The 2018 Acura MDX may be less expensive than similarly sized three-row luxury SUVs, but by no means does that imply disappointment. This popular three-row crossover SUV is versatile and has an appealing mix of safety and luxury-oriented features.
The MDX is enjoyable to drive, too. Its two powertrain options, a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine or an optional gas-electric hybrid with a 3.0-liter V6, provide a suitable amount of oomph for quick passes and freeway merging. Acura's available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system can also enhance this SUV's agility when you're driving around turns.
The aforementioned hybrid system is distinctive in that Acura designed it to deliver increases in both power and fuel economy. Indeed, we've found the Sport Hybrid is quicker than the regular MDX in our testing, and the EPA estimates you'll get 27 mpg combined in the Sport Hybrid compared to 22 mpg in a regular all-wheel-drive MDX.
After a refresh last year, the 2018 MDX is improved further by a faster and more powerful entertainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, addressing the biggest complaints we've had with prior years of the MDX. Though there are a few remaining drawbacks, they're pretty minor. Overall, the MDX remains a strong contender if you're shopping for a three-row midsize luxury crossover SUV.
The 2018 Acura MDX is a three-row luxury SUV that seats up to seven. It's offered in three trim levels: Standard, Technology and Advance. The Standard and Technology MDXs come nicely equipped, and the Advance has all the features you'll likely want in this class of vehicle. All of the above employ a 3.5-liter V6 engine (290 horsepower, 267 pound-feet) that's paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. The Sport Hybrid uses a smaller 3.0-liter V6 in conjunction with three electric motors (combined 321 hp, 289 lb-ft) and a seven-speed automatic transmission to deliver an estimated 27 mpg combined.
Highlights of the Standard package include 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights with automatic high beams, adaptive suspension dampers, a power liftgate, a sunroof, and keyless entry and ignition. Inside, you'll find power-adjustable front seats with heating, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Technology features include support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a dual-screen infotainment system (with a 7-inch touchscreen), Bluetooth, four USB ports, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio. The MDX's standard AcuraWatch safety suite features forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane and road departure warning and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.
The Technology package adds niceties such as 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, remote engine start, power-folding side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a navigation system, a color driver information display, and a 10-speaker premium audio system with HD radio.
The Advance package turns on the charm with front and rear parking sensors, LED foglights, automatic engine stop-start, a top-down surround-view camera system, a heated steering wheel, sport seats with premium leather and trim, front-seat ventilation, heated second-row captain's chairs, second-row sunshades and two additional USB ports for the third row.
The Entertainment package can be specified with either the Technology or Advance package and adds a DVD-based rear entertainment system. If you add it to the Technology package, it comes with a 9-inch screen and 11 audio speakers; if you add it to the Advance package, it comes with a 16.2-inch screen (with an HDMI input) and 12 audio speakers. Note that it replaces the captain's chairs with the standard second-row bench seating.
Finally, there's the all-wheel-drive MDX Sport Hybrid. It's available with the Technology or Advance packages only.