By on March 23, 2016

2017 Acura MDX Front

Acura has two big changes in store for the refreshed 2017 MDX; one up front and in your face, the other hidden beneath its mainly familiar flanks.

The automaker’s flagship luxury SUV, revealed at the New York Auto Show, drops the “silver shield” grille that has adorned the face of Acuras big and small for years, favoring a diamond pentagon mouth reminiscent of the Acura Precision concept.

Acura said the Precision signaled a new design direction for the brand, so consider this the first shield to drop.

2017 Acura MDX Rear

A subtly reshaped hood, fascia and front fenders, plus tweaked headlights and LED foglights that no luxury vehicle can be without, complete the facelift. Twin tailpipes and a restyled bumper bring up the rear.

The big mechanical news is the addition of Acura’s three-motor Sport Hybrid powertrain to the MDX line, borrowed from the NSX and RLX.

The system couples an electric motor to a 3.0-liter V6 (with cylinder deactivation) to motivate the front wheels, and adds two electric motors to the rear. The combined output of 325 horsepower tops the base 3.5-liter MDX by 35 hp, while the multiple propulsion sources allow for electric torque vectoring when the vehicle’s all-wheel drive system is put to work.

2017 Acura MDX Interior

A seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission completes the fuel efficiency package. Acura says the hybrid MDX will beat the base model’s city fuel consumption by seven miles per gallon.

Inside, new option packages will satisfy passengers who demand rear captains chairs or a wide-screen viewing of Disney’s Frozen. Hopefully, there’s a headphone jack.

For the coming model year, Acura will make all of its autonomous safety technology standard on all MDX models, including automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, slow speed follow and road departure mitigation.

The AcuraWatch system is designed to reduce a driver’s workload, and, one would hope, insurance premiums.

[Images: Honda North America]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

85 Comments on “NYIAS: 2017 Acura MDX – The Big SUV Drops its Shield...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Much improved in the looks department. Other models following shield-drop suit should help sales a bit. I’d still choose the (now cheaper) 3.5NA J-Series to do without the extra motors adding complexity and not much power. Just more stuff to go wrong later.

    Brown interior looks nice too, though I suppose the MDX has always had some sort of brown available in there.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I know I speak for countless Acura owners, would-be owners, Acurazine readers and general advocates for good taste when I say:

    THANK GOD.

    The damn beak is finally dying.

    Pity they’re now using a variation of it on Hondas. Hell, maybe that’s why they finally had to drop it on Acuras. But, whatever got it done, I’m for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I do like the implementation on the refreshed 2016 Accord. I’m not sure how I feel about the new Civic. I think the latter is a little too daring for me, which would have me looking at other options…like the new 2016 Cruze that should be out soon.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Glad to see the beak dying also. Years too late, but hopefully gone.

      I have no doubt this car continues to be class leading, I just miss the more angular, cut lines of the previous generations of MDX. These new soft lines really take out any uniqueness that the MDX had. The X5 (unfortunately) has done the exact same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I must be the only person who isn’t put off by the shield. Front now looks like an upgraded European Honda. Wonder if I can remove that big A in the front.

  • avatar

    My friend’s TL was in maintenance and I bothered to take a look in the MDX.

    What an underwhelming crapbox it was.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      In other words: “No, it’s not a Hellcat.”

      • 0 avatar

        Hyundai builds BETTER SUVs and Crossovers.

        My main point of reference for foreign imports from Asia is Hyundai.

        The Genesis is SUPERIOR to The RLX for example – in just about every possible way.

        I’d take (in fact I did take) the Azera over the TL/ TLX (again).

        I’d take the SONATA 2.0t over the TLX (and I will definitely do that in June – VIDEO COMING SOON).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I don’t know. We have a 2012 Sonata and I’m not impressed with the thrashy suspension and how the interior has worn. I’m also told the satellite radio recently stopped working. Hyundai does provide good value for the money, but there’s something missing at 9/10ths or 10/10ths. As it stands, the V6 Accord, Fusion 2.0T, Malibu 2.0T, Legacy and V6 Camry all drive better than the Sonata 2.0T, IMO. And the TLX certainly does.

          Better SUVs? I like the new Tucson, but the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport look plasticky compared to competitors. The Sorento is somehow a bit better. I think Hyundai’s SUVs are on par with the competition in many arenas, but certainly not near the top or best-in-class for driving feel or luxury touches.

          That Hyundai is willing to build a line of RWD cars, when other, more-established brands are not, is another story. But Honda never focused on RWD…aside from the S2000 and the NSX.

