The MDX is hugely important to Acura – it's been the brand's highest volume model for the past seven years and is North America's all-time best-selling three-row luxury SUV. Three years after the current third-generation model was introduced as a 2014 model it was time for a refresh, and as Acura revealed at the New York International Auto Show, the changes for 2017 are more than skin deep.
That doesn't mean the skin hasn't changed: For 2017 the MDX gets new front and rear treatments, with the first production application of Acura's new "diamond pentagon" grille, first seen on the Acura Precision Concept that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in January. In the flesh it's distinctive and dynamic looking, and certainly a huge improvement over the company's previous shield grille. Additional changes include a more sharply sculpted hood and front fenders, new LED fog lights, restyled "Jewel Eye" headlights, and new twin tailpipes.
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Inside, the 2017 MDX gets what Acura executive VP John Mendel called “The most premium content in the MDX's 15-year history.” New standard luxury features include an electronic parking brake, auto high beam headlights, Sirius Radio 2.0, and additional USB charging ports. Second-row captain's chairs will be available, and in Elite models there will be new Olive Ash or Black Limba wood interior trim choices.
The big news under the hood is the introduction of an optional Sport Hybrid drivetrain to complement the existing 3.5L V6-powered setup. The 2017 MDX Sport Hybrid is the third model to feature Acura’s three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD powertrain, joining the Acura NSX supercar and RLX flagship sedan. Power comes from a 3.0L DOHC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, with an integrated electric motor powering the front wheels and a Twin Motor Unit with two electric motors providing power to the rear wheels. This arrangement allows the system to deliver electrified torque vectoring for improved handling and straight-line performance.
The Sport Hybrid delivers a peak powertrain output of 325 horsepower – a 35-hp bump over the non-hybrid model – while also turning in better fuel economy, especially in the city. The MDX Sport Hybrid is anticipated to receive EPA fuel economy ratings of about 9.4 / 9.0 L/100 km (city/highway) and is an estimated 3.3 L/100 km improvement in city efficiency over the 3.5L MDX with SH-AWD.
The 2017 Acura MDX is slated to go on sale at dealerships across Canada this summer and will be joined by the MDX Sport Hybrid later in the year.