|EPA Est. MPG||21|
|Drive Train||All Wheel Drive|
|Curb Weight||4270 lbs|
When we left the office for the rainy, Sasquatch-filled wilds of Oregon to drive the 2014 Acura MDX, a co-worker yelled, "Text me if they've ruined the steering!"
A few hours later, over the pitter-patter of dime-size raindrops and through a mouthful of locally sourced meat, a single, 30-something friend says, "I hope they didn't ruin the MDX. It was so good to drive."
This neophobia is common and expected for a new iteration of a sports car, or sport sedan or sport compact, but is unheard of for a three-row crossover.
Thanks to its direct and communicative steering, willing engine and user-friendly package, the current-generation (2007-present) Acura MDX is a fan favorite in a crowded segment. To stay relevant, the MDX had to tighten up its game.
Did Acura repeat its magic with the 2014 MDX?
Weaker. Lighter. Faster. Better?
MDX aficionados will tell you that the current CUV rides on a unibody platform shared with the 2013 Honda Pilot and last-gen Odyssey. They'll tell you that the engine is a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower that powers all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
MDX aficionados will tell you very different things about the 2014 Acura MDX.
First, the platform is no longer shared with a decade-old SUV. For 2014, the MDX gets its own unique chassis that has been developed from the ground up for use in a luxury crossover. The vehicle's body is 59 percent high-strength materials (a further 5 percent consists of magnesium and aluminum) compared with 25 percent on the outgoing model. It's also 123 pounds lighter.
But it wasn't just the body that lost weight. Acura ditched 44 pounds from the seats, 7.5 pounds from the steering hanger beam, 10 pounds from the HVAC unit and 41 pounds from various suspension bits. Total weight loss is a Biggest Loser finale shocker of 275 pounds.
In order to bump the fuel efficiency up even further, Acura replaced the 300-horse 3.7-liter V6 with a 290-hp, direct-injection 3.5-liter V6. It will also offer a front-wheel-drive-only version for those who don't need all-weather capability. It will return EPA ratings of 20 city/28 highway mpg and a combined rating of 23 mpg. The SH-AWD version returns 18/27/21.
Acura says the new V6 is good for 8 percent more low-end torque and that it gets to 60 half a second faster than the outgoing model. As we weren't allowed to bring our testing equipment to the Pacific Northwest to verify, we won't dispute this claim, but will say that the MDX simply doesn't feel as fast as it used to.
Part of this is intentional on Acura's part. The old car had that cool, naturally aspirated Honda intake sound, especially higher in the rev range. Unfortunately, MDX buyers complained about the noise and often tailored their driving to avoid the fun part of the tach, which led to complaints about the MDX being slow. Acura added sound-dampening material and an intake tube covered in tumorous tuning dongles so it now sounds like nothing at all. It's silent in normal operating ranges and barely hums near its redline.
The Steering Hasn't Been Ruined
While the average MDX driver might not notice that the steering ratio is now 9 percent quicker, they're certainly going to notice the new, lower-effort steering. Not only is the steering lighter in tight, low-speed situations (another owner suggestion) but it is far more confident on the open road. Comparing the '14 MDX back-to-back with a 2013 Acura, the new model has far less bump steer and is less twitchy off-center.
The new electrically assisted system doesn't have the feel or feedback of the old hydraulic system, nor is it as naturally precise. Acura intends to appease the fans of the "old" MDX by offering an Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) that tightens up the steering when set to Sport mode. Sport also quickens the throttle response, makes SH-AWD's active torque vectoring more aggressive and pumps in more noise via the Active Noise Control system. This mode adds the perception of driving pleasure without any actual tactile improvement. The steering is heavy for heavy's sake and the throttle is touchy without adding any speed. We didn't much care for it.
Like the steering, the suspension has been modified to coddle well-to-do owners and their families. The ride is quiet, well isolated and less busy than before. Amplitude Reactive Dampers replace monotube dampers up front and offer variable damping rates without complex electrical or magnetorheological components.
While the ride is excellent in most situations, large undulations can cause some unseemly bounciness and the MDX gets that slightly disconnected feeling when these happen at freeway speeds. In a world without the Infiniti JX35 and BMW X5, we wouldn't give this behavior a second thought on a three-row CUV.
Comfort for Five. Space for Seven
While the 2014 Acura MDX dropped some of its youthful, Honda-esque exuberance, we doubt many buyers will actually mind. Partially because buyers of seven-passenger CUVs rarely consider at-limit steering feedback, and partially because the interior of the 2014 Acura MDX is a truly special place to spend time.
From the tight diameter and perfect thickness of the wheel to the simple gauges and easy-to-use shifter, it's clear that Acura still knows how to make a driver-focused car, even if it's a crossover. The one exception is the lack of adjustability for the front seats. They have the most basic adjustments and lumbar support with no vertical adjustability. No thigh support. No adjustable bolstering. You either fit in these seats or you don't. Once again, if the X5 didn't exist, these would be OK.
But the MDX is about more than a good driver interface. The current vehicle's center stack has something like 43,000 buttons. The new one has fewer than 20, with hard buttons for controlling temperature, navigation, phone and a knob for volume. This means that everything else, including fan speed, is buried in the 7-inch touchscreen and requires at least two button presses for activation. Navigation duties are handled by an 8-inch screen mounted above the smaller screen.
Of course, the MDX is about more than just the driver. Rear-seat passengers are treated to a leg-crossing amount of legroom. And if they have no respect for third-row passengers, the second row slides back for even more space. Two adults would be comfortable in back and three would be cozy. Regardless of how many bodies you put in back, the loaded MDX will keep them comfy with rear-seat climate control, heated seats and a huge entertainment screen that can play two things simultaneously thanks to split-viewing technology. The third row isn't so lucky.