          • 0 avatar
            PeriSoft

            I like my ’15 Sonata 2.4 better at 10/10ths than at 5/10ths. It can actually be encouraged to a semblance of neutrality if you approach corners carefully.

            The ’15 is also a very different beast from the previous gen. A few minutes in a ’12 or ’13 put me off even looking at Sonatas when I was shopping a couple of years later, but I ended up driving the ’15 and then ended up buying it. It’s a very different car.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            When I said 9/10ths and 10/10ths, I was referring more to details of fit-and-finish and NVH. I do not like the 2.4 in our Sonata, but I don’t know if the one in the new car is the same engine or not.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        He is just expressing his opinion, much like you do on most posts. Just look at this one – 4 out of 9 comments are from you.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m just poking good-natured fun his ardent Hellcat fandom. No one’s feelings are hurt, here.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Things BTSR likes: weight, giant engines, loads of features.

            Things BTSR doesn’t care about: handling, material quality, durability.

            Through the lens of those preferences he’s usually right. I just can’t imagine having those preferences.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            I am generally no Acura fan, but I certainly would never say that Hyundai makes better SUVs that the MDX. Even not being a fan, I would safely say the MDX is a class leader here.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That *is* an improvement, although I think the front emblem is a tad too large (not that other automakers aren’t also guilty of this). And did the exposed exhaust tips return? If so, I’m pleased.

    I think, really, the MDX—like the XC90—is a nice compromise between the FWD, minivan-like luxury people-carriers (MKT, Enclave, Acadia Denali, QX60)…and the world-class, RWD-based European options (X5, Q7, GL-Class).

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Did the X5 ever get a third row? I didn’t think it had one. That moves it down into some weird little class, IMO. Premium luxury 5-seat, like with the G-Wagen and RR Sport.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yes, the X5 has been available with a third row since the debut of the E70 in 2007. With the E70, run-flats were standard and some cars came with conventional wheels and a spare-tire kit…but you automatically lost the spare tire if you opted for the third row. It is one of those third rows that’s better for children. Mine had the run-flats and no third row.

        Both the X5 and MDX are larger than they look, since they benefit from longer-than-usual rear doors. But the X5 has a lot more length in the hood, being longitude-engined and all, whereas the MDX puts more of its length toward the cabin. I’d call the X5, and the Range Rover Sport, and the Rogue, and the Discovery Sport, and a variety of other vehicles 5+2 seaters.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Ah, thanks. I still don’t like the X5, I feel like it’s just way too much money (and not reliable as you discovered). Not as offensive for moneys-wastin as the GLS (nee GL) though.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I was just flabbergasted when I spec’d a GL550 up to $84K, and it still didn’t have push-button start.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, one time I was browsing gen 1 GL models on Ebay for funs, and I swear I saw a couple of the older ones had wheel covers. I can’t find a pic of one, but I’m not making it up!

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            When we shopped the X5 and GL CPO’s, I strongly preferred the GL, but my wife loved the X5. Since it’s her car, we sadly bought the X5. Least reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned, including my first car in 1993 – a used Olds Ninety Eight.

            The GL felt much more planted and the interior quality was much better than the X5. If this is how all BMW’s are screwed together, I’m done with ’em.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In the X5 manual, they should just do a single page.

            Standard Maintenance:

            -All of the things.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            @CoreyDL — Sounds about right. I felt like my X5 was an instance of Theseus’ paradox. If every f*cking thing has to be replaced under warranty, is it even the same car?

            @jkross22 — Which car is that gear selector in your avatar from? It’s very well-designed.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a manual from an old Mercedes, likely a 190E?

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Looks like you’re right on the nose, Corey, as usual. Thanks!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Woo!

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    I’m not crazy about the inverted pentagon, but it’s a million times better than that godawful beak. At least they’re not doing the “catfish screaming at a rock concert” thing that seems to be catching on.

    P.S. Hope they fired the beak designer.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Well, when you saw one there was no mistaking it for anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      ceipower

      Fire Him?? He’s probably running the company! Honda’s in a awful mess. Everything they do , every dime they make , gets sucked in to finance the HondaJet. Think about what that program has cost over the past 10 years…..then think about what it has returned…..zero.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Looks nice but #notatruck.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      #wasneverintendedtobeatruck

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Still using the term “SUV” is a misnomer then. I should poll MDX owners on their opinions on whether they drive a “truck” or not.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Since we’ve been looking at RX hybrids I’ve been reading the RX forums at ClubLexus. One of the most annoying tics there is the owners’ habit of referring to their crossovers as “the truck.” It’s a lifted, fancier Camry, people.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve noticed it too, not only is it wrong but also pretentious. Lexus sells not one but two “trucks” and you were too cheap to opt for one dbag.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have the same issue when people say “I bought a house.” when it’s in fact a condo.

