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2020 Acura MDX: Dynamic SUV Luxury Driving

By Arv Voss, October 19th, 2019

Acura offers dynamic driving and handling for luxury buyers with its three-row luxury SUV. The 2020 Acura MDX arrives with standard AcuraWatch technology, available Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive and the A-Spec package starting at $54,900.

Manufacturer photo: The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies
Manufacturer photo: The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies

The MDX underwent a major design refresh in 2017, technological updates added in 2018, and in 2019 the MDX arrived with new interior enhancements designed to heighten the luxury content level.

New features included available authentic Desert Olive Ash wood trim, high-contrast seat and door panel stitching, and contrasting front-seat side garnishes. Driver and front passenger seats feature standard four-way power lumbar adjustments, while the Technology and Entertainment packages get an updated second-row seat configuration, making for easy passage to the third row.

-- A-SPEC PACKAGE

The 2020 MDX A-Spec sport appearance package comes standard with Acura's torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. The A-Spec features a more athletic stance heightened by its exclusive half-inch-wider 20-inch Shark Grey aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile 265/45-series tires. An aggressive new front fascia, body-color lower sills, larger-diameter exhaust finishers, as well as gloss-black and dark chrome trim for the headlights, grille, window surround, and rear tailgate spoiler add significantly to the exterior sporting nature of the MDX A-Spec.

Manufacturer photo: The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies

-- AS TESTED

My 2020 Acura MDX test vehicle was in A-Spec trim wearing an exterior finish coat of Apex Blue Pearl complemented by a black interior with ivory contrasting piping. The A-Spec MDX displays a bold and athletic persona that is superior to other MDX trims; it starts at $54,900, while the exterior color upgrade and the destination and handling charge bumped the final tally to $56,295.

-- POWER SOURCE

The A-Spec's power is supplied by a 3.5-liter 24-valve i-VTEC V-6 engine with direct injection and a drive-by-wire throttle. The naturally aspirated V-6 pumps out 290 horses at 6,200 rpm while also developing 267 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Energy is geared to the SH-AWD system's four wheels through a nine-speed sequential SportShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which has been improved to provide a smoother, more fluid feedback feel in normal driving by prioritizing second-gear starts.

-- PERFORMANCE

Manufacturer photo: The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies

Acceleration is brisk and instantaneous, and the progression through the nine gears is smooth and virtually seamless. The steering is spot-on and responsive, and the handling characteristics are thereby sporty, especially with the SH-AWD. The ride quality is firm without being harsh, and is really quite comfortable and stable.

-- COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Interior enhancements include sport seats trimmed in rich red or black leather with black Alcantara inserts, high-contrast stitching, unique A-Spec gauges, sport pedals, Alcantara door inserts, gloss-black trim, a thicker-rimmed A-Spec-badged steering wheel with paddle shifters, and an exclusive A-Spec doorstep garnish.

-- SAFETY AND TECHNOLOGY

In addition to AcuraWatch technology, all MDX models boast a comprehensive array of active and passive safety features, including Acura's Advance Compatibility Engineering body structure; advanced front, side, and side-curtain airbags; front pre-tensioning seatbelts; four-channel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist with traction control, and tire pressure monitoring system.

Manufacturer photo: The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies

-- OUR FINAL TAKE

It's possible to spend less for an Acura MDX, and it's also possible to spend significantly more, depending entirely upon one's taste and feature requirements. Either personal choice results in the acquisition of a highly desirable and luxurious SUV.

Specifications

Base price $54,900 (as tested: $56,295)
Curb weight 4,275 lbs.
Displacement 3.5-liter
Engine type 24-valve iVTEC V-6
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 290 at 6200 rpm
Overall length 196.2 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 267 at 4700 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5/7-passenger AWD SUV
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