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The 2016 MDX Will Deliver All the Technology and Features Expected of a Luxury SUV Along With Acura’s Well-Earned Reliability Reputation

What changes will make it different?

Acura currently seems to be a business of two halves: (1) a maker of luxury sedans that are struggling to make a significant impact in their segments, and (2) a manufacturer of luxury utility vehicles that are selling like hotcakes. In fact, earlier this year Acura claimed that the MDX was now the best-selling three-row luxury SUV ever, which really is impressive. It was initially launched as a 2001, and it entered its third generation as a 2014. Don’t look for much to change so soon in this generation’s lifecycle, especially since it is selling extremely well. Acura isn’t quick to mess around with a winning formula when it finds one.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

Since ’16 appears to be something of a carryover model, we can’t think of a compelling reason to wait.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

If you want an SUV that looks like it just came off the set of a science-fiction movie, then the ’15 version probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a midsize luxury SUV with three rows of seating, an excellent driving experience, no compromises in terms of quality and luxury, strong resale value and near-legendary reliability, it should be near the top of your shopping list.

Will the styling be different?

While the styling is definitely more appealing than that of the RDX, it’s still not the most awe-inspiring design out there. To give some credit to Acura, though, the manufacturer does seem to be addressing this issue with its new models, such as the recently revealed 2016 ILX. Expect a refreshing of the front and rear for possibly the 2017 edition, with a new grille to match the ILX’s and an overall look that’s a little sportier.

Any mechanical changes?

The 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 engine is expected to stay for a while yet, although the six-speed automatic transmission should be upgraded to keep the MDX in line with other new models coming on stream from the Japanese manufacturer. A hybrid might be added, which would likely feature an inline four-cylinder gasoline engine paired to an electric motor that should be good for around 200-horsepower. At the moment, though, the addition of a hybrid is little more than a rumor.

Will fuel economy improve?

The V-6’s gas mileage could improve if it gets an eight- or nine-speed automatic transmission to replace the six-speed unit. However, if you want better economy than the 2015 model’s 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined with the front-wheel drive version, or the 18/27/21 mpg in all-wheel drive format, you’ll need to keep your fingers crossed for a hybrid to be introduced.

Will it have new features?

If you are prepared to dig deep into your pocket to pay for them, the car already has just about every current safety, infotainment and connectivity feature you can think of. Nevertheless, we expect some upgrades and even some new features to find their way into the ’16, although it’s difficult to imagine what.

How will the prices be different?

The base price for the model-year 2015 MDX in all four trim levels rose by $275, so with few major changes expected for the upcoming model-year, a similar rise would seem like a fair expectation. At $42,565 for the entry-level front-wheel-drive ’15, you’re getting a lot of vehicle for the money. However, if you want all the bells and whistles, you can pay up to $60,000 for the SH-AWD with the Advance and Entertainment packages.

When will it come out?

If there are no delays, look for the new version’s release date to be sometime in the middle of 2015.

Best competitors

BMW X5, Buick Enclave, Lexus RX350, Volvo XC-60, Lincoln MKT, Mercedes M-Class, Cadillac SRX

What changes would make it better?

If the RLX Sport Hybrid is anything to go by, a hybrid version of the MDX along the same lines would be a welcome addition to the range. As far as improving the current model, an eight- or nine-speed transmission would be nice, as well as a more user-friendly and intuitive dashboard layout, navigation and audio control system.

Quick hit

Few vehicles in Acura’s class offer as much luxury and refinement, unless you’re prepared to spend a ridiculous amount of cash for something like the Range Rover Sport or the Porsche Cayenne. Admittedly, both of those come with considerably more power than the Acura, but the MDX’s active cancellation system, active engine mount system, full-on acoustic glass in the windshield and front windows, thicker noise-insulating glass elsewhere, and loads of insulation make the interior an extremely friendly environment. Add in all the available and standard technology and you have a true luxury package that’s hard to beat at the price.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]