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2019 Acura MDX: New Car Review

From its advanced technology to its reputation as a solid, 3-row premium SUV, the 2019 Acura MDX is about as close as one gets to fossil-fuel-burning perfection. Acura‘s largest and best-selling SUV, the MDX’s reputation for reliability and strong resale ensures high marks for customer satisfaction and repeat patronage, but even first-time buyers will be impressed by what the MDX has to offer. The MDX provides plenty of interior room, a comfortable ride and excellent driving dynamics. Attractive styling and competitive pricing only add to the MDX’s allure, as does its standard set of driver-safety-assist systems.

What’s New for 2019?

For 2019, the Acura MDX gets some new colors, an available Active Damper System with wider wheel and tire combination, and a revised 9-speed automatic. A new A-Spec package is added, offering wider wheels, an aggressive front fascia, sport seats and standard SH-AWD. Idle Stop is now standard on all models.

What We Like

Exterior design refinements add modern sharpness; available second-row captain’s chairs add an executive flair and make third-row access simple; standard level of technology is comprehensive and can be pushed even further with Technology and Advance packages

What We Don’t

Despite improvements to its exterior, the MDX can still get lost in a crowd of similar crossovers; only one powertrain choice; Acura recommends premium 91 octane fuel, which is more expensive

How Much?


Fuel Economy

All MDX models come with the same 3.5-liter direct gasoline injection V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard. Front-wheel-drive models are rated to achieve 20 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in combined driving. Selecting available Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive ($2,000 extra) results in fuel economy figures of 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

There is just one trim level of the MDX; four options packages can be added.

The base MDX ($45,295, FWD; $47,295, SH-AWD) includes a 3.5-liter V6 with 9-speed automatic transmission, full LED lighting, acoustic windshield and front side-windows, roof rails, moonroof, a Smart Entry Keyless Access System with front door and rear tailgate access, a "diamond pentagon" front grille, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, three rows of seating, 50/50-split third row, 60/40-split second row with One-Touch Walk-In and Extended Slide, a dual-screen center stack, leather seating surfaces, power windows and door locks, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a multi-view rearview camera, push-button start/stop, tri-zone automatic climate control, hill-start assist, heated power front bucket seats (10-way driver/8-way passenger) with 4-way power lumbar support, cruise control, an electronic tilt-telescopic steering column, Idle Stop, AcuraLink with Aha mobile interface, Bluetooth, Pandora and SMS text interfaces, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-in On Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD 2.0), an Acura 8-speaker audio system with 432-watt amplifier, a single-disc CD player and an AM/FM/SiriusXM radio.

The Technology package ($5,000) includes GPS-linked climate control, 20-in aluminum-alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-folding side mirrors with LED puddle lights, remote engine start, an Acura Navigation System with an 8-in color display, a color multi-information display with turn-by-turn guidance, rear-door Smart Key entry, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio System with 10 speakers, HD Radio and Song By Voice, a voice recognition system for navigation, audio, climate control and Bluetooth and email compatibility.

The Advance package ($6,750; requires Technology package) adds perforated leather with contrast stitching and piping, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row heated captain’s chairs, a second-row center console, natural wood accents, a heated steering wheel, second-row manual sunshades, two third-row USB charge ports, LED fog lights, auto-dimming side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera.

The Entertainment package ($2,000; requires either Technology or Advance package) includes second-row bench seating (captain’s chairs with Technology package), a 9-in VGA screen and 11 speakers (with Technology package), a 16.2-in VGA screen and a 12th speaker (with Advance package), two wireless headphones, removable ceiling-mounted remote control.

The A-Spec package ($3,500; requires Technology package) adds a unique sculpted front end, Dark Jewel integrated LED headlights and fog lights, wider 20-inch wheels in Shark Grey, Alcantara-trimmed sport seats, an A-Spec-specific steering wheel and interior embellishments, black headliner, heated and ventilated front seats and SH-AWD.


Each MDX comes equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of safety features, which includes lane-keeping assist, collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control and road-departure mitigation. The MDX also gets vehicle stability control, antilock brakes with brake assist, LATCH connections, tire pressure monitoring and seven airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2019 MDX a 5-star overall rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2018 model Good in all categories and Superior in the crash avoidance and mitigation tests, the same rating we expect for 2019 when testing is complete.

Behind the Wheel

With a curb weight of just over two tons (4,001 pounds), the MDX is a big vehicle, but it’s still the lightest in its class thanks to the extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel in its structure. It handles well through the curves but shines in a straight line, where it floats along the road in serene silence and smoothness. Both driver and passenger accommodations are comfortable, well-padded and roomy. The MDX’s engine does a good job of propelling the crossover down the road, and revision this year to the 9-speed automatic transmission has banished its tendency for eager upshifting into the next gear and what was a sometimes notchy feel. A quick drive down the block will have you in fifth gear before you know it, and when you ask for more acceleration to merge with traffic, the transmission does so quickly.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Infiniti QX60 — Another tech-laden 3-row luxury crossover, the QX60 comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

2019 GMC Acadia Denali — GM’s 3-row crossover offers slightly more hp and a few more features in a slightly smaller and nimbler package.

2019 Lexus GX — The GX offers a more rugged design with real off-road capabilities, a more powerful engine and a higher tow rating.

Used Audi Q7 — A 2014-2017 Audi Q7 offers a superior luxury and driving experience, more engine options and more distinctive styling.

Autotrader’s Advice

MDX loyalists will not be disappointed in the latest tweak to their favorite 3-row luxury crossover. We’re not sure if it will win over any converts from other brands, but the 2019 Acura MDX with the Technology package is the one to look for. It offers the most desirable features, like navigation, blind spot monitoring and premium audio, without the expensive high-end features that come with the Advance package. Whichever MDX you select, you’ll get a well-sorted, luxurious and roomy crossover that’s ready for a road trip.

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