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U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Acura MDX Hybrid Performance Review


Performance: 7.5

The 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid has a comfortable ride, sporty handling, and a robust engine, all of which help it shine in the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class.

  • "A performance hybrid may sound like an oxymoron, but the MDX makes it work – mostly. This large SUV is capable on curvy roads thanks to its excellent SH-AWD system and powertrain layout." -- Edmunds
  • "The extra power can be felt both off the line and when performing rapid passing maneuvers. The Sport Hybrid's Active Damping suspension is also more responsive, something we noticed as we breezed through sharp curves at a significantly higher speed than the posted limit, while feeling that we could actually go even faster." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "Let's get something out of the way: The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is not your stereotypical hybrid buyer's hybrid. The Sport Hybrid is the faster, funner MDX." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The MDX Hybrid comes with a 3.0-liter V6 and three electric motors that make a combined 321 horsepower. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard. The engine and its three-motor setup gets you up to speed with little trouble, with brisk off-the-line acceleration. The transmission makes smooth shifts. However, critics are divided regarding how smooth the powertrain transitions are.

According to EPA estimates, this luxury hybrid gets 26 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. While those are good figures compared to nonhybrids, they’re typical for a hybrid of this size.

  • "The Sport Hybrid keeps the engine off at low speeds, which makes this version even quieter than the regular MDX. Alas, the powertrain sends a shudder through the cabin when the engine kicks back on." -- Edmunds
  • "Engine start-stop events are quiet and smooth, nearly imperceptible when under way – in stark contrast to the too-perceptible shudder of competing engines kicking on. The electric motors (mainly the one residing in the transmission) add in power to make up for the lull during a shift, making shifts up or down seamless, as well as providing regenerative capacity." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "As for the transmission, it's a partner in this system's quick reaction times. By losing the ZF nine-speed automatic, which can bumble over its bounty of ratio choices (and sometimes fumbles the shifts themselves with a shudder), the seven-speed and hybrid motor system are all business, ripping through the gears with quickness and grace. You hear them work more than feel them, and, because of the hybrid system, the rush of passing power starts even before the transmission has downshifted." -- Car and Driver (2017)

Ride and Handling

Thanks in part to a well-tuned suspension, the MDX Sport Hybrid earns the sport moniker in its name. It drives less like a bulky SUV and more like a sedan, but this agility comes at the expense of ride comfort. All-wheel drive – or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive if you ask Acura – is standard.

  • "The Sport Hybrid part of the name means business, making this large, three-row SUV feel more nimble on curvy roads. But it also adds some low-speed drivability annoyances, which hamper the overall experience. Even so, the MDX remains a versatile and well-made choice for a luxury family hauler." -- Edmunds
  • "So with all of this sporty goodness, you're probably wondering if the hybrid version sacrifices ride comfort in the name of performance. With so many other luxury brands, we've seen it happen, but thankfully that's not the case with the MDX Sport Hybrid. … The MDX Sport Hybrid's ride is smooth and controlled, unflappable in the face of massive potholes and jagged pavement." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "The refinement of the drivetrain, despite its complexity, makes the task of driving second-nature. However, faced with a twisty road, I couldn't help but dive into the corners at speed. Given the size of the MDX Sport Hybrid, it took some real daredevil effort to feel the electric torque vectoring rotate the car. Instead, that technology revealed itself in making this SUV feel like a much smaller car in the turns, nimble and quick rather than heavy and lumbering." -- CNET (2017)
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2020 Acura MDX Hybrid

MSRP: $53,000 - $59,750

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