Acura gave the world a strong look at what it wants for the next-generation MDX with the 2014 Acura MDX Prototype, which debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As you'd expect from Acura, the theme is evolution, not revolution, with an instantly recognizable shape, technology that we've seen advanced in the new RLX sedan, and a few tweaks to keep the MDX faithful--and they're out there--happy.
In addition to the styling, advanced technology, and enhanced engine and suspension, the 2014 Acura MDX will offer a front-wheel drive option for the first time, in addition to an upgraded version of the current vehicle's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. Interestingly, Acura has not announced a hybrid version that would use the technology on the RLX sedan, a rumor that didn't quite pan out.
Who It's For
The MDX has been a flag-bearer for Acura for more than a decade. In its third generation, that's sure to continue as demand for luxury family haulers continues to grow. The MDX targets those looking for a sharp-handling seven-passenger crossover, but who also demand a better interior, higher-quality materials, and a premium driving experience. However, they also want room for rear-seat passengers, ample cargo room, and enough foul-weather capability to keep them out of trouble. These days, they also demand advanced safety features, such as active cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic braking, all of which the new MDX offers.
The 2014 Acura MDX Prototype doesn't have an interior, a shortcoming, but not entirely unexpected considering the prototype nature of the vehicle. However, Acura has released a lot of details about what the production version will offer, including:
- A front-wheel drive version, sure to appeal to those who want the MDX experience, but also need to save a few bucks...or want better fuel economy.
- Advanced safety systems such as active cruise control with low-speed follow; forward collision warning; blind spot assist, a multi-view rear camera, and lane-keeping assist.
- Multiple-element "Jewel Eye" headlights, similar to those on the RLX sedan.
What We Think
From the outside, and from what Acura's released about the new MDX, it promises to be a strong competitor in its segment. By offering a front-wheel drive version, Acura's increasing fuel economy, and broadening its crossover's appeal. The advanced safety systems are mostly a keeping-up-with-the-Jonses move these days, since active cruise and the like are as standard on luxury brands now as leather and power seats were 20 years ago. However, we're very interested to see the new MDX's interior. The current MDX is nice enough, and certainly roomy, but the center console looks like the aftermath of a button factory explosion, and there were too many cheap feeling materials for a vehicle with a price that could push $60,000. If it's anything like the RLX interior however--with its soft-touch surfaces and elegant design--the next MDX could be a hit.
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