NEW YORK — When Acura's new 2017 MDX rolled onto the show floor today at the 2016 New York Auto Show, the most noticeable new element was the redesigned grille. The front end of the Acura MDX had been saddled with what could best be described as a beak, or an oddly shiny, oversized tooth.
The MDX has lost its baby tooth, replaced by a more conventional grille opening that Acura calls "diamond pentagon." The shape, having four straight sides and one curved one is technically neither a diamond nor a pentagon, but we'll ignore that for now because it's a dramatic improvement.
The beak looked good from certain angles; this new shape hits the good notes from all angles. To complement the new design, there's also a new hood, new front fenders and newly restyled "Jewel Eye" headlights. Chrome rocker panel trim and some new 20-inch wheels round out the changes.
Inside the MDX, two new types of real wood (Olive Ash or Black Limba) are available, as is a surround-view camera, heated steering wheel and a wide-angle rear entertainment system. Acura's also upped the luxury with available second-row captain's chairs with a wide center console featuring two USB ports.
For 2017, AcuraWatch is standard on the MDX. AcuraWatch is a suite of driver-assist systems including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and road departure mitigation which, to us, seems like one of those things that is pretty clear without a warning.
Acura's also using the new design to launch a new powertrain. The MDX will now be available in Sport Hybrid trim that utilizes a three-motor "Sport Hybrid SH-AWD" powertrain." This powertrain pairs a 3.0-liter V6, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an electric motor to the tune of 325 horsepower.
The EPA fuel economy rating is 25 mpg combined (25 city/26 highway). That's a pretty big jump from the standard AWD model rated at 21 mpg in combined driving. Beyond just the increased fuel economy and power, the MDX hybrid also gets an adaptive sport-tuned suspension with multiple settings.
Edmunds says: Despite its debatable looks, the previous MDX was a fantastic SUV and a best-seller. This 2017 model rights the most obvious wrong, while adding useful tech and luxury features.