$35,729 - $44,404

2017 Acura MDX Performance Review

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

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2017 Acura MDX derives ample power from its V6 engine. Fuel economy is great for the class, even in models with all-wheel drive. The suspension delivers both a cushioned ride and stable handling around corners. You'll be able to drive the MDX around small areas without breaking a sweat despite its large size. It feels smaller on the road than it is, and its sharp steering makes it easy to maneuver.

  • "It has long been a popular choice for luxury midsize SUV shoppers because of its reputation for reliability and favorable resale value. And equipped with its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, the MDX is one of the sportier luxury SUVs on the market." -- Edmunds
  • "For 2017, the Acura MDX retains its strong V6, which provides plenty of power to complement this luxury SUV's agile-yet-comfortable manners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Stepping back and regarding the MDX as an entire package, we'd say it's easy and inviting to drive, classy enough to satisfy those addicted to premium machines, high-tech enough to indulge that tendency in many of today's driver[s]." -- USA Today (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 MDX comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 making 290 horsepower, and the engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Getting up to 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, the MDX is one of the most fuel-efficient luxury midsize SUVs you can buy. When equipped with all-wheel drive, the MDX gets 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.

You should have little trouble during your normal drives, with ample power delivered by the V6. Acceleration from a stop is fairly quick, but the sluggish start-stop system, which is meant to save fuel when you're stopped at red lights, detracts from the sense of speed, as the engine must first fire to life before you take off. The nine-speed automatic transmission also doesn't quite pass muster, shifting at inopportune times and not giving you as much muscle as you might want at any given moment.

  • For 2017, the Acura MDX retains its strong V6, which provides plenty of power to complement this luxury SUV's agile-yet-comfortable manners. But in our experience, the new 9-speed transmission takes the MDX a step back in refinement, especially when outfitted with the idle stop/start system that cuts engine power at stoplights and in stop-and-go traffic. As with other 9-speed cars we've tested, the Acura MDX can feel lazy or hesitant when selecting gears. Combined with the start/stop system, takeoffs aren't as seamless as when the MDX used a 6-speed." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The MDX's V6 is a smooth-revving engine with a surprisingly nice snarl when you bury your foot in the accelerator. The nine-speed transmission can have a tendency to produce odd responses at low-speeds and inappropriate gear selections." -- Edmunds
  • "Whether front-wheel or all-wheel drive, MDXs come with a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that seems happy-and quiet-on the street and on the highway." -- Consumer Guide (2014)

Handling and Braking

The MDX may be a fairly large SUV, but it feels smaller than it is from behind the wheel. The power steering turns effortlessly and precisely so you can maneuver around confined areas with confidence. Thanks to the well-tuned suspension, the ride feels nicely cushioned when driving over rough roads, but handling stays sharp if you decide to put your foot down on winding roads.

Front-wheel drive and Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, which lets you adjust the power steering's responsiveness, are standard. You can get all-wheel drive (or as Acura calls it SH-AWD) to give you more grip on slick roads or to make the MDX's already lithe handling even sharper around turns.

  • "Should you elect to hustle this three-row luxury crossover along a winding road, it'll hold up decently for its size with light and direct steering, even in front-drive trim. With SH-AWD and its torque-vectoring capabilities, the MDX turns and carves through corners like a much smaller vehicle. It's a neat sensation that feels a little like magic." -- Edmunds
  • "The second detail we noticed were the vast improvements Acura has made to the MDX's suspension, namely to the dampers and subframe mounts, which were designed to better absorb small road imperfections. The MDX's ride remains luxury-car smooth, but it can now run through twists and turns with more confidence." -- AutoTrader (2016)
  • "Acura's suspension setup strikes a perfect balance between the softly sprung Lexus RX and the abruptly harsh (and complex) BMW X5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

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