            Call it what it is, otherwise you’re lying.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Haha. If I brought my wife a GX or LX she would probably turn around and trade it for an X3 just to show she’s equally capable of spite.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The GX and LX are so good!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            They’re big trucks for a small-car girl. If she didn’t have any practicality concerns she’d rather be driving a 997 911. She rhapsodizes about them every time they drive by and the second there are no more kids in the house she’s going to have one.

            We’re going to go test drive a used RX450h, a new RAV4 Hybrid, and an i3 this weekend.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought you all were waiting a year or two, to get the QX50 to replace the Forester?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @dal

            911? Très classe!

            Why so practical? You have at least one large sedan for people hauling…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            We changed our mind. Long and complicated story as to why, but the upshot is we are looking for a replacement now and we want it to be either an EV or a hybrid that usually or always turns the engine off at zero or low speed (which leaves out the Nissan and Hyundai hybrids).

            She strongly dislikes the styling of the current Fusion or MKZ, we’ve ruled out the Camry, Leaf, and Prius based on lack of certain features, and we’re looking at almost everything else in the EV/hybrid arena. Gas price environment means it’s a bad time for new EV/hybrid offerings but a good time to be buying used vehicles of that type. Leading contenders for now are 2013-15 RX 450h, new RAV4 Hybrid, 2014-15 Accord Hybrid Touring, and the pure-electric i3. She loves the idea of a Tesla Model 3 but is unwilling to wait that long.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’re gonna end up with the RX. The Rav4 is too pleeb on the inside, and the ride is too harsh. Especially if she drives the RX first.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Corey, I tend to agree. The RAV4 feels cheap inside even with the 2016 update, particularly at the Limited price point. I think it’s going to come down to used RX vs. used Accord. She’s going to have to think carefully about whether she values luxury and AWD, on the one hand, or driving dynamics, on the other.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I know which I’d pick!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The girl at my work who has an i3 asked me to pass along a strong recommendation for this model with two caveats: 1. get the navigation as it does so many things and 2. don’t ever buy it because the battery tech is rapidly changing.

            I still see an RX happening though…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Good to know. Two things make me feel the i3 is iffy: 1) the relatively small back seat and 2) the lack of power seats (and resulting lack of memory seats) given that both of us will be driving this car very often. But the wife likes the styling, and we both like the driving characteristics of EVs, so we’ll have a drive.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            sit in the RAV4 back seat with her, and the RX is a done deal. I wouldn’t put anyone I plan to know afterwards in the RAV4 back seat.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Soft roader people hauler?

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      #loadedodysseywithconventionaldoors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Define “truck”
      Define “SUV”

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’d say something with a proper ladder frame qualifies as a truck. SUV? That’s a little more tricky, but I think the distinction between SUVs and crossovers is a silly nitpicked issue that enthusiasts bring up in order to justify their derision of perfectly sensible market choices that happen not to be enthusiast-oriented (“It’s never going to leave the pavement and it’s FWD; how could it be an SUV?!”). An MDX is an SUV. So is an RX. Or a Cayenne. Or a Renegade.

      • 0 avatar
        bigdaddyp

        I refer to my Excursion as a truck and also as a Tank because it’s both.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    massive improvement. glad to see they got over their parrot fetish.

  • avatar
    Von

    While removing the beak is a definite improvement, this new grill is not well executed either. It doesn’t look like it belongs in a luxury vehicle, just inoffensive and plain. I guess that’s still a step in the right direction.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Definitely looks better on the outside. Inside… not so much. The double screen system is still ugly and terrible. The “wood” looks as plastic as ever, and most of the console appears to be Civic grade hard plastic.

    At the end of the day, the MDX remains nothing more than a “Pilot Limited” and competes with the top trim Explorer, Buick Enclave, and Mazda CX-9, and not much else. The XC90 now looks like it costs about $30K more than this thanks to that gorgeous new interior, and it’s a real threat to the Germans despite the silly super-turbo charged 4 cylinder that’s no more fuel efficient than the German turbo sixes. This isn’t.

