They might seem to sit at opposite ends of the automotive spectrum, but the newly updated Acura MDX sport-utility vehicle has a lot in common with the Japanese luxury maker’s NSX supercar.
The 2017 Acura MDX made its debut Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, revealing a new face heavily influenced by the Acura Precision Concept unveiled in Detroit earlier this year, starting with the distinctive, diamond pentagon grille. But the new ute also will get a slightly toned-down version of the NSX’s unique 3-motor hybrid powertrain.
While the electric Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or eSH-AWD, system will deliver a marked improvement in performance, it’s also expected to yield a full seven miles per gallon better city fuel economy than the base V-6 powertrain offered for the 2017 MDX.
Along with other updates for 2017, “These changes will continue to advance MDX’s competitiveness and its legacy as the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time,” declared John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor, and the automaker’s top U.S. exec.
(Check out TDB’s first drive in the new Acura NSX. Click Here for the story.)
The first of the Japanese luxury brands, Acura will celebrate its official 30th birthday on Saturday, the public opening of the New York show. After an initially successful launch, the brand lost it way in the late 1990s and has struggled ever since to rebuild. Things have begun to turn around, however, with sales rising for the last four years in a row.
Acura aimed to quiet critics with the dramatically styled Precision Concept shown in the Motor City in January, and while that show car isn’t scheduled for production, the nose of the new Acura MDX shows it is quickly having a visual influence on the brand.
Along with the diamond pentagon grille, the MDX gets a new front fascia and front fenders, along with new LED fog and headlights. There’s also a new chrome rocker panel, revised rear bumper and twin tailpipes.
Perhaps the biggest news comes with the addition of the new Sport Hybrid model and its eSH-AWD powertrain. That’s an electrically operated alternative to the conventional Super-Handling Acura system. The ute reverses the NSX sports car’s layout, moving the 3.0-liter V-6 up front, along with a single motor. The other two motors drive the rear axle. The system still provides all-wheel-drive and torque vectoring.
(Acura set to debut new MDX at NY Auto Show. Click Here for the story.)
It will get 25 mpg city, 26 highway and 26 combined, even while pumping out 325 horsepower, 35 more than the non-hybrid system powered by a 3.5 V-6 and paired to a 9-speed automatic. The “base” model will be available with both front and all-wheel-drive.
Along with the 3-motor drive, the Sport Hybrid gets a new Active Sport Suspension that gets an additional, Sport+ driver-selectable mode.
Another big story for MDX this coming model-year will come with its AcuraWatch system, a suite of advanced safety technologies including active cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and not only Forward Collision Warning but the maker’s take on automatic emergency braking. Previously offered as an option, the AcuraWatch system will become standard equipment on all 2017 Acura MDX models, regardless of powertrain or grade.
(Exclusive: Acura considering even brawnier NSX Type-R. Click Here for the story.)
Produced in Ohio, the Acura MDX has regularly led the market for three-row crossovers. Look for it to reach showrooms by autumn.