The Hybrid version of the popular Acura MDX is offered for the first time for the 2017 model year. Like its gas-powered sibling, the MDX hybrid is a well-equipped midsize luxury sedan that’s a good blend of performance and utility with a lower price tag than many rivals.
The Acura MDX Hybrid seats six or seven passengers, depending on whether you get the optional captain’s chairs in the second row. It comes standard with Acura’s all-wheel-drive system, SH-AWD. It’s available in two well-equipped trims: MDX Sport Hybrid starting at $51,960 and my tester, MDX Sport Hybrid with Advance that starts at $58,000.
The MDX Hybrid has the same 3.5-liter V6 engine that the gas-powered MDX has, as well as three electric motors. It all adds up to a combined output of 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain is paired with a super smooth and quick seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. You’ll barely notice the shift between the gas and electric motors, unlike in some hybrids.
The MDX Hybrid is very nimble for an SUV that weighs nearly 4,500 pounds. In fact, you’ll probably feel as if you’re driving a much smaller vehicle. It’s quick off the line and easily accelerates for passing and merging on the freeway. The MDX Hybrid corners great with little body roll. You can shift manually with the paddle shifters on the steering wheel and change driving modes as desired between Normal, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings.
EPA ratings are 26 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 27 mpg. I got 27 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is pleasant but not at the upscale level you’d expect in a luxury vehicle. Materials are similar to what you’d find in a Honda.
The infotainment system is not particularly user-friendly with its two screens. The top screen is used for navigation, audio and phone and is controlled by buttons located beneath both screens. The lower screen has all of the touch-screen controls, which can be slow to respond. It can be tough to figure out which functions are controlled by buttons and which utilize the touchscreen.
The MDX Hybrid has 14.9 cubic feet of space with all three rows of seating in place, 38.4 cubes with the third row folded down and 68.4 cubes with both rows of seating folded down. The cargo area has a wide opening and the seats fold flat so you’ve got room to haul stuff home from Costco or Home Depot or your favorite furniture store. A hands-free power liftgate is optional.
Lots of standard features
Room for seven passengers and cargo
Interior not as nice as you’d expect in a luxury SUV
Clunky infotainment system
My tester starts at $58,000. 20-inch Berlina Black Alloy Wheels are $2,000. Destination charge is $975 bringing the grand total to $60,975.
The Acura MDX Hybrid is appealing to larger families for its three rows of seating, surprisingly dynamic driving experience, standard AWD and a long list of features, plus better fuel efficiency than its gas-powered sibling. However, if you want a more luxurious interior and a more user-friendly infotainment system, you may want to look elsewhere.