ACURA’S 2016 MDX AND RDX SUV SIBLINGS PRICE RIVALS
By Tom Crosby
Acura’s MDX seven-passenger SUV was upgraded for 2016 with a nine-speed automatic transmission and optional add-ons that improve safety, tech interfaces, handling and interior voice controls.
Its smaller sibling, the five-passenger Acura RDX received a more extensive makeover, including outside design changes.
Both use the same 3.5-liter engine with the MDX’s nine-speed transmission and engine tweaks making it slightly quicker reaching 60 mph. The RDX, equipped similarly, costs roughly $10,500 less and gets 2 more miles per gallon highway but the same 22-mpg in the city.
After test-driving similarly equipped vehicles (top models except for the lack of the entertainment package), here is a look at the MDX with some comments about the RDX.
Size matters and the MDX has plenty, with comfortable seating for large adults in the first two rows and smaller adult passengers in the third row. Cargo space swells generously with the third row easily folded flat.
The two SUV’s offer safety (Advance, Technical and AcuraWatch) packages included in a single, set price for the vehicle and include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot detection and rear camera views.
Other features include numerous voice controls that are valuable once learned and reduce the need for touch-screen or manual knob selections. Handling was decent for both vehicles with all-wheel drive. The rides were cushioned and comfortable with four-wheel suspension systems and the MDX was noticeably quieter in the cabin.
The GPS functions well, finding vehicle locations in case of a crash, breakdown or if stolen. (Chantilly, Virginia’s Pohanka Acura dealership made an inventory mistake and the GPS guided police to the missing RDX – 75 miles away- in a matter of hours.)
An upper 8-inch information screen and lower 7-inch touchscreen give the luxuriously furnished MDX cabin a high-tech look with voice, touch or manual manipulation via a center spine knob.
Acura says the MDX is America’s best-selling three-row luxury SUV. Buyer’s will find Siri voice for Apple linked devices, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, four door unlocking and automatic interior light illumination at night when approaching.
Ergonomically satisfying with soft leather and subtle trim, the cabin comforts all occupants. One glitch was the miles-to-empty gauge kept changing up and down. Character lines on the sheet metal and solid profiles give both Acura SUV’s a distinctive look, both have a reputation for reliability and resale value, and both receive top crash safety ratings.
LIKES: Firm ride, handling, safety, cabin space, versatility, upscale features
DISLIKES: Miles-to-empty gauge, price (vs RDX)
BOTTOM LINE: RDX’s price makes it better choice unless you want MDX’s extra comfort, space and passenger seating
- Base price w/destination fee $56,000 as tested
- Curb weight 4,246 lbs.
- Wheelbase 111 inches
- Length 193.6 inches
- Width 77.2 inches
- Engine specs 3.5 liters, V-6, SOHC, VTEC
- Horsepower 290 hp at 6,200 rpm
- Torque 267 ft.-lbs. at 4,700 rpm
- Transmission 9-speed automatic, manual paddles
- EPA Rating 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway
- Range 9.5-gallons, premium gas
- Performance 0-60 in less than 6 seconds