Crossover & Midsize

Critics Disagree on How Good the 2020 Acura MDX Is

Acura isn’t as popular as many other luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Still, the company has many good vehicles on the market, like the TLX sedan. SUV shoppers can choose the Acura MDX, which can haul up to seven passengers along with plenty of luggage.

U.S. News had a lot of good things to say about the Acura MDX. It has a high overall score and is reportedly one of the best seven-passenger vehicles of 2020. However, Consumer Reports gives readers a different story. Testers on the site found that Acura MDX is actually less reliable and enjoyable to drive than some critics say.

The Acura MDX on U.S. News

According to U.S. News, the Acura MDX’s biggest strength is its peppy powertrain. The SUV is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, with Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive as optional equipment.

The standard engine with front-wheel drive gets the best gas mileage, averaging 23 mpg combined city/highway. The Acura MDX is very agile for a vehicle its size, able to handle corners with ease. The ride is mostly composed along uneven surfaces, but some critics felt that other luxury SUVs offer smoother drives.

The Acura MDX provides adequate space for all adults in its first two rows on standard leather seats. The third row is smaller, and there’s not much luggage space behind it. However, folding the third row flat opens up 43 cubic feet of space.

Despite its functionality, U.S. News found that the MDX’s interior isn’t as opulent as many other luxury SUVs. Premium materials are used throughout the cabin, but it still doesn’t feel fancy enough. Some critics also didn’t like that the MDX’s dual-screen infotainment screen only offers touch capability on the bottom screen.

What Consumer Reports had to say

Consumer Reports also gave the Acura MDX high marks for its useful cargo area. The two seats in the third row can be folded individually or at the same time. The second-row seats have a 60/40 split and can be moved forward and back with the press of a button. CR testers also appreciated that there were plenty of big storage cubbies throughout the Acura MDX’s interior.

During its road test, Consumer Reports had no problems with the engine, but the transmission was a hassle to operate. It frequently delays between shifts, especially at lower speeds. Consumer Reports also found that the Acura MDX isn’t exceptionally sporty on the road. The steering wheel doesn’t offer drivers much feedback, even with the Super-Handling equipped.

Consumer Reports also had problems understanding all the Acura MDX’s controls. The infotainment menus tend to be redundant and it’s hard to navigate between every option. Testers couldn’t figure out how to perform simple tasks like resetting the gas mileage meter or adjusting audio levels.

Consumer Reports also argues that the Acura MDX isn’t the best value at its luxury price point. The MDX is only available in one trim, but it can be enhanced with different packages. These bundles include commonplace luxury features like power-adjusting seats and a heated steering wheel. The packages boost the Acura MDX’s price to over $60,000.

Which review is more accurate?

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It’s important to remember that U.S. News compiles its data from other sources like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. If the Acura MDX has a positive review average, this skews its score to be higher. Despite its lower score on Consumer Reports, testers didn’t write off the Acura MDX completely. It still has a highly useful luggage area and a strong engine, two of the most important qualities for an SUV.