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2014 Acura MDX

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$17,884 — $30,656 USED
33
Photos
Sport Utility
7 Seats
21-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Ride quality
  • Front seat comfort
  • Quietness
  • Sliding and reclining second-row seats
  • Gas mileage
  • Responsive automatic transmission

The Bad

  • Mushy brakes
  • Vague steering
  • Third row still tight
  • Forgettable styling
  • Low second-row seats
  • 2nd-row captain's chairs not offered
2014 Acura MDX exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2014 Acura MDX
  • Redesigned for 2014
  • Seven-seat SUV
  • Standard direct-injected V-6
  • Now available in front- or all-wheel drive
  • Lighter, more fuel efficient than predecessor
  • New push-button third-row access

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Acura's three-row SUV was redesigned for 2014, and Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says it's full of family-friendly refinement. The new MDX features cleaner looking styling outside, upgraded cabin materials and an easier-to-access third row.

By Kelsey Mays

The 2014 Acura MDX trades visceral driving fun for family-friendly refinement, which should appeal to most shoppers for the seven-seat luxury SUV.

Now in its third generation, the MDX faces a new competitor in the Infiniti JX, which wasn't around when the previous generation arrived. Other body-type options include the BMW X5, Buick Enclave, Audi Q7 and, if you can do without the third row, the ever-popular Lexus RX.

Like many Acura cars, the MDX comes in one well-equipped base trim, though there are several option packages that essentially serve as trim levels: Technology, Technology with Entertainment and Advance with Entertainment. For 2014, front-wheel drive becomes available with all packages; previously all-wheel drive was standard. At a media preview in Portland, Ore., I drove a number of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) 
Acura MDX SUVs with Technology and Advance packages alongside its predecessor and several competitors.


Cleaner, Similar
The outgoing MDX's bumper inlets sat high enough to give a mustachioed expression. Its successor has shaved, thankfully, but styling otherwise stays put. The biggest shift is the headlights, which adopt standard LEDs for a sort of reptilian appearance. In back, the 
Acura MDX loses its exposed tailpipes for chrome-ringed reflectors and a concealed single pipe. Yawn.


Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and 19s are optional. Citing research that showed nobody wanted a bigger MDX, Acura added just 2 inches to the overall len...

The 2014 Acura MDX trades visceral driving fun for family-friendly refinement, which should appeal to most shoppers for the seven-seat luxury SUV.

Now in its third generation, the MDX faces a new competitor in the Infiniti JX, which wasn't around when the previous generation arrived. Other body-type options include the BMW X5, Buick Enclave, Audi Q7 and, if you can do without the third row, the ever-popular Lexus RX.

Like many Acura cars, the MDX comes in one well-equipped base trim, though there are several option packages that essentially serve as trim levels: Technology, Technology with Entertainment and Advance with Entertainment. For 2014, front-wheel drive becomes available with all packages; previously all-wheel drive was standard. At a media preview in Portland, Ore., I drove a number of the all-wheel-drive (AWD) 
Acura MDX SUVs with Technology and Advance packages alongside its predecessor and several competitors.


Cleaner, Similar
The outgoing MDX's bumper inlets sat high enough to give a mustachioed expression. Its successor has shaved, thankfully, but styling otherwise stays put. The biggest shift is the headlights, which adopt standard LEDs for a sort of reptilian appearance. In back, the 
Acura MDX loses its exposed tailpipes for chrome-ringed reflectors and a concealed single pipe. Yawn.


Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and 19s are optional. Citing research that showed nobody wanted a bigger MDX, Acura added just 2 inches to the overall length while reducing height and width by 1.5 inches and 1.3 inches, respectively. The resulting profile is the most wagonlike of the MDX's three generations.


Less Defined, More Refined
Fans of the past MDX's deliberate driving characteristics — heavy, swift steering; a busy ride; a growling V-6 — will be disappointed, but I suspect most shoppers will deem the new generation an improvement. A direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 replaces the 2013's port-injected 3.7-liter V-6, and it provides stout oomph despite shedding a bit of power. The smaller six makes 290 horsepower — down 10 hp from last year, with lb-ft of torque down a tad too — but Acura also shaved nearly 300 pounds' curb weight in AWD models.

The standard six-speed automatic helps pick up the slack, with short lower gears, smooth upshifts and responsive highway kickdown. Downshifts could come sooner as you accelerate through a bend, and a selectable Sport mode provides just that; it even drops a gear or two on downhill stretches.

Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)  actively sends power to the rear or outside wheels to improve handling. Hammer it on a corner and the MDX swings its tail wide before the standard electronic stability system — or a shrieking spouse — reins you in. You'll earn forgiveness at the pump: Thanks to the weight loss, the AWD MDX achieves an impressive fuel economy rating of 18/27/21 mpg city/highway/combined, which is up 3 mpg combined over the previous generation. Front-drive MDXs save 230 pounds for a class-leading fuel economy rating of 20/28/23 mpg. Acura recommends premium fuel for maximum performance; some competitors require it, but others, like the Enclave and RX, make full power on the cheap gas.

The fun ends at the brakes, which have a far spongier pedal than the 2013 MDX and also an RX and JX that Acura had on hand at the preview. Toe the brakes hard and the MDX's composure unravels as antilock braking kicks in. Whether blame goes to this year's downsized disc brakes or some other factor, the results don't inspire confidence.

Gone is the old 
Acura MDX's busy, nervous ride; its successor isolates bumpy roads and handles broken pavement well, even as Acura ditched last year's adaptive suspension option. The new MDX is quieter, too; it's closer to the Lexus RX and Infiniti JX than the old MDX's sometimes noisy cabin. Such is how the Acura MDX behaves: less fun, more overall refinement.


Acura replaced last year's hydraulic steering with more efficient electric power steering, which trades some feedback for much lighter effort at low speeds. I suspect SUV shoppers will accept the tradeoff, which puts the MDX in line with other SUVs. A new Integrated Dynamics system alters various systems — among them accelerator response and power-steering assist — to Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. Even Sport has more power-steering assist than the past MDX, but Comfort and Normal feel a bit too buoyant on the highway. Like most steering "programs," this is a gimmick. I'd take a speed-sensitive automatic progression among the three assist levels any day.


The Inside
Cabin quality impresses, with less faux-wood trim — past 
Acura MDX SUVs killed a lot of plastic trees — and real metal inlays in place of the outgoing painted plastic. With two screens (one touch-sensitive, the other operated via knob) controlling most of the dashboard action, the MDX cut last year's button hodgepodge by more than half. It's refreshing, but some of the often-used controls, like heated seats, are in a submenu.


The front seats afford good adjustment range; I'm 6 feet tall and sat a few inches ahead of the farthest-back position. New for 2014, the second row has push-button, walk-in access to the third row. It also slides nearly 6 inches forward and back, but adults in the third row will need anyone in the second row to slide all the way forward — a position that makes second-row legroom snug. Both rear seat rows sit low to the floor, despite an abundance of headroom in the second row; Acura could have positioned the seats a bit higher, and I wish they had.

A traditional DVD entertainment system is optional, but so is an upgraded system similar to that in the Odyssey minivan from Acura's parent, Honda. Complete with auxiliary and HDMI inputs, it has a 16.2-inch widescreen Honda system that can split the display and show videos from two separate sources simultaneously.


Safety, Features & Pricing
The MDX has yet to be crash-tested. Standard safety features include seven airbags plus the required antilock brakes and electronic stability system. AWD models incorporate a trailer-sway assistant, which uses the electronic stability system's lateral sensors to intuit trailer sway and smooth things out, to complement the MDX's 5,000-pound towing capacity. Safety options include blind spot, lane departure and two forward collision warning systems — a simpler one warns of an impending collision, or a more advanced system that applies automatic braking.

The front-wheel-drive 
Acura MDX starts at $43,185, including the destination charge. That's about $1,000 less than the outgoing MDX, which had standard AWD. All-wheel drive adds $2,000, effectively raising the price of the new MDX by $1,000 for those who want AWD. Acura says you get a lot of new features for that — among them keyless access with push-button start, LED headlights and a sliding second row. Other standard features include 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated power seats, a backup camera, a moonroof, a power liftgate and a USB/iPod compatible stereo with Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming.


Navigation, various safety options, rain-sensing wipers, 19-inch wheels and ELS premium audio with HD Radio go into the Technology Package, which Acura expects to account for more than half of all MDX sales. Entertainment and Advance packages add regular or widescreen rear entertainment systems, second-row window shades, adaptive cruise control, heated second-row seats and upgraded leather seats with ventilated front seats. The MDX tops around $57,500, or nearly $2,000 more than the 2013 model's price with all the factory options.


MDX in the Market
The 
Acura MDX has battled the Enclave for top sales among three-row luxury crossovers for the past five years, but Acura says most MDX shoppers don't compare the two. I recommend they do, given Buick's updates for 2013. Then there's the two-row Lexus RX that trounced all luxury SUVs for those five years and then some.


The 
Acura MDX won't reach RX popularity with this redesign. Can it reclaim the No. 2 spot? We'll see. But Acura hits broad family appeal with this redesign, with impressive fuel efficiency to boot. At minimum, the Acura MDX has solidified its podium sales finish, and I suspect it will get the silver medal for years to come.

Send Kelsey an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
87 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

Read reviews that mention:

(1.0)

Great looking SUV... Until it becomes unreliable.

by ThomasBoston from Boston, MA on November 28, 2018

Fun to drive and very capable in the snow. After lots of highway driving for work - the air conditioning unit failed. This is a critical component as it is needed for the entire engine to work. I was ... Read full review

(5.0)

Awesome SUV

by Nora from Raleigh on November 10, 2018

I have had my Acura MDX for 2 years and absolutely love it. It is beautiful, extremely comfortable, and drives like a dream. Great purchase! Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2014 Acura MDX currently has 5 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2014 Acura MDX 3.5L

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Acura

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2014 MDX Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The MDX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

B

Infant seat

A

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

B

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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