2016 Acura MDX: Luxury and Handling in One [Review]

2016 Acura MDX

Let’s say you’ve got a family. Let’s say you’ve got a fairly large family. Let’s also say you need a new car for said large family and that you enjoy driving and want some luxury. What are you to do?

You’re probably going to take a look at the 2016 Acura MDX. It’s a full-size luxury SUV that looks good and doesn’t compromise on driving pleasure.

The body carries over from 2015, and that’s a good thing. Yes, it still has those odd looking spider eye headlights (Acura calls them Jewel Eye LEDs, but come on…you’re not fooling anyone, Acura.), but they blend nicely with the front grill. There is a fair amount of chrome trim along the windows and roof rails, adding a bit of shine to its 16-foot body.

2016 Acura MDX AWD with Tech and Advance

Engine Power Torque Transmission MSRP Price As-Tested Rating
3.5L V6 290 hp 267 lb-ft 9-speed automatic $55,080 $56,000 Buy it!

Under the hood is a 3.5L V6 engine, good for 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to all four wheels via a new push button 9-speed automatic transmission, although FWD is standard. EPA fuel ratings are 19 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway, and 22 combined. In my week of both highway and city driving, my lead foot averaged a less-than-stellar 18 mpg.

Our test model came very well equipped with the Tech and Advance Packages. These includes a touchscreen, satellite radio, Bluetooth, heated and cooled front seats, heated second row seats, navigation, an 11-speaker sound system, iPod connectivity, rain sensing wipers, push button start, and remote engine start.

2016 Acura MDX

The 2016 MDX also comes with a slew of safety features. such as blind spot, lane departure, and forward collision warnings and a collision mitigation braking system. Also included are a lane keeping assist system, rear cross traffic alerts, and a multi-view rear camera to back that behemoth up.

Not to be left off the list is adaptive cruise control, which automatically keeps a specific distance between you and the car ahead by adjusting the MDX’s speed, and an auto start/stop function to assist with conserving fuel.

The interior is very comfortable and stylishly laid out. There are plenty of cup holders and storage, including door bins and a large center armrest, easily big enough for your day to day necessities. The multi-functional steering wheel allows easy access to the stereo, phone, and cruise control settings, and there is a multi-information display between the speedometer and tachometer that can cycle through information from tire pressure to radio station to average mpg.

2016 Acura MDX

The MDX boasts two touchscreens. The audio controls are completely operated by the lower screen, and the information seems to be crammed on the screen willy-nilly. Some climate controls are also located in the touchscreen, requiring more button pushing than average. The knob and home buttons for the touchscreen are located on the center stack, not directly between the seats and thus directly under your hand like in other SUVs. This necessitates taking your eyes off the road for even the most simple inputs.

The adaptive cruise control is a nice feature to have, especially for those who find themselves in heavy traffic. However, the brakes are applied quite abruptly and the MDX errs on the side of slower acceleration while in this feature.

The new 9-speed transmission is operated via a push-button selector. It’s a little hard to get used to and some may find it different just for the sake of being different. The transmission itself shifts smoothly, although it likes to upshift quickly. You may find yourself in 4th gear before leaving the grocery store parking lot.

2016 Acura MDX

There are 3 steering modes in the MDX: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Comfort mode means you can practically drive with one finger, Sport will make you work for it. There are no changes to the suspension or throttle response, but that’s just fine. The Acura easily soaks up rough pavement while the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system sends power to where it is needed most, when it is needed most. It is exceptionally agile for having a curb weight of over 4,200 pounds.

When a good time is required, put the car in Sport mode and operate the transmission via the paddle shifters. This is when the SUV really comes alive, offering a solid grunt off the line and crisp upshifts with a single click. Sure, the transmission will shift for you when it decides you’re too close to the red line, but this is a family car, not a race car. It gives you just enough control to show the kids a good time.

There is a fair amount of competition in the full-size, luxury SUV market. If you’re looking for interesting and modern design, check out the redesigned Volvo XC90. Those focused on performance should check out the BMW X5. If you find that your pocketbook can’t stand a $50,000+ price tag, look at the Mazda CX-9.

2016 Acura MDX

The 2016 Acura MDX AWD with Advance and Technology packages comes in at an even $56,000.

Buy itOn the TFL Car scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

The MDX gets a Buy It. Yes, it gets a point taken away for the jarring brake application of the adaptive cruise control, and another for the difficult to manage infotainment system, but still, it looks good and is one of the best handling SUVs in it’s class. You won’t be disappointed.

2016 Acura MDX AWD Specs:

  • Engine: 3.5L direct-injection V6
  • Power: 290 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Torque: 267 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic w/shift-by-wire
  • Curb weight (w/Advance and Entertainment Packages): 4268 lbs
  • EPA estimated fuel economy (city/hwy/combined): 19 / 26 / 22 mpg
  • Seating capacity: 7 passengers
  • Wheelbase: 111.0 in.
  • Length x Width x Height: 193.6 x 77.2 x 67.6 in.
  • Ground clearance: 7.3 in.
  • MSRP: $55,080
  • Price as tested: $56,000

Check out this off road video of the 2016 Acura RDX.

emme hall tflcar Emme is a driver, reviewer, rabble rouser, and Gazelle who can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and either one of her blogs.