Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Odometer at pick-up: 13,498 km
Odometer current: 16,745 km (3,247 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 13.2 L/100 km
Costs: $476.67 (Gas)

Okay, it’s time to get some things off my chest about this 2014 Acura MDX long-termer that’s been with us at the Autos.ca for over a month and a half.

Steven has given us an idea of what it’s like taking the MDX out for a weekend ski trip, but in over a month of daily use there are some impressions that sink in that even a long trip won’t reveal.

Because much of this review might seem like a bit of a bitchfest, let me get one thing straight up front: I like this vehicle, a lot, and highly recommend it for those looking for a comfortable yet dynamic seven-seat SUV/crossover/minivan replacement. The ride is fitting (though the occasional crashy bump reaction is a bit déclassé) and the tech gear is outstanding if you go for that sort of thing.

About the only competition I would recommend in this seven-seat luxury crossover in the $50–70K price range is the Infiniti QX60 (nee JX35). Lexus RX sells as well at similar pricing, but falls short on seat count. The European seven-seaters generally start at a price where the MDX leaves off, fully optioned. The GM seven-seaters are either too large and too SUVish, or lacking in the quality department (sorry GMC Acadia Denali). Lincoln MKT? No, just no. I’d go with a Ford Flex over the MKT anyday.

Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

Yes, the MDX is a Goldilocks in the luxury SUV market and had incredibly high expectations going in because the previous generation launched out in front of competitors costing $20,000 more with its sophisticated Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and excellent balance of sport and comfort. SH-AWD continues to impress with good manners (though the Goodyear Ultragrip Winter tires lack effective traction in snow and ice) – which actually makes for some pretty fun backroads ‘testing’. Jacob concurred: “The SH-AWD actually is pretty super. It has enough rear-bias when you need it to throttle steer – not that I’m into that sort of thing. I did like the DVD screen too.”

Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
Long Term Test Update 2: 2014 Acura MDX Elite car test drives luxury cars long term auto tests acura
2014 Acura MDX Elite. Click image to enlarge

Speaking of the entertainment system, let’s discuss some admittedly trivial but nuisance issues we’ve experienced. For example, why isn’t the song and artist available on the secondary touchscreen (which I shall henceforth refer to as Junior) with radio and phone presets? If I want to find out who’s singing, I need to leave my security-blanket map (with useful but hard to decipher traffic-flow lines alongside major routes – why do the lines have to be so skinny?) in order to call it up on the main upper screen (why, Senior, of course).

On a similarly trivial tangent, I find it incredibly annoying that the DVD being projected on the rear screen cannot be seen on Senior. Not because I’m dying to watch another episode of My Little Pony, but because it is a royal pain when the front controls cannot execute a simple Play command or navigate DVD menus effectively, and I have to pull over, get out, pull out the rear remote and scroll to the onscreen play button. Oddly, I don’t have to do it every time, but sometimes the Junior or Senior Play button works, sometimes it just restarts the sneak previews. What I need less than hearing another episode of My Little Pony (again) is not listening to the ads for the activity book. Oh, and why does switching the front screen to the nav system switch the in-car audio from the DVD to the radio? But only sometimes…. Not good for kids that haven’t necessarily mastered the headphones available and parents with poor navigational skills. And why does the steering wheel control for volume also switch it back to front audio instead of simply turning down the volume?

Touchscreenophobes will moan about the seat heaters and custom climate controls being controlled through Junior (Auto temperature and defroster settings have hard switches, and the steering wheel heater is a button on the steering wheel), but this screen is quick to respond, with large, clear buttons that are easy to find. It’s also a simple matter to save presets in each radio band, or save shortcuts for stations from any band or phone numbers in a Shortcut menu. A knob for tuning would no doubt be more efficient for scrolling through stations, especially as the steering wheel control for station only jumps through the presets. There is a knob for volume.




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.