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2021 Acura MDX Review: Release Date, Specs, Prices, MPG Ratings And Comparison

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

August 11, 2020 at 07:34 AM

Into its revamped policy, Acura just seems to enrich its 7-seater MDX fans' desires. Already a benchmark in "value among its class, the 2021 Acura MDX is probably getting a mild-restyle therapy to accentuate its lucrative propositions further

Acura MDX is a mid-size luxury SUV and has been in the market quite some time now. Even so, the MDX is not a very common sight on the roads and is pretty much an underrated car. One of the primary reasons for its low popularity is the Acura badge that it wears, which somehow lacks the upscale appeal of its Bavarian rivals. However, slowly and steadily, fortunes have started turning bright for the MDX too. 

It is the largest offering in the Acura lineup and promises a lot of in terms of practicality, comfort, and "family friendly-ness". It offers three rows of seating with tons of room for the whole family plus luggage. Surely, the Acura badge offers less "brand value" when compared to some of the other rivals, however, it makes up with reliability, warranty, and ease of living. 

What’s new in the 2021 Acura MDX?

We don't have a solid picture of what the 2021 Acura MDX could look like, but based on Acura's recent releases like the 2021 TLX, we can well presume what might be on the cards. Most importantly, the 2021 MDX is probably also getting the sporty Type S treatment that we can't wait to put our hands on. With that being said, we take a quick look at our optimistic expectations from the 2021 Acura MDX. Some of the respected changes are:

  • Expected styling updates inside and out
  • Expected to have updated engine options
  • Could do with the new Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)
  • Possible infotainment and feature updates
  • New Type S variant

Prices and Release Date of the 2021 Acura MDX

The new 2021 Acura MDX price is yet to be revealed, but we expect it to cost slightly more than the 2020 MDX family. Expected prices for the 2021 Acura MDX might well click in at just around $46,000. When launched somewhere towards the end of this year, the 2021 Acura MDX will probably roll out with three different trim levels; Base, Technology A-Spec, and Advance trims. Above all, the star of the 2021 Acura MDX type S that makes a lot of promise on paper now. 

2021 Acura MDX: Engine and Transmission

While the standard 290 hp, 3.5-liter V6 does a very balanced job of hauling the current 2020 MDX, the 2021 revision is sought to add some fresh members to the party. While the current V6 shall continue to power the lower variants, the higher options are rumored to get a new turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder, packing over 300 hp. This engine should also come paired with Acura's torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). 

What also would stay similar is the current hybrid powertrain. However, the new for 2021, MDX Type S is touted to carry a twin-turbocharged version of the base 3.5-liter V6 that should churn up over 400 horses. The 9-speed automatic transmission on the 2020 MDX could also undergo some fine-tuning with even more emphasis upon efficiency and refinement. Though the Acura MDX has been a very disciplined and modest machine on the road, we can't wait to figure out what it is like to drive the spirited MDX Type S.

Models

2021 Acura MDX(Expected)

2020 BMW X5

2020 Audi Q7

2020 Infiniti QX60

MSRP

$47,600

$62,195

$55,795

$47,375

Engine

3.5-liter NA V6

3.0-liter Turbocharged Inline-6

2.0-liter Turbocharged Inline-4

3.5-liter NA V6

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

9-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

CVT

Power

290 hp @ 6200 RPM

335 hp @ 5500 RPM

248 hp @ 5000 RPM

295 hp @ 6400 RPM

Torque

267 lb-ft @ 4700 RPM

330 lb-ft @ 1500 RPM

273 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM

270 lb-ft @ 4800 RPM

At the price at which it is offered, the MDX stands tall with decent power and torque figures. Yes, the BMW offers more in terms of performance but comes at a relatively higher price. And to be completely honest, the price difference cannot justify the gap in performance figures. It is probably just the BMW badge that goes for the extra money. The Audi Q7 is the least powerful of the bunch and offers 248 horses and 273 lb-ft of torque. While the number might not seem enough on paper, it is pretty comfortable while driving.

