telescoping steering wheel which still places her too close to steering wheel . I would hope that at option becomes part of acuras offerings in the future. This is an overall luxurious bear that drives beautifully and is designed to for comfort and safety.
Lynne
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
I am very happy with the decision to purchase my Acura MDX. It is very comfortable to drive. All the controls are easy to reach and adjust. The third row seats are very versatile and easy to adjust up or down. A lot of room to haul in the back cargo area. The acceleration in traffic is a plus. It is very well built and handles very good on the highway and daily city driving. Love the back up camera and blindspot alert. This a fun vehicle to drive.
Busy dad
J.D. Power
VERIFIED REVIEW
October 24, 2017
5
TOTAL
Reliability
Interior
Exterior
Driving Dynamics
Love our 2015 MDX. The quality is great and it is a very versatile family hauler. Has been very reliable. Only maintenance has been routine oil and filter changes and new tires. My only complaint is I had a new battery installed after about 2.5 years. Batteries don't last more than 3-4 years in FL due to the heat, but after doing some online searches, I believe the Bluetooth/hands free system drains the battery if you don't go into the screens and actually turn it off. Acura seems to neither confirm nor deny. With that being said, it drives great, and I would definitely buy another MDX.
2015 Acura 1187 MDX 27537 369844
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Expert Reviews

Sam Moses
powered by New Car Test Drive
Introduction

Acura MDX is a rare animal, a seven-passenger luxury crossover with high performance. It’s unchanged for 2015 because the 2014 was new from the ground up. Compared to the previous generation, MDX has quicker acceleration, better fuel mileage, more room and comfort inside, tighter dimensions outside, a longer wheelbase, nimbler handling, shorter stopping distances, and a better ride. It’s longer, lower, lighter, and narrower at the nose, sides and rear, with its shape driven by the wind tunnel.

Acura MDX might be cross-shopped with Infiniti QX60 or Volvo XC90. The MDX is more powerful and fuel-efficient than either, with nimbler handling than the XC90 and a better ride than the soft QX60.

The MDX design was developed at Honda’s R&D facilities in Ohio. There, with a rolling ground plane and computer modeling, engineers worked on the underbody and airflow through the engine compartment, as well as the skin, to get the coefficient of drag down and the fuel mileage up.

The 3.5-liter V6 is Acura’s first direct-injected engine, incorporating a new i-VTEC valvetrain with two-stage Variable Cylinder Management, cutting the fire to three cylinders at times. Its architecture comes from Acura’s successful endurance racing engine, a 60-degree aluminum V6, single overhead cam with 24 valves. It makes 290 horsepower and 267 foot-pounds of torque, with a lot of it down low where you need it. The engine is mounted transversely, which improves balance enormously.

It’s coupled to a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission with three modes and paddle shifters. With SH-AWD, the torque moves between the front and rear axles and left and right rear wheels, to deliver all-weather traction and control.

Fuel economy is an EPA-rated at 23 mpg Combined for the front-wheel-drive MDX, compared to 21 mpg Combined (18 City/27 Highway) for the all-wheel-drive MDX with Acura’s SH (super handling)-AWD.

In 302 miles behind the wheel of a fully loaded 2015 MDX SH-AWD, both city and highway, we averaged a good 24.7 miles per gallon. The bad news is that Premium fuel is recommended, and needed to get the best mileage. Direct injection engines manage fuel in a precise manner, but their high compression ratio needs high-octane gas.

Interior materials are of soft and high quality, with standard premium leather and simulated wood-grain trim. The backlit LED gauges are lovely and clear, and the instrumentation well organized. Touch-screen control of the higher-tech available features is problematic. Voice command was so deaf we gave up.

Acura calls its body structure ACE, for Advance Compatibility Engineering. It’s designed to absorb and deflect frontal crash energy, while isolating the cabin from destruction. It uses the world’s first ultra-high-strength hot stamped steel, in what’s basically a cage around the cabin, from front doors to A-pillars to roof rails to B-pillars to lower frame members.

