2014 Acura MDX in maroon live from the New York Auto Show

Acura (and parent company Honda, for that matter) doesn't always leave a lot to be left to the imagination when they unveil prototypes at auto shows. Case in point: Take a gander at the Acura MDX Prototype that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this past January, and then look at the production-spec 2014 MDX pictured above. See what we mean?

Design-wise, there frankly isn't a whole lot to get excited about with this MDX. Sure, a lot of the chiseled, sharp lines from the previous-generation model have been smoothed out in favor of something that will likely have more mass-market appeal, but to our eyes, the MDX has simply lost a lot of its visual flair in the process. To quote Autoblog senior editor Seyth Miersma, this new one just looks like the old one after melting by 10 percent. The end result is something that more closely resembles the company's smaller RDX crossover than anything else, with other subtle design elements mimicking what we've seen on the ILX and RLX sedans. It's all fine, but again, not exciting. The good news, however, is that thanks to the use of new lightweight materials, the 2014 MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.

Updates to what's underneath the MDX's new skin are hardly surprising, but still welcome. Power comes from a direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 making 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with both front-wheel drive and Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive on offer. Acura estimates that front-drive models will achieve 20/28/23 miles per gallon (city/highway/combined), and says that adding the SH-AWD drops those numbers to 18/27/21. Acura will offer a new Integrated Dynamic System that allows the driver to choose between normal, sport and comfort settings, and the new MDX will ride on a choice of either 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the MDX is loaded with comfort and technological features, including AcuraLink, a premium ELS audio system, and the dual-screen display that's similar to what we experienced in the company's new RLX flagship earlier this year. Up top is an eight-inch display that houses things like navigation data, while the seven-inch display below with haptic feedback works as a sort of command center for the whole infotainment system. Other new goodies for the 2014 MDX include Acura's Jewel Eye adaptive front lighting, a host of standard safety equipment and premium features like a rear entertainment system with a 16.2-inch screen complete with HDMI compatibility.

Have a look at Acura's press release below for the full list of changes for the 2014 model. We'll have live images straight from the New York Auto Show floor in a jiffy, too, so stay tuned.
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All-New 2014 Acura MDX Debuts at the New York International Auto Show

Third-generation MDX raises the bar with more performance, class-leading fuel economy ratings, innovative interior features and signature Acura technologies


NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 – Acura today unveiled the all-new 2014 MDX luxury SUV at the 2013 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). Built on a completely new platform, the seven-passenger MDX offers improved ride comfort, a more versatile and luxurious cabin, increased fuel efficiency and enhanced dynamic performance. The MDX will also be offered for the first time in a more affordable and even more fuel-efficient two-wheel-drive configuration.

"Building on the award-winning dynamic performance of the previous model, the third-generation MDX adds new levels of luxury comfort, family functionality and fuel efficiency to once again set the luxury SUV benchmark," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura Sales. "From Nürburgring-tuned dynamics and thoughtful interior appointments, to the addition of a new two-wheel-drive model, the all-new MDX continues Acura's direction of creating vehicles that advance the synergy between man and machine."

Powertrain

The 2014 Acura MDX is powered by an all-new direct-injected 24-valve 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™), producing 290 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque. The MDX's engine architecture is shared with two racecars that recently finished First and Second in the LMP2 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Employing a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sport Mode and Sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters, the new MDX will be offered in both Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) and two-wheel-drive drivetrain variants, both featuring Acura's new Agile Handling Assist technology.

Matched to the highly efficient Earth Dreams Technology engine and the \ SH-AWD drivetrain, the 2014 MDX has an EPA fuel economy rating of 18/27/21 mpg1 (city/highway/combined), while the new front-wheel-drive model is EPA rated at 20/28/23 mpg1 (city/highway/combined).

While achieving even higher fuel economy ratings, the MDX remains a true driver's SUV with enhanced dynamic performance, including quicker acceleration, more responsive braking and even more precise steering feel. Tuned and tested on the grueling Nürburgring racing circuit in Germany, the lighter and more dynamic new 2014 MDX with SH-AWD bests the previous model's lap time by eight seconds.

To satisfy the preferences of multiple drivers in any family, the 2014 MDX features an all-new Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) with three modes: Sport, Normal and Comfort. IDS adjusts steering effort, throttle response, SH-AWD and active sound to suit the tastes of the driver. The MDX's new Amplitude Reactive Dampers, MacPherson strut front suspension and new multi-link rear suspension enable its more nimble and responsive handling and improved ride quality. 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and 245/60-18 tires come standard on the MDX. Technology and Advance grades are equipped with 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels and 245/55-19 tires.

Body and Styling

The 2014 MDX body applies more than 55 percent advanced lightweight materials – including high strength steel, aluminum and magnesium – resulting in a vehicle that is both more rigid and lightweight, with total vehicle weight reduced 275 pounds from the previous model. Measuring 193.6 inches in overall length, 77.2 inches in overall width (excluding door mirrors), 67.6 inches in overall height, and riding on a 111-inch wheelbase (up 2.75 inches from the previous model), the new MDX boasts an "Executive Aero Sculpture" exterior design that lends it a sleek, tailored and sophisticated appearance. The aerodynamic body design – refined by engineers in a new wind tunnel at the company's Ohio R&D center – helps the MDX achieve a more than 17 percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, making it one of the most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient luxury SUVs on the road.

The 2014 MDX also takes a big step up in luxury comfort and quiet. The MDX's dynamically tuned platform, more airtight body and triple path isolated dampers, along with the use of new sound-deadening materials, such as acoustic glass and expanding body sealers, and Active Noise Control technology, make this the quietest and most composed MDX yet.
Interior

Equally adept at carrying clients and kids, the new MDX boasts a luxurious and versatile interior. The revised body dimensions and new, more compact multi-link rear suspension, combined with innovative new technologies on the second-row seats, significantly improve third-row access and all-around passenger comfort. Third-row ingress and egress is significantly improved by a two-inch lower step-in height and three-inch wider entryway, and by the introduction of a new One-Touch Walk-In feature. With a single press of the illuminated One-Touch Walk-In button, the second-row seats automatically fold and slide to their forward-most position. The second-row seats now feature a four-position recline and a new Extended Slide capability that provides six inches of total fore-aft seat adjustment for optimal balance between second- and third-row legroom. Rear cargo capacity is also improved and includes a new underfloor storage area.
Up front, there is a 10-way power adjustable and heated driver's seat and an 8-way power and heated passenger seat. The MDX also addresses a major shortcoming of many luxury SUVs – available front-seat storage space – with a spacious new center console that can accommodate a purse, laptop case, or a pair of iPads®. The MDX's luxury quotient is further boosted by its upgraded interior appointments, including premium leather-trimmed interior, silver plated accents, LED overhead and cabin accent lighting, along with new optional luxury features, such as Smart Entry, second-row sunshades, remote engine start, and auto-linked air conditioning and climate-controlled seats.

Acura Signature Technology

In addition, the 2014 Acura MDX harnesses a range of Acura signature technologies, including Acura Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, more powerful Acura/ELS Studio premium audio system, and the next-generation AcuraLink™ connectivity system with AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™, featuring freeway traffic and surface street conditions (free for the first three years). In addition to the traffic services, the AcuraLink™ cloud-based connected car system offers an assortment of media, convenience, information and security features via an embedded cellular system and compatible web-enabled smartphones.

Both the AcuraLink™ and Acura/ELS Studio system take advantage of a 7-inch color On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD) touchscreen with haptic feedback and an 8-inch Color Information Display. The addition of the ODMD, along with other interior changes, allowed engineers to reduce the number of hard buttons in the center stack from 41 to just nine. The available Entertainment package adds a DVD Rear Entertainment system with a 9-inch full VGA screen for the rear seats, while the Advance package replaces the 9-inch monitor with an ultra-wide, 16.2-inch full VGA screen with HDMI compatibility for devices such as a game console.

The 2014 MDX offers a host of innovative driver assistive and visibility technologies, including a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and available Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, Blind Spot Information (BSI), and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS).

Safety

The third-generation MDX is expected to achieve top-level safety ratings, including a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from NHTSA and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the highest possible rating of GOOD in the Institute's new small-offset frontal collision test.

The new MDX is equipped with a broad array of advanced safety technologies, including the next generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ II (ACE™ II) body structure, 4-wheel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control, and airbags (front, front side, driver's knee and side curtain with rollover sensor), as well as the available Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems.

The 2014 Acura MDX is scheduled to go on sale at U.S. Acura dealers nationwide this summer and will be available in four grades – the well-equipped MDX, the robust MDX with Technology package, the rear-passenger-friendly MDX with Technology and Entertainment packages, and the top-of-the-line MDX with Advance and Entertainment packages. The 2014 MDX was designed and developed in the U.S. and will be built at the Lincoln, Alabama plant using domestic and globally sourced parts. Pricing details will be announced closer to launch.