It's a car we barely think about until Acura announces it's done something to it, but the MDX is rather popular with those questing for a crossover. For 2016 the third-generation, luxury three-row people-carrier gets a slightly higher MSRP, but better standard equipment and options to go with it. The big change is that the nine-speed automatic transmission with tighter ratios and faster gear shifts, as well as its push-button gear selector, has finally migrated from the top-dog RL sedan. So too the upgraded twin-clutch Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, paired here with the unchanged 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter six-cylinder.

We thought adding three more cogs was supposed to make for better fuel economy, but in some cases the EPA ratings on the 2016 MDX have gone down by one mile per gallon. The base 2015 MDX is rated at 20 city, 28 highway, 23 combined; the 2016 is rated 19 city, 27 highway, 22 combined. Add SH-AWD on the 2015 and you're looking at 18 city, 27 highway, 21 combined; on the 2016 that's 18 city, 26 highway, 21 combined. If you add idle-stop to those models you restore the city and combined ratings, but still lose that extra mile on the highway.

On the options list is a group of safety and driver assistance features grouped under the AcuraWatch rubric. You can add the whole kit for $1,500 to the base model, but some of its features like Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Warning, which you can also option on the 2015 model, are added with the Technology Package. The full suite, which includes model-firsts like Road Departure Mitigation and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, is standard once you step up to the Advance Package. Other tech treats get baked into all trims, like the easy entry/exit driver's seat slides back 1.4 inches when you're getting in and out, the TPMS fill assist that sounds a beep when you've inflated the tires to the correct pressure, Siri Eyes Free voice recognition and a frameless rearview mirror.

The price to get in on all this is $42,865, a a $1,100 bump over the 2015 model, but that's not a blanket increase across the lineup: the MDX with the Technology Package, for instance, has only gone up $250. The upper limit comes with the MDX SH-AWD with idle stop and the Advance, Entertainment & AcuraWatch Plus Packages for $57,080, a $100 increase over the top-of-the-line 2015 trim. The press release below has plenty of details.

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BEST SELLING ACURA MDX RECEIVES POWERTRAIN UPGRADES, ACURAWATCH™ AND EXPANDED OPTIONS FOR 2016

Feb 3, 2015 - TORRANCE, Calif. -- The significantly upgraded 2016 Acura MDX, America's best-selling three-row luxury SUV, launches next month with multiple new features and technologies, a more advanced powertrain and an expanded model range. The enhanced 2016 MDX provides even more advanced technology and exhilarating performance to complement the luxury, comfort and quietness inherent to Acura's premium seven-passenger SUV. The 2016 Acura MDX launches at Acura dealerships nationwide on Feb. 4, with the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $42,8651.

All 2016 MDX models will come equipped with an advanced new 9-speed automatic transmission, a push-button electronic gear selector that frees up room above the center console, and a new Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system with a twin-clutch design that delivers enhanced torque transfer and handling capabilities. The 2016 MDX and MDX with Technology Package models can now be equipped with the AcuraWatch™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, which includes the first application of Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor to the MDX model line. The MDX with Advance Package comes standard with AcuraWatch™.

The 2016 MDX adds numerous other luxury upgrades including a frameless rearview mirror, Siri™ Eyes Free voice recognition, an easy-entry/exit driver's seat that moves 35 mm rearward when the driver's door is opened and TPMS fill assist that sounds an audible alert when the driver inflates the tire to the correct pressure. Additional upgrades, depending on trim, include a Multi-View Angle Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines (standard on all models), a bi-directional remote engine starter, idle stop and head up warning.

Doubling the model offerings, the 2016 MDX is now available with AcuraWatch™ on all trims (standard on the Advance Package), while the Technology and Advance packages are available with or without the Rear Entertainment System (RES).

Now in its third generation, the MDX is the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time2. This sales history is backed up by the current generation MDX, which has received multiple awards including a KBB.com Best Buy award in the Luxury SUV/Crossover category for the 2015 model year. With the numerous enhancements made for 2016, the Acura MDX is primed to again impress customers and critics alike. Customers can view, build and price a 2016 Acura MDX at acura.com/MDX.

2016 MDX Pricing and EPA Fuel Economy Ratings

Trim MSRP1 EPA MPG3 (city/highway/combined)
MDX $42,865 19/27/22
MDX with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $44,365 19/27/22
MDX with Technology Package $47,290 19/27/22
MDX with Technology & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $48,490 19/27/22
MDX with Technology & Entertainment Packages $49,290 19/27/22
MDX with Technology Package, Entertainment & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $50,490 19/27/22
MDX with Advance & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $53,080 20/27/23 (with idle stop)
MDX with Advance, Entertainment & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $55,080 20/27/23 (with idle stop)
MDX SH-AWD $44,865 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $46,365 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with Technology Package $49,290 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with Technology & AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $50,490 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with Technology & Entertainment Packages $51,290 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with Technology Package, Entertainment & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $52,490 18/26/21
MDX SH-AWD with Advance & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $55,080 19/26/22 (with idle stop)
MDX SH-AWD with Advance, Entertainment & AcuraWatch™ Plus Packages $57,080 19/26/22 (with idle stop)

Powertrain
The 2016 Acura MDX's 3.5-liter, 24-valve i-VTEC direct-injected V-6 engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission featuring Sequential SportShift. The new transmsission is 66 lbs. lighter than the 6-speed automatic it replaces, with more closely spaced gear ratios and 25 percent faster gear shifts that enhance acceleration performance. The weight reduction also improves front-to-rear weight distribution for better handling characteristics.

The console-mounted shift lever is replaced with a fully electronic, shift-by-wire gear selector. Park, Neutral and Drive are selected with the push of a button. Reverse is selected by pulling back on a dedicated switch. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let the driver manually select gears. The low-profile gear selector also creates more "working space" in the center console area, making it more convenient to use.

The next generation of Acura's acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) utilizes a new, lighter weight (by 19 lbs.) twin-clutch rear differential. SH-AWD progressively distributes torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels. Using torque vectoring to create a yaw moment that helps turn the vehicle, SH-AWD enables more responsive, neutral and predictable handling characteristics while providing outstanding all-weather confidence and control. In the MDX, torque-vectoring effectiveness has been greatly enhanced, benefiting responsiveness, agility and stability.

AcuraWatch™
AcuraWatch™ is available as a standalone package on every 2016 MDX and is standard on the Advance Package. Certain features, including Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning, are offered as standard equipment on the MDX with Technology Package. All MDX models come equipped with a Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines. The AcuraWatch™ suite of variously available features – depending upon trim – includes:
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (LSF)
- Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW) (standard on Tech Package)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Blind Spot Information (BSI) (Technology and Advance)
- Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines
- Rear Cross Traffic Monitor

At the heart of AcuraWatch™ is the fusion of camera and radar technology that can sense the roadway and objects within it, including other vehicles and pedestrians. This technology underpins the systems that help provide the driver with superior vision around the vehicle, can alert the driver of potential issues and, if necessary, intervene to help keep the MDX from departing a lane, departing the road, or help to avoid or mitigate the severity of a collision.

Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
New for the 2016 Acura MDX, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) uses a Monocular Camera (mounted on the upper portion of the windshield) to identify solid or dashed painted lane lines, Botts' Dots and Cat Eye markers. RDM uses both steering force, via EPS, and braking force, via VSA, to help the MDX stay a detected lane.

The monocular camera can recognize lane features and identify a lane or roadway edge. If the RDM system determines that the MDX is about to leave a detected lane or roadway defined by solid lines, it will provide steering assist (primary) and, in rare occasions when steering is not sufficient, braking assist to help the driver stay on the road. If a lane only identified by dashed lines, Bott's Dots or Cat Eye markers and the system determines that there is an unintended departure, no braking assist will be provided. Instead, the MDX will use active steering force to return to the detected lane. RDM is integrated with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system to provide moderate braking, and with the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system to provide steering input.

Multiple visual and audible warnings alert the driver when the RDM system is taking corrective action. These include a lane departure warning on the driver's Multi Information Display (MID) along with an audible warning. RDM also has a customizable initial warning of either a steering wheel shake/vibration and/or an audible alert. This can be customized in the vehicle settings.

Rear Cross Traffic Monitor
Another new driver assistive technology included with AcuraWatch™, the Rear Cross Traffic Monitor works in conjunction with the MDX's Blind Spot Information (BSI) radar sensors to enhance driver confidence when backing up. The system is especially useful when reversing in congested parking lots with an obstructed view from the driver's seat.

The system utilizes a pair of blind-spot radar units located in the rear bumper corners. When Reverse is selected and an approaching vehicle is detected, arrows indicating the approaching vehicle's direction are shown on the center display's rear camera image. An audible warning is simultaneously emitted.4

2016 MDX Feature Upgrade Summary - Trim and New 2016 Features
MDX/ w/RES:
- 9-speed automatic transmission
- Electronic gear selector
- Frameless rearview mirror
- Siri voice recognition
- Easy Entry driver's seat

MDX Tech/ w/RES (Changed or added from MDX):
- Multi-View Rear camera with Cross Traffic Monitor
- Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) + Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW), car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian

MDX Adv/ w/RES (Changed or added from MDX with Technology Package):
- Bi-directional remote engine starter
- Idle stop
- Head Up Warning
- AcuraWatch™ (components listed below)

AcuraWatch™ (When added to MDX and MDX with Technology Package):
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed Follow (LSF)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW), car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian
- Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS), car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) + Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)

For More Information
Consumer information is available at acura.com. To join the Acura community on Facebook, visit facebook.com/Acura. Additional media information including pricing, features and high-resolution photography is available at hondanews.com/acura-automobiles/channels/mdx.

*

1 MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, vehicle options and destination charge of $920.00. Dealer prices may vary.

2 Sales numbers based on Automotive News Sales Database 1999-2014; manufacturer data for prior to 1994.

3 Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

4 Visually confirm that it is safe to drive before backing up or parking. Certain conditions (such as weather, lighting and high temperatures) may also restrict the camera view. Do not rely on the camera displays as they may not give you all information about conditions, persons, objects or obstructions around your vehicle.

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