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2019 Acura MDX

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$44,300

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

SUV

Body style

23

Combined MPG

7

Seating capacity

196.2” x 67.4”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

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

6 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Notable features

  • 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

2019 Acura MDX review: Our expert's take

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.  

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

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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.

Photo of Brian Wong
Former L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a soft spot for convertibles and free parking. Email Brian Wong

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior 4.7
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value 4.5
  • Exterior 4.6
  • Reliability 4.7
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Love me an MDX.

My current car is a 2019 MDX. I absolutely love it. My previous car was a 2012 MDX. The only reason I don’t have that car is my daughter “totaled it” 2 days after getting her license. BUT my daughter walked away, unhurt, no broken bones, no concussion, not even a bruise. I thought the car would look like a mangled mess, just looked like it went off roading. I had no idea these were TANKS on the road. I will continue to drive these now that I know. The 2019 is very similar to the 2012, but love the apple car play, lane assist, and better gas mileage.

5.0

Great MDX

I've only had my 2019 Acura MDX for a few weeks, so this review is based on this version and previous experiences with the MDX. This is my 3rd MDX. I had a 2010 and a 2013 before this one. First, when people complain about old technology, it makes me laugh. I think this technology is pretty sweet. I love Apple CarPlay. I get my music and I get GPS thru Waze. My maps are always updated. The Base model has very good options, and is plenty for my needs. So far I have been impressed with my 2019 version MDX. The gas mileage is way better than my previous version (24 vs 19 mpg). It's a great riding car and so far no complaints. I really like the Acura MDX.

2.0

Acura Preowned Certified Program Sham.

Purchased a 2019 Pre-owned certified MDX and was happy for the first 12 days. Day 13 came out of an appointment started backing out of my parking space and the check engine light came on the electronic parking brake locked up and the display indicated parking brake problem and emissions problem. My biggest disappointment was the lack of support from Acura. Acura touts it's certified preowned program but no dealer could even get us in to diagnose the problem for 2 weeks nor would they provide us with a loaner. Do not believe the hype for the Acura preowned certified program!!

See all 66 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2019 Acura MDX base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
5
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
5
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
5
Overall rating
5
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
16.4%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Acura Precision
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years old and newer from their original in-service date, with 80,000 miles or fewer at time of vehicle delivery.
Basic warranty terms
2 years/100,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
182-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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