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2019 Acura MDX

2019 Acura MDX

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$32,066 — $62,613 NEW and USED
110
Photos
SUV
6-7 Seats
21-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 6 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Ride quality
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Quietness
  • Gas mileage
  • Sliding and reclining second-row seats
  • Many standard active safety features

The Bad

  • Third-row space
  • High cargo floor
  • Digital heated-seat controls
  • Gas version’s spongy brakes
2019 Acura MDX exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2019 Acura MDX
  • A-Spec version now available
  • Room for six or seven people
  • Gas-only and Sport Hybrid versions
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Push-button third-row access standard

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2019 Acura MDX Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

By Brian Wong
The verdict:

The MDX is a stylish family hauler that capably mixes utility and sport, but its luxury credentials are less impressive.

 

Versus the competition:

The MDX matches other luxury SUVs on features and technology but drops the ball on cabin materials.

 

The Acura MDX gets its third consecutive year of updates for 2019, signaling the importance to Acura both of this class and of SUVs in general. The MDX competes against premium and luxury three-row mid-size SUVs like the Audi Q7, Buick Enclave and Infiniti QX60. Compare it with those models here.

Changes abound for the refreshed MDX, including a needed update to its nine-speed automatic transmission, upgraded interior materials and a more seamless engine stop-start system. All that adds $100 to the MDX’s base price, so it now starts at $45,295 (including destination). Compare the 2019 MDX with last year’s model here.

Also new for 2019 is an A-Spec variant, which happened to be the model I tested. It slides into the middle of the MDX lineup, which doesn’t have traditional trim levels but rather a series of packages. The first package that can be added to the base model is the Technology Package, and the new A-Spec can be added on top of that. The Advance Package has the highest sticker price and the most features. There’s also an Entertainment Package that can be added to the Technology Package and Advance Package, but not to the A-Spec.

What You Get on the A-Spec

The A-Spec splits the Technology and Advance MDX models in price, starting at $55,795. It’s the most aggressively styled of the MDX models, with 20-inch Shark Grey alloy wheels, a revised front bumper, gloss-black trim pieces, a rear spoiler and two giant exhaust pipes. A family SUV migh...

The Acura MDX gets its third consecutive year of updates for 2019, signaling the importance to Acura both of this class and of SUVs in general. The MDX competes against premium and luxury three-row mid-size SUVs like the Audi Q7, Buick Enclave and Infiniti QX60. Compare it with those models here.

Changes abound for the refreshed MDX, including a needed update to its nine-speed automatic transmission, upgraded interior materials and a more seamless engine stop-start system. All that adds $100 to the MDX’s base price, so it now starts at $45,295 (including destination). Compare the 2019 MDX with last year’s model here.

Also new for 2019 is an A-Spec variant, which happened to be the model I tested. It slides into the middle of the MDX lineup, which doesn’t have traditional trim levels but rather a series of packages. The first package that can be added to the base model is the Technology Package, and the new A-Spec can be added on top of that. The Advance Package has the highest sticker price and the most features. There’s also an Entertainment Package that can be added to the Technology Package and Advance Package, but not to the A-Spec.

What You Get on the A-Spec

The A-Spec splits the Technology and Advance MDX models in price, starting at $55,795. It’s the most aggressively styled of the MDX models, with 20-inch Shark Grey alloy wheels, a revised front bumper, gloss-black trim pieces, a rear spoiler and two giant exhaust pipes. A family SUV might feel like a weird place for this kind of aggression, but I find the A-Spec to be the most attractive of the MDX models; it’s a good-looking SUV.

Inside, there are red or black leather seats with Alcantara inserts for the first two rows, a thicker steering wheel with paddle shifters, and a few other garnishes that spruce up the styling inside.

Also noteworthy is that the A-Spec is the only MDX to come with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive standard; all other models come with front-wheel drive standard, and SH-AWD commands a $2,000 premium.

How It Drives

Under the hood of every MDX is a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 267 pounds-feet of torque and comes mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This is the same powertrain found in the Honda Pilot, and it was a weak point when we last reviewed the MDX in 2017. The problem doesn’t lie with the engine, which makes plenty of power — it was the laggy transmission that bogged down the driving experience.

