2014 Acura MDX Starts at $43,185
When Acura's redesigned seven-seat MDX arrives at dealerships in early July, it will start at $43,185, including an $895 destination charge. That's nearly $1,000 below the 2013 MDX, but the 2014 model comes without all-wheel drive, which has been standard since the original MDX arrived in late 2000. Acura expects a significant portion of shoppers to opt for the front-drive MDX, which gets an impressive EPA-rated 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. That beats the front-drive Lexus RX 350 and Infiniti JX35 (both 21 mpg city/highway combined) as well as the Buick Enclave (19 mpg).
The starting price eclipses the 2013 Enclave ($39,340) and JX35 ($42,245), as well as the two-row RX 350 ($40,555), but it undercuts a couple players with standard all-wheel drive: the Audi Q7 ($47,695) and BMW X5 ($48,425). That will likely change for the just-introduced 2014 X5, which will have rear- or all-wheel drive, but BMW has yet to reveal pricing or standard features.
Relative to that set — where three of the vehicles charge extra for leather and heated seats, and four charge extra for a moonroof — the Acura comes well-equipped. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels, a moonroof, full-LED headlights, a backup camera, one-touch power windows, keyless access with push-button start, fully adjustable second-row seats and a power tailgate are standard. So are leather seats, three-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment and power driver's lumbar support. The standard stereo incorporates CD/USB/iPod/satellite and HD radio compatibility with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming; it also has dual color displays with integrated Pandora and Aha radio apps, which streams off a compatible smartphone.
Missing from the list, curiously, is a panoramic moonroof — something several competitors offer. But Acura notes that a lot of new features are now standard on the 2014 MDX, which the last model didn't even offer: sliding second-row seats, keyless access or express-power windows for the second row, to name a few. The last MDX did have an optional adaptive suspension, which Acura ditched for a fixed setup, and it also had a six-CD changer. (If you still use CDs, we have an old BlackBerry to sell you. It does email!)
All-wheel drive adds another $2,000 to any trim and drops combined EPA mileage to 21 mpg. That still beats the last MDX by a significant 3 mpg, not to mention a slate of competitors. Acura recommends premium fuel but says the MDX will run fine (albeit with less power) on regular unleaded. Some competitors require premium, but others — like the RX and Enclave — make full power on the cheap stuff.