The three-row luxury crossover is the great automotive confluence of a cosseting cabin and people-carrying practicality, and the last-generation Acura MDX was one of our favorites. A 2012 model easily bested contenders from BMW, Infiniti, and Lincoln in an April 2012 comparison test, and as if to confirm our decision, the MDX has been Acura's best-selling model since 2011. No wonder we were so eager to get behind the wheel when a brand new 2014 Acura MDX arrived at last year's New York auto show.
New from the chassis up, the 2014 Acura MDX has smarter styling, a more modern interior, a few hundred fewer pounds of mass, and better fuel economy. For the first time ever, Acura launched a front-wheel-drive version alongside the AWD model. The MDX’s wheelbase is longer, its cabin better insulated, its equipment list more comprehensive, and its chassis designed for improved handling. Acura even claims the new MDX is eight seconds faster around the Nurburgring than its predecessor, a metric almost comically irrelevant to crossover buyers.
When ordering our ideal 2014 Acura MDX, we knew we'd rather have the Super Handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) than front-wheel drive, and then we sprung for the Advance and Entertainment packages. That pushed the price tag to $57,400, or $14,215 more than an entry-level MDX. That's certainly a hefty sum, but as a result our 2014 Acura MDX is overflowing with high-end gadgets.
For starters, we wanted SH-AWD because the system automatically shuffles torque between the left- and right-hand wheels to improve grip and handling, a blessing when the car arrived just before the Polar Vortex smothered Michigan with snow. On top of that, our 2014 Acura MDX boasts touchscreen navigation, heated and cooled front seats, push-button starting, a 16.2-inch rear screen with DVD player, a 12-speaker sound system, and adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking.
Immediately upon taking delivery, we dropped more money on the 2014 Acura MDX to prepare it for winter. First up was a set of durable rubber floor mats from our Acura dealership, which set us back $199.28 but should keep slush from ruining the crossover's carpets. Next came a set of Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 winter tires from our wheel and tire partner The Tire Rack, which cost $825.34 to purchase and mount.
There's no doubt that a well-appointed, spacious crossover will be in high demand for staffers taking road trips, so we expect our 2014 Acura MDX to quickly rack up tens of thousands of miles in dozens of states over the next twelve months. Just days after its arrival, the MDX was commandeered by staff photographer Patrick Hoey for a whirlwind feature-story assignment that took him from Michigan to South Carolina -- by way of Nashville, Tennessee.