Nov 012015
 

2015-08-11 AcuraMDX

With the launch of its platform mate, the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot, the Acura MDX also gets upgraded for 2016. While it may still look like the 2014 redesign, it contains more technology, luxury, and options than before.

2015-08-11 mdx.dashSharing a platform with the Pilot, there are several similarities, like push buttons for Park, Reverse, Drive, and Neutral rather than a shift knob. The seven-inch touchscreen in the center stack is similar to the Pilot’s except the MDX adds haptic touch—that buzzing sensation or thump you feel on your fingertips to help navigate the screen without looking at it.

All 2016 models are now equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission to improve fuel economy. Paired with the 3.5-liter V6 and Variable Cylinder Management, it should achieve an EPA estimated 19 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The test model I drove included idle stop technology that shuts the engine down at idle for saving even more gas, as well as Super Handling all-wheel drive. I averaged 21.2 mpg.2015-08-11 mdx.sensor

Additional luxury upgrades for 2016 include a frameless rearview mirror, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, a tire pressure monitoring system with an audible alert to signal that the tire has been inflated to the correct pressure, and a Multi-View Angle Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines.

More advanced safety technology, however, will cost extra via the AcuraWatch, Advance or Technology packages. All the good stuff is here, e.g. Forward Collision Warning, the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), a blind spot warning system, even a parking sensor. It would be nice if one or more of these features were standard, especially at this price point.

The blind spot warning is located on the A-pillar rather than in the side mirror.

The blind spot warning is located on the A-pillar rather than in the side mirror.

LKAS adds muscle with the new Road Departure Mitigation System that will keep you in your lane, including nudging the steering wheel or braking if necessary, so that it may feel like there’s a ghost in the machine.

The third generation MDX includes one of my favorite innovations, a push-button release on the side of the second row-seat and at the back of the headrest that moves the second row forward and to the side for easy access to the third row—no more broken nails at the hands of levers!

Second-row seat release button in headrest.

Second-row seat release button near the headrest.

2015-08-11 mdxrear.licStandard luxury features, like leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, wood accents, a premium audio system, and tri-zone climate control combined with available technology should keep the popular SUV at the top of its segment, but ultimately, it’s all in the package.

Indeed, there’s a veritable alphabet soup of available features and packages, like the MDX AWD ADV ENT (MDX with all-wheel drive, Advance, and Entertainment packages) that I drove. Totaling 16 variations, it may make choosing what MDX you’d like a little challenging.

Pricing for the 2016 MDX starts at $43,785. The as-tested pricing came to $58,000.

Sí: Love the push button release on the second-row seats for access to the third row.

No: Too many safety features are available in optional packages rather than standard.

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