2015 Acura MDX Review

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2015 Acura MDX Overview

Okay, so you have a hefty bank account and just plain enjoy tooling around in a luxury-laden midsize crossover. Well, the Acura MDX has been pampering, not to mention impressing, folks for 13 years now, and the 2015 version of this 7-passenger (in 3 rows of seating) mini-ute looks like it’ll continue that tradition.

A comprehensive redesign of the posh MDX in 2014 left it with a significantly improved cabin ambiance and a 7-inch-touchscreen-toting center stack that’s all but button-free now. A new dedicated platform, also introduced for the 2014 model year, extends this luxurious crossover marginally in length and width, thus folks ought to feel a bit less cramped, even in the traditionally leg- and headroom-challenging third row. And again for this upcoming year, cargo area remains a decent, if not overwhelming, 68.4 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seatbacks folded. Oh, and the traditional V6 powerplant was given a tweak or two for some added gas mileage in 2014 as well.

All of the above improvements, meantime, leave us with no changes to the 2015 MDX. Fear not, however; the single front-wheel-drive (FWD) Base trim can again be upgraded to the SH-AWD sub-trim with the addition of an available full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Said AWD technology gives this already nimble crossover a truly impressive agility, thus Acura not so subtly gives us the 411 that the “SH” is short for Super Handling. Obviously, the available AWD eases the stress level on snowy roadways quite nicely, too, but you can’t take it too far off the beaten path.

The standard and recently tweaked 3.5-liter V6 powerplant returns in the 2015 MDX and again mates with the traditional 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Mileage in the FWD Base trim is pegged at 20 mpg city/28 highway by the EPA, with the SH-AWD estimated at 18/27. Should towing be a necessity, look for this plush people-hauler to tote up to 3,500 pounds of trailer with the proper equipment installed.

Both the MDX Base and its SH-AWD offspring sport such standard appearance features as 18-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, rear spoiler, heated power-adjustable mirrors and a power-opening rear liftgate. Inside, expect the return of leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats and full power accessories, including hands-free entry, as well as power-sliding and reclining second-row seating. Cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering are, of course, still standard in both versions, as are a rear-view camera, a remote garage door opener, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, memory for driver's settings and tri-zone auto climate control.

Again all MDX iterations sport Bluetooth hands-free calling for 2015, not to mention the standard 432-watt audio system that boasts a single-CD player, 8 speakers, Pandora radio access, auxiliary audio input (USB port) and satellite radio.

Perhaps in an effort to boost a sense of good old American freedom of choice, Acura has further subdivided its Base trim offering into descriptors of various options packages. The MDX with Technology Package, the MDX with Technology and Entertainment Packages and the MDX with Advance and Entertainment Packages are, quite naturally, reflected in their SH-AWD variations by the SH-AWD prefix with each of the above options packages.

The Technology Package offers 19-inch alloy wheels, voice-activated navigation, AcuraLink telecommunications with Aha smartphone apps and a 501-watt audio upgrade that flaunts 10 speakers, as well as lane-departure warnings and a blind-spot information safety system (BLISS).

The Entertainment Package, available with either the Technology Package or the Advance Package, throws in an even more potent 529-watt ELS premium stereo with 11 speakers that integrates all the features of the standard entertainment system as well as adding in rear-seat DVD entertainment via a fold-down 9-inch monitor. Also included in the Entertainment Package are heated outboard second-row seats.

Finally, the Advance Package, again available only in addition to the Technology Package, boasts a 16.2-inch rear-seat entertainment monitor, sport front seats with upgraded leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control with pre-collision braking and lane-keeping assistance. Remote engine start also comes with this optional package, as do front and rear parking sensors.

Meanwhile, standard safety features in the 2015 MDX include 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and 3-row head airbags. Again standard daytime running lights complement LED headlights, while standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a remote antitheft alarm also return.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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