2014 Acura MDX Review

Pros & Cons

  • Capable handling
  • good fuel economy
  • quick acceleration
  • quiet ride
  • excellent crash test safety scores
  • long list of standard and available features.
  • Touchscreen has so-so graphics and a distracting interface
  • less cargo space behind the third row than some rivals.
List Price Range
$15,995 - $20,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Even more complete and desirable than its successful predecessor, the all-new 2014 Acura MDX is a top pick for a luxury crossover SUV, offering abundant refinement, luxury and comfort.

Vehicle overview

The 2014 Acura MDX illustrates the benefits of smart and selective evolution. The previous generation was a success, popular with buyers who enjoyed this midsize luxury crossover SUV's sporty performance and luxurious nature. Still, there's always room for improvement, and canny upgrades have produced an even more refined adaptation, poised to achieve even broader appeal.

Last year's MDX shared its platform with the Honda Pilot and previous-generation Odyssey. For 2014, the crossover gets a new platform that offers a slight increase in interior room. Within the MDX's cabin are useful new features, such as a second row that slides forward with the touch of a button to facilitate third-row access. A 7-inch touchscreen largely replaces the endless array of buttons that dominated the center stack of previous models, and this upgrade gives the dash a cleaner, more modern look.

There's a new 3.5-liter V6 under the hood, and though it offers 10 less horsepower than the 3.7-liter it replaces, it boasts more low-end torque thanks to direct fuel injection technology. There's also less weight to push around -- the new MDX is about 275 pounds lighter this year -- and the combination of the two helps the 2014 MDX accelerate from zero to 60 mph half a second quicker than last year's model. The new engine brings fuel economy gains, too, and AWD models in particular offer a 17 percent improvement in combined mpg. And for the first time ever, Acura's midsize crossover is also available with two-wheel drive, which gives buyers in mild climates a less expensive (and more fuel-efficient) entry point into MDX ownership.

The MDX's talents are formidable, but it faces strong competition. The 2014 Buick Enclave is roomier and less expensive, but falls short of the Acura in refinement and handling. The 2014 BMW X5 is more performance-oriented, but it also represents a significant step up in price. Infiniti's QX60 and Lincoln's MKT are solid picks, but neither is as enjoyable to drive as the MDX. With its pleasant handling and ride dynamics, great safety scores and generous feature content, the highly evolved 2014 Acura MDX earns our recommendation for drivers seeking a three-row crossover that hits the sweet spot when it comes to driver engagement, luxury and value.

2014 Acura MDX models

The 2014 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury SUV that seats seven. It is offered in one well-appointed trim level with progressive add-on packages.

Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlamps, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a sunroof, rear privacy glass, keyless entry/ignition, heated eight-way power front seats (with driver power lumbar), driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronics features include twin console displays (7-inch touchscreen and 8-inch information), a multi-angle rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB interface, a Pandora radio interface and satellite radio.

The Technology package adds a navigation system, voice controls (navigation and audio), Bluetooth audio connectivity, AcuraLink (with the Aha smartphone app interface) and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with HD radio. Also included with this package are 19-inch alloy wheels; rain-sensing wipers; rear-door keyless entry; GPS-linked and solar-sensing climate control; and lane departure warning, blind spot warning and forward collision warning systems.

The Technology and Entertainment package adds a 115-volt household-style power outlet, heated rear seats, rear-door window sunshades, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 9-inch screen, and an additional speaker for the surround-sound audio system.

The Advance and Entertainment package builds on the above features with roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, remote start, auto-dimming sideview mirrors, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a collision mitigation braking system, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, an eight-way power front passenger seat (with power lumbar) and an upgraded rear-seat entertainment system with a 16.2-inch screen, two additional speakers and an HDMI input.

2014 Highlights

The Acura MDX has been completely redesigned for 2014. Highlights include improved fuel economy, a higher-quality and quieter interior, and a new control interface.

Performance & mpg

The 2014 Acura MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is available as an option. In Edmunds testing, a 2014 MDX SH-AWD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is a quick time for this class of vehicle.

EPA-estimated fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway), while the 21 mpg combined (18/27). Properly equipped, the MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2014 Acura MDX includes antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag, active front head restraints and traction and stability control. At our test facility, the MDX required 129 feet to stop from 60 mph, and successive stops took even longer. This performance is not as good as others in its class. A multi-angle rearview camera is also standard, and AWD models come with a stabilizing feature for trailer towing.

Optional safety features include lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems. A forward collision warning system is also available, and it works by warning the driver of a possible collision with auditory and visual alerts. The MDX is also offered with collision mitigation braking, which automatically applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate an impending collision. A lane-keeping assist system is available as well, and it provides automatic steering assistance to keep the MDX in its lane.

In government crash tests, the top five-star overall rating (out of a possible five), with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The MDX also aced its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests. Here it earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in the moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. It also received a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (head restraints and seats) tests. The MDX's optional frontal collision mitigation system earned a second-best "Advanced" rating.

Driving

The 2014 Acura MDX is one of the more enjoyable luxury crossovers to drive. Though its V6 engine is slightly less powerful than the old V6, it actually provides quicker acceleration. It also makes a nice-sounding snarl when you plant your right foot and the revs approach redline. Having just six forward gears might seem a little behind the times for a sporting luxury crossover SUV, but the transmission is smooth and downshifts quickly whether you're pressing down on the gas or using the shift paddles.

