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2018 Acura MDX Review

The 2018 Acura MDX earns a spot in the middle of our luxury midsize SUV rankings. It offers solid handling, a smooth ride, and a quality interior, but it earns a subpar predicted reliability rating. Overall, it doesn't lead the class in any one area.

Pros & Cons

  • Good gas mileage
  • Smooth ride
  • Adept handling
  • Lots of features
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Subpar cargo capacity
  • Clunky transmission

New for 2018

  • Updated infotainment system
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay became standard




Critics' Rating: 9.3
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.4
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Acura MDX Overview

Is the 2018 Acura MDX a Good Used SUV?

The 2018 MDX is a good used luxury midsize SUV. It's a fine choice as a family vehicle or a daily commuter. In fact, the MDX's combination of quality and value earned it our 2018 Best Luxury Three-Row SUV for the Money award.

The 2018 MDX offers some impressive strengths:

  • Good gas mileage, even in all-wheel-drive models
  • Handles well, giving it a sportier feel than some midsize SUVs
  • Rides smoothly, even over bumpy roads
  • Long features list that will satisfy technophiles
  • First two rows of seats are supportive and comfortable

Though, it does have a few weaknesses:

  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Not great for hauling cargo
  • Transmission's mistimed shifts hinder engine performance
  • Undersized third-row seats, though this is often the case in three-row SUVs
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Acura MDX review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 45 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Acura MDX?

There are over 270 listings for the 2018 Acura MDX on our site, with an average list price of $42,700. Prices range from $38,000 to $49,600 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Acura MDX Cost to Own?

The 2018 MDX’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $29,430, or $5,886 per year. That’s below average for a luxury midsize SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New MDX?

The 2019 and 2018 MDX both belong to a generation that began with the 2014 model year. There are some changes for the new MDX: It gains a new A-Spec package and receives minor updates to the transmission and engine stop-start system. The 2019 MDX sports a base price of $44,300, but that can rise into the high-$50,000s, depending on which packages you add.

Read about the new Acura MDX »

Changes for the 2018 model year mostly involve in-car technology. Acura refreshed the infotainment system, adding a more responsive touch screen and, for the first time, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (both as standard equipment). These are nice additions, but if you can live without them, consider a 2016 or 2017 MDX. These models don't offer the newer features, but they can be had for thousands of dollars less.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 MDX »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about MDX reliability »

2018 Acura MDX Recalls

As of this writing, there are three safety recalls for the 2018 Acura MDX:

  • Fuel pump may cause engine stalling
  • Inadequate coating on rear brake caliper pistons
  • Seat rivets may fail

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Acura MDX safety recalls »

Which Used Acura MDX Trim Is Right for Me?

Unlike most luxury midsize SUVs, the 2018 Acura MDX comes in one trim, and you can get additional features with one or more of the available packages. The higher packages generally incorporate the features found in the lower ones. Some features, like Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), can be added a la carte.

The base MDX comes well-equipped, making it a fine choice for many buyers. The Technology package is worth a look, as it adds a few more useful features. We'd steer clear of the higher packages; they don't provide much value because most of their features are luxury upgrades that you won't necessarily need.

There is also an MDX Hybrid, which we cover in a separate review.

  • Acura MDX: The base MDX features a 290-horsepower V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, a moonroof, heated front seats, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview camera, the AcuraWatch suite of safety features, and 18-inch wheels.
  • Acura MDX with Technology Package: The MDX with Technology package comes with a 10-speaker ELS audio system, HD Radio, navigation, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and 20-inch wheels.
  • Acura MDX with Advance Package: The MDX with Advance package builds on the Technology package’s features with premium Milano leather seats, ventilated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors.
  • Acura MDX with Entertainment Package: The MDX with Entertainment package is a little different because it requires you to buy another package as well: either the Technology or Advance package. In this setup, you’ll get all the features included in either the Technology or Advance packages, plus an HDMI-compatible rear-seat entertainment system with a 9- or 16.2-inch screen and one or two extra speakers for the ELS audio system.

