Tweaked for 2019, Acura's Largest Wants You to Let a Bit of Your Hair Down

tweaked for 2019 acuras largest wants you to let a bit of your hair down

Having first appeared back in 2000 as a 2001 model, the Acura MDX is the Ed Asner of premium midsize import crossovers and a crucial breadwinner in the brand’s utility-light portfolio. While the model’s smaller sibling, the RDX, just underwent massive changes, the MDX soldiers on into 2019 muttering, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Thus, most changes fall into the minor but meaningful category.

One thing the 2019 MDX does seek to fix is its mildly conservative persona, but only for buyers willing to take that leap.

For 2019, Acura debuts the A-Spec sport appearance package, which outfits the MDX with wider rubber and tell-tale interior and exterior furnishings. It’s only available with Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD).

What does A-Spec bring to the table? Half-inch wider 20-inch Shark Grey alloy wheels wrapped in 265/45-series tires, a slightly meaner front fascia, body-color side sills, and glass-black or dark chrome trim replacing the bright stuff from stem to stern. There’s also larger exhaust finishers to hint at extra power that doesn’t exist.

Inside, it’s contrast stitching galore, a meatier steering wheel, sport pedals, unique gauges, and sport seats (and doors) featuring black Alcantara inserts. The vehicle will inform you of its A-Spec identity at every turn.

Elsewhere in the lineup, the changes are modest. Buyers can now option their MDX with the brand’s Active Damper System, formerly available only on the Sport Hybrid model. For 2019, the nine-speed automatic transmission sees additional refinements, with the gearbox now encouraged to launch in second gear for smoother acceleration. Choose sport mode (or just add weight to your right foot), and first gear gets priority.

Aside from the finessed nine-speed, the non-hybrid MDX’s powertrain remains the same — the 3.5-liter V6 still generates 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, regardless of trim. Haters of stop/start systems will be pleased to know that Acura heard your complaints. The upgraded system now refires the engine in a speedier manner (Acura claims a “more natural, seamless feel”).

Available in front- or all-wheel drive, the MDX offers the AcuraWatch suite of driver assist features as standard kit. Four new colors show up for 2019: Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, Canyon Bronze Metallic, and Apex Blue Pearl, the latter of which is only offered on the A-Spec.

As expected, pricing doesn’t change all that much. Entry price for a base, front-drive MDX rises a hair (about $100) to $45,295 after destination. Adding AWD bumps the price of any trim by $2,000, and adding the Technology, Entertainment, or Advance packages (or a combination thereof) bumps it even higher, with the trim pyramid topping out at $61,045. Those first two packages now offer revised second-row seating to make accessing the third row easier. The Advance package applies matching wood to the center console.

Buyers interested in showing they haven’t lost the desire for modest individuality can pick up an A-Spec for $55,795 after destination. As for changes to the Sport Hybrid, a model boasting a vastly different powertrain, Acura’s keeping those details under its hat for the moment.

[Images: Acura]

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  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.