MDX loaded with luxury, high-tech goodies …
Acura’s big MDX sport-ute is loaded with luxury and high-tech items and graced with a quiet interior and powerful V6.
The top-of-the-line test model was a bright white MDX SH-AW with both the Advance and Entertainment packages. The SH-AWD stands for Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive. Not sure I’d tout the super handling ability, but the Acura does have AWD to help in winter.
Certainly the MDX handles well, but super may be pushing it a bit. There’s also a dynamic mode button on the console to allow a driver to set it for Comfort, Normal or Sport modes. Those adjust the 9-speed automatic transmission’s shift points, the suspension and steering effort.
Normal is fine while Sport firms the steering effort to an extreme measure and Comfort softens the ride to make it accommodating of Midwestern roads ravaged by winter and years of neglect. Note the AWD system is automatic, so the ute has instant traction once the roads turn sloppy.
Power is good from the 3.5-liter I-VTEC V6. This kicks out 290 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque to make the big ute seem pretty quick to highway speeds. Its strength also allows the MDX to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Continue reading 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD w/Advance & Entertainment
New Acura RLX sport sedan does it all …
I quickly feel in love with driving the new Acura RLX Hybrid, a sport sedan that does everything right from a performance standpoint.
One could argue that its looks are pedestrian, and they are mid-pack at best. But driving the RLX is like flying under the radar of our beloved highway patrol simply because it does NOT stand out visually. It simply kicks booty when it comes to manhandling the roads.
First, the Crystal Black RLX Sport Hybrid I tested was the top-end model with the Advance package and clicked the cost turnstiles at $66,870 including delivery. There were no options left to add.
The Advance package hybrid comes with the standard RLX engine, a strong 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. To that it adds a hybrid system consisting of three electric motors, two working directly to power the rear wheels. That electric power extends gas mileage and boosts power by 67 horsepower for a total of 377 ponies.
In standard mode the car has generous power from a stop, but punch the Sport button on the console and the car is noticeably faster off the line, delivering a punch you might not expect from a car of such nonchalant looks. Sort of like discovering your class valedictorian also is a professional stunt double. Continue reading 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance
New MDX lighter, loaded with gadgets galore
Acura put its popular MDX sport-utility on a serious diet, tweaked its dimensions a bit and in the test version, attached every electronic gee-whiz feature its engineers could muster – hence the $57,400 price tag.
First, the sport-ute added considerably to its use of high-strength steel and a new rear suspension to trim 275 lbs. from the previous MDX. It also dropped the vehicle’s dual exhaust in favor of a single pipe, cutting weight and engine noise.
The former 3.7-liter V6 also was replaced by a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 290 horsepower. That’s down just slightly from the earlier model, but with the weight savings you’ll never notice. Power is good and the ute gets reasonable gas mileage too for something that will haul 8 people. It’s rated at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. I got 21.7 mpg in about 60% highway driving. The engine’s variable valve timing helps it run more efficiently.
Acura mates the quiet V6 with a 6-speed automatic that shifts smoothly, but not as crisply as you might expect. It doesn’t seem to want to rev the engine up to provide tons of oomph. Still, you easily reach highway speeds.
Handling is good for a largish ute though, the SH-AWD, super-handling all-wheel-drive system, giving the MDX both good grip in sloppy weather and helping cut its turning radius. Steering feels much quicker than in most similar-sized utes. Continue reading 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD
I’ll be dogged, Acura RLX delivers power, elegance and PAWS
My experience is that it’s hard to go wrong with an Acura sedan, and the new mid-size RLX does nothing to make me rethink that notion.
Fairly handsome outside, elegant inside it’s smooth on the road, handles well and offers oodles of power. Even the gas mileage is good for a powerful V6.
Mechanically the silver RLX Advance was as close to automotive perfection as one can get for roughly $60 grand. Sadly that’s the price one has to pay for such stout performance and elegant interior appointments, plus what is becoming the usual assortment of electronic gizmos, from a blind-spot warning system to rearview camera.
Ah, but the Acura adds in yet another, PAWS. That’s short for Precision All-Wheel Steering, which obviously is a step up from simply standard All-Wheel Steering. What this goodie does is mildly improve your car’s handling and agility by tilting your car’s rear wheels 1.8 degrees in the direction you’re steering the front wheels. This shortens your turning radius and makes the car feel a bit more responsive. PAWS helps in cornering and braking too. As you apply the brakes it slightly angles your rear wheels to increase tire braking pressure.
Certainly if you were driving on a race course this would become much more evident and useful. In daily driving I must admit it was hard to notice, but then most Acura sedans have fairly responsive steering and corner well. So the best way to test it would be to have the exact same car without the system installed and run it side by side with the tester. Continue reading 2014 Acura RLX Advance