The MDX has won many awards, in addition to five-star crash ratings from NHTSA for frontal and side impact for 2014, and four stars for rollover resistance, as well as a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Model Lineup

The 2015 Acura MDX ($42,565) comes standard with front-wheel drive. MDX SH-AWD ($44,565) adds all-wheel drive. (All prices are Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices, which may change at any time without notice, and do not include $895 destination charge.)

Acura MDX ($42,565) comes standard with leather upholstery in the first two rows, three-zone climate control, power heated front seats with driver memory, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power tailgate, console, cruise control, rearview camera, message center, trip computer, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, auxiliary audio input, and split-folding rear seats. Front-wheel drive is standard.

MDX with Technology Package ($46,840) adds hard disc navigation with VGA screen, AcuraLink communications, real-time weather (with climate-control link) and traffic, 410-watt 10-speaker Acura ELS surround sound system, multi-view rearview camera, USB port; MDX with Technology and Entertainment Packages ($48,840) adds to this a Rear Entertainment System that includes a motorized 9-inch VGA screen DVD rear-seat entertainment system, heated second-row seats, and 115-volt AC power outlet. MDX with Advance and Entertainment Packages ($54,780) includes the Technology and Entertainment Packages and adds an active damper system, adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation braking system, blind spot information system, ventilated front seats in perforated Milano leather, and 19-inch wheels.

MDX SH-AWD ($44,565) adds all-wheel drive to the MDX features. Equipped identically as above, MDX SH-AWD is available with Technology Package ($48,840), Technology and Entertainment Packages ($50,840), and Advance and Entertainment Packages ($56,780).

Safety equipment includes two-stage frontal air bags and active head restraints, two-stage driver and front-passenger knee bolsters, front-seat side-impact air bags, and three-row side-curtain air bags with rollover triggering. Active safety features, designed to help the driver avoid accidents in the first place, include all-wheel-drive, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist for panic stops.

Walkaround

Acura MDX was completey redesigned for the 2014 model year. The overhang in front was reduced a bit, making the nose look a bit stubby but good. We wish there were less chrome in the grille, but that big silver delta-wing-like band is the Acura cache. It just seems like big chrome grilles are so Seventies.

The nose has been carved between the grille, to slope down from each side to the bumper. It works well, to give definition to the bumper, which on so many cars is flat and ugly for being shapeless. (When we say bumper, we really mean the plastic cover that hides the steel bumper underneath.)

The front fascia openings under the grille are tidy, and the LED headlamps, five bulbs in each, are sleekly designed. Acura calls them Jewel Eyes. They are super bright; night vision is superb in the MDX. Maybe not quite like daylight as Acura suggests, but way excellent, extending the beam by 75 feet and safety by who knows, maybe 75 years.

The sides don’t have fancy styling, and the rear looks like any other SUV, with a small spoiler on the roof. Since so few designs actually score when they try to make distinctive sides and rear ends on SUV styles, clean and simple might be just fine.

Interior

The soft interior materials are of a high quality, as should be expected in any car with this price. They’ve always been good with Acura. Premium Milano leather is standard for the first two rows, while satin and simulated wood-grain trim accents the cabin. The steering wheel is stitched leather.

The instrumentation is well laid out, and the information display between the speedometer and tach is shaded and easy to read, although there’s too much information squeezed on one little screen. The gauges are beautifully backlit with LED lighting, while LED lamps with programmable brightness are used on the center console and front foot wells.

The center stack is busy, with a big screen recessed under an eave that shades the screen but doesn’t complement the dashboard lines, and seems to put the navigation map far away. But we might be design nitpicking, here; most people probably won’t notice. There is a huge deep bin in the center console, underneath a sliding armrest. It can easily hold a purse and tablet computer, maybe both. Big SUVs and pickup trucks have center consoles like this, but not many luxury crossovers.

