I have a bit of history with this car. The original Acura MDX was my family’s first step into the luxury SUV market, upgrading from the station wagon of yesteryear and into something significantly more comfortable. I loved that SUV as I was able to drive it anywhere and everywhere I wanted to go, from a road trip to the plains to the snowy mountains of the Rockies. And it was an easy drive. There were some features I loved about it as well, and the comfort was definitely there. And while I personally moved on to Audi as my vehicle of choice, my parents stuck with the original MDX for 120,000 solid miles. It’s an Acura after all, and did those miles with ease. They did eventually move up to an Audi with me, but my dad still speaks fondly of that ride.
Fast forward a few years, and here I am driving the newest generation of this Acura SUV, and I can tell you the experience is all new. I remember that older MDX, with the ever stiffening ride and horrible back seats, weird mess of technology and console switches, that while packaged neatly together felt a bit crude and outdated from the start. That is not what sits in front of me with the 2015 model. No, instead its a a flow in the dash, with curves and mixtures of materials, all surrounding two larges screens for technology interfaces. While not a big fan of the double screens as they were not as intuitive to used as with other new cars, it shows the direction of the integration for future models from Acura.
On the outside, there is no mistaking this for another SUV as it bleeds Acura, and the lines have been softened from the more aggressive feel of the previous model. The transition from outside to in is seamless with these new curves, and while the design isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, it feels right. It is significantly more sleek compared to the previous models, and I must admit I enjoyed the semi-aggressive stance as I looked at it in my driveway. Oddly enough, it became on of the more head-turning vehicles I have driven to date, especially in for my neighbors, as it is seen as an affordable luxury vehicle, a transition ride for many.
What’s great is that I might go on a limb to say that it is one of the more family focused luxury rides available as well. With three rows of leather seating, a massive dual display overhead LED screen and wireless headphones, one handed 2nd row slide and folding, I couldn’t imagine a better fit for a family on the go. Driving it, the comfort is a major improvement over previous generations, and the road noise was barely noticeable. The suspension is a bit soft, as is the normal steering, but it’s not a sports car nor does it pretend to be one. And driving it is a breeze, and even though it is a bit bigger than my personal vehicle, it feels easy to navigate the city streets, with parallel parking almost too easy. Granted, with the amount of technology slammed into this ride, that should be expected.
And that’s the part I don’t like about the MDX. Yes, technology is great, but there is so much in this vehicle that it doesn’t all come together seamlessly. The two touchscreens are not intuitive, and the navigation is outdated in design and function at best. The cooled seats have the loudest fans I have ever heard in a vehicle, and to get the perfect settings for temperature inside was not the easiest. Worst of all, transitioning radio stations was the most difficult to do while driving, and to make a station my favorite left me frustrated. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right manner, but the answers and user experience just wasn’t there.
But despite all that, I still found myself loving the drive. The 2015 Acura MDX is an impressive ride, a major step forward for the model and the brand, and had my family decided to stick around and wait for it, I know it would have fit perfectly in the garage and lasted just as long as the first one. And honestly, every time I see one of the road now, I miss driving it just a little bit more. I might have to go as far as to say all in all, even with the misses in the technology and user experience, this is one of the best SUVs you can buy today, especially with a growing family.