Review and photos Steven Bochenek

Odometer at pick-up: 13,498 km
Odometer current: 16,246 km (2,748 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 13.3 L/100 km
Costs: $383.93 (Gas)

If your family belongs to a ski club, you know the fashion show of luxury SUVs that members participate in each weekend. If you’ve been doing the weekend commute back and forth between the city and the chalet – or, more challenging still, the slopes and back – then you know what the ride requires: space, comfort/luxury, safety and performance. Depending on who in the family is reading this, the order of that list will vary (and you’ll notice that price doesn’t even get on that list). Regardless of who’s reading, the 2014 Acura MDX won’t let you down at the fashion show. It’s very pretty as far as SUVs go.

More important, it’s a damn good car. In fact, it was voted by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) as the 2014 Best New SUV over $60,000. Nearly all the writers here at Autos.ca are AJAC members. And in case you’re wondering: no, this wasn’t an easy year for that category. Competitors were fielded by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Range Rover and Buick, all names you’ll recognize from the ski club.

Long Term Test Update 1: 2014 Acura MDX car test drives long term auto tests acura Long Term Test Update 1: 2014 Acura MDX car test drives long term auto tests acura Long Term Test Update 1: 2014 Acura MDX car test drives long term auto tests acura
2014 Acura MDX. Click image to enlarge

But think hard about space and fuel efficiency. Depending on how many passengers you have and how much stuff they regularly transport back and forth, you may not be overly impressed with the space.

Not that it isn’t spacious. It was plenty, actually, too much for me because my wife and second-born bailed on me and the firstborn at the last minute. Note the photo featuring an immense gap left after packing our meagre overnight bags and skis. The issue is how Acura’s designers used the space.

To fit skis or snowboards (which your kids will request precisely when adolescence strikes) you need to flatten the passenger-side seats in the second and third rows, leaving seating for a total of three passengers and a driver, down from a potential seven. Consequently, with the flattened seats you lose a good deal of storage for luggage. And that’s fine if you have a chalet with plenty of supplies stocked wherever you rest your head on ski weekends. (I know because, for five years, I watched a good friend with a 2005 Acura MDX transport his family of four plus their dog up to their chalet, December through March. Mind, they were careful planners and were ruthless about what was allowed in the car.)

Long Term Test Update 1: 2014 Acura MDX car test drives long term auto tests acura Long Term Test Update 1: 2014 Acura MDX car test drives long term auto tests acura
2014 Acura MDX. Click image to enlarge

A simple channel that flattens through the middle, rather than taking out three seats and cartage space, could improve things significantly.

Then again, you probably know how many skiing families choose a roof box. It’s a clean solution. Drying snow doesn’t leak from skis inside the car and there’s loads of room for possessions. However, a roof box hampers fuel efficiency. (NB: roof rails are $870 extra, installed, with the MDX).

So let’s talk power and the cost of it. The MDX has a gutsy 3.5L six-cylinder engine with plenty of pony and torque: 290 hp and 267 lb-ft. Moreover, once any spirited driver experiences the Sport mode, they’ll probably live in it. It takes the MDX from a sensible family solution to a fun pastime.

But all of this affects the price at the pump. I was regularly over 12 L/100 km and often pushing 13, well above the EPA ratings of 13.1 city / 8.7 highway and 11.2 combined (not adjusted for winter tires) considering there was a significant amount of highway driving. Furthermore, the manufacturer strongly recommends premium gasoline for that performance engine. So there’s a big cost.




About StevenBochenek

Despite being a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and a member of its house band, the Troubadours, Steven is a veteran marketing writer who came to writing about cars almost by, umm, accident.