2014 Acura MDX Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

2014 Acura MDX Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (1)
  • Comparison (1)
  • Long-Term
 

Read the 2014 Acura MDX's introduction to our long-term fleet.

See all of the 2014 Acura MDX's long-term updates.


2014 Acura MDX

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What We Got
Three-row SUVs are one of the fastest-growing market segments for good reason. They provide maximum people-hauling capability with an attractive, versatile package. In other words, they act like minivans without being minivans.

With that in mind, the redesigned Acura MDX certainly piqued our interest. It's the best-selling model in Acura's lineup and has been for some time. Consider that it also earned an "A" rating and you understand why adding a 2014 Acura MDX to our long-term fleet made perfect sense.

The options list didn't cause us to lose much sleep. Acura models are available in a slim number of trim levels that encompass a wide variety of features. We ordered an MDX in Technology and Entertainment trim, a midpack level that adds three-zone climate control, blind-spot warning, DVD player and second-row heated seats. We also made sure to check the box for Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) for added versatility. Our tester, including destination fees, totaled $51,460.

Here's a sampling of how it fared over its one-year stint with our staff.

Performance

  • "The grip provided by the SH-AWD system gives me the feeling that if I wanted to blow past the speed limit (I never would) I could, and the MDX would stay on course. If I need the MDX to get up to freeway speed, it is more than willing. It moves as easily as an aggressive car that handles really well and can seat seven." — Matt Jones

  • 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." — Brent Romans

MPG

  • "The most impressive feat was its single tank range record of 541.1 miles. That's a pretty impressive number for an SUV of its size. That same tank also netted the MDX its most efficient average mileage number of 29.9 mpg, another impressive number for a three-row vehicle with a big V6 under the hood." — Dan Edmunds

  • [During the month of January] we refueled three times with 91-octane gasoline and averaged about 16 mpg, well below the official EPA estimates. Two of those fill-ups were by me, so I must be the heavy-footed culprit." — Donna DeRosa

Comfort

  • "The shape and density of the seat is ideal for my 5-foot-11-inch, 180-pound frame. It's wonderfully wide, but it's also supportive and it holds me in place when I dig into the MDX's handling abilities. When combined with the seat's awesome adjustability... this crossover is as comfortable a vehicle as I've ever driven." — Scott Oldham

  • For the fireworks trip, which included the wife's relatives with their two kiddos, it was a snap to flip and slide the second-row seats forward to let the little ones get in back. Three adults sat in the second row while the missus and I sat up front. Granted, it was less than an hour's drive, but still nobody griped about pinched shoulders or legs. Not even an 'Are we there yet?' from either of the 7-year-old twins perched on their booster seats in the way back." — John DiPietro

Cargo Space

  • "Most of the time we had two adults, a 60-pound dog, a cooler and luggage. On the long stretches we had both the second and third rows folded down, which gave us more cargo room than we needed. I'm proud of my travel gear Tetris skills, but when every square inch is crammed, visibility suffers. This was not the case in the MDX" — John Adolph

  • Yeah, yeah, another stuff-in-the-cargo-area post. But bear with me. Our long-term 2014 Acura MDX was actually the third vehicle I attempted to transport said stuff. The MDX succeeded where other vehicles in our fleet did not (or had only partial success)." — Jason Kavanagh

Interior

  • "I like the inside of our 2014 Acura MDX a lot. These hard plastic cargo compartments are ideal for my weekly hikes. They allow for mess-free storage of my shoes, shirt and water bottle without getting dust and mud all over the carpeted surfaces. And when you move forward in the cabin, the MDX continues to impress." — Travis Langness

  • Does the 2014 Acura MDX have the ultimate center storage compartment? It does so many different things. There are pockets for small items like iPods and phones, a non-skid shelf, a deep compartment for a briefcase. But as I usually see women driving the MDX, I would imagine that most drivers stash their purses there." — Donna DeRosa

Audio and Technology

  • "After doing numerous errands in unfamiliar areas this week, I realized just how nice it is to have a navigation-audio system with two screens instead of one in the 2014 Acura MDX. Having the option to see the audio info without moving away from the nav's visual directions is very convenient." — Kelly Hellwig

  • The biggest issue is the lag time between how quickly you move the knob and what happens on the screen. The screen struggles to keep up, so I inevitably crank the knob too far?. Then I go back, and then forward again. Needless to say, at that point the system gets frustrating." — Ed Hellwig

Maintenance

  • "During my recent drive to Mammoth Mountain and back, I noticed an occasional and odd electric-motor whirring noise coming from our 2014 Acura MDX. Since it was sporadic, it was hard to pinpoint why it was happening or where exactly it was coming from. It would come on randomly, then turn back off." — Mike Monticello

  • Our first A1 service, which was only a tire rotation and oil change, ran us $140.02. [This time] the dealer's Web site had a service special for a $29.95 oil change, so we printed out the coupon. Total cost for the maintenance: $57.38." — Cameron Rogers

Miscellaneous

  • "I have a family with two kids, and I certainly appreciate the versatility and cargo space that a three-row SUV provides. At the same time, though, our MDX never feels too big? I never feel like I'm driving a lumbering vehicle or minivan. The MDX seems more like a wagon, actually."— Brent Romans

  • This [blind-spot monitoring] system is way, way too sensitive, registering many 'false positives' in routine city driving. Round a bend where there's a parked car, it goes bananas. Approach a car in traffic, it goes bananas. Change lanes on the freeway in a way it thinks is too aggressive, it goes bananas." — Jason Kavanagh

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
Routine service intervals were calculated by the car's performance-based Maintenance Minder. The MDX called for service three times during its stay with us. We took it to nearby Santa Monica Acura for service at around 6,000 miles (A1), 14,600 miles (B16) and 21,900 miles (A1).

Service Campaigns:
One recall was announced for the 2014 Acura MDX. Bolts that attach the central drive shaft to the transmission transfer assembly would have to be tightened, or the shaft could detach. A dead MDX on the side of the road would have made for a hell of a picture, but we promptly brought the SUV to a dealer to address the recall.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates for our 2014 Acura MDX with SH-AWD were 21 mpg combined (18 city/27 highway). After 26,106 miles we averaged 20.8 mpg. During our best single tank, we averaged an impressive 29.9 mpg over 541 miles.

Resale and Depreciation:
The MSRP on our MDX was $51,460. With 26,106 miles on the odometer, the Edmunds' TMV Calculator valued the MDX at $42,320 based on a private party sale. This works out to be a depreciation of 18 percent. That's significantly lower than our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, which depreciated 23 percent despite driving 3,500 fewer miles.

Summing Up

Pros: Plenty of power yet still delivers its published mileage ratings, capable suspension that rides smoothly whether there's one passenger or six, flexible and easily configurable seats, outstanding headlights, quick-reacting all-wheel-drive system, strong resale value.

Cons: Cumbersome infotainment system requires too much of the driver's attention for some functions, accident alert system can be too sensitive, sun visors don't extend, headlights are expensive to replace.

Bottom Line: One of the best three-row luxury crossover vehicles on the market. The MDX combines excellent packaging with a strong yet fuel-efficient engine that makes it perfectly suited for a wide range of tasks. If your family is looking for one vehicle to do it all, the MDX is a top choice.

 
Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $384.28 (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: Tighten drive shaft bolts
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 4
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
 
Best Fuel Economy: 29.9 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 12.6 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 20.8 mpg
 
True Market Value at service end: $42,320 (private party sale)
Depreciation: $9,140 (or 18% of original MSRP)
Final Odometer Reading: 26,106 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


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Past Long-Term Road Tests