$35,729 - $44,404

2017 Acura MDX Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 Acura MDX was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.0

The 2017 Acura MDX is fitted with mostly upscale materials throughout the cabin, though it's not as nice as some similarly priced competitors like the Volvo XC90 or Lexus RX 350. Some of the MDX's switches and other hardware are clearly pieces you’d find in a lower-priced Honda (Acura is Honda’s luxury brand). Regardless, the MDX's cabin is comfortable, quiet, and solidly constructed.

The MDX's seats are comfortable, but legroom is compromised when all three rows are in use. The touch-screen infotainment system makes adjusting some settings too complicated, and it lacks some of the high-tech features you’ll find in competitors. Cargo room is subpar for a 3-row luxury midsize SUV.

  • "The MDX's cabin is well-constructed with suitable materials, but it lacks the style and luxury ambience of similarly priced competitors like the Lexus RX 350 and Volvo XC90. There are a few Honda-grade plastics and switchgear if you look closely." -- Edmunds
  • "Acura's restrained luxury emphasizes comfort and ease-of-use, with luxuriant leather, soft-touch surfaces, and expensive-feeling buttons and switches." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Well-styled sheetmetal can turn heads, but it's the interior that consumers have to spend extended periods of time with on a daily basis. Recognizing this, Acura put a great deal of effort into making the cabin a comfortable and user-friendly space." -- Left Lane News (2016)

Seating

There are seats for seven in the base 2017 MDX, with bench seats in the second and third rows. If you opt for the Advance Package, you'll get a pair of captain's chairs in the second row instead of a bench, so seating capacity is decreased to six. However, when you combine the Advance Package with the Entertainment Package, the second row defaults back to a bench seat.

Standard comfort features in the MDX include leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, a power tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and sliding and reclining second-row seats. The MDX's option packages add features like upgraded Milano leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats.

The driver and front passenger will find comfortable and supportive seats. The second-row seats can slide forward and backward to give more or less legroom as needed. There's little space in the third row, especially when passengers in the middle row slide their seats back. If you need an SUV that not only offers plenty of room in the first and second rows, but also has a third row big enough for adults, you're better off with the Volvo XC90 or the Infiniti QX60.

On the plus side, the MDX's first- and second-row seats will keep you feeling comfortable and supported. And at the press of a button, the second-row seats move forward to give you easy access to the back row. The cabin is quiet, too, with little road noise making its way into the cabin.

  • "The Acura MDX's front seats are nicely shaped and supportive. The second-row seats slide fore and aft and recline for added comfort and flexibility, with generous legroom to be had in their rearmost position." -- Edmunds
  • "All 3rd-row access should be this easy. Just push a button on the 2nd-row seat in a new MDX, and it flips and folds quickly to provide access to the pair of seats in the rear without having to strain, lug or tug. Other SUV manufacturers should take notes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "And, based on travel with three adults and four pre-teen boys, the machine's a tighter fit than its size would suggest. Nobody really felt well-treated in the space department, complaints coming from every row. Second-row riders can't slide their seats back as far as comfortable without slamming rear-riders' legs. That, in turn, meant first-row occupants couldn't slide back as far as they'd like without impinging on second-row space and dominoing the compromise into the third row." -- USA Today (2016)

Interior Features

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 9-inch or 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones.

Acura gives you not one, but two infotainment screens in the 2017 MDX. The lower screen is a 7-inch touch screen, while the upper display is 8 inches but not touch sensitive. You'll spend most of your time interacting with the touch screen to adjust vehicle settings such as climate and audio. Some adjustments require a combination of steps using the touch screen, physical controls, and the controller knob on the center stack. This multistep approach is particularly frustrating when you just want to adjust the temperature or fan speed, for example. Still, once you become familiar with the system, it gets easier to use.

The MDX lacks some of the latest infotainment features that you'll find in some competitors. It doesn't come with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration like you get in the all-new Cadillac XT5, for example. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay let you use some of your smartphone's apps right on the infotainment screen.

Still, if you don't mind performing multiple actions to adjust systems, you'll find the MDX is very well-equipped for the price. Its long list of features will keep you both entertained and safe while on the road. From the 16.2-inch widescreen entertainment system for the kids in the back, to active lane keep assist that will steer you back into your lane should you drift, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Adaptive cruise control is standard in the MDX, which is extremely rare for the class. To get adaptive cruise control in the Lincoln MKT, which has a similar starting price as the MDX, you'd have to spend an additional $7,500. Still, the MDX's adaptive cruise control isn't perfect. It can be too sensitive in slowing traffic, hitting the brakes more aggressively than needed when vehicles in front slow down. Then, when traffic pulls away, the MDX doesn't always speed up as quickly as you might want. It's important for drivers to recognize that these sorts of driver assistance systems are meant as just that, assistance to the driver. They are not meant to let drivers relinquish control of the vehicle entirely.

See 2017 Acura MDX specs »

  • "The dual-screen infotainment system is where things turn more problematic, especially with regards to the audio system. You use the lower touchscreen for many functions, but others such as media player control require the multi-control knob and upper display screen. Climate controls are split between actual buttons and virtual ones accessed through the touchscreen. This results in additional steps for things like heated seats and fan speed adjustment. Neither screen delivers the super-crisp graphics we've come to expect in this class, either." -- Edmunds
  • "The uncluttered interface is thanks to a pair of LCD displays that perform most operations, and do it well once you get used to the setup." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "We especially like the one-button power tip/slide feature that opens access to the third row. But the infotainment/connectivity setup remains cumbersome. To simplify, we wound up suction-cupping our aftermarket Garmin navigation/phone system onto the factory screen. Blocks your view of what the back-up camera sees, but when you're on a road trip that doesn't matter as much. And you can up-stick the aftermarket device as needed -- if you really do choose the outrageous solution of using an aftermarket navi." -- USA Today (2016)

Cargo

When all three rows of seats are in use, the 2017 MDX has 14.9 cubic feet of cargo space. That's a bit low for a luxury midsize SUV with three rows. In contrast, the Volvo XC90 and Infiniti QX60 both have nearly 16 cubic feet of cargo room behind their third-row seats. Fold the MDX's third row down, and you'll have 38.4 cubic feet, which is a decent amount of space for your things.

There's a maximum of 68.4 cubic feet of cargo room with both rear rows folded, which is more comparable to the overall cargo space in a 2-row luxury midsize SUV than one with three rows. The three-row XC90, for example, has more than 85 cubic feet of cargo room with its second and third rows folded. Still, when the MDX's seats are folded, you'll have a flat load floor, making it easy to slide all your stuff in.

The MDX comes standard with a power liftgate that opens when you press a button on your key fob or on the liftgate. Still, other competitors have more helpful features to make loading a breeze. The XC90 comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate, so you don't need to juggle your bags to get a free hand to open it; you just wave your foot under the rear bumper. The XC90 also one-ups the MDX with its optional air suspension that lowers the rear end of the SUV so you don’t have to lift your stuff up high to get it in.

  • "The MDX doesn't provide much room for cargo with all three rows in use, but folding the rearmost seats opens up a respectable amount of space and is suitable for lengthy road trips. When you fold both the second and third rows, the maximum cargo capacity (68.4 cubic feet) is better than most two-row midsize crossovers, but considerably less than mainstream models like the Honda Pilot." -- Edmunds
  • "Cargo space behind the third row isn't impressive, though you could argue that there are bigger SUVs available for those who value that attribute more." -- USA Today (2016)
  • "Acura uses every centimeter from the MDX's interior design, creating more usable space behind the third-row seat, as well as creating a level loading floor when the rear seats are folded flat." -- AutoTrader (2016)

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