Deciding on a Three-Row Crossover SUV for Around $50,000 - 2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX: Deciding on a Three-Row Crossover SUV for Around $50,000

April 17, 2014

2014 Acura MDX

I really like our 2014 Acura MDX. It's versatile, enjoyable to drive and equipped with a nice selection of convenience and luxury-oriented features. If I were shopping for a three-row luxury crossover SUV, it would be very high on my consideration list.

But it's not the only one on the list.

Our MDX, as equipped with the Technology and Entertainment packages, stickers for $51,460 and has an Edmunds TMV for Santa Monica, Calif., of $49,197 as of this writing.

Here are a few other crossovers that I find pretty appealing that could potentially be priced in the same neighborhood. In each case I used Edmunds' configuration tool to equip the following models as close as I could to our MDX.

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 isn't as performance oriented as the MDX, but it's superior for taking on a lot of passengers. With options similar to what our MDX has, Edmunds TMV is $49,723.

On the other side of the spectrum is the 2014 BMW X5. It's sportier but not as roomy. It's also, umm, rather pricey. TMV for a base X5 xDrive35i is $54,195, which isn't too bad. But when I added features to the X5 to make it similar to our MDX, TMV shot up to $66,986.

I also think there are some great choices under $50,000 for some non-luxury branded models. The Ford Flex has been around for a while, but I still think it looks cool and offers great versatility. With MDX-similar options, Edmunds TMV for a Flex Titanium with the turbocharged V6 engine is $44,363.

The 2014 Ford Explorer Sport is very similar. Edmunds TMV is $45,138.

Finally, a 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel with the V8 and a full load of features is $49,256 for Edmunds TMV.

What would you consider getting in this price range for a new three-row crossover SUV?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 9,945 miles


  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    ... or just go with the lower-level Honda Pilot which starts at $30k.

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    yeah for a 2wd with zero features. you should have at least quoted something comparable. Without doing an exact comparison though a touring edition looks to be right at $41K and change, that's still quite a price difference

  • sdg319 sdg319 Posts:

    Before I bought my 2014 MDX last August, I looked at a lot of the same vehicles. I nixed the X5 simply because of money, I couldn't afford it and frankly don't trust its long-term reliability. We passed on the Explorer sport quickly, because for the money I think the Flex is a much better vehicle. It has more room than the Explorer, drives better, and felt more upscale. We spent a lot of time considering the Flex, and after several test drives were close to purchasing one. But I was weary of the resale value (unfortunately, they tank pretty bad) and of buying a vehicle in its sixth model year (I admittedly like the "newest and greatest"). My wife was also very frustrated with the my touch system (although the MDX isn't a lot better). The Infinity is a great vehicle and we liked its quiet ride and roomy (and nicer) interior, but it was Edmund's own test that helped me decide not to get it :) The MDX is a lot more fun to drive (we purchased ours with SH-AWD). I didn't want the V8 Durango (well, I did want it, but didn't want the horrible gas mileage) and unfortunately ran out of time before Dodge put the 8-speed auto with the V6 (I was not impressed with the old 5-speed in the test drive). Similar to the flex, I had concerns about resale value. The Acura checked the most boxes for us. 27 MPG hwy, 0-60 in less than 6.5 seconds, great handling for an SUV (with an AWD system that really improves handling, not just being good for snow), room for seven (yes, the backseat isn't huge, but fine for kids), quiet interior, smooth ride, excellent reliability and great resale value. We bought the base model, with SH-AWD, because my smart phone has a better nav system, and I didn't care about some of the electronic nannies (lane departure, etc.)... got it for $42,000, which to me was a great for what you get.

  • ocramidajzj ocramidajzj Posts:

    Mazda CX-9 GT can be had with discounts for well under 40K. WHile it doesn't have all the creature comforts of the MDX, it's close to 7 year old design is still quite competitive and very sporty. IMO Build quality and reliability are also quite high for the money. Our 2010 has been dead nuts reliable (albeit with some rattles and dated infotainment) for over 50K miles.

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    @evodad - Well, it all depends on what you're looking for. For us the mid-level 2WD Pilot EX-L worked well for us at a price right around $33k. If 4WD is important to you, then sure, its a couple grand more and if you want the full-out touring with all th

  • chuckie6 chuckie6 Posts:

    Not all SUVs are created equal. Trim levels, comfort, features, sportiness. These are all well and good. But while we've been shopping recently (MDX, Highlander, Durango, Sorrento), two of the distinctions few people mention enough are how much better the MDX's SH-AWD is compared to any other car's. The other is safety. There are only 4 mid size SUVs that get a 2014 IIHS top safety rating: Highlander, MDX, Benz M class and Volvo XC60. And of those, only the first two have three rows.

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