2019 Acura MDX Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
Always a stand-out in the luxury category, Acura delivers a spunky SUV in the form of the 2019 Acura MDX. Although this year's model is part of the aging third generation of the MDX (which was introduced in 2014), it retains many of the things drivers love about the vehicle and adds a few new items on the line-up. While the MDX falls behind the competition in terms of interior design and off-roading capabilities, it has many standard features and offers up a speedy acceleration from its V6 engine.
What's New for 2019?
There have been a few changes made to the 2019 Acura MDX line-up. First and foremost, this model year introduces a new trim level, the A-Spec. It is similar to the Technology trim which seats just beneath it and features 20-inch wheels and a premium sound system with 10 speakers. The A-Spec trim adds all-black to the exterior, ventilation to the front seats, a thicker steering wheel, and wheels that are wider than those on the Technology trim. Also, for 2019, the engine idle-stop function has been tweaked, as have some of the calibrations for the 9-speed automatic transmission. Finally, the MDX models that are equipped with the Advanced package now come with suspension dampers that are continuously variable.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Acura MDX – The Pros
1. Plenty of Active Driver Aids
Drivers who crave an abundance of active driver aids will be pleased to find that the 2019 Acura MDX has a long list of them. The AcuraWatch suite comes standard on the base trim and is comprised of helpful safety features such as road and lane departure with a mitigation system, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring comes standard on the Technology trim and higher, and the Advance adds parking sensors to the front and rear of the vehicle.
2. Numerous Standard Features
In addition to the AcuraWatch suite, there are plenty of other desirable standard features to be found on the new Acura MDX. For example, the Standard trim comes with front seats that are power-adjustable and heated, a sunroof, power liftgate, adaptive suspension dampers, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a whopping four USB ports in the cabin.
3. A Cozy Ride In the Cabin
Slip inside the 2019 Acura MDX, and you will notice the abundance of comfort that its cabin has to offer. Having heating come standard on the front seats provides extra comfort, and these seats can be ventilated if you select that as an option. The second row of seats is also quite comfortable and offers just enough head room for the average adult. All of the seats feel well-bolstered and provide enough lumbar support to get through long commutes. Add to that the fact that the cabin is extremely well-insulated, barely letting any wind and road noise in. Keeping the V6 engine below 5,000 RPM also provides occupants with a quiet ride.
4. Swift and Smooth Acceleration
Speaking of the V6 engine, it is more than capable of providing the vehicle with get-up-and-go power. The 3.5-L V6 produces 290 hp and is nicely paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Even though there are no turbocharged or supercharged options available, the V6 is able to get from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which bests a number of its luxury SUV competitors. Acceleration itself has a smooth and effortless feel to it that most drivers will appreciate.
5. The Optional SH-AWD System
Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is an option on the MDX, but it is a recommended add-on. Even though the vehicle already has great handling capabilities, the SH-AWD system gives a respectable boost to the vehicle's driving performance. Although it does not help much with off-roading, SH-AWD adds an element of stability to the MDX while driving along roads during slick weather conditions, giving the driver some extra peace of mind during heavy rain and snow storms.
6. The Hybrid Version's Fuel Economy
There is a gasoline-electric powered Sport Hybrid option that comes with a 3.0-L V6 engine paired to three electric motors. This generates a total of 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. With a powertrain that is rounded out by a 7-speed automatic transmission, the Sport Hybrid is able to get a combined 27 miles per gallon. This option will likely be appealing to SUV drivers who want to save a bit at the fuel pump.
7. Impeccably Sporty Handling
Handling on the 2019 Acura MDX is superb, even without SH-AWD added on. Handling has a smooth feel that will bring some enjoyment to the driver. The MDX has a surprisingly spry and sporty feel to it that is uncharacteristic of midsize SUVs. With torque-vectoring AWD, though, the MDX has no problem whipping through tight turns with minimal body roll.
8. Well-Organized Small Item Storage
Small item storage is well-thought out on the 2019 Acura MDX. The bin in the center is quite deep and has smartly-designed storage configurations that can easily fit a laptop or tablet. In fact, the other bins are quite deep, and the cup holders are plenty large in size.
9. Plenty of Cargo Space
Cargo space is quite generous on the MDX. The second and third rows of seats fold completely flat, maximizing 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space all the way up to 90.9 cubic feet. This bests most third-row SUVs and some two-row models as well.
10. Child Safety Seats Are Easy to Install
LATCH anchors are easy to access in the second row of seats on the 2019 Acura MDX, as are the tethers for the safety seat. The tethers are conveniently located on the middle of the seatbacks and are convenient for most people to reach.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Acura MDX – The Cons
1. Adaptive Cruise Control is Slow to Reply
One of the bigger downsides to driving the 2019 Acura MDX is that the adaptive cruise control feature is rather sluggish in its response time. Also, even though it is usually easy to predict the system's behaviors, it does seem to have a tendency to suddenly speed up and slow down while stuck in a dense flow of traffic. This might feel unsettling to the unsuspecting driver and can be quite annoying.
2. The Interior Lacks the Luxuriousness of Its Competitors
While the cabin is extremely comfortable and well-planned, it just does not look as upscale as some of its competitors. With the price you will be paying for the MDX, it should theoretically look a bit more sleek and sophisticated. While the wood trim looks lovely, the MDX is going to have a hard time competing with its European counterparts in the looks department.
3. Comfort Mode Makes Steering Feel Too Light
While steering feels fine in most of the driving modes, Comfort makes it feel a little bit too light for the average driver's liking. This makes it hard to know exactly how the vehicle is responding to the driver's steering commands as feedback through the wheel just does not feel sufficient. It is best to stick with Normal mode, which still feels light but adds a bit more input for the driver.
4. Off-roading Capabilities Are Lacking
Do not be fooled by the availability of all-wheel drive on this SUV. It does not make it off-road capable. This is still a luxury SUV, so AWD is there more as a security measure for driving on rough wintry roads than it is for going off of the beaten path. Without hill descent control, the 2019 Acura MDX can't handle too many steep surfaces.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Mazda CX-9
The new 2019 Mazda CX-9 might not be a luxury vehicle, but its sporty prowess is sure to woo some luxury SUV fans away from the MDX. The CX-9 has sporty handling that rivals the MDX, and its line-topping trim has some truly chic high-quality materials gracing its interior. While its cargo capacity is significantly less than the MDX, the cabin does have some creative storage designs.
2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Volvo XC90
The 2019 Volvo XC90 is a spacious and well-equipped SUV that puts out a solid driving performance with its handling capabilities. However, its fuel efficiency is somewhat lacking, and a lot of the items found on the touchscreen display are rather difficult to use and overall contribute to a confusing layout. Also, the ride quality feels a bit too busy for a high-end SUV, which makes it pale in comparison to the smooth ride you can get from the 2019 Acura MDX.
There are a few gripes to be had with certain aspects of the 2019 Acura MDX. Adaptive cruise control definitely requires some refinement, and the interior could use a slight make-over so as to keep up appearances. However, this luxury midsize SUV handles exceedingly well for a vehicle in its class and has plenty of cargo space and standard features to delight the drivers who can afford its price tag.
• Why buy a 2018 Acura MDX? w/ pros vs cons