2014 Acura MDX Spy Photos
Acura’s three-row crossover grows longer and adopts the brand’s latest styling.
What It Is: A next-generation Acura MDX prototype being tested in the desert while towing a trailer. Setting aside the fact that the mule in these spy photos is the first MDX this author has ever seen towing anything, the covered-up crossover does reveal what to expect when the redesigned model hits the market—besides its towing capability.
Why It Matters: The MDX in its current form was introduced for 2007 and has only received a single major refresh, which updated it for 2010. Despite its age, the MDX managed to place third in a recent five-crossover comparison test, and we still think it’s one of the better-driving offerings in its segment. Acura is in the throes of overhauling its entire lineup, having recently introduced the new RDX crossover and ILX compact sedan, as well as previewing the upcoming, range-topping RLX sedan in lightly disguised “concept” form. This MDX would be nearly the final piece in Acura’s mainstream lineup puzzle. (We’re not counting the highly anticipated NSX sports car revival here for obvious reasons.) Once this new MDX is squared away, pretty much all that’s left for Acura to do is figure out which sedan to place between the ILX and RLX—the TL or the TSX.
Platform: Expect the 2014 MDX to continue to offer three-row seating, some form of all-wheel drive, and crisp exterior styling. It’s also clear from these spy photos that there’s a size increase in store for the next MDX, chiefly in length. The wheelbase doesn’t look hugely different, but this tester has a lot more rear overhang than the current model. We expect the added length will free up more space in the way back of the MDX’s cabin, possibly allowing real-world adults to sit in the third row.
It appears the MDX will ditch its angular, techno-Transformer look for softer, less-exciting duds. An RDX-like face is visible through this prototype’s camouflage, and the roofline has more curvature than the current greenhouse. In profile, the new Acura doesn’t look too different from Infiniti’s new JX crossover, a vehicle targeted directly at the strong-selling Acura. We’ll reserve final judgment on the MDX’s cosmetics until we can see more of it, but we think the outgoing model wore Acura’s (now-last-gen) styling language the best.
Powertrain: The current MDX is motivated by a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 driving all four wheels through Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system. We don’t anticipate this basic formula to change much, although there’s a chance that the heavy and expensive SH-AWD setup could be ditched, like it was for the latest RDX, for a non-super system. There’s also a chance of the MDX switching to a hybridized AWD system like the RLX’s. It remains to be seen whether such a powertrain could handle the kind of towing duties undertaken in these photos.
Competition: BMW X5, Infiniti JX, Lexus RX350, Land Rover LR4, Mercedes-Benz ML-class.
Estimated Arrival Time: The new MDX could appear at an auto show as soon as early next year, although, in typical Acura fashion, we’ll likely get a look at a near-production-ready “concept” version first. Look for the production MDX to go on sale sometime next year as a 2014 model.
Source: Car and Driver