reviews

2017 Acura MDX Walk Around


The facelift on the 2017 MDX improves its looks. The diamond pentagon grille comes from the Precision concept car that got a positive reaction at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. There are also freshly sculpted front fenders, a new hood, and jewel-like headlamps, with available LED foglamps. But Acura can keep the chrome rocker panels and additional body trim.

The profile seems less upright than some SUV rivals, with its chiseled front end, tapered roofline, and the smooth rear end. Ironically, while the smaller Acura RDX crossover looks larger than it is, the Acura MDX looks smaller than it is.

Interior

The sloping and tiered dashboard sort of mimics the grille, leading into a V-shaped centerstack. It’s neither opulent nor glitzy, but its design works better than its function. Well, we say it’s not glitzy, but its chrome surround sometimes reflects sunlight into the driver’s eyes.

However, the center console itself gets kudos for function: deep bin, tray for cellphone, another larger tray with sliding woodgrain top, traction strips for things so they don’t slide around, conveniently located cupholders, and another small bin for keys, with power outlet.

The infotainment interface called AcuraLink leaves much to be desired, although its add-on features make commuting easier. There’s traffic info, vehicle messaging, and integrated Aha and Pandora entertainment. A Connect Package adds Assist Services, Map Services, and MyVehicle (remote vehicle services and diagnostics). Full-on concierge services are available with a Premium Package.

The push-button transmission shifter is brilliant. Besides freeing up space on the console, it’s easy to use with its distinct buttons.

The front seats are plush and supportive, with low side bolsters that make sliding in and out easy. The driver’s seat slides back automatically when the door is opened.

The MDX is roomy for its class. The second row slides six inches fore and aft, giving either second- or third-row passengers more legroom (but not both). It’s split 60/40 and folds almost flat, although there are a lot of gaps and holes, not good for dogs. A small illuminated button at each side of the second row moves the seat to enable reaching the third row. An easier way is going for the optional captain’s chairs.

Getting to the third row is difficult, so leave it for the kids. And, back there, the high floor level puts your knees at your chin, if you’re an adult or tall kid.

The third row folds perfectly flat by pulling a lever; the headrests flip forward, and can stay with the seats rather than having to be removed, a good safety feature because they won’t be missing when needed.

With both seats folded, the cargo space reveals an underfloor storage area with room for a laptop, camera bag, or more shoes. It has a lid that can be moved out of the way.

The cabin is very quiet and vibration-free, thanks to an active noise-cancellation system, an active engine mount system, acoustic glass in the windshield and windows, and heaps of insulation elsewhere.

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