See 2018 Acura MDX trims and specs »

What Does Acura's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Acura offers a certified pre-owned program for cars six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying vehicles get a limited warranty that is good for up to two years or 100,000 miles after the four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty has expired. Acura covers the powertrain for seven years or 100,000 miles. These CPO models must pass a 182-point inspection. Additional benefits are available, including roadside assistance and the first scheduled maintenance, so read Acura’s warranty page carefully.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Acura’s CPO program is about average, according to our research. You’ll find better programs from Lexus, Tesla, and Infiniti.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the MDX?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 MDX the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and named it a Top Safety Pick, the organization's second-highest honor. The 2018 MDX received the highest rating of Superior for its front crash prevention technology and the next-best rating of Acceptable for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the MDX a five-star overall crash test rating. It got five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

Standard active-safety features include:

  • rearview camera
  • active lane keep assist
  • road departure mitigation
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control

Available advanced safety features are:

  • front and rear parking sensors
  • surround-view parking camera system
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • AcuraLink telematics system

See MDX safety scores »

2018 Acura MDX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Acura MDX or 2018 Lexus RX 350?

The 2018 Lexus RX 350 is similar to the MDX in several ways. Both feature strong V6 engines, get solid fuel economy, offer hybrid variants, and seat up to seven people. These luxury midsize SUVs also look good inside, but the MDX provides more cargo space than the Lexus, and it offers some tech the RX 350 doesn't, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the RX 350 has a higher predicted reliability rating than the MDX. The better choice between these two boils down to personal preference.

Which Is Better: 2018 Acura MDX or 2018 Volvo XC90?

The 2018 Volvo XC90 has arguably the most luxurious interior in the class, putting it clearly ahead of the MDX in that regard. The Volvo also has more total cargo space. Both of these SUVs offer many driver assistance technologies and seating for up to seven. On the road, the Acura wins the day, with its superior handling giving it a more enjoyable driving experience than the Volvo. It also has a slightly higher predicted reliability rating, though both SUVs are below average in that department.

Compare the MDX, RX 350, and XC90 »

2018 MDX Performance

How Does the 2018 Acura MDX Drive?

A V6 engine is the only power plant available in the 2018 MDX. Fortunately, you should like it, as it delivers plenty of power and reasonably quick acceleration. However, the transmission leaves some room for improvement; the timing of its shifts isn't always perfect.

It's easy to drive this Acura. The MDX handles well, and there's not much body roll when you take turns. The ride quality is good, and most road imperfections get absorbed easily.

  • Base engine: 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Acura MDX Get Good Gas Mileage?

This is one of the most fuel efficient luxury midsize SUVs, regardless of whether you stick with FWD or opt for AWD.

  • FWD: 19/27 mpg city/ highway
  • AWD: 18/26 mpg
2018 Acura MDX Towing Capacity

The MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about MDX performance »

2018 MDX Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 MDX Seat?

The three-row 2018 MDX seats six or seven people, depending on if you opt for second-row captain's chairs, which reduce the seating capacity by one. The front seats remain supportive on drives of any length, and they provide plenty of room. The same is true for the second-row seats, and the sliding and reclining feature makes it easy for tall people to get comfortable. The third-row seats are on the small side, and most adults will feel cramped back there – as is the case in many three-row SUVs. However, they are easy to access.

Standard seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
  • heated front seats
  • sliding and reclining second row

Available seating features:

  • Milano leather upholstery
  • ventilated front seats
  • heated second-row seats
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Acura MDX?

The 2018 MDX has three complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the middle row of seats and upper tethers on the third-row seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MDX's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use, citing tether anchors that are hard to find and lower anchors that are set too deeply in the seats.

2018 Acura MDX Features

This Acura features two infotainment screens, each with a different function, making them easy to get confused. This creates a somewhat intimidating setup for first-time users. However, the intuitive interface helps shorten the learning curve, and the system is easy to use after you get used to it.

  • Standard infotainment features: dual infotainment screens (an upper 8-inch display and a lower 7-inch touch screen), an eight-speaker audio system, four USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Siri Eyes Free
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, a 10-, 11-, or 12-speaker ELS audio system, HD Radio, voice recognition, two USB ports in the third row, and a 9-inch or 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones
  • Additional standard features: tri-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and proximity key entry
  • Other available features: remote start and GPS-linked climate control

See 2018 Acura MDX specs »

Read more about MDX interior »

2018 Acura MDX Dimensions

Acura MDX Cargo Space

The MDX provides 15 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row of seats, 38.4 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 68.4 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. Many other luxury midsize SUVs, especially three-row classmates, provide more cargo space. On the bright side, the seats fold flat, giving you a level cargo floor.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Acura MDX Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 4 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,001 to 4,292 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Acura MDX Built?

Acura built the MDX in Ohio.


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