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    Review: 2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment


    • What Is Acura Doing Right With The MDX?


    American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura told reporters at Tokyo Motor Show in November that his biggest challenge is Acura. Sadly, it's easy to see why Iwamura says this. Most of Acura's lineup are either half-baked ideas or showing their age. Even with those issues, sales for the brand were up 5.9 percent at the end of 2013. Thats thanks to Acura's refreshed SUV lineup which includes the MDX and RDX. These two models made up 59 percent of Acura's total sales for 2013. This begs the question of what is the automaker doing right with their SUVs. To find out, I spent a week with the 2014 Acura MDX.

    There are two ways to describe the 2014 MDX's design. Its either a last-generation MDX that has been smoothed over or the RDX hit with an enlarging ray. Either way, the MDX's design is not as polarizing as the last-generation model which in my eyes is a very good thing. The front end still has the bread-slicer/bucktooth grille, although a bit toned down. There is also a set of jewel-eye headlights sitting on either side of the grille. There is some RDX influence in the back as the two models have a similarly styled tailgate.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 8

    Moving inside, Acura has made massive improvements to the MDX. The most noticeable one is the center stack. With the previous-generation MDX and a few other Acura models, the center stack was filled to brim with buttons to control the climate control and infotainment system. Trying to find the button for the certain function you wanted was a nightmare. To solve the button overload, Acura is using a dual screen setup. There is a seven-inch touchscreen on the bottom that features haptic-feedback and an eight-inch screen that is controlled by a knob at the bottom of the stack. This setup is very easy to use since Acura made the interface very understandable and has kept certain buttons and knobs. But Acura's setup isn't all flying colors. For example; if you want to enter an address into the navigation system, you have to use the knob and top screen to enter it. There is no option to punch in the address on the lower touchscreen which would be much easier. Also, do I really need to see my presets on both screens when changing a station?! This new setup shows Acura going in the right direction, but it needs some more work.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 15

    Aside from the center stack improvements, the 2014 MDX really shows a step up in design and materials. The interior is appointed with leather and wood trim throughout making it feel very special. Comfort is up as well with supportive seats and loads of head and legroom. There is a third row, but its best reserve for small kids or folded into the floor.

    See the next page for impressions on the powertrain and handling.


    A peek under the MDX's hood reveals a brand new 3.5L Earth Dreams V6 with variable cylinder management. The engine is rated 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of either front-wheel or Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). While the 2014 MDX is down 10 horsepower and 3 pound-feet when compared to the 2013 model, the engine is more than powerful to handle it. This comes down to two things. One is that the 2014 MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the outgoing model thanks to new platform which is comprised of high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium. The other reason comes down to the six-speed automatic which is lightning fast on up and downshifts to keep you right in the power. One other item of note: I had a front-wheel drive MDX and was worried that torque steer would be a problem. I can say that there were no signs of it at all with the MDX during the week. Well done Acura.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 10

    The EPA rates the 2014 Acura MDX FWD at 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. During my weeklong test, I hit the combined number. This is partly thanks to the variable cylinder management system which can cut the 3.5 V6 from running on six-cylinders to three.

    The Acura MDX was known for being a fun to drive crossover and the 2014 model continues that. Acura has fitted the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) which alters the electric power steering, throttle response, suspension, and even the engine note. There are three different settings to choose from; Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Put the MDX into Sport and it becomes a joy to drive. The steering and suspension firm up and make the MDX feel like a sports sedan and not a crossover.

    2014 Acura MDX Tech Entertainment 5

    We Come In Peace..

    Click to enlarge.

    Even more impressive was the balancing act Acura was able to do MDX's suspenion. Put IDS into Normal or Comfort and the MDX becomes a very relaxing crossover. The suspension softens up to provide a comfortable ride that is very capable of smoothing over bumps and imperfections. The MDX is also very quiet. Acura worked hard on improving the NVH levels on the MDX with such items as Active Noise Cancellation and special engine mounts.

