Acura’s sedans may be a bit behind the eight ball relative to other luxury automakers, but there is no denying that the brand’s SUVs are among the most popular in the segment. One prime example is the MDX, which so happens to be the best-selling three-row SUV of all time. Being careful not to mess much with success, the Japanese luxury brand decided to give the MDX a light upgrade for the 2016 model year.
Starting under the hood, the 2016 MDX retains the 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that churns out 290 horses and 267 pound-feet of torque, but Acura chose to mate it to a new nine-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift. Despite have three extra ranges when compared to the outgoing six-cog autobox, this nine-speed unit is actually 66 pounds lighter. The closer gear ranges and 25-percent faster shifts help enhance acceleration, while the weight loss helps improve weight distribution.
Also new under the skin is a revised version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). This updated system uses a lightweight, twin-clutch rear differential that is 19 pounds lighter than last year’s unit.
Oddly enough, all of these enhancements to the drivetrain actually make the MDX less efficient than last year’s model. The base 2016 MDX gets 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined, while the 2015 model got 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, things are a little better, as city and combined mileage remains unchanged, but the highway mileage drops from 27 mpg in 2015 to 26 mpg in 2016. Things get a little closer to the 2015 numbers with the Idle Stop feature on the upper trim levels of the 2016 MDX, but they still fall short of the 2015 model’s fuel economy numbers.
On top of the revised drivetrain, the 2016 MDX also has a standalone AcuraWatch Package. This package includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation, Blind Spot Information, Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines, and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor.
Pricing for the MDX starts at $42,865 – a $100 increase over 2015 – and stretches across 16 different trim levels to reach a maximum of $57,070. The 2016 MDX is available in dealers now.