2021 Acura MDX: Fuel Economy

The 2021 Acura MDX is expected to deliver 19 MPG at city speeds and 26 MPG on the freeway. The MDX is based shares its platform with some of the best selling Honda models such as the Odyssey and the Pilot. If we know one thing about Honda it is that they prioritize fuel economy over a lot of things and the MDX is an example of the same. While it is not extraordinary, it is understandable for a three-row SUV.

As far as the fuel tank capacity, the Acura MDX will expectedly have a 19.5-gallon unit which, again, is pretty average for the segment. That in tandem with the 22 MPG combined mileage can result in a range of 429 miles. A higher range will result in fewer fuel stops during long road trips. However, with the expected Type S model for 2021, these numbers will fall.

Models

2021 Acura MDX(Expected)

2020 BMW X5

2020 Audi Q7

2020 Infiniti QX60

MPG (City)

19

20

19

19

MPG (Highway)

26

26

23

26

MPG (Combined)

22

22

21

22

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

19.5

21.9

19.8

19.5

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

370.5/507.0/429.0

438.0/569.4/481.8

376.2/455.5/415.8

370.5/507.0/429.0

There is not a lot to differentiate these cars in terms of fuel economy. They all offer very similar numbers when it comes to it. However, the X5 comes out on top when it comes to the fuel range. It is probably because it has the largest fuel tank in the bunch. Having said that, how the car performs in terms of fuel economy depends on how you drive.

What are the changes in the Interior of the 2021 Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX has always been known to offer a very luxurious and rich interior. Over the last few years, it has been picking on its competitors by offering an interior way superior to them. This is another why the MDX is preferred by a lot over the more flashy European rivals. However, with the touted redesign, the 2021 Acura MDX could bring up a change to the theory. It should still have a premium ambiance, what would change though is the layout and theme of the cabin. We expect to see a similar design in the 2021 MDX as the new Acura RDX and most recent TLX. Upscale fit and finish, new dashboard and steering along with a more trendy vibe. The sporty Type S variant could feature some sporty Alcantara and carbon-fiber inserts with some contrast stitching and badging.

The 2020 Acura MDX had such a great interior design and layout that it would be a disaster if Acura fails to match the expectations of the customers. When it comes to space on offer, the front two rows are more than adequate. However, the same cannot be said for the third row. It is can only be used by kids or for carrying luggage. The seats themselves are comfortable throughout the cabin with the front ones offering plenty of support and bolstering. The middle row is enough to seat three across without any issues.

Models

2021 Acura MDX(Expected)

2020 BMW X5

2020 Audi Q7

2020 Infiniti QX60

Seating Capacity

6

5

7

7

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(in.)

38.1/61.1/41.1

40.8/60/39.8

39.9/59.5/41.7

40.7/60.3/42.2

Second row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(in.)

38.3/59.1/38.5

38.7/58.1/37.4

38.8/58.5/38.8

38.2/60.4/41.7

Third Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)(in.))

35.6/54.7/28.1

N/A

35.9/49.4/29.2

36.5/57.1/30.8

Cargo volume behind Third Row(cu. ft.)

15.8

33.9

14.2

16

Known for its ride quality and comfort, the MDX might not be the most spacious in its class, but it does not feel cramped either. With a long body, a significant advantage over its rivals like the BMW X5 is the third-row seats. Even the third-row seats are much of a comfortable place than most cars at this price and class. The Infiniti offers the most legroom in the third row, however, the Acura feels more premium and upscale. 

2021 Acura MDX: Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment system in the 2021 Acura MDX could be a stark departure from the one in its 2020 model. While there is no shortage of connectivity features in the 2020 model with almost every modern necessity on board, the system itself is not intuitive. The biggest complaint that we have from the present MDX is its split-screen infotainment system, which gets very confusing at times. Also, operating it while driving seems a tedious task. 

However, Acura could well resolve the issue in the 2021 MDX with a new 10-inch infotainment screen, seen in its recent models like the TLX and RDX, which is both crisp and responsive. However, the Lexus-like track-pad in the newer infotainment systems of last Acura's is still not something we are a fan of. It makes controlling the system a tedious task.

