2014 ACURA MDX: OVERVIEW
The 2014 MDX is the third generation of Acura’s seven-passenger luxury performance SUV, the first to be developed from the ground up using an all-new, purpose-built platform (body and chassis) fully optimized for the needs of today’s luxury SUV buyers.
The new MDX, like its flagship sedan counterpart, the RLX, harnesses a host of Acura signature technologies to deliver on Acura’s “Synergy between Man and Machine” product direction, and to offer higher levels of luxury, quietness, comfort and prestige in a vehicle that performs “at the will of the driver” with intuitive control and exhilarating dynamic performance.
Developed on the image of an “Executive Family Jet,” the 2014 MDX is sleek and refined, prestigious and powerful, and designed to deliver on the unique performance and functional needs of the luxury SUV driver and passengers, be they kids or clients. In designing the new MDX, Acura engineers focused on three core values: class-leading fuel economy ratings; new levels of prestige and luxury comfort; and top-level safety performance. At the same time, they sought to further enhance the MDX’s dynamic performance while maintaining its core appeal – the family-friendly, seven-passenger cabin and nimble, mid-size SUV exterior size and appearance.
2014 ACURA MDX OVERVIEW - Packaging
For the 2014 MDX, the designers and engineers sought to further enhance the versatility and functionality of the vehicle’s seven-passenger cabin while maintaining its relatively compact and sporting exterior shape.
The 2014 MDX measures 2.0 inches longer than the previous-generation MDX and has a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase. Vehicle height has been lowered by 1.5 inches, and rear step-in height is lower by 1.8 inches compared to the outgoing model. The front track is 1.4 inches narrower and the rear wheel track is 1.2 inches narrower. The vehicle width is reduced by 1.3 inches. In this respect, the MDX presents a 2 percent smaller frontal area to the wind for improved aerodynamic efficiency, and a slightly narrower body for improved garage-ability, while the longer wheelbase helps to enhance ride quality and interior spaciousness. The passenger hip points in the first and second rows are lower by 1.2 inches and the third row is lower by 1.4 inches, improving the feeling of stability and reduced body roll for all occupants.
Utilizing its longer wheelbase and new, more compact rear suspension (see Platform overview below), the 2014 MDX makes getting in and out of the back seats even easier with a 4.5-inch wider foot entry point and 1.8-inch lower step-in height. The second-row seats now have five-position reclining seatbacks, and a new Extended Slide feature provides 5.9 inches of total fore-aft seat travel, enabling greater flexibility in accommodating the needs of both second- and third-row passengers. With the middle-row seats in their rearward-most position, first- and second-row tandem seating distance has been lengthened by 1.1 inches, an ideal setting for traveling with four occupants, whether kids, clients or couples. A new One-Touch Walk-In feature makes for easier, more intuitive one-button operation of the second-row seats – from the rear seat, outboard middle row seats, or from outside the vehicle – further easing third-row entry and exit.
Repackaging of the rear-seat HVAC system allowed for the creation of a large center console storage space, concealed beneath the sliding, leather-trimmed center armrest. About 2 inches deeper and wider, and almost 5 inches longer, the main compartment offers 2.5 times more volume than the previous model and is large enough to accommodate a moderately sized purse, a tablet computer and more. This is a key advantage of MDX in its class, where many competing models offer little or no center console storage space.
Key packaging details and features:
- 2.8-inch longer wheelbase for improved cabin space and ride comfort
- 2-percent smaller frontal area for greater aerodynamic efficiency
- A minimum 1.2-inch lower hip point for all occupants aids sporty and stable feeling
- 1.8-inch lower floor height for easier step-in
- 4.5-inch wider foot entry point (between back of second-row seat bottom and rear wheelhouse inner) for improved third-row seat entry and exit.
- New Extended Slide second-row seats provides a total of 5.9 inches of fore-aft seat travel
- New One-Touch Walk-in feature for more intuitive and easy operation of second-row seats
- Five-position reclining second-row seatbacks
- New larger center console storage space.
2014 ACURA MDX OVERVIEW – Platform
The 2014 MDX is based on an all-new, purpose-built platform. Where previous generations of the MDX were developed from an existing Global Light Truck Platform, the 2014 MDX was completely redesigned and developed from the ground up.
Tapping into their experience in developing the previous two generations of MDX, and using state-of-the-art computer modeling techniques, MDX engineers pursued a holistic vision for the new platform development, expanding the MDX’s functional and dynamic performance envelope to achieve what are commonly conflicting goals – such as higher performance and class-leading fuel economy ratings; a more versatile and accommodating cabin and a significantly more aerodynamic body; and class-leading safety ratings and lower vehicle weight.
This holistic approach to body development, included the strategic use of lightweight materials – such as 64-percent high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium – resulted in a 275-pound reduction in overall vehicle weight compared to the previous model, aiding both fuel efficiency and dynamic performance. The MDX body also boasts a 16-percent gain in aerodynamic efficiency and a 19-percent reduction in vehicle running resistance (see Fuel Economy overview below). For improved dynamic response and better isolation of road noise and vibration, the 2014 MDX’s torsional body rigidity is up 12.4 percent, and just as critically, the rigidity of suspension mounting points is up 67 percent versus the previous model.