There are just nine buttons on the center stack, which sounds like an improvement from 41 buttons with the previous generation, but not so with the touch-screen radio controls. Our notes are detailed, about what and how didn’t work, tuning the radio, mostly because the button you need does not exist. All we wanted to do was tune to XM channel 30. We looked at, considered, and tried every option there was, over a period of too many miles on the freeway: Presets, More, Shortcuts, Audio Source, non-intuitive single and double arrows (non-intuitive, defined: single arrow jumps many stations at a time, because it’s for presets, while double arrow moves up one station). We pressed them all, we did a couple total circles. We saw Religion, Canadian, and Elvis stations. We finally got there, working around the dysfunction; we pressed the single arrow until it got near channel 30, then pressed the double arrow over and over again (11 times), inching it upwards. Once there, we decided to stay on XM 30 for the rest of our trip. Yes, it is true that if you own the MDX, you will either read the manual or figure out how to do Presets for your favorite stations. So fine, if you own the MDX and only you drive it, you presumably, eventually, won’t have the problems we did. But if anyone else drives it and tries to tune the radio they may have difficulty or be distracted. That’s why we find it ironic, and a bit infuriating, that every time you turn on the car you see this message: “The driver is responsible for the safe operation of this vehicle.”

We’d also like to reply to the voice command. Get the cotton out of your ears. The lady can’t understand plain English. We tried and tried, didn’t do anything wrong, and not one time did she get it right. Another journalist was with us, and she wouldn’t listen to him either.

The front seats are roomy and could use more bolstering, especially with a car that boasts Super Handling. The A-pillar gets in the way of forward and downward visibility.

All three rows of seats are lower than before, to improve ingress and egress. The driver will want to raise the seat to get that command-of-the-road position of a big SUV. A long wheelbase and compact rear suspension allow wide as well as low entry to the rear seats. It’s a relative delight to get in and out. The second-row seatbacks have five reclining positions and six inches of travel to make for maximum legroom and comfortable snoozes on road trips. The second row flops down with a touch of one button located in three places, making it easy to reach the third row. Acura calls it One-Touch-Walk-In, and it is.

Cargo space is vast, 90.0 cubic feet, with both rows folded easily flat. With the seats up there’s 15.8 cubic feet, as much as a large sedan trunk. There’s a cargo lid with room for things you might want to hide, and it flops open 180 degrees with the third row seat folded, to provide maximum utility.

The cabin is extremely quiet with tons of foam in the roof pillars and insulating materials under and behind the second and third rows. The glass is a sandwich of tempered glass around sound insulation. You know you’re in a luxury car when you’re in the back seat of the MDX.

Driving Impressions

The Acura MDX delivers a comfortable, controlled ride. Steering is sharp and occupants are isolated from road noise and vibration, benefits of a rigid chassis, the latest in suspension engineering, and quick steering. The shock absorbers are called Amplitude Reactive Dampers, because they use variable damping rates depending on the terrain and speed.

But the best part of the MDX is the powertrain; we say that about some BMWs, too. The 3.5-liter V6 is eager and silky, all the way to redline at 6700 rpm, boosted by a smooth and quick 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Sport mode.

We liked that when you use the paddles, it doesn’t automatically go into Sport mode, which allows you to use the paddles during relaxed driving. We also liked that the transmission isn’t programmed to out-think you; it does what it’s told and no more, although it upshifts at 6500 rpm to out-think your idea of blowing up the engine. In Sport mode, the shifts get more aggressive, and the exhaust note gets a bit growly, as programmed.

Acura’s IDS, Integrated Dynamics System, uses three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The modes try to give you what you want, by balancing steering effort, throttle response, and torque to the wheels, while adding Active Noise Control. In Sport mode you get a rumble delivered to the cabin, using microphones under the hood and in the tailpipe, enhanced by a subwoofer and wired to a speaker in the headliner. For all that effort, it’s quite subtle.

Suspension settings are not a part of IDS because the shock absorbers already respond to conditions; call them smart shocks. On a patched and curvy road, the suspension handled every transition, and the steering tightened to keep the big vehicle pointed true, in corners and ripples.

The brakes are big, with 12.6-inch vented discs in front and 13.0-inch solid discs in rear, with full electronic assistance.

