2019 brings some newness to the Acura MDX

When shopping for an SUV, there is usually a checklist involved before making a purchase. Is it spacious? Check. Does it have good power? Check. Is it well-built with quality materials? Check. Does it handle well? Check. Is it reliable? Check. Is there room for the in-laws? Check. The 2019 Acura MDX checks all those boxes and more all while providing subtle hints to let you know that you are in Honda’s premium brand.

What’s New About the 2019 Acura MDX?

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For 2019 Acura has made a few changes to their top shelf SUV while not losing focus on what the brand stands for. For 2019 Acura has done away with the painted plastic door and dash inserts in favor of ample use of natural wood throughout the cabin. The cabin is very welcoming and surprisingly subdued in contrast to let’s say a Benz clad with various aluminum materials and buttons everywhere. Acura has done a great job blending in the day to day instruments by finishing them in black. This provides a monochrome look so as not be too distracting for the driver. Acura offers the MDX is various trim levels providing a broader appeal. There is Standard, Technology, Advance, and my favorite, A-Spec.

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Acura found a way to make a vehicle of this size feel small to some degree. From the 16-way seating positions and small A-pillars, the MDX provides great visibility for driver and passenger. The interior cabin space is airy and seats 7 passengers comfortably without compromise.

Although the MDX is considered a full-sized SUV, it drives like a well-planted crossover.

Riding on the available 20-inch wheels (Technology and above) and a 290hp and 267tq V-6 pushing a light-ish 4054lbs (FWD) body, the MDX gets off the starting line with a sense of urgency. It’s no slouch on the road, it scoots and turns when you direct it to do so thanks to the use of an independent suspension, thick strut tower bracing and a lighter than most chassis.

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The MDX comes equipped with a Dynamic Mode button, like the one found in the TLX, that changes the vehicle’s characteristics between “Comfort,” “Normal” and “Sport.” Comfort and Normal are used for daily commuting. Keeping the vehicle tame and shifting up the seamlessly through the available 9 gears making the vehicle more fuel efficient.

EPA rates the FWD model at 20/27mpg with a combined 23mpg, and you lose 1 mpg with the SH-AWD version.

Putting the vehicle into the “Sport” mode really wakes up this unassuming family hauler. Sport mode can be accessed two ways. Either by pressing the D/S button on the electronic gear selector or using the Dynamic Mode button. Once “Sport” is highlighted on the dashboard, there is a noticeable growl from the V6. Accelerate, and you will see that the revs hang to redline and the paddles shift the transmission quickly. Just like in the sporty TLX A-Spec Sport + mode, when decelerating you can feel the transmission downshift like a manual car…a feature that I personally like.

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The Technology Package includes your standard safety features: Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and cross traffic sensors, but the tech is turned up a notch by including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Brake Assist (Collision Mitigation Braking System) that will stop you in your tracks. You can set a distance between you and the vehicle you are behind along with a max speed and feel the vehicle slow down and speed up. If traffic slows to a stop, the MDX will nestle down for you and resume following the car ahead once everyone starts moving again. Basically, with the Lane Keep Assist keeping you centered, the Adaptive Cruise Control taking care or the vehicles speed and the Brake Assist protecting you from a rear end collision - the car can almost drive itself. Of course, you will want to keep your hands and feet ready to take over at a moment’s notice, but nice to see the advancements in technology.

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The MDX Technology Package is enhanced when the box is selected to ramp up to the Advance Package. This addition will upgrade to perforated Milano Leather seating surfaces adding a ventilated feature for the driver and front passenger. Sorry rear passengers, no fans to blow cool air onto your backside. However, the standard second-row bench style seat is now swapped out for two heated Captain’s chairs thereby eliminating the 7-seat configuration. The driver is now greeted with a heated steering wheel. So, for those cold mornings, you can warm your hands and buns on the way to the office. The Advance Package also receives active dampers, roof rails, and a surround view camera.

By adding the Advance Package, the MDX is a complete tech and comfort monster making those road trips with the kids and in-laws that much more enjoyable.
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Acura’s A-Spec line has been around for years, and in 2018 it has become more prominent than ever. Starting back in 2005 Acura offered an A-Spec version of the TL that included a lower body kit accentuating the front and rear bumpers as well as the side skirts and a trunk lid lip spoiler. Included in the package was a more aggressive strut and spring assembly that lowered the car’s center of gravity by .5 - 1 inch depending on if the car was equipped with a manual or automatic transmission. This package was optional and could be found installed on TLs at Acura dealership across the nation. The components of the A-Spec kit could also be purchased separately from various dealerships from their parts department.

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In keeping up with the enthusiast market of today, Acura re-launched the A-Spec package in 2018 with the TLX. For the first time ever, they introduced the package to their Crossover and SUV line-up to include the RDX and the MDX. This newer version of A-Spec takes it further than the previous generation by making changes to not only the exterior but also to the interior as well. The MDX A-Spec versions receive heated and ventilated A-Spec front seat covered in Alcantara and leather with contrast stitching and piping, an A-Spec specific steering wheel and paddle shifters, black headliner, metal trim opposed to the Natural wood trim inserts and an instrument panel is backlit with red lighting. The MDX A-Spec is very distinguishable from the of the MDXs out there by the absence of chrome. Almost everything that is chrome on the standard MDX is not black or dark chrome. It comes with its own distinct 20-inch wheels, front and rear bumpers, led fog lights and, Exclusive A-Spec Dual Exhaust Outlets. The A-Spec package adds a very sporty presence with a ton of additional style to an otherwise subdued luxury SUV. This will appeal to younger buyers and people who don’t want to blend into the crowd.

Final Ruling

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The 2019 MDX offers something for every buyer, and although I personally prefer the styling of the it’s a-Spec variant, you cannot go wrong with any of the trim levels.

Further reading

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Read our full review on the 2018 Aucra MDX.

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