Performance Testing - 2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

2014 Acura MDX AWD Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Acura MDX: Performance Testing

September 25, 2014

2014 Acura MDX

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

Odometer: 1,055

Date: 10/15/2013

Driver: Chris Walton

Price: $51,460

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

Test Results: 

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.                            

Handling comments:
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

2014 Acura MDX

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