Acura MDX Prototype: A Glimpse Into the Near Future

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
acura mdx prototype a glimpse into the near future

The fourth-generation Acura MDX is here. Sort of.

Acura hasn’t actually launched the next MDX, but it has taken the cover off a prototype that previews the upcoming re-done crossover. There is a lot new, as we teased before, but the looks remain relatively familiar.

The MDX will go on sale early next year, and the changes include a shift to a lower, wider stance, digital instrumentation in the cabin, the addition of a Type S trim, and a new front suspension.

Let’s start with the exterior styling. It doesn’t appear like a radical departure in photos – the Acura grille that we’ve gotten used to remains, for example. The biggest difference is the lower, wider stance and the greenhouse moving further back, which adds six more inches between the dash and axle.

The front lights are LED – both DRLs and headlamps – and there are integrated fog lamps.

Acura has lengthened the wheelbase by almost 3 inches, and the prototype sports 21-inch wheels. There are LED taillamps in back.

Inside, the prototype has more legroom in all three rows than the outgoing model, along with more headroom in the first and third rows. There’s a panoramic sunroof. There’s LED ambient lighting that is meant to evoke famous roads and race tracks, and the front seats have a massage function. The gauges go full digital, in a 12.3-inch screen, and 12.3 inches is also the size of the updated infotainment touchscreen that occupies the center stack. That infotainment system also has a touchpad controller.

There’s a premium audio system with 1,000 watts and 25 speakers, and safety goodies include road-departure mitigation, traffic-jam assist, and low-speed braking control. The last two are new, while the first of those three is “enhanced”.

A double-wishbone front suspension is meant to improve performance, as are Brembo brakes. All-wheel-drive with torque vectoring remains available. Multiple drive modes, including a driver-customizable one, are available.

A 3.5-liter V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission is the main powertrain choice, but the Type S trim will offer a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 making an estimated 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque and have AWD standard.

The next MDX will be built in Ohio, though final assembly won’t be in the same exact town in the Buckeye State as the production of the engine. The engine will be built in Anna, Ohio, and final assembly will be about 40 miles away in East Liberty. Mostly built in Ohio, we should say, since the transmission will be built in Georgia – the American state, not the country. Type S versions won’t ship until summer 2021.

Expect more details to come forth before the launch early next year.

[Images: Acura]

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2 of 17 comments
  • Fred Fred on Oct 15, 2020

    I don't like those 2 tone steering wheels, or half wood half leather ones. Other than I'm sure it's a nice SUV.

  • Varezhka Varezhka on Oct 16, 2020

    Something about that interior makes it look dated to me. Maybe the busyness of it all? Like looking at a late 90s boombox. The two-tone and the ambient light strip isn't helping either. It does look like good enough of an improvement over the current car though. Seem like there's less of hodgepodge of model specific powertrain components on top of a normal Honda.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )