Acura will pull the wraps off a concept version of the new 2014 MDX crossover next month at the Detroit auto show. This artsy rendering is our first hint at the styling of the concept car, although it's worth noting that Acura "concept" vehicles tend to be almost identical to the eventual production models.
Even though this line drawing doesn't show much, we already have a good idea what the 2014 Acura MDX looks like thanks to spy shots. As was the case with the redesigned Acura RDX crossover, the new MDX will probably adopt a tamer front "beak" grille and more pronounced creases in the body-side sheetmetal. Spy shots have revealed LED taillights and the same "Jewel Eye" LED headlights that will debut on the 2014 Acura RLX sedan.
Acura says the 2014 MDX uses "Aero Sculpture" design language that is supposed to be both attractive and functional. Translation: the new crossover is far more aerodynamic, helping improve highway fuel economy. The company also promises its new model "will feature alluring proportions with smooth, arching body lines."
Under the hood, reports suggest the new MDX will employ the same direct-injected, 310-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine as the RLX. Yet while the RLX will have a traditional six-speed automatic, we've previously reported that the MDX could introduce a new nine-speed automatic to the Acura range. The ZF-sourced transmission is reportedly suited to both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations, making it ideal for a crossover like the MDX.
The flagship model could employ a hybrid all-wheel-drive system, similar to the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD drivetrain available in the 2014 RLX. It combines a V-6 engine with an integrated motor/generator, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and an electric motor at each rear wheel. It not only improves acceleration and fuel economy, but also allows for torque vectoring during cornering.
When the 2014 Acura MDX concept debuts at the Detroit show, expect it to look almost exactly like a production car. As noted, Honda and Acura tend to only change minor details like lights or wheels from the concept stage to real on-sale cars. The 2014 Acura MDX will go on sale by fall 2013.