2017 Acura MDX Overview
Pros & Cons
- Balanced ride and handling
- Excellent fuel economy
- More standard driver assistance features than rivals
- Cumbersome infotainment system
- Less cargo space than 3-row rivals
Notable for 2017
- Refreshed exterior styling
- AcuraWatch driver assistance features now standard
- New hybrid model debuts later this year
Acura MDX Rankings and Research
The 2017 Acura MDX ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Acura MDX has a score of 8.6 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 31 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2017 Acura MDX Pictures
2017 Acura MDX Review
Our analysis of the professional reviews and data that drive our rankings shows that the 2017 Acura MDX is a well-rounded and reasonably priced option for drivers looking for a well-equipped luxury midsize SUV. A long list of standard features comes with the $43,950 base model, including advanced driver assistance systems that usually cost extra in most rivals.
A fully equipped MDX will set you back around $58,400. Most competitors will cost you much more if you check all the option boxes. For example, a fully loaded Volvo XC90, one of the MDX's closest rivals, will cost nearly $10,000 more than a fully loaded MDX. However, if you don't need every feature, and you’re looking for a luxury SUV with more cargo space and a roomier third row than the MDX, a lower trim XC90 is a great alternative.
The 2017 MDX's driving dynamics should satisfy nearly every driver. For most people, its cushioned ride and ample power for highway cruising will suffice. Those who prefer a little more fun will appreciate the MDX's reasonably lithe handling around turns. Moreover, you can get all-wheel drive for extra traction without sacrificing much fuel economy.
Quiet, Yet Somewhat Cramped, Cabin
Inside the 2017 MDX, you'll find a quiet, comfortable, and well-built cabin. Materials throughout are mostly high quality, though some lack the luxurious feel of the materials found in some rivals.
Squeezing three rows of seats into a midsize SUV usually results in limited room for some passengers. Up front, the MDX seats are comfortable and supportive with ample room. Passengers in the middle row can slide the seat forward and backward for more or less legroom. The third row is cramped, especially when tall passengers occupy the second row and slide it back.
Getting into the third row is fairly easy – simply press a button and the second-row seats slide forward to give you enough space to climb in. Still, there's really only enough room back there for a couple kids. If you're planning to drive around with a full load of adults, you're better off with the Infiniti QX60 or Volvo XC90, both of which have more-spacious third-row seats.
Parents will appreciate the MDX's numerous LATCH connectors. All three seats in the center row have a complete set of lower anchors and upper tethers, and the two third-row seats have an upper tether each. The connectors in the second row can be difficult to find, though, because the lower anchors are mounted deep inside the seat.
Lots of Features, Tricky to Use
The MDX has a long list of interior tech features to keep you and your family connected and entertained while on the go. Back-seat passengers will like the optional 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system that comes with two wireless headsets. You can also get an ELS premium audio system to satisfy your inner audiophile.
Unlike most competitors, the MDX's standard infotainment system has two screens, rather than one. The upper screen is 8 inches and is operated with a controller knob mounted on the center stack. The lower screen is a 7-inch touch screen. Most frequently used vehicle settings are accessed through the touch screen. However, some features require multiple steps using the touch screen, the controller knob, and physical controls to adjust. Something as simple as adjusting the heated seats becomes a convoluted multistep process.
Not only is the MDX's infotainment system difficult to use, but it's also not as cutting edge as those in some rivals. The all-new Cadillac XT5, for example, comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Neither system is offered in the MDX. With these smartphone integration systems, you can use some of your smartphones apps right on the built-in touch screen.
Less Cargo Space Than 3-Row Rivals
Compared to other 3-row luxury midsize SUVs, the MDX doesn't have much cargo space. There's 14.9 cubic feet of room for your stuff behind the third-row seats. That's not nearly enough for everyone's luggage if all seven seats are in use. If you fold the third row down, you'll get 38.5 cubic feet, and with the second row folded, there is 68.4 cubic feet. No matter how you look at it, the MDX has less cargo room than most 3-row competitors. The Volvo XC90, in particular, is much handier for hauling your things. It has more than 85 cubic feet of cargo space with both rear rows folded down.
The XC90 also beats the MDX with its standard hands-free power liftgate. The MDX comes standard with a power liftgate that opens when you push a button on your key fob. The XC90's hands-free power liftgate, on the other hand, opens when you wave your foot under the rear bumper. It may not seem like a significant difference, but when you walk out of the mall with your hands full of shopping bags, it'll be useful to open the liftgate without having to press a button.
On the plus side, the MDX's load floor is flat when you have the seats folded down, so you won't have to worry about long objects getting caught on ledges and lips when you slide them in.
Under the 2017 MDX's hood, you'll find a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower. Even though some rivals have more powerful engines, most drivers should be just fine with the MDX's engine. It has plenty of punch to get you through your daily drive.
A start-stop system, which shuts off the engine when you're not moving to conserve fuel, is optional. Unfortunately, it doesn't fire the engine back up as quickly as you may like, so if you want to get off the line quickly, you may want to turn off the start-stop system. Paired with the engine is a nine-speed automatic transmission that doesn't always shift when you want it to, so you may find yourself waiting momentarily for more power.
Excellent Fuel Economy
Compared to other luxury midsize SUVs, the MDX is very fuel-efficient, getting up to 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models use only a bit more fuel, getting 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. If you want to use even less fuel, consider a diesel-powered rival, like the Mercedes-Benz GLE300d or the BMW X5 xDrive35d.
