The 2020 Acura MDX is a well-equipped, three-row luxury crossover without the high-end price. In fact, you can get into a top-of-the-line MDX for less than the starting price of some European competitors.
The Acura MDX got a makeover for the 2014 model year. For 2019, the A-Spec package was introduced and the infotainment system got some upgrades, including the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. No major changes were made for 2020.
The Acura MDX is available in five trims: MDX, MDX with Technology Package, MDX with A-Spec Package, MDX with Advance Package, and MDX with Entertainment Package. Starting prices range from $44,400 to $60,150. This makes the MDX one of the least expensive in the class.
Front-wheel-drive is standard and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available.
There’s room for seven passengers if you choose the bench seat in the second row, or six with the captain’s chairs.
My tester has the A-Spec Package which adds wider wheels and tires, blacked-out exterior trim, faux suede seat inserts, front-seat ventilation, snazzy two-tone interior styling, and everything included in the Technology Package.
There’s one engine: a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Some rivals have more power and sharper handling, but the MDX feels capable in most driving situations. Acceleration is respectable and it’s easy to merge and pass at freeway speeds. The nine-speed shifts quickly and smoothly. The MDX is particularly comfortable as a highway cruiser with its smooth ride. Visibility is great all the way around.
When properly equipped, front-wheel-drive models can tow up to 3,500 pounds and AWD models can handle up to 5,000.
Fuel efficiency is decent for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21 mpg. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The roomy interior is pleasant and quiet but not as posh as some rivals. Seats are comfortable and supportive, even on long trips, and adults in the first two rows of seating will have good leg- and headroom. The third row is best for kids, as is usually the case. Getting in and out of the third row is a snap thanks to the standard One-Touch Smart Slide Walk-in, which slides and folds the second row at the push of a button.
The MDX has a long list of standard features including proximity keyless entry, push-button start, rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a dual-screen infotainment system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, six USB ports, Bluetooth, eight-speaker audio system, and moonroof.
Several driver assistance technologies are standard including lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation system, and a pre-collision warning and autonomous braking system.
Available features include upgraded leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, rear outboard heated seats, navigation, a 10-, 11- or 12-speaker audio system, HD Radio, and a second-row entertainment system with either a nine- or 16.2-inch screen.
Available driver assistance features include a head-up display, surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.
The two-screen infotainment system is a bit clunky. The upper screen is for display only and is controlled by a knob on the dash that’s beneath the two screens. The lower screen is a touchscreen. It can take some time to remember which screen controls which functions. At least the system responds quickly to commands, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.
Cargo room is a bit limited at 15 cubic feet when all three rows of seating are in place. There are 38.4 cubes with the second row folded and 68.4 cubes with the second and third rows folded which is about average for the class. Both rows of seating fold flat, maximizing storage space, and there’s also a storage area under the cargo floor. A power liftgate is standard. There are lots of bins and cup holders in the cabin for stashing small items.
Good value for the money
Lots of standard tech and features
Well-mannered driving dynamics
Decent fuel economy for the class
Pleasant, quiet and comfortable cabin
Cabin not as upscale as some competitors
Clumsy two-screen infotainment system
Not as much cargo room as some rivals
My tester starts at $54,900. Premium exterior color is $400. Destination fee is $995, bringing the grand total to $56,295.
The 2020 Acura MDX offers decent performance and a lot of bells and whistles at a reasonable price. Sure, there are rivals that will provide more thrilling performance and more opulent interiors. But the MDX is versatile and competent. Check it out if you want a luxury three-row crossover that won’t break the bank.