2015 Acura MDX Heels on Wheels Review
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE ACURA MDX VEHICLE
Just last model year the mid-size Acura MDX crossover took on a significant redesign, which included a longer wheelbase, a new 3.5-liter V6 engine and a bevy of new standard features and signature technologies such as popular safety features like Lane Keeping Assist System and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, plus some fun stuff like new Ultra-Wide DVD Rear Entertainment System with HDMI connectivity.
I drove a 2015 Acura MDX with the all-new standard 290-horsepower 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine mated to the six-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Available in one trim with optional packages, the Acura MDX offers as standard equipment: ten-way power driver’s seat and eight-way passenger; front heated seats; leather upholstery; rearview camera; tri-zone climate control; Bluetooth; and an eight-speaker audio system. Total price as described comes to $42,765.
The main rival to the Acura MDX is the Lexus RX 350, but extends to other high-performing luxury utility vehicles like the Buick Enclave, Infiniti FX37 and Volvo XC90. It is important to note with the segment that the price quoted is without desirable options which can escalate any luxurious crossover by $8-14k.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The MDX cabin has always offered a sea of refinement, from the Milano premium leather upholstery and wood interior trim to the ultra-plush and supportive seating arrangement for up to seven with the optional third-row. Cons include a few technical quirks, including the fact many climate controls can only be done through a touchscreen; I also pointed out last model year the new power Extended Slide feature on the second-row seats does not mean entering the third row got easier. My test drive featured many available options, such as the Tech, Advanced and Entertainment Packages that included everything Acura has to offer, from the rear DVD player to the safety technology suit. This extended the price of my test drive to $56,780.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2015 Acura MDX is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle an overall 5-Star rating – up one from last model year.
Cost Issues: A base MDX starts at $42,765 with my fully loaded test drive at $56,780 – a difference of $14k.A similarly packaged 2015 Lexus RX 350 is $53,430. A 2015 Buick Enclave starts at $39,050.
Activity & Performance Ability: The powertrain may have dropped 10-horspower and moved down from a 3.7-liter to the 3.5-liter; but the MDX is Acura's second Earth Dreams Technology engine features a next-generation set of advancements that greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency. It’s strong and composed as expected for a car of this caliber – it also shed 275 pounds for even more agility which translates to more confidence behind the wheel. You also have preferred driving modes (Comfort, Normal or Sport) to adapt to driving conditions.
The Green Concern: Fuel economy for the new 3.5-liter engine with all-wheel drive is 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway for a combined 21 miles-per-gallon – the older engine retained 18 miles-per-gallon combined, so a real improvement here for Acura and SUVs of this size.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
Still one of my most highly recommended crossovers, a fully loaded mid-size 2015 Acura MDX can out-class fancier nameplates with its modern feature, smooth road manners and smarter 3.5-liter V6 engine that can achieve 21 miles-per-gallon combined with all-wheel drive.
©2014 Katrina Ramser