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2019 Acura MDX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2019 Acura MDX holds its own in terms of athleticism, though some rivals surpass it. The MDX feels comfortable over most road surfaces, but it isn't the smoothest entrant in the class. This SUV features a V6 engine that moves the vehicle well, whether you need to drive across town or across the country.

  • "Powerful and agile, the 2018 Acura MDX is one of the more athletic 3-row SUVs out there." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "The 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and optional Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive are key factors in the MDX's appeal. It's not as thrilling as some competitors, but it is effortlessly capable." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "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 MDX features a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 290 horsepower. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Some rivals are quicker and more powerful, but this engine provides enough power and acceleration for most driving situations.

According to EPA estimates, the MDX earns 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those are some of the best ratings in the class. Acura makes an MDX Hybrid as well, which we cover in a separate review.

  • "Acceleration is smooth and confident. The MDX hits 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is considerably quicker than the Infiniti QX60 and the Lexus RX 350L but a bit slower than rivals equipped with supercharged and turbocharged six-cylinder engines." -- Edmunds
  • "The MDX's engine does a good job of propelling the crossover down the road, but there's still some work to do on that 9-speed automatic transmission – it's a little too eager to shift up into the next gear and sometimes feels notchy in an unpleasant way. A quick drive down the block will have you in fifth gear before you know it, and when you ask for more acceleration to merge with traffic, the transmission has to kick down a few gears to answer the call. It does so quickly, but calls more attention to itself than we'd like." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "The Acura's big V6 is more than strong enough for most buyers and its 9-speed automatic transmission is responsive and smooth. Acceleration is quick enough to be thrilling, and there's plenty of passing power. This is a big vehicle, but it never feels like an oversized land yacht." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

The MDX isn't the sportiest SUV in the class, but it handles well and is easy to maneuver. It rides smoothly for the most part, but some road imperfections will jostle you, particularly if you have the 20-inch wheels. There are smoother-riding rivals in this class.

Acura's Integrated Dynamics System comes standard and lets you choose between three modes that alter driving dynamics (Comfort, Normal, and Sport). Front-wheel drive also comes standard, and all-wheel drive (known in Acura parlance as Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, or SH-AWD) is available.

  • "The comfortable seats and ample sound deadening are hard to fault, but paying more in this segment will yield even more impressive comfort credentials. The same goes for the ride, which lacks some of the bump-smoothing sophistication of pricier rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "Its handling is exceptional. Its ability to turn corners will make you smile, especially models with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. The new Acura MDX is also comfortable and luxurious. It rides well. Around town its suspension filters out just enough of the road's surface and it doesn't crash over potholes. Visibility is excellent, the steering is light and the MDX is easy to park." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "It handles well through the curves but shines in a straight line, where it floats along the road in serene silence and smoothness." -- Autotrader (2018)
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