All-new suspension componentry – a new strut-type front suspension with triple-path damper mounting system, and a more compact and efficient multilink rear suspension – along with lighter and more rigid front and rear subframes, new hydraulic bushing mounts, and stiffer suspension mounting points contribute significantly to the MDX’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage suspension loads for both outstanding ride comfort and confident, exhilarating driving performance. New Amplitude Reactive Dampers use variable damping rates to deliver outstanding ride compliance and responsive handling.
The more compact rear multi-link suspension also eliminates the forward trailing arm of the previous system, which allowed engineers to lower the step-in height by 1.8 inches. In addition, the rear dampers now mount directly to the rigid rear frame, as opposed to the more flexible rear wheelhouse on the previous model, allowing for the use of softer bushing settings for better ride compliance without any sacrifice of handling performance. The MDX platform is also optimized for the new two-wheel-drive model by lowering the engine center by 1.2 inches, allowing for more horizontally oriented front drive shafts, which also helps reduce torque-steer tendencies under hard acceleration.
The use of ultra-high-strength “hot stamped” steel for key body components includes the world’s first one-piece stiffener ring for the driver and front passenger door areas, which along with the application of Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, significantly enhances the ability to efficiently absorb and redirect crash energy in front and side impacts, and manage roof loads in the event of a rollover (see Safety overview and full Safety section for more details).
Key platform details and features:
- 275-pound lower vehicle weight
- 59-percent high-strength steel body (by weight)
- Ultra high-strength steel, one-piece front door stiffener rings
- Next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
- Acura’s first three-piece magnesium steering hanger beam
- Newly designed strut-type front suspension with triple-path damper mounting
- More compact and efficient multi-link rear suspension
- Stiffer, lighter front and rear suspension subframes with hydraulic bushings and suspension mounting points that are 67-percent more rigid
2014 ACURA MDX OVERVIEW – Powertrain
The 2014 MDX utilizes the same Earth Dreams Technology engine architecture as the new RLX sedan, Acura’s first direct-injected engine, incorporating a new i-VTEC valvetrain with two-stage Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™), the first application of VCM in an MDX. The MDX’s engine architecture is also shared with two racecars that finished in first and second place, respectively, in the LMP2 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in the 2013 American Le Mans Series. With a displacement of 3.5 liters, the aluminum, 24-valve V-6 engine produces 290 peak horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of peak torque (both SAE net) with approximately 8 percent more torque below 2,750 rpm compared to the 3.7-liter engine in the previous model. Due to improved operating efficiency, horsepower output per liter is up 2 percent and torque output per liter is up 4.4 percent compared to the previous 3.7-liter engine.
The 60-degree, aluminumV-6 engine is mated to a reengineered 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sport Shift, reduced friction and smoother gear changes. On all-wheel drive models, power to the wheels is managed by Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) system, which automatically and instantaneously apportions engine torque between the front and rear axles and the left and right rear wheels to deliver confidence-inspiring handling and outstanding all-weather traction and control.
Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) switches seamlessly between 3- and 6-cylinder modes, depending on engine load, effectively varying engine displacement to match driving conditions for improved fuel efficiency. Active Control engine Mounts (ACM) and Active Noise Cancellation allow the VCM system to operate in 3-cylinder mode across a wider range of driving situations.
Key powertrain details and features:
- All-new direct injected 3.5-liter 24-valve V-6
- i-VTEC® valvetrain with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
- Computer-controlled Direct Injection (DI) with multi-hole fuel injectors
- Reengineered 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sport Shift
- Available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)
- Active Control Engine Mounts (ACM) and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
- Grade Logic Control System reduces gear “hunting” on steep grades
2014 ACURA MDX OVERVIEW – Dynamic Performance
The second-generation MDX is highly regarded for its exhilarating handling and spirited driving performance. The 2014 MDX further expands the MDX’s dynamic performance envelope with quicker acceleration, shorter stopping distances and more nimble handling, in combination with increased fuel efficiency and enhanced ride comfort.
Taking full advantage of its Earth Dreams Technology powertrain, all-new chassis, and lighter and more rigid body, the MDX is quicker and more responsive in virtually every respect. A fatter torque curve – with 8 percent more torque available below 2,750 rpm – improves the new MDX’s launch performance and low-end grunt. The Sequential Sport Shift automatic transmission features Normal and Sport modes and provides for full manual control of gear changes via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
A larger diameter steering column shaft combined with a new Electric Power Steering (EPS) system delivers highly responsive steering with better on-center feel and improved damping of unwanted road vibrations transmitted to the steering wheel. The steering ratio on the new MDX is also 9-percent quicker than on the preceding model.
The new 2014 MDX SH-AWD delivers a one-half-second quicker 0-60 mph time, a shorter 60-0 mph stopping distance, and higher maximum lateral g-force versus the previous SH-AWD model. Further, the new MDX turns an 8-second faster lap time on Germany’s grueling Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Ring) where both the previous and new versions of the MDX were extensively tuned and tested. Additional testing and tuning, particularly for the new vehicle’s 6-speed transmission, was performed on German autobahns and the Grossglockner Pass in the Austrian Alps.