Like all third rows, the one in the MDX isn't specifically built for 6-foot-tall adult males, and the result is a sort of vertical version of yoga's Happy Baby pose. We'd have no problems tossing kids back there. Or friends who refuse to chip in for gas. The good news is that getting in and out of these seats is about as easy as it can be without second-row captain's chairs.
How Loaded Can You Go?
When it goes on sale in July of 2013, the new Acura MDX will be available in four trims and all feature the same 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
With a starting price of $43,185 the base MDX with front-wheel drive comes fairly loaded with keyless entry, push-button start, jewel-eye LED headlights, touchscreen display, IDS, USB input (there's only one available regardless of trim), heated seats, i-MID display and a wide-view rear camera. There are three models above this, each getting progressively more luxurious and more technologically advanced.
One step up is the $47,460 MDX Technology, which is the model Acura predicts will be the volume seller. Acura adds blind-spot monitors, 19-inch wheels, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, color TFT display with navigation, rain-sensing wipers and GPS-linked HVAC (3D solar sensing determines the position of the sun relative to the front passengers and adjusts airflow accordingly).
For $49,460, the Tech Entertainment package adds a DVD rear entertainment system, heated rear seats and a 150-watt power inverter. This is just one step off of the top-tier, $55,400 Advanced Entertainment, which is what we drove, albeit with SH-AWD. This model gets adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, premium leather seats, passenger seat lumbar, a 12-speaker 546-watt Studio Audio system (which may be worth the price of admission alone) and front and rear parking sensors.
Opting for Acura's SH-AWD will add $2,000 to the price of each trim, giving the car we drove a sticker price of $57,400.
Narrow Track, Broad Appeal
Acura played it very safe with the 2014 MDX. Even the exterior, which is longer and narrower, looks unmistakably similar to the previous model. Acura has nipped, tucked and refined a successful vehicle into what it hopes will be a superlative vehicle.
Working off of market feedback, Acura determined that MDX customers wanted higher-quality materials, simpler controls, lower-effort steering, a quieter ride and optional front-wheel drive. Acura rectified these complaints with laser focus. The needs of the many trumped the wants of a few.
The 2014 Acura MDX is a little softer, sure, but it's refined, eminently usable and a far more complete SUV than the car it replaces. Acura didn't ruin the MDX. It let it grow up.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2014 Acura MDX listings and inventory:
Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Acura MDXs for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 425 used and CPO 2014 MDXs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 21,298 and mileage as low as 23,390. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the used 2014 Acura MDX. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a used or CPO 2014 MDX available from one of 2,630 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2014 Acura MDX ?
Save up to $300 on one of 34 used 2014 Acura MDXs for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $23599 as of Apr 26, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 74 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2014 Acura MDX trim styles:
The used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Advance and Entertainment Packages is priced around $28439 with average odometer reading of 56138 miles.
The used 2014 Acura MDX Technology Package is priced around $23599 with average odometer reading of 82223 miles.
The used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Technology Package is priced around $27709 with average odometer reading of 41521 miles.
The used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Technology and Entertainment Packages is priced around $29780 with average odometer reading of 56818 miles.
The used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD is priced around $26998 with average odometer reading of 31902 miles.
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What options are available on the 2014 Acura MDX?
Available Acura MDX 2014 Submodel Types: SUV, Hybrid
Available Acura MDX 2014 Trims: Touring, SH-AWD w/Advance Package, SH-AWD w/Technology Package, Technology and Entertainment Packages, Advance Package, SH-AWD, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Technology Package, SH-AWD w/Advance and Entertainment Packages, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package, SH-AWD w/Technology and Entertainment Packages, Advance and Entertainment Packages, Base, SH-AWD w/AcuraWatch Plus Package, SH-AWD w/Technology and AcuraWatch Plus Packages, Sport Package, Technology Package
Exterior Colors: Modern Steel Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic, Basque Red Pearl II, Black Copper Pearl, Billet Silver Metallic, Aspen White Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, San Marino Red, Sterling Gray Metallic, Formal Black, Nimbus Gray Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Graphite Luster Metallic, Sage Brush Pearl, Forest Mist Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Silver Moon, Formal Black Pearl, Grigio Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Taffeta White, Aspen White Pearl II, Bali Blue Pearl, Palladium Metallic, Starlight Silver Metallic, White Diamond Pearl, Fathom Blue Pearl, Aberdeen Green Metallic, Amazon Green Metallic, Dark Cherry Pearl, Desert Rock Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic, Dark Cherry Pearl II, Sagebrush Pearl, Sandstone Metallic
Interior Colors: Espresso leather, Ebony leather, Taupe leather, Graystone leather, Ebony, Taupe premium leather, Parchment leather, Espresso premium leather, Saddle, Saddle leather, Bordeaux leather, Ebony premium leather, Eucalyptus leather, Eucalyptus premium leather, Graystone premium leather, Parchment premium leather, Umber premium leather
Popular Features: Back-up camera, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Keyless Entry/Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Post-collision safety system, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, 360-degree camera, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Upgraded Headlights, AWD/4WD, Blind Spot Monitoring, Navigation, Pre-collision safety system, Rear Entertainment System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Cooled Seats, Lane Departure Warning, Parking sensors, Remote Start
Engine/Mechanics: 6 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, AUTOMATED_MANUAL
Fuel Types: premium unleaded (required), premium unleaded (recommended)
Drivetrains: all wheel drive, four wheel drive, front wheel drive
Used 2014 Acura MDX Overview
The used 2014 Acura MDX is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include SH-AWD w/Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned MDX models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2014 MDX comes with all wheel drive or front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic.