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2015 Acura MDX: Real World Review

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

The Acura MDX recently marked the beginning of its third generation, and sales of the luxury SUV are stronger than ever. Boasting cutting-edge technology, a powerful V6 engine and a third-row seat, the 2015 Acura MDX is increasingly the top choice among car shoppers interested in a reasonably priced family-friendly SUV. Is it really as good as it looks on paper? We spent a few days behind the wheel of the latest MDX in order to find out.

High Praise

It's rare that a test vehicle comes through our headquarters -- which houses some pretty astute car enthusiasts -- and earns almost unanimous praise. The Acura MDX did just that, taking home high marks from each of our staffers, who issued only the occasional note of criticism regarding some pretty insignificant details.

For example: The MDX earned high praise for its ride quality, with one staffer, Kris, noting that it's a "smooth and comfortable highway cruiser." Another staffer, Dwight, echoed that sentiment, pointing out that the MDX offers a "very quiet ride and no cabin noise," and further noting that it boasts comfortable seating both in front and in back.

We also liked the engine. The 2015 Acura MDX is powered by a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, which is mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. The result is excellent acceleration and one of the quietest, smoothest powertrains in the luxury SUV world. No, it's no BMW or Porsche, but it doesn't need to be; it offers a more relaxed take on luxury than high-end SUVs do.

It's the Little Stuff, Too

With the MDX, Acura also did well in the details. For instance, the seats aren't just heated or cooled but automatically controlled, which means you never have to move the dial in order to get to a comfortable temperature. We like the ability to lock and unlock the doors from the back seats. We love the large storage area in the center console, especially the grippy wood trim that helps to keep objects in place. We also loved the thoughtfully placed button that lets occupants into and out of the MDX's third row.

Acura clearly paid attention to detail in terms of technology, too. One test driver noted that the MDX features the best infotainment system in the Honda lineup, while another called it a "happy middle ground" between sometimes-complicated touchscreens and more traditional systems that rely on buttons alone. Admittedly, it's not as simple as it might be, but that may just be a side effect of the increasing number of functions controlled by modern infotainment technology. In the end, it's one of the best solutions we've seen yet.

Complaints?

The MDX did attract a few complaints, though most were limited to minor issues. One driver noted that the SUV doesn't feel especially nimble, especially compared to European rivals. Another complained that the SUV's distance-to-empty function fluctuated wildly, going from a high number to a low number and then back up. While we enjoyed most of the MDX's dashboard materials, we did hear a few complaints about the plastic used around the SUV's shift lever.

Interestingly, the chief complaint was a subjective one: No one could really get excited about the MDX's styling. While the outgoing MDX was daring and bold, the latest model blends in more than just about any luxury SUV does. Although nobody found it unattractive, we also aren't drawn to it like we are with some of the MDX's rivals. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your feelings on the MDX may differ from ours.

Should You Buy It?

Our 2015 MDX test car was really an excellent vehicle -- until we came to the price tag. Try as we might, it's just a little to hard to imagine spending nearly $60,000 for a fully loaded Acura like the one we were given. As a result, we suggest a little restraint: An MDX with only the Technology Package, for instance, offers everything you need and a far more reasonable price tag of around $47,800 with shipping. For drivers who don't need the handling prowess of a BMW or the acceleration of a Porsche, it's all the luxury SUV you could ever want.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/ Advance Package
Used 2014 Acura MDX
$24,677
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Acura MDX FWD w/ Technology Package
Used 2014 Acura MDX
$19,530
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Used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/ Technology Package
Used 2014 Acura MDX
$23,981
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Used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/ Technology Package
Used 2014 Acura MDX
$25,995
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Acura MDX: Real World Review - Autotrader