“Acura MDX Sport Hybrid”
A Performance Oriented SUV
Seattle, WA – What do you do if you’re the manufacturer of two of the top three SUVs and one of them is the best selling SUV of all time? The first is the Acura RDX and the second is the Acura MDX, which is the titleholder. If you’re as passionate about your product as Jon Ikeda, the Vice President and General Manager of Acura, you come up with a special vehicle – hence the development of the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, the focus of which is to build the brand to an even higher standard – his philosophy is “If there’s a Bar – Raise it”. And raise it he has, at the helm of Honda’s luxury division with “Precision Crafted Performance”
Hybrid SUVs are currently part of an emerging segment in the auto industry and Acura’s entry into that segment is the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, which actually shares its hybrid technology, featuring similar mechanical components with two other hybrid vehicles: the Acura TLX Sport Hybrid Sedan; the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SUV: and on the top rung of the ladder, the Acura NSX hybrid supercar. All three also share efficient and refined electrification and torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, as well as Acura’s new design direction, leading off with Acura’s new signature Diamond Pentagon Grille.
The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is only $1,500. more than the non-hybrid version and it delivers 31 more horsepower and 22 pound feet more torque. The Sport Hybrid’s EPA mileage estimates are better yielding $350-$450 per year in estimated fuel savings. The non-hybrid is powered by a 290 horsepower 3.5-liter iVTEC V6, while the MDX Sport Hybrid draws it motive force from a 3.0-liter SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC V6 engine with port fuel injection and Drive-by-wire throttle system that delivers 257 horses at 6,300 rpm and 218 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. The engine couples with: a Front Direct Drive Motor rated at 47 horsepower @ 3,000 rpm with a 109 lb.-ft of torque @ 500-2,000 rpm; and a Rear Twin Motor Unit: Horsepower (kW) (36 + 36) @ 4,000 rpm / Torque: (54 + 54) @ 0-2,000 rpm powered by Lithium Ion batteries. Combined System Horsepower is 321 and Combined System Torque measures 289 lb.-ft.
Energy is geared to the driving wheels via a Motor integrated 7-speed DCT automatic transmission with sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters.
Key dynamic change points of the MDX Sport Hybrid are: “Always-On E-torque vectoring; an Active Damper System; and an electric Servo brake. Other change points over the non-hybrid are: body colored side sills and aluminum sport pedals.
There are two trim levels for the MDX Sport Hybrid: the Technology Package priced at $51,960. and the Advanced Package, which starts at $58,000. Destination and Handling charge is $975.
The new MDX look is attributed to the inspiration of the Acura Precision Concept Show vehicle and the third generation was designed was actually designed with a Sport Hybrid in mind, with the performance-driven platform developed in the U.S. The system layout features the 3.0-liter V6 engine up front coupled to the 7-speed DCT transmission with built-in motor, followed by the Intelligent Power Unit and Power Control Unit, and wrapping up with the Twin Motor Unit in the rear. Cabin space and versatility are not compromised with the Sport Hybrid MDX providing the same dimensions as the non-hybrid version.
In profile, the 2017 MDX Sport Hybrid might appear to be simply a refresh of the third generation Acura MDX, which received a complete redesign for 2014, but everything forward of the “A” pillar is all-new. The aerodynamic form is accentuated by the rising sculpted hood, sharply raked windscreen and gracefully arched roofline that falls away to the sloping rear end with its integrated roof spoiler. Both the front and rear overhangs are short. The exposed dual exhaust and 20-inch alloy wheels and tires that fit nicely into the wheel well arches and the bright dual exhaust tips add to the bold athletic persona of the MDX Sport Hybrid.
During the national press launch program, my driving partner and I drove an Advance trim version of the MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD with a Modern Steel Metallic exterior finish and an interior done in Ebony with light contrasting piping and open pore wood trim accents. The sticker began at $58,000, which came to a final $58,975 after adding the Destination and Handling charge.
SUMMARY: The interior of the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is a truly nice place to be on a cold, rainy day. It is well finished and user friendly, not to mention stylishly executed. Elegance and luxury are both present featuring Milano leather with piping and contrast stitching, heated and vented front seats, surround view camera, heated second row Captain’s chairs with center console, second row sunshades, heated steering wheel and LED foglights and Welcome lights.
The Integrated Dynamics System provides four driving modes to best suit the driver’s requirements and conditions. Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+ that fine tune throttle response, 7 DCT/ EV Assist, SH (TMU), steering, damper and ASC in varying degrees depending upon the mode chosen.
The MDX Sport Hybrid’s safety credentials include: Acura Watch Technologies withLane Keeping Assist, Collision Mitigastion Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow and Road Departure Mitigation; Advanced Compatability Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure; Pedestrian Injury Miitigation Design; VSA with Traction Control; Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering; Brake Assist; Advanced 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution; Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags; Driver and Front Passenger SmartVent® Side Airbags; Driver Knee Airbag; and Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor; Adjustable Head Restraints; Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH); Tire Pressure Monitoring System; Surround-View Camera System; Parking Sensors (available); Blind Spot Information; and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor.
The adaptable ride quality delivers a variety of damping settings to accommodate occupante preferences, but all are comfortable, while providing a flat stable attitude. The SH-AWD and its torque vectoring makes cornering a breeze – even in the wet., along with the positibve on-center feel served up by the EPAS.
Comfort and convenience are paramount as is connectivity and infotainment features along with AcuraLink and Bluetooth.
All in all, Acura has ensured its future success again with a stellar SUV that also delivers on the performance field. Consider it poised to capture the number one sale position from Lexus.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Advance
Base Price: $58,000.
Price as Tested: $58,975.
Engine Type and Size: 3.0-liter SOHC, 24-valve i-VTEC V6 with port fuel injection and Drive-by-wire throttle system.
Horsepower (bhp): 257 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 218 @ 5,000 rpm
Front Direct Drive Motor:
Horsepower (kW) 47 hp @3,000 rpm
Torque: 109 LB.-ft@ 500-2,000 rpm
Rear Twin Motor Unit:
Horsepower (kW) (36 + 36) @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: (54 + 54) @ 0-2,000 rpm
Lithium Ion batteries
Combined System Horsepower: 321
Combined System Torque: 289
Transmission: Motor integrated 7-speed DCT automatic with sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / SH- AWD
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with Active Damper System and 25 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link with Active Damper System and 26.5 mm stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD and BA.
Tires: Continental Cross Contact 245/50 R20 -102H Hi-Performance All Season mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels (10-spoke)
Wheelbase: 111.0 inches
Length Overall: 196.2 inches
Width: 77.7 inches
Height: 67.4 inches
Curb Weight: 4,484 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.4 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 26 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.