Shortly after our MDX's arrival we took it to our test facility to run our standard instrumented testing, and the numbers were quite interesting, especially when compared to our recently returned long-term Acura RDX. Before I get into the numbers, let's look at the differences between the MDX and RDX. The MDX is longer, wider, and taller than the RDX, and weighs 470 pounds more. Both use a 3.5L V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic, but the MDX has 17 more horsepower and 16 more lb-ft of torque, a negligible advantage considering the extra weight it's carrying.

During our testing, the RDX made the sprint to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, while the MDX did the deed in 6.4 seconds. Quarter-mile times and speeds were almost identical, with the RDX running 14.9 seconds at 93.9 mph and the MDX stopping the timers at 14.9 seconds at 92.7 mph. Braking from 60 mph took 123 feet for the RDX, while the MDX needed a mere 116 feet. The biggest difference in performance was in our figure eight testing. The RDX ran the course in 27.8 seconds with a max lateral acceleration of 0.77 g (avg), while the bigger and heavier MDX ran the course in 26.5 seconds with a max lat of 0.85 g (avg). A difference of more than a second is a lifetime on a track, especially one as short as our figure eight course. It seems the SH-AWD system really does make a significant difference.

Off the track the MDX feels livelier and sportier, rides more smoothly, and gets just 1 mpg lower EPA rating compared to the RDX. The SH-AWD system is one factor in the improved performance; the Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) also plays a role. The IDS system gives you three modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. Comfort reduces steering effort for low-effort maneuverability, especially in tight spaces, while Normal balances steering effort between comfortable and sporty. Sport mode provides the greatest changes, giving the MDX a firmer steering feel with higher effort. This mode also adjusts throttle response and SH-AWD torque proportioning, and makes the Active Noise Control system (more on that in future updates) provide a more aggressive engine note.

More on our long-term 2014 Acura MDX AWD:


Our Car
Service life 5 mo/ 8508 mi
Average fuel economy 19.6 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.99 lb/mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 18/27/21 mpg
Energy consumption 172 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0
Normal-wear cost $0