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2016 Acura MDX

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/29/2015 Stefan Ogbac
© Acura

New for 2016

The 2016 Acura MDX gains a nine-speed automatic transmission and a new version of Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The newly available AcuraWatch suite of safety aids includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, a collision mitigation system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and the Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines.

Vehicle Summary

The 2016 Acura MDX is a three-row luxury crossover with seating for up to seven passengers and is available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

Overview

The 2016 Acura MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque that's paired to a nine-speed automatic. Fuel economy varies depending on the drivetrain configuration, with front-drive models rated at 19/27 mpg city/highway while all-wheel-drive-equipped variants are rated at 18/26 mpg. MDXs equipped with the available engine start-stop system achieve slightly better fuel economy at 20/27 mpg for front-drive models and 19/26 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Interior quality is excellent in the 2016 MDX, with plenty of soft-touch materials, satin chrome accents, and Milano leather in higher trim levels. There are fewer buttons in the center stack since most of the functions are in the second touchscreen display, which isn't intuitive and has graphics that look dated. Passenger space is generous in first and second rows while third row is best suited for short drives or children. Cargo space, on the other hand, is plentiful with up to 68.4 cubic feet of cargo space when the second and third rows are folded. When the third row is up, there's up to 15 cubic feet of space and 38.4 cubic feet with the second row in place.

Safety

Standard safety features include two front and front-side airbags, driver's knee airbag, and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seating. The AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver assistance features is available in all trim levels and includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, a collision mitigation system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and the Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines. The NHTSA gives the 2016 Acura MDX a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars) while the IIHS considers the 2015 MDX a 2015 Top Safety Pick+. In the IIHS' front crash prevention test, the 2016 MDX earned an Advanced designation because the autobrake system was able to reduce a 12-mph impact by 7 mph and 25-mph impact by 6 mph (front crash designations include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).

Trims, Packages, and What's Standard

Standard features on all 2016 Acura MDX crossovers include a power tailgate, rearview camera, heated front seats, eight-speaker premium audio systems, Bluetooth, and a USB audio interface. The Technology package adds navigation, ELS premium audio system, multi-information display, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, LED puddle lights, and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Advance package adds second-row heated outboard seats, heated and ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, and perforated sport seats with Milano premium leather upholstery.

The optional Entertainment package, which is available with the Technology and Advance packages, adds a DVD rear entertainment speaker, a nine-inch or 16.2-inch full VGA screen, an 11th or 12th speaker for the ELS audio system, and a front console 110-volt power outlet. Models with all-wheel drive also come with trailer stability assist.

What We Think

Acura continues to fine tune a winning formula in the 2016 Acura MDX, offering plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and refinement a surprisingly fun to drive package. In a 2014 First Drive review, we said that the MDX's interior pampers it is occupants "with a cleaner, richer, better-equipped cabin," featuring high-quality materials and soft-touch materials. However, we found the crossover's infotainment system fussy to use. In fact, during the evaluations for Motor Trend's 2014 SUV of the Year, the dated-looking graphics combined with the infotainment system's lack of user-friendliness was enough to keep it from winning the award. Driving dynamics remain a MDX strong point because the car handles surprisingly well without sacrificing ride comfort, and accelerates quickly for a three-row crossover, especially when it's equipped with SH-AWD.

Cool Fact

The new nine-speed automatic in the 2016 MDX is shared with the TLX V-6 and the upcoming Honda Pilot.

You'll Like

  • Surprisingly agile for a large crossover
  • Luxurious and well-built interior

You Won't Like

  • Fussy infotainment system controls
  • Dated graphics

Key Competitors

  • BMW X5
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (formerly called the M-Class)
  • Lexus RX
  • Volvo XC90
  • Infiniti QX60

Rating

4 star

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