Acura impressed me with its MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD. I was dazzled by how powerful it was. I appreciated how accessible and abundant all the storage was. I was so pleased that the seating was plentiful and flexible. Also, if you can give me a quiet space to be alone for a few minutes, you have my heart: you can find mine on display at the Acura headquarters.
Lookin’ Good, Feelin’ Great
The exterior of the Acura MDX hybrid is sophisticated. My test MDX had a charcoal paint job with black alloy wheels. It looked sharp, and the grille looked clean and uncluttered.
The interior was very comfortable. There was lots of elbow room in the front row, and the seats were contoured. The second row had captain’s chairs paired with a center console that was a dream. There was covered storage, an armrest, and cupholders. The third row had two seating positions, and the cargo area had a smallish amount of storage (five or six grocery bags) with those seats up and in use.
Here’s the But …
Technology in the MDX was a bit daunting at first. The center stack has two screens and a bunch of buttons for the climate control system and menus. There were more buttons on the steering wheel for cruise control and the menu for the instrument cluster display. (Yes, there was another screen in the instrument cluster). There was a lot going on; I had to take a lot of time to dial everything in to get it just right. I do believe that technology in the vehicle should be minimal and exist to make life in the car easier. As soon as I find a vehicle that meets this expectation, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, the MDX’s systems and buttons were a bit distracting but workable.
I averaged about 24.5 miles per gallon in the Acura MDX Hybrid. I assure you, I was driving it very aggressively and having a ton of fun doing it. The EPA estimates a combined 27 mpg city/highway, so I wasn’t that far off.
As for how their hybrid system works, I’m going to let Acura explain it:
The MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 257-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. Joining the engine in powering the front wheels is a 47-horsepower electric motor located in the transmission housing. There are two additional 36 horsepower motors mounted side by side between the rear wheels. Each rear motor powers a single rear wheel and they operate independently of each other. A lithium-ion battery powers the three motors. When the vehicle is decelerating, the motors charge the battery.
Final Analysis from Your Nitpicky Writer
The power was instantaneous and grin-inducing. It was a joy. It negated a lot of the minuses the Acura MDX hybrid had, which were minor. No, it’s not the most fuel-efficient for a hybrid, and its screens and buttons could use some paring down. But it is a very enjoyable hybrid SUV that makes running the most mundane errands a pleasure.—SL