    The 2014 Acura MDX is marked improvement over the previous model. Acura kept the items that worked on the MDX and focused on the areas that needed to be improved. With that mindset, the 2014 Acura MDX stands out as being one of the best luxury crossovers.

    That's my big takeaway with the 2014 Acura MDX. They focused on the parts which needed to be changed and kept what worked pretty much the same. If they can apply this to their other models, then maybe Acura can enjoy the sweet success all around.

    Disclaimer: Acura Provided the MDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Acura

    Model: MDX

    Trim: Tech Entertainment

    Engine: Earth Dreams 3.5L SOHC V-6 W/Direct-Injection

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,200

    Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,500

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23

    Curb Weight: 4,063 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama

    Base Price: $48,465.00

    As Tested Price: $49,550.00 (Includes $985.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    N/A

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice review!
    This car checks all the boxes you could ask for in its segment for its price, except the exterior styling is a bit bland. Not that the competition is a bunch of lookers.

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    Auto is nice, but not my cup of tea. This is what I figure you get when you take a biologist who ended up working in the auto industry and cross bred their ideas. An ugly plain Jane of a bug eyed auto. Over all while fit and finish look to be as expected to a high level, their design language just does nothing for me both external and internal. Just Blah, no big deal and will be forgotten in a few years.

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    Until all the deli meat is gone.

    Boy that radiator will be one greasy nasty mess by the time all the meat is cut. :P

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    7 months into the design of the all new 2014 MDX, and we still cannot get enough of them to sell. It's a nonstop vehicle, period. The only ones that do not sell are those without navigation, so Acura is adjusting production to minimize those and focus on AWD Tech models, the top model.

    It's an incredible crossover. No vehicle this size offers what it does, or is rated anywhere near to 27mpg with AWD...or actually get it, which this one does. It's fun to toss around and back in the summer, I clocked 31.4mpg in a 26 mile highway trek home.

    Great car. And yes, what you see here and the good bits of the RLX will carry over into next models. I met the lead engineer of the MDX in June in Ohio R&D, and that was a telling time.

    There are so many competitors, yet even this fall, we still had customers trading "newer" Infiniti's, Mercedes', BMW's, Audi's, etc on previous gen MDX's. The new one now tripled that.

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    Caddy Cruiser, if you are constantly sold out, you should ask to have some transferred from the Seattle area. There are ton's on the lots and they do not sell that well. Then again, in a Hi Tech city, you see plenty of MB, BMW, Audi and Cadillac SUV's everywhere.

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    Caddy Cruiser, if you are constantly sold out, you should ask to have some transferred from the Seattle area. There are ton's on the lots and they do not sell that well. Then again, in a Hi Tech city, you see plenty of MB, BMW, Audi and Cadillac SUV's everywhere.

    Not constantly sold out, but it's in batches everywhere. Sometimes you have them, then again you don't. Right now everyone mostly has a full inventory of AWD base models, but not Tech, Tech/Entertainment or Advance and those 3 are in constant demand.

    Once you get a batch, the batch is gone pretty quickly, base models aside.

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    Thanks for the clarification, that blows is all the Acura CUV's sitting around here are just base models. I cannot think why in a High Tech City they would not have all the electronic options that most workers would want.

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    It's like the reverse problem of the original SRX... where Cadillac mainly pushed out high optioned V8 models but customers mostly wanted the V6.

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    Thanks for the clarification, that blows is all the Acura CUV's sitting around here are just base models. I cannot think why in a High Tech City they would not have all the electronic options that most workers would want.

    Built a mix of all of them, but what's happened is 80% sold are Tech models. Production is adjusted, but you still have to sell all the AWD non-Tech models to earn more AWD, AWD Tech, etc.

    Once they sell, you build more, and they sell as soon as they arrive. Thankfully Acura/Honda are quick at adjusting production. All things balance in time. Build a hot vehicle that doesn't need incentives to sell. Good move. Really, the only thing we've done from time to time is a special finance rate on base models. Otherwise, not necessary. That's how you keep resale and build value, without cash buckets and over produced inventory.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    Are they still producing out of balance or is it adjusted now?

    No, it was balanced pretty quickly. But as we were doing a split of all models before, and Tech's were selling nonstop as they arrived and continue to, most dealers still have more non-Tech base inventory from before.

    Not as many bases will be produced, but we have to sell all the base models to earn more MDX's overall. Not really an issue.

    The MDX without Tech still has more "tech" than it ever did before, and is incredibly well decked out for almost everyone. My mother used to her Terrain with Intellilink where she streams and plugs iPhone/iPod in anyway is a perfect example of who one would be perfect for.

    On the opposite hand, the RDX that was new for 2013 continues to sell nonstop through today, however the "hot one" lately again is the AWD car without Tech. Different price level all together, and when you're in the mid $30k's there are so many small crossover choices, it's a no question choice to get the Acura vs. what else is out there.

    It fluctuates back and forth. Probably in a few more months, we will move back to more Tech RDX's and more FWD models as well. I've sold a lot of FWD MDX's even in PA, by request, even with the recent weather. Makes sense when you consider, even if people don't realize, how large the volume of FWD large crossovers is vs. AWD, especially vehicles like the Lambda's and others.

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    And as quickly as things change...in the course of a week, now we're selling a LOT of AWD non-Technology models. There's no rhyme or reason, except people realizing how great of a vehicle it is for the dollar. There's no way shape or form I would buy or lease an Explorer, GM Lambda, Pilot, Infiniti, Nissan, etc. crossover against the new MDX and we see the comparisons daily.

    Non-Tech, with the large screens, Bluetooth streaming, USB, Pandora, AHA Internet Radio, etc. I'm back to getting a lot of "that's all I need anyway, I use my phone for nav and that's rare as it is" comments.

    Oddball? We've had a lot of people recently, "in between" ready to buy an MDX then for whatever bizarre reason debating a new Explorer. No comparison. Mostly lease customers too. That huge discount and Ford marketing draw attention. Then you drive the Explorer...or realize, as we just looked up, an example MDX has a 60%+ 3-year lease residual...the Explorer? 45%. At that rate, you better be getting a coupon for owning a horse, a discount card, a credit card, a dance, and a bag of money to make it cheaper.

    Interesting stuff, what people compare and why.

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    Is that a real lease residual on the MDX or a subsidized one?


    I could see myself leasing an Enclave if I were in that market, but none of the others you list. The Grand Cherokee is still the highest on my list.

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    Is that a real lease residual on the MDX or a subsidized one?

    I could see myself leasing an Enclave if I were in that market, but none of the others you list. The Grand Cherokee is still the highest on my list.

    That's a real residual. Acura's, especially the SUV's, hold incredible value and even with 60%+ residuals, every time they come in to be turned in we buy them out and there's equity. We don't do funny business of lease cash, cap cost mystery cash, etc. Not necessary if the car truly holds value.

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    egads! the acrua lease calculator seems to be a bit off. 36 month/12k lease $749 a month for a MXD-AWD with 10% down? A slightly higher MSRP Jeep GC is $220 a month less than that.

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    egads! the acrua lease calculator seems to be a bit off. 36 month/12k lease $749 a month for a MXD-AWD with 10% down? A slightly higher MSRP Jeep GC is $220 a month less than that.

    The calculator is always off, I wish it would update to be closer to correct...but alas. That's why the national special programs are advertised and dealers can be emailed easily.

    To give an example, the last MDX AWD lease I just did stretching a bit at a loss, with $2500 down and PA suburbs tax, 12k per year I made it $499 monthly with tax included and new license plates. No funny money, no incentives needed, and Acura Financial. At the end of 3 years after 12k, it's a 62% residual on that car.

