We got a chance to drive the new Acura 2016 MDX Elite SUV for a whole week. What began with criticism, ultimately led to a love of a luxury SUV.
The MDX Elite is the highest equipped of the MDX SUV line by Acura and it sure feels like it.
The exterior is very simplistic looking, no harsh lines and a handsome metal plate adorning the Acura logo. The LED headlights is the real star of the show.
The interior is a nice blend of the soft touch material from all of Honda’s and Acura’s cars, high quality leather, real wood, and metal.
I did miss the digital speedometer that is in my Civic, but I did appreciate the tactile feedback from the touch screen.
There are 2 seats in the third row that could easily fit a couple of kids, or with some adjustment 2 adults!
This does sacrifice some trunk space though.
Once you go Push Start, you can never go back to having a key ignition start.
The MDX also sports a really cool non-stick gearbox. The flappy pedal gearchanges on the steering wheel does make the SUV feel more sporty too. Even if the stickless gearbox was neat, I was disappointed by the super stock feel and inclusion of the parking brake. I expected a button for the parking brake found in other luxury SUVs, but the MDX Elite has the same parking brake as my in-law’s CRV.
You have the standard auto climate control, but I was pleasantly surprised with the cooling front seats! They were divine! In mornings, I loved the heated steering wheel as well!
The coolest feature by far in the MDX Elite, is the 360 camera. Parking is a breeze with both collision detection and the superb 360 camera view. I marveled as I parked with robotic precision in every stall.
The feature that was the most finnicky to deal with was the Auto Idle Engine Stopper. There is a convenient button on the Gearbox that turns this feature off or on. However, after my first drive of the car, it never reactivated itself, regardless of me turning the mode on or off. Looking online, there seems to be others who are confused as well. I also wasn’t too impressed with the Adaptive Cruise Control, as it made the auto gear shifting uncomfortable and made the drive feel less refined.
The most important buying decision of a car is how it drives. Honda and Acura just nails the complicated balance of tension and give for both the suspension and steering assist. The IDS (Integrated Dynamic System) lets you select different driving profiles that affect the steering assist, suspension, and automatic gear shifts. Sport Mode tightens up the suspension and greatly decreases steering assist, so you can feel every curve. Of course, going into Sport mode also increases the revs you get from gear shifts. Make sure to tap the D/S button on the gear box to fully go into Sport mode.
My favourite mode and the mode I was on the most in my week driving the car, was Comfort. Oh man, do I already miss the loose and easy steering assist and the pillow soft suspension. You can make the MDX feel like a muscle car by activating Comfort Mode and putting the drive on Sport. When I first picked up the MDX, the average fuel consumption was 17.1L/100KM, but when I returned the car, I brought that number down to 13L/100KM. Yep, I’m awesome. Driving the MDX Elite was a joy day to day.