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2014 Acura MDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Acura MDX was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2014 Acura MDX receives largely positive reviews for its comfortable ride and ample engine power. Although one reviewer says it may not be quite as fun to drive as the previous generation, he concedes that most buyers will be pleased with the redesigned model’s performance traits.

  • "Fans of the past MDX's deliberate driving characteristics - heavy, swift steering; a busy ride; a growling V-6 - will be disappointed, but I suspect most shoppers will deem the new generation an improvement." -- Cars.com
  • "The 2014 Acura MDX remains one of the more enjoyable luxury crossovers to drive." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Acura MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. A front-wheel drive MDX earns an EPA fuel economy estimate of 20/28 mpg city/highway, while the all-wheel drive model achieves 18/27 mpg. Both ratings are excellent for the class.

Reviewers are pleased with the V6’s power, saying it makes the MDX feel plenty quick for city and highway driving. One reviewer says the six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but notes that it is somewhat slow to downshift when extra power is needed.

  • "We have yet to instrument-test the new MDX, but during our initial drive, we found the acceleration brisk enough and feel that most buyers will be happy with this luxury crossover SUV's performance." -- Edmunds
  • "The standard six-speed automatic helps pick up the slack, with short lower gears, smooth upshifts and responsive highway kickdown. Downshifts could come sooner as you accelerate through a bend, and a selectable Sport mode provides just that; it even drops a gear or two on downhill stretches." -- Cars.com
  • "In terms of acceleration, the new 3.5-liter V6 dishes out plenty of passing power throughout the rpm range, while gearchanges from the long-refined 6-speed automatic go virtually unnoticed." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2014 Acura MDX comes standard with front-wheel drive, while Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system is optional. Critics are largely pleased with the MDX’s suspension, which they say offers a good middle ground between ride comfort and handling ability. One test driver also remarks that the steering inspires confidence and has a lower-effort feel. However, another critic is displeased that the brakes don’t feel particularly strong, and notes that the pedal feels spongy.

  • "Thanks to a thoroughly reworked suspension, increased structural rigidity, and an extensive diet of high-strength steel, the 2014 Acura MDX settles into corners with the aplomb of a vehicle half its height. We're big proponents of the single calibration suspension, as the MDX's ride quality strikes the right balance between the sofa-soft Lexus RX and high-strung BMW X5 without the complexity, weight and cost associated with electronically actuated systems." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The fun ends at the brakes, which have a far spongier pedal than the 2013 MDX and also an RX and JX that Acura had on hand at the preview. Toe the brakes hard and the MDX's composure unravels as antilock braking kicks in. Whether blame goes to this year's downsized disc brakes or some other factor, the results don't inspire confidence." -- Cars.com
  • "While the average MDX driver might not notice that the steering ratio is now 9 percent quicker, they're certainly going to notice the new, lower-effort steering. Not only is the steering lighter in tight, low-speed situations (another owner suggestion) but it is far more confident on the open road." -- Edmunds

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