What are the changes in the Exterior to the 2021 Acura MDX?

The external appearance of the 2021 Acura MDX will change but the rough shape of the body will remain the same. We might get to see some carbon fiber flaring on the MDX Type S, for it will be a performance SUV. The MDX itself, in the first instance, looks smart and handsome. It has the giant signature Acura chrome-clad diamond pentagon grille at the front and is accompanied by those Jewel LED headlights. For the 2021 model, the car might also grow in size ever so slightly. 

The front facia has enough drama to attract attention and turn heads as it drives past. Also expected on the probable list of changes is a new mesh-grille along with redesigned headlamps and taillamps. The MDX has a few curves and creases throughout the body but nothing that makes it a sore sight.  The Type S model could also sport a more aggressive front and rear bumper along with some badging and exclusive rim options. 

Models

2021 Acura MDX(Expected)

2020 BMW X5

2020 Audi Q7

2020 Infiniti QX60

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4303

4813

4784

4527

Length (in.)

196.2

194.3

199.3

200.1

Width (in.)

77.7

78.9

77.6

77.2

Height (in.)

67.4

68.7

68.5

68.6

Ground Clearance (in.)

5.6

N/A

N/A

6.5

Wheelbase (in.)

111

117.1

117.9

114.2

The dimensions of the MDX are proportionately laid out, which gives a big, boxy rugged SUV shape. Further, the car gets a ground clearance of 7.3 inches, which is good enough to take for soft-core off-roading. Looks and appearance are ultimately a matter of taste, so we'll let you decide whether you find the Acura good-looking. However, if the latter is the case, the subtle updates for 2021 should get you covered. 

Safety Features and Ratings of the Acura MDX

Top-notch safety and reliability are perhaps one of the essential traits of Japanese products, and the Acura MDX is no different. The MDX of late has been a class-leader in terms of safety standards. A rigid and robust chassis, along with a generous suite of safety features across the lineup, makes the MDX so dependable. No surprise, the 2020 Acura MDX received top safety ratings from various institutions. We expect the 2021 Acura MDX to maintain its safety linear if not strengthen it.

Some of the notable safety features of the 2020 Acura MDX are listed below:

  • Child Safety Locks
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Traction Control
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Driver, Passenger, Front and Rear Head, Front Side Airbags
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Brake Assist

Will the 2021 Acura MDX be worth it?

The MDX is a great proposition and offers outstanding value for money. The MDX does well on all the fronts. It's comfortable and premium, rides and handles well, has a plethora of standard equipment, and is competitively priced. The upcoming 2021 Acura MDX could further highlight its skills with some quick revisions. If you have been one of those cravings for a fiercely powerful and sporty MDX, the 2021 Acura MDX Type S shall get you covered. 

2021 Acura MDX FAQs

Is the Acura MDX any good?

The Acura MDX is a perfect three-row luxury SUV if you want luxury without breaking the bank. At a price point of around $45k, the Acura delivers the excellent dynamics of its highly esteemed rivals at a more inexpensive amount. It's efficient and comfortable, is easy to drive, has ample cabin space, and is loaded with safety and tech features. 

Is Acura redesigning the MDX?

While a thorough refresh seems reserved for a generation change, the 2021 Acura MDX is supposedly getting some stylish refresh. Expect a redesigned front and rear face with new lamps, updated grille, revamped interior and bigger wheels.

Is the Acura MDX Reliable?

Yes, over the years, the MDX has proved itself to be pretty reliable. In addition to that, the Acura as a brand also has a pretty reliable track record. However, just in case if anything does go wrong, Acura offers a very lucrative warranty coverage program that covers the car for 4-years/ 50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of 6-years/ 70,000 miles. There is also free roadside assistance for 4-years/ 50,000 miles.

Also read:

2020 Acura MDX Review: Specs, Price, MPG Ratings, And Comparison

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