That has changed somewhat for 2019. Acura says the transmission now prioritizes 2nd-gear starts for smoother launches, and it has revised mapping up top for more responsiveness. I did notice the change while driving it, and it’s for the better, but I don’t think Acura went quite far enough; when driving in Normal mode, I still wanted the transmission to react more quickly to accelerator pedal motion. Somewhat making up for this is an aggressive Sport mode, which ended up being my preferred way to drive the MDX. It holds lower gears longer, keeping the MDX in the engine’s power band for a longer stretch of time and making the whole vehicle feel more in tune with what I wanted to have happen.

Ride quality and comfort are still quite good. Though the MDX looks sporty, it doesn’t come with any kind of sport suspension, and that’s a good thing. An adaptive suspension that automatically varies shock absorber firmness is available with the Advance Package, but I didn’t find myself wanting it; a comfortable ride matches the MDX’s aims well.

Fuel economy estimates for the MDX give it a slim edge over the competitors mentioned above. FWD gets an EPA-estimated 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined, dropping to 19/26/22 mpg with AWD. The A-Spec is slightly behind that at 19/25/21 mpg. Driving in Sport mode, as I preferred to do, is bound to lower observed mileage somewhat.

Mixed Interior

Inside, things get a little murky. The first two rows of seats are great; my test vehicle had the optional red leather upholstery with black Alcantara inserts, and the seats were the right mix of loud, comfortable and luxurious. The second row has the same quality of materials as the first, plus plenty of passenger room with good visibility out the large side windows.

When you move back farther, however, it’s disappointing. The third-row seats are covered in plain black upholstery. More than that, there isn’t much legroom to speak of even if you move the second-row seats forward. The bigger issue, though, is headroom: I couldn’t sit up straight without my head hitting the ceiling (I’m 5-foot-11). There are handy buttons to slide the second row forward for third-row access on either side of the MDX, but the opening isn’t big enough for adults to easily climb back there.

The technology offerings and center console controls also leave something to be desired. You might look at it and think two screens are better than one, but that isn’t the case here. Only the bottom is a touchscreen; the top screen is controlled solely by a large knob and the buttons around it below the bottom screen. The problems with the upper screen are twofold: One, it’s low-resolution when using native applications like navigation or phone functions. Two, using the knob to control it isn’t intuitive.

The top screen’s saving grace is that it can be used for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, both of which come standard. And it’s a good thing you can throw those up there, because otherwise the display would cover the lower screen’s ill-advised climate and seat controls. Functions like changing fan speed, seat heating and ventilation, and directing airflow would be better off as buttons; having to jump into a touchscreen submenu to change the air direction or fan power gets frustrating.

In-Between Price, Solid Value

The final price tag for the A-Spec I tested, which came with no options, was $55,795. That puts it in sort of a middle ground between the price of a luxury-optioned Q7 on the high end and premium offerings like the Enclave. With the MDX’s interior and technology shortcomings, this seems like the right place for it to be. The materials and look of the first two rows are arguably luxury grade; the disappointing third row is not.

Acura does include a lot of features in the MDX that give it solid value, especially in the base model. Tri-zone climate control, a power liftgate, five USB ports and powered, heated front seats come standard. This is also true of safety features, including standard AcuraWatch, which includes forward automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control. A blind spot warning system and a 360-degree camera system are optional.

Even with its warts, the MDX drives well enough and comes with enough equipment to make it a viable option in this class, especially as an alternative for those not looking to pay a full luxury price.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.4
56 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Awesome vehicle

by Retired carpenter from Brooklyn nyc on July 2, 2020

There’s really nothing bad to say about this ride i have the 2019 advance the options are endless the interior is top notch leather everywhere handles great for its size a real pleasure to drive Read full review

(5.0)

Best SUV For The Money

by Ace from Henderson, NV on June 28, 2020

Extremely well built car, with a futuristic style, a great deal of interior space and storage including seating for 7, exceptional comfort, easy to drive, and great visibility. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 Acura MDX currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

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

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Six model years and less than 80,000 odometer miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Precision Certified: 24 months or up to 100,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    182-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2019 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.*
* 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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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.