The one consistently bright spot in Acura’s ever-shifting, somewhat confusing sales lineup is the stalwart MDX. For the 2016 model year, Acura is piling on the feature set, presumably in an effort to head off the upcoming redesigned Lexus RX at the sales pass.
The biggest changes come in the drivetrain department. Though the fine 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 introduced for 2014 remains, the old six-speed slushbox has been junked in favor of a state-of-the-art nine-speed unit. Despite the three additional ratios, the new gearbox saves a considerable 66 pounds over the old trans. Gear selection dispenses with a traditional linkage and is now handled electronically, via pushbuttons. If you’d like a dash of Super Handling with your MDX, Acura is offering a revised SH-AWD system, featuring a twin-clutch, torque-vectoring rear diff meant to aid vehicle rotation in corners.
Strangely, going from a six-speed to a nine-speed gearbox does not improve fuel economy. In the front-wheel-drive model, the EPA ratings drop from 20/28 mpg to 19/27 mpg. With all-wheel drive, the EPA figures are 18/26 mpg, versus 18/27 mpg previously. In both cases, however, a newly available idle-stop feature bumps the city rating up by 1 mpg.
Inside, all trim levels receive a frameless rear-view mirror, Apple’s Siri Eyes Free voice recognition, and a driver’s seat that retreats 1.4 inches to aid ingress and egress when the door is opened. Add Acura’s Tech package and receive a multi-view rear camera capable of detecting cross traffic behind you, lane-keeping assist/lane-departure warning, and a forward-collision warning system that can recognize pedestrians.
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If you opt for the AcuraWatch package, Road Departure Mitigation comes into play. A windshield-mounted monocular camera scans lane markers, Bott’s Dots, reflectors, etc. and uses steering and braking to keep the MDX in what’s presumably the desired lane. The AcuraWatch package also includes adaptive cruise control. The aforementioned forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning are also included if you haven’t shelled out for the Tech package.
Spring for the Advance trim level, and all of the above (save for SH-AWD and rear-seat entertainment) is included, plus remote engine start, a start-stop system, and a head-up warning system. All trim levels are available with Acura’s rear-seat entertainment unit. Pricing starts at $ 43,785 for the base model, and edges upwards of $ 57,000 for a full-boat MDX Advance with Entertainment and SH-AWD. The 2016 MDX hits dealer lots right about now, funk soul brother.