The 3rd generation Acura MDX has been around for a while now, making its first appearance in 2014; it’s currently the oldest vehicle in this segment, but an all-new model should be coming soon (I’m guessing next year). But to keep things a little interesting, Acura has added a new sportier trim to the MDX lineup, called the “A-Spec”, which can be found on the RDX, ILX, and TLX.
We spent a week with the 2019 Acura MDX A-Spec, to see how sporty this new sporty trim of the MDX is.
2019 Acura MDX Canadian Prices
In Canada, the base 2019 Acura MDX has a starting price of $54,390, MDX Tech starts at $57,890, A-Spec starts at $60,490, Elite starts at $66,990 and MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $69,990.
The 2019 Acura MDX is powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 found on the previous MDX we reviewed, producing 290 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.0-liter engine, producing 321 HP and 289 lb-ft of torque.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine is smooth and works well with the 9-speed automatic transmission and the SH-AWD system. Power is adequate for moving this big 7-passenger vehicle in the city and on the highway. The new 9-speed transmission comes with IDS, which adjust throttle response and steering feel and has three settings: Comfort, Normal, and Sport.
The 2019 Acura MDX is rated at 12.2/9.0/10.8 L/100 km City/Highway/Combined cycles, on premium fuel. For our week-long review, the computer showed an average of 11.8 L/100 km, in about 75% city driving.
The 2019 MDX A-Spec’s 3.5 liter engine is very smooth and quiet, the 9-speed transmission is also very smooth and seems to always be in the right gear. Passing on the highway is a breeze and the MDX gets up to speed very quickly. The smooth engine, combined with the quiet interior, makes you feel like you’re driving much slower than you actually are.
The major difference between the regular MDX trims and the A-Spec is in the styling department. The 2019 MDX A-Spec comes with a more aggressive front fascia, feature larger grills in the front bumper. The A-Spec also benefits from a black-out treatment of all the chrome bits on the exterior, giving it quite a sporty look. The rear bumper is also different and comes with bigger exhaust tips. The A-Spec rides on 20” Shark Gray wheels, which completes the black-out look.
Overall, I think the A-Spec is the best looking trim on the MDX and it was quite the head turner with the Blue paint and blacked out chrome.
The interior remains the same, except the A-Spec gets red or ebony trimmed sport seats, with Alcantara inserts and contrasting stitching. Our review car was equipped with the ebony leather, which looked quite good but I personally prefer the red with Alcantara.
I didn’t notice any other changes on the interior compared to the last time I reviewed the Acura MDX. My biggest disappointment with our review car was the infotainment system, especially the graphics on the two displays for the navigation and the lower infotainment system. The graphics look very aged and don’t feel at home in a $60k+ car, the new Acura RDX has much better graphics but that is a new car.
However, I think Acura could’ve updated the software to show better graphics, because when I plugged in my phone to display the maps from Android Auto, the graphics completely changed, see photo below. Now I’m no programmer, but if the screen can display the nicer graphics of the Android Auto system, I’m sure it’s not too much work to change the native system.
Another disappointment was the voice command for the navigation system, the “lady” telling you when/where to turn is very robotic and sounds annoying. I also found it hard to insert an address, because every time I tried to enter a new destination, I was given the choice of “Previous Destination”, “Go Home”, or “Find Nearby”, when all I wanted to do was add a new address. I’m sure there’s a way to add an address but this type of stuff should be very easy to figure out, I shouldn’t have to read the owner’s manual for something so simple.
To get around this problem, I just used Android Auto, as much as it pains me. I hate giving any more info than I have to, to Google, one of the most evil companies of our time or ever (along with perennial favorites like Facebook, Amazon, and a few others) … rant over.
Safety & Technology
The MDX is Acura’s flagship SUV, so it comes loaded with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a luxury vehicle in this price range. Below is a rather large list of safety and technology features you can get on your 2019 Acura MDX.
- 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
Overall, I think the 2019 Acura RDX is a great vehicle for people looking for a larger luxury SUV/CUV. It’s very comfortable and has a lot of room, the engine has more than enough power for what most people would use these vehicles for and it isn’t too bad on fuel consumption. Visit acura.ca for more information.