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.
2014 Acura MDX Overview
The 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). MDX models are available with a 3.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 290 hp, depending on engine type. The 2014 MDX comes with all wheel drive or front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The 2014 MDX comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2014 Acura MDX?
Save up to $300 on one of 155 used 2014 Acura MDXs for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $18900 as of Dec 16, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 130 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2014 Acura MDX trim styles:
The 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Advance and Entertainment Packages is priced around $29621 with average odometer reading of 63222 miles.
The 2014 Acura MDX Base is priced around $18900 with average odometer reading of 101555 miles.
The 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD is priced around $28124 with average odometer reading of 27379 miles.
The 2014 Acura MDX Technology Package is priced around $28988 with average odometer reading of 49935 miles.
The 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Technology Package is priced around $28546 with average odometer reading of 49342 miles.
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Is the 2014 Acura MDX a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2014 Acura MDX and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2014 MDX featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2014 Acura MDX? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2014 Acura MDX and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2014 MDX 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2014 MDX.
Review Now that I have 1700 miles on the car, I thought I would provide an updated review to include mileage data. My overall driving habits fall around 65% highway, 35% city, and I currently average a total of 23.9 MPG. After 22,000 miles on my 2012 MDX, the best I was able to achieve was 18.6 MPG, so this is a huge improvement. Many of us have seen reviews with significant MPG stated -here's why. The 2014 has a robust online computer that not only provides total MPG, but per trip MPG as well. I drove from Central NJ to Newark, Delaware twice last week (78 miles each way, 80% highway, 20% city) and averaged 30.9 and 30.7 MPG on each trip, which is impressive for this type of vehicle.
2014 Acura MDX inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Acura MDX for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 416 new and 1214 used and CPO 2014 MDXs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 18900 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a 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 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 new, used, or CPO 2014 MDX available from one of 2807 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2014 Acura Mdx safe? The 2014 Acura Mdx earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 2.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
Available Acura MDX 2014 Submodel Types: SUV, Hybrid
Available Trims: Touring, SH-AWD w/Technology Package, SH-AWD w/Advance Package, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package, Advance Package, SH-AWD, SH-AWD w/Advance and Entertainment Packages, Base, Technology Package, SH-AWD w/Technology and Entertainment Packages, SH-AWD w/Technology and AcuraWatch Plus Packages, Sport and Entertainment Packages, Technology and Entertainment Packages, Advance and Entertainment Packages, SH-AWD w/AcuraWatch Plus Package, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Technology Package, Sport Package
Exterior Colors: Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Billet Silver Metallic, Aspen White Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Graphite Luster Metallic, Palladium Metallic, Formal Black, Polished Metal Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, White Diamond Pearl, Formal Black Pearl, Silver Moon, Sterling Gray Metallic, Taffeta White, Nimbus Gray Metallic, Black Copper Pearl, Bali Blue Pearl, Steel Blue Metallic, Grigio Metallic, Starlight Silver Metallic, Fathom Blue Pearl, Aspen White Pearl II, Basque Red Pearl II, Amazon Green Metallic, Sage Brush Pearl, Forest Mist Metallic, Aberdeen Green Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic, Mesa Beige Metallic, Midnight Blue Pearl, Deep Mahogany Red Pearl, Redrock Pearl, Dark Cherry Pearl, Dark Cherry Pearl II, Ionized Bronze Metallic, Desert Rock Metallic, Sagebrush Pearl, San Marino Red, Sandstone Metallic