Sales of SUV’s continue to grow in North America, personally I prefer cars, but I do see the appeal of why many families want SUV’s, they provide lots of space for the family and their stuff, they have higher seating position, and their fuel economy has been improving over the years. If you’re in the market for an SUV, be it small, medium, or large, there seem to be endless options to choose from.
Acura has been quite successful with the sales of their SUV’s, the MDX and RDX, not so much with their cars. To make their SUV’s even more enticing, Acura has introduced a hybrid version of their range topping MDX. We had the opportunity to review a brand new 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid with SH AWD for a week, below are my thoughts on the vehicle.
I reviewed the newly refreshed Acura MDX earlier this year, the Sport Hybrid wasn’t available yet at that time, nothing has changed in the way the vehicle looks on the outside and the interior is also the same, have a look at that review for my thoughts on the refreshed MDX. In today’s review, I’ll talk about the engine and the hybrid system.
In Canada, the 2017 Acura MDX starts at $53,890 for the base model and the range topping MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $69,990. The Sport Hybrid takes the Elite package and adds on the hybrid system, the MDX Elite is priced at $65,990, so you’re paying $4,000 for the hybrid system.
Unlike other trims in the MDX range, the Hybrid is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 engine (as opposed to 3.5 liter V6), which produces 257 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 218 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. The hybrid system comes with three motors, two at the rear wheels and one in the transmission, this system can also be found on the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid and the Acura NSX, I reviewed the RLX Hybrid a couple of years ago and really liked the way it performed, check out my review here. The hybrid combined with the gasoline engine, produces a total output of 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, that’s an increase of 31 horsepower over the non-hybrid version.
The hybrid battery is 1.3 kWh lithium-ion unit and the MDX Hybrid uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic instead of the 9-speed automatic found on the non-hybrid version.
According to Acura, the MDX Sport Hybrid should consume 9.1/9.0/9.0 liters/100 km in city/highway/combined driving, compare that to the claimed consumption of 12.6/9.0/11.0 L/100 km city/highway/combined cycles on the non-hybrid MDX. In our week-long review, we were able to achieve 9.0 L/100 km in 50/50 city/highway driving, which is exactly what’s claimed, we were able to 14.7 L/100 in 85/15 city/highway driving during our review of the non-hybrid MDX. Although the driving conditions were different, the MDX Sport Hybrid is still considerably more efficient.
The MDX Hybrid also adds in a new driving mode, on top to the three modes, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and the new Sport+. In comfort mode, the throttle response is slower, the steering is soft, the suspension is also on the soft side, giving it a very floaty ride. However, as you go up the driving modes, the suspension gets firmer, the throttle response is quicker, the steering feels much tighter, and the transmission also holds gears longer. In Sports+, the MDX is quite fun for an SUV.
I enjoyed driving around town in the MDX Sport Hybrid, I left it mostly in comfort to soak up the bumpy roads, but when I felt like having a little fun, the Sport and Sport+ mode made things interesting. I wasn’t too big of a fan of the DCT transmission, DCT transmissions are known to be jerky at lower speeds and I found the transmission here to jerky some of the times. I think the 9-speed transmission offered on the non-hybrid version could have been a better choice.
Nothing has changed on the interior, it’s still a fairly luxurious place to be in with lots of leather and soft-touch plastics. But with the addition of the hybrid, it’s even quieter, for obvious reason. The interior is very roomy, with plenty of space for the front and second row passengers, the third-row seats are best reserved for children or vertically challenged adults.
Tech-wise, the MDX Sport Hybrid comes with all the bells and whistles found on the MDX Elite we reviewed a few months back, below is a list.
- Driver’s Side Knee Airbag
- Dual-stage, Dual-Threshold Front Airbags
- Smart Vent Front Side Airbags
- Three-row Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Road Departure Mitigation (steering and braking)
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Trailer Stability Assist
- Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control
- Forward Collision Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist System
- Multi-Angle Rear view Camera with Guidelines
- Auto-Dimming Side Mirrors
- Auto-leveling Front Headlamps
- Automatic high beams
- Headlight Washer System
- Heated Windshield
- Power Folding Mirrors
- Rain-sensing Windshield Wipers
- Wiper-linked Headlight System
- Acoustic Glass
- Active Noise Control
- Active Sound Control
- Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition 8″ display
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow
- Auto-dimming Rear view Mirror
- Automatic climate control system
- Blind Spot Information System
- Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column
- Smart Entry Keyless Access System
- Push Button Start Ignition
- Remote Engine Starter
- Perimeter approach puddle lights
- Tri-Zone front/rear Automatic Climate Control System
- Acura DVD Ultra-wide Rear Entertainment System with 16.2-inch Display and HDMI connector
- Bluetooth Audio
- E-Mail/ SMS Text Capability
- SIRI Eyes Free
- 10-way power adjustment driver and passenger seat with 2-way power lumbar support and 2-position driver memory seat
- Heated & Ventilated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
As you can see from the above list, the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is loaded up with the tech gadgets you can wish for, I would however like to see the graphics on the infotainment system and the navigation system to improve, the current graphics look quite dated and the navigation system could use crisper maps.
The Acura MDX is already quite a popular 3-row SUV, with the introduction of the hybrid version, consumers have yet another option. Depending on your driving conditions, the extra $4,000 you pay for the Hybrid can be recuperated over the life of the car.
For more information on the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, please visit acura.ca.