    Great stuff.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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      Trim: Laramie Longhorn
      Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 3,600
      Torque @ RPM: 420 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $52,365
      As Tested Price: $60,060 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - $3,120.00
      4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,695.00
      Wheel to Wheel Side Steps - $600.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $280.00
      Cold Weather Group - $235.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Like life, reviewing vehicles sometimes mean having a curveball thrown your way. Originally, I was going to be reviewing the Chrysler 200 before its production run would end. Sadly, the 200 was pulled out of Chrysler’s test fleet before I was able to drive. But sometimes, that curveball can be a positive. In this case, a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn would take its place. More importantly, it would be equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. We like this engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. How would it fare in the Ram 1500? Quite well.
      The EcoDiesel V6 in question is a turbocharged 3.0L with 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test truck came with four-wheel drive, but you can order the EcoDiesel with two-wheel drive. The EcoDiesel might not have the roar or performance figures of the 5.7L V8 (0-60 takes about 9 seconds for the diesel compared to just a hair over 7 seconds for the V8), but it is a very capable engine. There is a lot of punch on the low end of the rpm band and the engine never feels that it is running out of breath the higher you climb in speed.  You can tell the EcoDiesel is a diesel during start up as it has distinctive clatter. Also, it takes a few seconds for the engine to start up if you let the truck sit for awhile. But once the engine is going, you can’t really tell its a diesel. Whether you’re standing outside or sitting inside, the V6 is quiet and smooth. The eight-speed automatic is one of the best transmissions in the class as it delivers imperceptible gear changes. In terms of towing, the EcoDiesel V6 has a max tow rating of 9,210 pounds (regular cab with 2WD). The crew cab with 4WD drops the max tow rating to 8,610 pounds. This does trail the V8 considerably (max tow rating of 10,640). But the EcoDiesel makes up for this in terms of fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined for the EcoDiesel equipped 4WD. Our average for the week was a not too shabby 23.4 mpg. This generation of the Ram 1500 has garnered a reputation for having one of the best rides in the class. We can’t disagree. The coil-spring setup on the rear suspension smooths out bumps and other road imperfections very well.  Our truck also featured the optional air suspension which is more focused on improving the capability of the pickup and not ride comfort. There are five different ride height settings that allow for easier access when getting in and out of a truck to increasing ground clearance when going off-road. The air suspension will also level out the truck if there is a heavy load in the bed or pulling a trailer. The Ram 1500’s exterior look hasn’t really changed much since we reviewed one back in 2014. Up front is a large crosshair grille finished in chrome and large rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. The Laramie Longhorn features it own design cues such as two-tone paint finish, 20-inch wheels, and large badges on the front doors telling everyone which model of Ram you happen to be driving. Inside, the Laramie Longhorn is well appointed with real wood trim on the dash and steering wheel, high-quality leather upholstery for the seats, and acres of soft-touch plastics. Some will snicker at the seat pockets that are designed to look saddle bags, complete with a chrome clasp.  Comfort-wise, the Laramie Longhorn’s interior scores very high. The seats provide excellent support for long trips, and no one sitting in the back will be complaining about the lack of head and legroom. One nice touch is all of the seats getting heat as standard equipment, while the front seats get ventilation as well. The UConnect system is beginning to show its age with an interface that is looking somewhat dated and certain tasks taking a few seconds more than previous versions. There is an updated UConnect system that debuted on the 2017 Pacifica with a tweaked interface and quicker performance. Hopefully, this is in the cards for the 2017 Ram 1500. As for pricing, the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 comes with a base price $52,365. With options including the 3.0L EcoDiesel, our as-tested price was $60,060. Sadly this is the new reality for pickup trucks. Many buyers want the luxuries and features found on standard vehicles and are willing to pay for it. The Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 can justify the price for what it offers, but it is still a lot of money to drop. The nice thing about the Ram 1500 is the number of trims on offer. You’ll be able to find a model that should fit your needs and price range. Personally, I would be happy with a Big Horn or Laramie as they would offer everything I would want or need in a truck. But if you want something luxurious with a cowboy twist, you can’t go wrong with Laramie Longhorn. The EcoDiesel is just the cherry on top.   
