2019 MDX Sport Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Acura MDX full-size crossover has aged quite well, following its freshening for the 2017 model year. Likely due for a redesign before long, the MDX carries on into 2019 with a few notable changes, again available with either a gasoline V-6 engine or a hybrid powertrain.
For the first time, the MDX can be equipped with an A-Spec sport appearance package. Enhancement of its 9-speed automatic transmission promises more fluid acceleration. New 20-inch alloy wheels are included in the Advance Package.
Officially, the MDX comes in a single form, with option groups serving as trim levels. In addition to the basic Standard model, the lineup includes Technology, Advance, Entertainment, and A-Spec versions. Acura also offers a Sport Hybrid.
Except for the Sport Hybrid, each MDX contains a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 190 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, working with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available ?standard for the A-Spec.
In the Sport Hybrid, a battery/gasoline powertrain is adapted from Acura's NSX supercar, tuned for efficiency instead of performance. A 3.0-liter V-6, rated at 257 horsepower, mates with electric motors that drive the front and rear wheels separately. Combined output totals 321 horsepower, sent to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Acura says the “Sport” prefix is deliberate, claiming that model promises a sportier experience, as well as greater fuel economy and improved traction. The Sport Hybrid's mechanical torque-vectoring system can move 100 percent of power to left or right wheels, and up to 70 percent to rear wheels when needed.
Crash-test scores impress. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the MDX a five-star rating overall and for both frontal and side impacts. Only the rollover score (a calculated figure) is four-star.
In crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the MDX earned “Good” ratings for all except the small-overlap test on the passenger side, which was not rated. Frontal crash prevention was deemed “Superior.” The 2018 MDX was named a Top Safety Pick.
Acura makes a considerable amount of advanced safety technology standard, including forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. The Technology package adds blind-spot monitors..
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
The base 2019 MDX ($44,300 with front-wheel drive, $46,300 with all-wheel drive), the entry-level model, comes with three-row seating, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated power front seats, a moonroof, keyless start, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, three-zone climate control, eight-speaker audio, and 18-inch wheels. The dual-screen infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
The MDX w/Technology Package ($49,300 with FWD, $51,300 with AWD) adds 20-inch wheels, navigation, HD radio, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, and remote start.
The MDX w/Technology/Entertainment Packages ($51,300 with FWD, $53,300 with AWD) adds a rear entertainment system with 16.2-inch drop-down widescreen, and 12-speaker audio.
The MDX w/Advance Package ($56,050 with FWD, $58,050 with AWD) includes all Technology package features plus a surround-view camera system, heated and cooled front seats, second-row captain's chairs, and 20-inch wheels.
The MDX w/Advance/Entertainment Packages ($58,050 with FWD, $60,050 with AWD) includes contents of Advanced and Entertainment groups.
The SH-AWD MDX w/Technology/A-Spec Package ($54,800) has standard Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive and includes gray 20-inch wheels, a distinct front fascia, perforated leather seating with Alcantara inserts, paddle shifters, and sport pedals.
The SH-AWD Sport Hybrid w/Technology Package ($52,800) substitutes a battery/gasoline powertrain for the regular gas engine and includes such features as lumbar adjustment, high-contrast stitching, and a power passenger seat.
The SH-AWD Sport Hybrid w/Advance Package ($59,550) has the battery/gasoline powertrain with content of Advance package..