2014 Acura MDX: Performance Testing
September 25, 2014
The Acura MDX has long been the driver's SUV. With an energetic engine, direct steering and suspension designed for people who know the difference between a damper and a hamper, the MDX was deemed just a tad too enthusiastic for the Pampers crowd. So the 2014 Acura MDX is softer, quieter and more comfy.
It's still got sauce, though, kicking out 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. So, we took it to the track to see if it's still got the moves.
Vehicle: 2014 Acura MDX
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic with console lever and steering-mounted paddles with Sport/Competition modes
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V6, gasoline with cylinder deactivation
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,471 / 212
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 290 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 267 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch one-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers Brake Type (rear): 13-inch one-piece solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P245/55R19 (103H) M+S
Tire Size (rear): P245/55R19 (103H) M+S
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Latitude Tour HP
Tire Type: All-Season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,325
0-30 (sec): 2.5 (w/ TC on 2.7)
0-45 (sec): 4.3 (w/ TC on 4.5)
0-60 (sec): 6.5 (w/TC on 6.8)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.3 (w/TC on 6.5)
0-75 (sec): 9.6 (w/TC on 9.9)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.8 @ 92.8 (w/TC on 15.0 @ 93.1)
30-0 (ft): 33
60-0 (ft): 125
Slalom (mph): 60.3 (60.2 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.84 (0.80 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 1,900
Acceleration comments: At wide-open throttle, the transmission behaves the same in "D" and "S." It benefits from holding both pedals down momentarily from a stop, but other than that, there's little I could do to affect the results which were nearly identical run to run. It's cool that the cam-phase change-over a la VTEC still exists and it is so prevalent. I could hear and feel the surge as the tach swung past 5,000 rpm.
Braking comments: Medium-firm pedal, modest dive, but always straight. However, the first stop was dramatically shorter than the three that followed and eventually, I began smelling brake pads and the pedal grew noticeably. After the initial fade had occurred, it seemed to settle in at about 10 further than the first stop.
Slalom: I don't think I have tested an MDX of this generation yet, and remember when they were pretty predictable in how/when the ESC would trim the heading, however, all that has apparently changed. This one was inconsistent in when and how much electronic/brake intrusion was used, making it hard to find what I'd call a representative pass. It seems to overcorrect and kept pulling me into the cones I thought I would miss. Steering in Sport mode felt good: direct and not syrupy/heavy. In Normal or Comfort mode, it was extremely light and also less direct, more vague.
Skidpad: Little difference between the Sport and Comfort settings when ESC is enabled: a similar amount of lean and just as the front tires begin to howl, the throttle goes away. Disabling ESC does produce a significant improvement, however, I was much busier manipulating both the steering and the throttle to maintain a steady arc on the painted skidpad line. I believe this is everything to do with the AWD shuffling power around. Steering, as noted above, feels right in Sport mode and perhaps too light/vague in Comfort. .
Mike Magrath, Features Editor