      Disclaimer: Ram Trucks Provided the 1500, Insurance, and One Tank of Diesel
      Year: 2016
      Make: Ram Trucks
      Model: 1500 Crew Cab
      Trim: Laramie Longhorn
      Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 240 @ 3,600
      Torque @ RPM: 420 @ 2,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Warren, MI
      Base Price: $52,365
      As Tested Price: $60,060 (Includes $1,195.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - $3,120.00
      4-Corner Air Suspension - $1,695.00
      Wheel to Wheel Side Steps - $600.00
      Convenience Group - $495.00
      Trailer Brake Control - $280.00
      Cold Weather Group - $235.00
      3.92 Rear Axle Ratio - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      Car Sales Quicken and Trucks Continue Momentum as American Honda Sets New Sales Records in November
      Dec 1, 2016 - TORRANCE, Calif.
      Powered by both cars and trucks, American Honda and the Honda Division set new November sales records American Honda and Honda Division trucks also set new November sales marks Compacts lead, with Fit gaining 43 percent and HR-V soaring 132 percent above year ago levels MDX sets November pace for Acura while RDX gets new November record Acura NSX reaches another milestone American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today reported total November sales of 122,924 Honda and Acura vehicles, an increase of 6.5 percent versus November of last year to set a new November record. American Honda trucks gained 9.9 percent for a new November record on sales of 62,737 units. Honda Division overall vehicle sales also set a new November mark of 111,308 units, rising 7.9 percent. Acura Division sales held fairly steady in November, totaling 11,616 units for a decrease of 5.1 percent.
      Honda
      Continuing to buck the industry trend, Honda car sales helped push the brand to a new November record. Fit and Accord led the way for Honda cars, with strong support from Civic.  Honda truck sales maintained strong momentum with a new November record as HR-V jumped in triple digits and both CR-V and the new Ridgeline had strong sales performances.
      Honda Division sales rose 7.9 percent on sales of 111,308 for a new November record. Honda cars gained 5.6 percent on sales of 56,943 units, while trucks increased 10.3 percent on sales of 54,365 units for a new November record. Accord, recently named one of Car & Driver magazine's 10 Best cars for a record 31st time, enjoyed a robust gain of 6.3 percent on sales of 27,182 units. HR-V sales totaled 8,141 in November, a remarkable 132 percent increase. Civic sales topped 25,000 for the month, gaining 1 percent and keeping Civic on track to set an all-time annual sales mark in December. "Considering the continued consumer appetite for trucks and SUVs, we're excited to see Honda cars resonate so well with our customers," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. "This is especially gratifying considering the strength of our light truck lineup, as we continue to hit on all cylinders with individual retail buyers."
      Acura
      Acura light trucks continued to show sales muscle, with MDX leading the month of November for the brand and RDX recording best-ever November sales. On the car side, RLX showed an uptick while NSX reached a new milestone.
      Acura trucks continued on pace to top 2015, gaining 7.6 percent with sales of 8,372 units in November. Sales of the redesigned MDX rose 13 percent on sales of 4,622 for the month. RDX had its best November sales to date, rising 1.6 percent on sales of 3,750 vehicles. RLX sales moved up slightly in November, gaining 16.7 percent on sales of 140 units. Reaching another milestone, the custom-crafted NSX supercar has topped 200 customer deliveries since sales commenced in May. "Strong sales of the new Acura MDX demonstrate that our design direction and focus on performance is the right path for the Acura brand," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of the Acura division. "With the NSX and the MDX leading the way, we will take our entire lineup toward Acura's Precision Crafted Performance DNA."

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