Quiet V6, But Sporty When You Want It To Be - 2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX: Quiet V6, But Sporty When You Want It To Be

April 15, 2014

2014 Acura MDX

Pop the hood of our 2014 Acura MDX and you'll find a rather unassuming plastic cover over the 3.5-liter V6 engine. It might as well have "Generic V6 by Kirkland" stamped on it. But what lies underneath is actually one of the more appealing engines in the three-row crossover segment.

As Ed Hellwig wrote previously, the redesigned MDX has a smaller engine. It changes from last year's 3.7 liters of displacement to 3.5 liters for 2014. It's also rated for slightly less power, from 300 down to 290. But it produces more usable low-end torque now, thanks in large part to direct fuel injection technology, a first for Acura (this V6 is also used in the RLX sedan).

The MDX's V6 also has cylinder deactivation for the first time. This is where the V6 can shut down three cylinders under certain conditions to improve fuel economy. Honda/Acura has been using this technology for a while now, and this is the newest version that's paired with actively controlled engine mounts and active noise cancellation to quell both vibration and noise.

The upshot is that this V6 is impressively quiet and responsive for normal operation. You'd never know that it has cylinder deactivation. Yet when you put the gas pedal to the floor, the MDX still shows you that it has that some soul under all that new technology. Use the shift paddles to manually select gears and you can wring this smooth V6 right up to redline. Above 5,000 rpm, it produces a snarly, more aggressive engine note that could very well bring a smile to your face. The V6's sound is even more pronounced when the IDS mode is set to Sport.

If you grew up driving old Acura Integras and RSXs, you're certain to like what the MDX has under that generic plastic cover.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 9,841 miles


  • tirekicking tirekicking Posts:

    It is quiet, when properly functioning (more on this in a sec), and the driver is inside the cabin with windows rolled up. However it sounds like a diesel outside of the car. It's the price of better MPG and power by the magic of direct injection. Any more whirring, whistling or squealing noises from the engine? Many MDX owners are complaining of this, too.

  • Honda makes the best V6 engines in the business. Silky smooth even at redline. The diesel like noise is common with all direct injection engines especially when they are cold. Dealers should take the time to educate new owners about this. The MDX does have a problem with the Denso HPFP making abnormal noises. The Toyota/Subaru twins use the same pump and have the same problem.

  • tirekicking tirekicking Posts:

    Honda is not known for silky smooth V6s. They make great engines but silkyness is not their forte. Their hallmark a rev-happy high end torque VTECs. Honda is finally trying go give Acura buyers the low-end torque that luxury buyers want. The "tick, tick, tick" noise is normal to direct injection engines...it sounds like a refined diesel outside of the MDX. At night or in parking garages, where the sound bounces off walls, it is almost embarrassing. It's the price to pay for the benefits of direct injection. The noises that Acura is not owning nor fixing are not the "tick, tick, ticking" of DI. There are many noises caused by the fuel pump and other components, even heard by Edmunds, that owners are trying to lemon law their MDXs. Acura is telling owners that there is no issue and working as designed. Plus the new MDX has many complaints of body panels not aligning, brake pedal locking up overnight, software problems in Nav and infotainment screens, etc etc.

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