This week I spent time with the flagship of the Acura SUV lineup, the 2020 MDX, a stylish SUV with three rows of seating. If you are not aware, Acura is the luxury division of Honda.
The MDX became available in the United States in 2001, and the last major refresh came in 2017. It has remained largely unchanged since that time.
My review vehicle has the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that gives the SUV great handling and it is very capable when the weather gets rough. The MDX also has 4-wheel independent suspension which gives it a really nice ride on hard surfaces.
Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is putting out 290-horses and it comes with a 9-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel.
This is the A-Spec package which gives you 20” wheels, two-tone sports seats of Alcantara, sport pedals, larger tires, and LED fog lights. The bigger tires and wheels make this MDX look tough and extremely aggressive.
Moving to the inside, the A-Spec red and black Alcantara and leather seats with stitching look terrific and are quite comfortable to sit in. The gauge cluster is colorful and has a configurable driver information center that operates from the steering wheel. Everything from the driver’s seat is natural, easy to reach and easy to read and well-thought out. There is a little too much plastic on the dash for me, but it is not offensive.
Mid-dash, you find two screens, one high and one in the middle above all the climate controls. The two-screen system is something I’ve always liked about the upper-line Acuras.
The top screen stays on your navigation map and serves the navigation system directions. The lower screen is audio, your Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a host of apps, SiriusXM, HD radio, the 10-speaker ELS sound system, and it doubles as your multi-view rear camera with guidelines.
I also really like the center console that features shift buttons instead of a gear shifter. It looks cleaner, is highly functional, and gives you a lot more space between the front seats. You can change the drive mode with the push of a button to go to Dynamic Mode, which helps the 4200-pound SUV get up and go from a dead stop.
Backseat head and legroom are both quite good and Acura makes it easy to get the kids into the 3rd row seats with sliding center row seats, but children are all who will fit comfortably back there. I will say that if you have the manually operated third row seats down, there is a really nice cargo area.
Standard Equipment and Options
MDX comes well-equipped and the only option on this one was a $400 charge for the Apex Blue Pearl Paint.
At no charge you get a power moonroof, power tailgate, keyless entry, keyless start, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and collision mitigation braking. Also standard are 12-way front power and heated seats, and tri-zone climate-controlled air conditioning.
Ride and Drive
The MDX is sophisticated and I would call it a near-luxury SUV. It has to get big consideration for the handling, it grips curves with determination and the steering is nimble. This 2020 is also the quietest inside I recall from Acura. As I say on my radio show, it’s hard to beat Honda quality and Acura interiors and electronics.
Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay
For its size, fuel economy is good at 19 in town, 25 on the highway, and 21 overall. The testing I did showed it was actually doing a little better than that.
Price is in line with all the midsized luxury SUVs out there at $56,295. This is an SUV that if leasing is right for you, it leases exceptionally well.
All-in-all, I like most everything about this 2020 MDX A-Spec. I will note that usually my test vehicles are very low mileage, 300 to 3000 is the typical range. This MDX has over 10,000 miles on it and it feels like it just rolled off the assembly line. Trust me, 10,000 car reviewers’ miles will show wear on many vehicles.
2020 Acura MDX A-Spec SH-AWD
- What I liked most: Exterior and interior appearance.
- What I would change: I wish it had power-fold 3rd-row seats.
- MSRP: $56,295 with transportation.
- Official color: Apex Blue Pearl.
- Fuel economy: 19 city/25highway/21 overall.
- Odometer reading when tested: 10,200 miles.
- Spare tire: Temporary compact.
- Weight: 4266 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 196” long/77” wide/67 ” high.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 19.5 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
- Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds.
- 2020 MDX in a few words: A solidly built SUV with style and exceptional quality all around.
- Warranty: 48 months/60,000 miles Basic Warranty; 72 months/70,000 miles Powertrain with roadside assistance.
- Final assembly location: East Liberty, Ohio.
- Manufacturer’s website: www.acura.com
- Up next: 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport SUV