On the highway and around town, the MDX does ride a little more firmly than some competing crossovers, but we don't think owners will really find it objectionable. Overall levels of wind and road noise are very low. The true highlight, however, is how the MDX behaves when driven around turns. It turns in smartly, feels secure and imparts a sporty feel that's often absent on vehicles this size. The MDX's all-wheel-drive system provides an extra helping of athleticism as well as traction.

Interior

The MDX's interior is driver-focused, with a pleasantly thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and easy-to-read gauges. Materials quality is high grade, a step up from last year's model. The center stack has been simplified, with a cleaner layout and two display screens that largely replace the previous generation's seemingly endless ocean of buttons. Overall, the cabin is a pleasant and luxurious place in which to spend time.

Using the navigation system is simple and intuitive, as Acura allows you to look up destinations by using the central control dial, a new 7-inch touchscreen interface (mounted below the 8-inch nav screen) or an enhanced voice recognition system. Unfortunately, neither screen boasts the super crisp graphics we've come to expect of this class, and some of the more basic functions (such as turning on the seat heaters) require multiple pushes of virtual touchscreen buttons, which can be distracting. A relative lack of radio presets is another disappointment.

Second-row seats now slide fore and aft, with an adjustment range of 5.9 inches, for added flexibility. Rear legroom is reasonably generous. The front seats are comfortable, though in comparison to other models in this segment, they offer only basic adjustments. The third row is best suited for kids, but adults should be OK back there on short trips.

With 15.8 cubic feet of space behind its third row, the MDX trails its bigger competition in cargo room when all three rows are in use. However, when you fold the second and third rows, cargo capacity becomes quite generous, with 90.9 cubic feet of room available for luggage and belongings.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2014 Acura MDX.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

UPDATED REVIEW w/MILEAGE DATA
joeag8,08/02/2013
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.
Even better! A keeper!
tmariner,03/14/2014
Moved up to the 2014 from a 2011 MDX. Looks similar, but big perceptual difference. I can select the Sport mode and make the MDX handle like the 2011 3.7 liter, but normally luxuriate in the "normal" mode with handling and silence. The twin screen dash still befuddles my wife, but as a techie big step up -- and I have the "base" model without all the goodies. Great acceleration, but more silent and refined. Tons of detail improvements to numberous to list. If you're in the market for an SUV, either step up to or step sideways into this car! I mistakenly leased it -- a reasonable deal, but they will probably have to pry this thing out of my cold, dead hands.
TOO MANY DEFECTS IN 1ST YEAR
rmc71,01/21/2015
Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
14k miles on AWD Tech pkg. Have had in shop a total of 26 days. Brake warning comes on with no traffic in front (Acura says to just turn it off !!). Has occurred when at stoplight, door chime doesn't work, steering column had to be replaced. Now waiting for new electrical module to see if it will solve issues. Navigation system not user friendly when trying to set up. Way too many defects for a $50k car. This car has fallen into lemon territory and will be hard-pressed to get another one.
BUYER BEWARE*WORST CONUMER RELATIONS EVER!
rollahead,06/09/2014
Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Have 14 MDX/Tech 9 mo. Complaining since inception #1 Driver's windows rattle lowered a few inches #2 intermittent motor noise from behind dash with recent 3 second**Steering Wheel Lockup**. Dealer duplicated motor noise on 4th visit. Corporate tech advised dealer "they're aware of "issue" with steering motor, but don't have any solution at this time". Dealer advised car "normal" and I should pick it up!! Problem without solution=no repair? What could happen if the steering wheel locks up again? If you have this problem Please file your complaint immediately with National Highway Safety Administration 888-327-4236. BTW dealer said rattle windows is as per Acura design. Really? More than two years into the lease I became aware through a blog that there was a service bulletin sent to all Acura service centers. Neither of the Acura dealers that I visited 10 times to fix the noise alerted me that there was a fix. When I made an appointment to have 10 plastic clips that secure the plastic shroud under the hood I was given a very hard time before they fixed the problem explaining to me that it was not s recall! WORST CONSUMER RELATIONS THST I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED ANYWHERE! Lexus or Toyota here I come!

Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 27 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
290 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
290 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 27 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
290 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
290 hp @ 6200 rpm
See all Used 2014 Acura MDX features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2014 Acura MDX
More About This Model

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.

2014 Acura MDX

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.

2014 Acura MDX

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.

2014 Acura MDX

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).

2014 Acura MDX

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 Overview

The Used 2014 Acura MDX is offered in the following submodels: MDX SUV. Available styles include SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Technology and Entertainment Packages 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology and Entertainment Packages (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Advance and Entertainment Packages 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Advance and Entertainment Packages (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2014 Acura MDX?

Price comparisons for Used 2014 Acura MDX trim styles:

  • The Used 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD is priced between $15,995 and$20,000 with odometer readings between 72700 and108138 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2014 Acura MDXES are available in my area?

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. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2014 MDXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,995 and mileage as low as 72700 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2014 Acura MDX.

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Should I lease or buy a 2014 Acura MDX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Acura lease specials
Check out Acura MDX lease specials