Agile Handling Assist uses the brakes to maintain steady cornering, by applying them to individual wheels, which puts correct turning forces on the car.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) throws out all the stops to maintain control in dodgy situations.

Fuel economy for an MDX with all-wheel drive is an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg City/Highway MDX. Premium gasoline is recommended. For improved fuel efficiency, the MDX was carefully engineered for minimal rolling resistance, friction and aerodynamic drag.

Acura goes whole hog in the electronic safety department. In addition to the relaxing Adaptive Cruise Control and well-intended Lane Departure Warning, there’s Forward Collision Warning, which raises the bar. When Volvo invented the system, it prevented low-speed rear-enders and hitting pedestrians. In the MDX you can drive in 30-mph stop-and-go traffic without using your feet at all. We did it for nearly an hour.

The system needs some work. Because it makes its decisions based on the car in front of you, in effect, the driver ahead of you has his feet on your throttle and brake pedals. So it can be jerky. And there is a lag time programmed into accelerating from a stop, so you might get honked at. And if everyone had this system, traffic would get worse. In 30-mph stop-and-go traffic, it helps for everyone if you don’t let gaps happen. Which of course requires paying attention, and this system is designed to allow you to do less of that.

You can over-ride the system, of course; but when your brain is in auto mode, relaxed like your feet, it takes time to snap into emergency over-ride. Another problem, is you will forget whether it’s on or off, so your brain has to remember to remind your foot that it’s needed to stop the car.

We are not being facetious, here. We’re thinking for people who use their brains to drive. Automakers will say that auto systems will prevent more crashes than they cause. But systems aren’t perfect, especially when they’re designed for the masses. So it’s quite possible for these systems to cause crashes in some situations. For example when the driver can see through the windshield what’s coming, before the system can measure it.

Summary

Acura MDX features a beautiful powertrain with a V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission that are sharp and smooth, roominess and comfort inside with tight and handsome dimensions outside, smooth ride, nimble handling and short stopping distances. We found the optional high-tech packages problematic. We think the best value is the base MDX SH-AWD.

Sam Moses filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report from the Pacific Northwest.

Model as tested
Acura MDX SH-AWD ($44,290)
Basic Warranty
4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in
Lincoln, Alabama
Destination charge
45185
Gas guzzler tax
N/A
Base Price
42565
Price as tested
45185
Options as tested
none
Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Acura MDX ($42,290); MDX SH-AWD ($44,290)
Safety equipment (standard)
two-stage frontal air bags and active head restraints, two-stage driver and front-passenger knee bolsters, front-seat side-impact air bags, and three-row side-curtain air bags with rollover triggering. Active safety features include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist for panic stops
Safety equipment (optional)
N/A
Engines
3.5-liter single overhead cam 24-valve V6
Transmissions
6-speed automatic
Specifications as Tested
leather upholstery in the first two rows, three-zone climate control, power heated front seats with driver memory, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, power tailgate, console, cruise control, rearview camera, message center, trip computer, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, auxiliary audio input, split-folding rear seats
Engine & Transmission
Engine
3.5-liter single overhead cam 24-valve V6
Drivetrain type
all-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
290 @ 6200
Transmission
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
18/27
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
N/A
Suspension
Brakes, front/rear
vented disc/solid disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
Suspension, front
independent, struts, active dampers, stabilizer bar
Tires
P245/60R18 all-season
Suspension, rear
independent multi-link, active dampers, stabilizer bar
Accomodations
Seating capacity
7
Head/hip/leg room, middle
38.3/57.8/38.5
Head/hip/leg room, front
38.1/57.5/41.4
Head/hip/leg room, rear
35.6/40.6/28.1
Measurements
Fuel capacity
N/A
Trunk volume
90.900000000000006
Wheelbase
111
Length/width/height
193.6/77.2/66.7
Turning circle
37.6
Payload
N/A
Towing capacity
N/A
Track, front/rear
66.3/66.3
Ground clearance
7.2999999999999998
Curb weight
4255
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2015 Acura MDX
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