The updated 2017 Acura MDX in Edmonton has something for everybody. For typical luxury crossover shoppers, there is something to be said for its AcuraWatch safety features- standard on every MDX. For those who need an MDX because the family won’t fit into a Miata, Acura is offering this full-size alternative.
This Sports Hybrid shares a basic layout with the NSX supercar. As in the NSX, there’s a V-6 engine with an electric motor at one end and two electric motors at the opposite end. The layout mimics the Acura RLX Sports Hybrid’s variation, with its gas-fed V-6, integrated electric motor driving the front wheels, and twin electric motors to power the rear wheels. Rather than the 3.5-liter engine in the MDX, the Sports Hybrid’s V-6 engine incorporates a fuel-saving cylinder deactivation function. With three electric motors and a V-6 working together, the MDX delivers 325hp. The V-6 contributes 257 horsepower, and the electric motors do the rest.
The front electric motor is integrated with a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission, while the standard MDX has a nine-speed automatic. At the rear axle, dual electric motors render torque-vectoring, while the AWD gas model does the same using a rear differential. Compared to the RLX, the MDX’s system is down 52 horsepower and cannot propel the vehicle on electricity alone. Still, the MDX appears to have other luxury hybrids thoroughly beat in terms of sheer excitement.
The Sports Hybrid system offers fuel-economy benefits. While official EPA figures are still pending, Estimates say the Sports Hybrid will achieve 25/26mpg-city/highway. That’s a full 7 mpg better than the all-wheel-drive MDX’s.
For all the internal changes, the most evident alteration is right on the grille. The MDX is the first mainstream Acura to abandon the brand’s signature “shield” grille; besides resembling a bird’s face, the previous design was more intense than beautiful. The new grille is a more streamlined design derived from the Precision concept which debuted in January at the Detroit auto show. Acura has reshaped the headlight LEDs, the hood, and fenders to match the new look. The rocker panels got a touch of chrome, there’s a new rear bumper and dual integrated exhaust outlets. The updates lend the MDX a smoother, lower, and more balanced appearance.
As to the safety suite we mentioned, every buyer of the 2017 Acura MDX in Edmonton now gets emergency automatic braking, a lane-departure warning, forward collision alerts, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and road-departure extenuation.
Adding new tech, losing the “beak,” and offering the hybrid version, Acura has made significant improvements to this popular family of three-row haulers that will certainly expand its appeal. The standard model will be launched this summer, with the Sports Hybrid to arrive in the fall.