Balanced Agility and Ride Comfort
Though it’s a big, 3-row SUV, when you’re behind the wheel the MDX feels smaller than it actually is. With precise and easy steering, you can drive through tight spaces with ease. The suspension strikes a pleasing balance between comfort and sportiness. When you're driving along on the daily commute, bumpy roads are easily absorbed by the suspension. The MDX stays composed around corners, with very little body roll. Still, drivers looking for more buttoned down handling who can stretch their budget should consider springing for a competitor like the Audi Q7 or the Porsche Cayenne.
The MDX comes standard with front-wheel drive and Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, which lets you choose between Normal and Sport modes to tighten up the steering for better handling. All-wheel drive, which Acura dubs SH-AWD, is optional.
MDX Pricing, Options, and Trims
Unlike many rivals, the 2017 Acura MDX doesn't come in multiple trims. Instead, you start with the base model and then add features with option packages. The MDX has a base price of $43,950 and comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, a power moonroof, a power liftgate, proximity key, leather upholstery, heated front seats, second-row bench seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio system, satellite radio, and an infotainment system with an upper 8-inch display screen and a lower 7-inch touch screen.
For the 2017 model year, AcuraWatch comes standard in the MDX, and it includes active lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
The first option group is the Technology Package, a $4,410 option that adds remote start, GPS-linked climate control, navigation, a 10-speaker ELS audio system, HD Radio, voice recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the AcuraLink telematics system.
The Advance Package, which is priced at $6,040, gets you an engine start-stop system, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain's chairs, a heated steering wheel, two USB ports in the third row, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera. To get the Advance Package, you must first buy the Technology Package.
Finally, the $2,000 Entertainment Package comes with heated outboard second-row seats, an 11-speaker ELS audio system, and a 9-inch rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones. The Entertainment Package requires you to buy the Technology Package as well. If you combine the Entertainment Package with the Advance Package, a few features change. Instead of a 9-inch rear-seat entertainment system, you'll get a 16.2-inch screen, and you'll also get a 12-speaker ELS audio system instead of only 11 speakers. You also get a second-row bench seat when you have both the Entertainment Package and Advance Package.
All-wheel drive is a standalone option for $2,000.
MDX Safety and Reliability
In crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2017 MDX earns excellent scores, getting a five-star overall rating and perfect scores in four out of five categories.
For the 2017 model year, the MDX comes standard with the AcuraWatch group of driver assistance systems. Adaptive cruise control is included in AcuraWatch, while it's a pricey optional extra in most rivals. For example, the Lincoln MKT has a comparable base price to the MDX, but requires you to spend an additional $7,500 to get adaptive cruise control. It is worth noting that the MDX's adaptive cruise control may not perform as you'd like. It sometimes brakes too suddenly or accelerates too slowly as the speed of traffic changes.
The MDX also comes standard with active lane keep assist. It scans the lane lines and provides automatic steering corrections to keep you centered. Driver assistance systems help protect against collisions, but they are not intended to replace you as a driver. Their name says it all: Driver assistance systems are only meant to assist you.
J.D. Power hasn't yet assigned a predicted reliability score to the MDX. Acura covers the 2017 MDX with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Other SUVs to Consider
With one of the most luxurious and elegant cabins in the class, the Volvo XC90 will only cost you a couple thousand dollars more than the MDX. Real leather and wood line the cabin in all trims. The XC90's seats are some of the most comfortable you can get in any vehicle, and the third row has enough room for two average-sized adults. It also has one of the highest cargo volumes in the class. The infotainment system features a 9-inch touch screen that's easy to use, and functions like a tablet. There's a range of powertrains available, including a plug-in hybrid, so you can find the right balance of power and fuel efficiency to match your lifestyle.
If you don't need three rows of seats, the Lexus RX 350 may be a good choice for you. It has a starting price that’s a couple thousand dollars less than the MDX’s, some of the best safety scores in the class, and a comfortable, upscale cabin. Though it only has seats for five, the interior feels roomy, so everyone will be comfortable on long drives. On the road, the RX 350 has a cushioned ride and offers plenty of muscle to satisfy most drivers' needs.
Details: 2017 Acura MDX
The 2017 Acura MDX seats seven (six with the optional second-row captain’s chairs) and has a V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The MDX is available with front- or all-wheel drive, and multiple packages are available that add technology, entertainment, and driver assistance features. For 2017, the MDX has refreshed exterior styling, but is mostly unchanged since its redesign for 2014. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2014 through 2017 model years.
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, 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, a 9-inch or 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment system, two wireless headphones, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the AcuraLink telematics system.
- "If you want a 3-row luxury SUV with standout safety features, a long list of amenities, plenty of power and a solid reputation, the 2017 Acura MDX is a smart choice." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Moving slightly upstream in price, the 2017 Audi Q7 is fully redesigned and arguably the most well-rounded pick in the midsize SUV segment, while the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class continue to be Germanic mainstays. All are worth a look and a test-drive, but the well-rounded MDX may still provide the best balance of value, comfort and utility of them all." -- Edmunds
- "[The MDX is a] Good choice for those who fit, can decode operation of the infotainment/connectivity electronics and can spend $43,000 to $58,000." -- USA Today (2016)
Research Prices: 2017 Acura MDX
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