Spotted: Next-Generation Acura MDX Takes Shape

Acura is set to replace its best-seller, the MDX crossover, and our spy shooters caught a prototype under a heavy coat of camouflage.It’s about time for a new version of the MDX; the current generation was introduced in 2006 and subsequently face-lifted and updated for the 2010 model year.

The basic formula for the new Acura MDX will remain the same. It looks like the luxury crossover will continue its large, three-row formula. The controversial, angular chrome nose treatment might be slightly toned down compared to the current model.

Under the hood, we expect the MDX will move to a direct-injection engine, possibly just an updated version of its current 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6. We’ve heard there’s a chance Acura could use the MDX to introduce a new nine-speed automatic transmission, supplanting the six-speed unit currently on offer. The ZF-sourced transmission is suitable for all-wheel-drive configurations and can handle torque loads up to 354 lb-ft, making it an ideal fit for a vehicle like the MDX.

It’s also unclear whether the new MDX will retain Acura’s trick SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive). The torque-vectoring drive system was dropped from the 2013 Acura RDX because the company believes target buyers weren’t interested in the technology, and the same decision may be made for the MDX. On the other hand, there’s a possibility the crossover could use a sort of hybrid-drive all-wheel-drive model. Similar to the future Acura NSX supercar, an electric motor on the non-drive axle could act as a mild hybrid system and provide four-wheel traction.

If previous reveals of cars like the Acura ILX “concept” are any indication, the new MDX will first be shown as a concept at an auto show, and the production car will debut with almost identical styling a few months later. Given that Acura has already introduced its model-year 2013 offerings, it seems a solid bet the MDX will arrive late this year or early next year as a 2014 model.

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