    I also suspect that the eventual Genesis brand SUV will embarrass this thing, just like the Genesis/G80 has the RLX. What is it Acura’s supposed to be good at again? They can’t do cabin tech, their new transmissions are both terrible (and is this 7-speed DCT another new Honda box, or somebody else’s like the 9-speed? Will they be beta testing this one on customers as well?) and as “luxury cars” they are barely a notch above Buick, if at all.

    I really don’t get how Infiniti keeps managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Acura seems like such an easy target, and the TLX is a bland mess. Just about everybody liked the G37, and all they had to do was not screw it up….

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      In my area, the MDX competes head on against the Lexus RX. Every mom in my suburb not rich enough to have a Range Rover or GL has one or the other.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The RX has needed a third row for years. The Highlander has one, the RX should have one. Then it will take even more MDX sales.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I think the MDX gets a lot of refugees from the X5, Q7 and ML/GL who are sick of their crossover being in the shop every other month.

          If I were in the market today, this would be my second choice to the XC90. Q7 is a distant third.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The new tech bits and also potential trim issues in the XC90 scare me for longevity, but I think it would be -ok- if you avoid the dual engine one. I’ve never much liked the Q7, as it’s very expensive for what it is.

            I guess if I have to pick between GL, Q7, or X5, I’d have the Q7? If the selection was just “Europe,” then I’d get the XC90.

    • 0 avatar
      Von

      My in-laws have a previous gen Q7 with about 50k miles. The shocks feel tired, engine is buzzy and noticeably loud, and the AC takes 15 minutes to start blowing slightly cooled air, and it’s been in the shop at least twice that I know of. It feels like a burden to drive that thing, now they are finally trying to sell it.

      Granted, they are not fanatical car people, but they do all the required maintenance more or less on time. Even if they were the same price, I would’ve picked the MDX over the Q7 any day of the week. For a lease, the Q7 might have a fighting chance against the MDX, but then the Volvo interior beats them both by a mile, forget about everything else.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Any idea how much the Sport Hybrid is going to cost? It could potentially be the answer for my family.

    • 0 avatar
      accord1999

      On the RLX, it’s $5500 to go from the FWD model to the Sport Hybrid Model; so I would expect something comparable for the MDX (or perhaps a bit less because of the smaller 3.0L engine).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That would put a loaded Hybrid in the very high 50s, right along with a volume-model RX Hybrid. Probably a little too spendy for us, but I like the idea.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Am I the only person who doesn’t like the new grille? Acura had finally gotten the beak to work on its cars, and it looked great on the ’13 MDX.

    This is just a generic grille with a horrendously large logo on it. Reminds me of Nissan’s SUV/pickup-size front badges, which come quite close to offending me.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The beak is dead!

  • avatar
    MT

    Nothing here makes me regret my XC90. Took Acura forever, but they finally figured out an uglier front end than the urban shield.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I suppose Acura finally had to do something different now that the chrome beak has migrated downmarket and ruining all Honda-branded products.

    It appears that they’ve made no changes to the idiotic split screen infotainment system. No mention of Carplay/Android Auto availiability, which is surprising since Hondas are now getting it and they use the same basic system. I still find it sad that they couldn’t even modify the graphics for Acura version of this. Even Lincoln, one of the few brands that exceeds Acura in lack of raison d’être, at least managed to change the colors SYNC3 on its cars.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    I think they move a good chunk of their MDX production to their Ohio plant in 2017 away from their Alabama plant. Supposedly, this was to be a two-birds-with-one-stone thing of increasing production and improving overall quality.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The 2017 MDX grille is very similar to the one the graced the 1996-2004 Acura RL. What’s old is new again!

    http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/08/05/08/18/2004-acura-rl-3.5l-pic-32250.jpeg

  • avatar
    ceipower

    How many years did Acura stick with the Ugly Beak look for the front end ?? This in spite of no one ever paying the beak look with a single positive comment. Die-Hards would buy the product , then immediately switch to a after market grill. Wow , Acura , your really on top of things!! In another 10 or 15 years you might even consider admitting you threw away/lost a ton of good will and customers when you dropped the names like Legend/Integra and went to the still confusing alphabet soup.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Halftruth: This car is not Chrysler’s best example. They slapped it together and shoved it out the door. They...
  • ScarecrowRepair: If I were FCA, I’d be advertising that GM think FCA products have better trade-in value than...
  • Felix Hoenikker: In the film, GM also suggests the car based cell phone. However, that didn’t materialize till...
  • aja8888: GM need to focus on building vehicles where the real crime is being committed and leave the courtroom stuff...
  • Arthur Dailey: I remember when passenger side mirrors were rare. And they were optional extras on many cars right up...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber