The MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $7,910 higher than the base, front-wheel-drive MDX, but only $1,500 more than the comparably equipped, non-hybrid MDX SH-AWD. It offers 31 more ponies, for a total of 321 peak horsepower and of 289 pound-feet of torque. It's less expensive than the other Acura to use the Sport Hybrid system, the RLX sedan, which starts at $59,950. (That car incurs a price premium of $5,500 over its P-AWS-equipped FWD base model; there's no non-hybrid AWD RLX.)
The MDX Sport Hybrid gets an EPA-rated 26 mpg city, 27 highway, and 27 combined. Compared to the conventional MDX SH-AWD's 18/26/21 mpg rating, its biggest fuel economy gains are to be found in city driving. The Sport Hybrid's figures are even slightly better than the 25/26/26 mpg Acura expected when the car debuted in New York last year.
The MDX Sport Hybrid should be fairly entertaining to drive, too, at least for a utility vehicle. It's Acura's most powerful SUV to date, and it offers four driving modes: Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission handles the gear changes, but the driver can take control via a pair of paddles on the back of the steering wheel. The SH-AWD system's torque vectoring feature promises to help make the MDX proficient in the twisty bits, too.