2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Review

MDX Sport Hybrid

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2018 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Overview

Acura introduced the MDX Sport Hybrid at the same time the line was revamped as a whole in 2017. It enters 2018 with minor changes only, including two new shades of red, the deep Basque Red Pearl II and a bright San Marino Red.

The MDX Sport Hybrid employs a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission combined with an electric motor for each rear wheel and a 1.3 kilowatt-hour battery for 321 combined horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy stands at 26 city mpg, 27 highway, and 27 combined on premium fuel, excellent for an all-wheel-drive (AWD) seven-seat crossover. The electric componentry doesn’t take occupant or cargo space and ground clearance remains the same as the non-hybrid MDX at 7.3 inches.

The MDX Sport Hybrid’s real advantage is in its performance. With a torque-vectoring system, the MDX Sport Hybrid can send up to 72 horsepower to either rear wheel, at any time, for improved cornering and control, and it reaches 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds. There are four driving modes, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+, which adjust powertrain settings for different styles of driving. True to its name, reviewers say the Sport Hybrid is an improvement over the non-hybrid MDX and more composed than hybrid rivals.

Otherwise, it’s the same as the non-hybrid MDX, a handsome crossover with a well-appointed interior. The barrier to entry for the Sport Hybrid is elevated because Acura bundles it with the Technology Package, which adds 20-inch wheels, a premium audio system, navigation, and remote engine start. In reality, the price premium amounts to $3,500 for the hybrid powertrain versus a similarly-equipped regular MDX with front-wheel drive, or just $1,500 versus one with the basic AWD setup.

Safety features are also the same as the standard MDX, which earned a Top Safety Pick rating in its most recent Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) testing. A reversing camera, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and rear cross-traffic monitoring come with every Sport Hybrid. Front and rear parking sensors are bundled into the Entertainment package.

The MDX Sport Hybrid remains a real value proposition. It’s a nice step between a non-hybrid large crossover and one with full-EV capabilities, for a small price bump. The Sport Hybrid trim significantly enhances the MDX’s performance without changing any of the non-hybrid model’s best attributes. Drivers already considering the MDX can think of the Sport Hybrid as a full-scale performance upgrade—with better fuel economy to boot.


Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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