2014 Acura MDX: The No Shame Crossover

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Acura’s MDX has been the shining star in their lineup for years now.  Having invented the three-row crossover, Acura has polished that shining star in their lineup for the 2014 model year with an all-new model.

I know, it really doesn’t look all that new.  Trust me, it is.  I’ve seen it from the inside out.  Everything you can’t see is new and even the exterior (YES, it is!) is new.  The MDX is a formula not to be messed with and Acura knows this quite well.  So, they made an all-new MDX but modernized the exterior a bit and significantly improved the interior.  The MDX is one of the few crossovers that has enough cojones that men of all types need not fear that it looks like they are driving a glorified minivan.

The MDX is actually a little smaller than the previous one.  Not really a big deal because there is plenty of room to be had inside.  The interior fit and finish is light years better than the 2013 MDX that Acura had for me to compare it to.  The door panels and switches felt far more refined and looked like they actually belonged in a premium vehicle, such as the MDX.  The craftsmanship really made this feel like a luxury crossover and not a warmed over Honda.

The MDX interior has really improved, too.  Acura decided to wake up and ditch the loads of Chiclet-sized buttons that previously covered the instrument panel.  Two screens adorn the dash now and attempt to offer a simpler interface this time around.  There is even haptic feedback when you touch the screen, similar to Cadillac’s CUE system.  The navigation menu is a bit clumsy but the optional 546-watt audio system from Panasonic made me feel a bit better about that shortcoming.

The second row seat, supplied by Johnson Controls, is nicely done with an illuminated switch to help the seat fold out of the way.  It doesn’t have the ease of access as the Infiniti JX but MDX diehards will surely appreciate the update and improved entry to the kid-only third row.

The MDX is quite the capable family hauler.  It doesn’t feel as heavy as a BMW X5.  It doesn’t feel as slow as the Infiniti JX.  It has far more personality than a Lexus RX.  With a unique set of LED daytime running lights and headlights, the MDX will no longer blend in with the soccer mom mobiles.  You’ll see the (be?)jeweled headlights coming at you and be intrigued.  For those looking for an American-made crossover with seating for seven, Acura is anxiously awaiting for you to pay them a visit.

Is it perfect?  It’s pretty close.  You can’t get a panoramic sunroof.  Acura seems to have spent their money on a very well-polished tuning for the suspension.  Even the engine sound enhancement coming through the front speakers sounded decent.  Oddly enough, the MDX is not available with a heated steering wheel unless you buy it from the dealer.  That needs to be added as a factory option ASAP.

The MDX can quickly turn into a pricey affair.  It is now available with front-wheel drive for the first time which helps lower the base price to a hair over $42,000.  That can escalate into almost $57,000 with a few checks of the option boxes for the SH-AWD model.  You might be able to make up some of that difference with the 28 MPG highway (FWD) but if not, the MDX will surely give buyers much to get excited about if they desire three-rows of seating, good fuel economy and plenty of tech-tainment.

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