To meet the varying needs of every driver in the family, the new MDX incorporates a new Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) with three driving modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport. In Normal mode, the steering effort is balanced between comfortable and sporty. Selecting the Comfort mode reduces steering effort for low-effort maneuverability, especially at low speeds and when maneuvering in tight spaces. The Sport mode provides a firmer steering feel with higher effort that complements more aggressive open-road driving. Sport mode also adjusts throttle response and SH-AWD torque proportioning, and even Active Noise Control for a more aggressive engine note in the cabin.
Standard on the MDX, Agile Handling Assist, a signature Acura technology, selectively uses the vehicle’s brakes to improve corner traceability and confident handling feel, using brake torque to create a body yaw, or turning moment at corner entry. The 2014 MDX also comes standard with 4-channel anti-lock brakes, and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) for enhanced stability and control in all driving and road conditions.
Key performance details and features:
- All-new 290-horsepower 3.5-liter i-VTEC direct-injected 24-valve V-6
- Available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)
- Sequential Sport Shift automatic transmission
- One-half second quicker 0-60 mph
- 8 seconds faster lap time on Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife
- 8 percent more low-end torque (below 2,750 rpm)
- Advanced shift-hold control limits up-shifts during spirited driving
- More lightweight and rigid body and suspension subframes
- New, more efficient front strut with triple-path damper mounting
- New multi-link rear suspension
- Larger diameter steering column shaft
- Electric Power Steering (EPS) with 9-percent quicker steering ratio
- Amplitude Reactive Dampers, front and rear
- Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) for customizable dynamic performance
- New Agile Handling Assist for improved corner traceability
- 4-channel Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution and
- Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)
2014 ACURA MDX OVERVIEW – Fuel Efficiency
The 2014 MDX with SH-AWD has a remarkable 17-percent increase in its combined EPA fuel economy rating versus the previous model, to class-leading levels (18/27/21 mpg1 city/highway/combined), while the new two-wheel-drive MDX is EPA rated at 20/28/23 mpg1, a 28-percent increase in combined fuel economy versus the previous SH-AWD model (the only drivetrain configuration previously available).
Realizing this large of an increase in fuel economy ratings while meeting other critical objectives, such as top-level safety, improved dynamic performance and enhanced refinement, was made possible by the development of the new MDX platform and the resulting improvements in vehicle mass (weight down), driveline efficiency, and vehicle running resistance. As previously stated, the 2014 MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the model it replaces. Further, its all-new Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC 24-valve V-6 engine features more efficient fuel combustion via direct injection, reduced engine friction, and the first application of Variable Cylinder Management technology to the MDX.
In addition to its lighter body and fuel-efficient powertrain, the new MDX is optimized in every respect to reduce total running resistance or “road load,” consisting of engine pumping losses, driveline friction, aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance. The MDX is the first Acura model to be developed using a new 40-percent-scale wind tunnel laboratory at the company’s U.S. R&D facilities in Ohio. Through the use of the new wind tunnel with rolling ground plane and sophisticated computer modeling techniques, engineers were able to optimize the vehicle design – not only the upper body, but also the underbody as well as efficient airflow through the engine compartment – to achieve a 16 percent improvement in the new MDX’s coefficient of drag to class-leading levels.
Total vehicle running resistance is also reduced 19 percent versus the outgoing model. In addition to improvements in powertrain efficiency and vehicle aerodynamics, key engineering features for reduced running resistance include new low-drag brakes (70 percent less drag versus the previous model), a new lightweight, low-drag hub and wheel bearing design, and reduced-rolling-resistance tires. The result is more efficient and effortless cruising efficiency – a tremendous example of Acura’s smart approach to fuel efficiency. A low-profile 19.5-gallon fuel tank aids airflow and maintains the MDX’s excellent highway driving range.
Key fuel efficiency details and features:
- 3.5-liter direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM)
- Active Noise Control and Active Engine Mounts improve VCM operating range
- 17 percent increase in combined fuel economy rating on models with SH-AWD
- 275 pound reduction in total vehicle weight
- 16 percent lower coefficient of drag
- 19 percent less running resistance
- Low profile, 19.5-gallon fuel tank
- Low-drag brakes
- Light weight, low drag hub and wheel bearings
- Lighter weight rear brake pistons
2014 MDX: OVERVIEW– Luxury Quiet, Comfort and Convenience
In considering their mission to develop the third-generation Acura MDX, designers and engineers conducted in-depth research with existing MDX customers and owners of competing products. One major opportunity for improvement identified by the team was the overall level of refinement, in particular cabin noise that can interfere with conversations between vehicle occupants, or during hands-free cellphone conversations, and detracts from the feeling of a luxury driving experience. In addition, designers saw an opportunity to further enhance the MDX’s level of luxury comfort and prestige with respect to interior materials, features and function. The resulting effort to improve overall refinement is the 2014 MDX – the quietest, most composed and luxurious MDX ever.
In fact, the engineering team developed new methods for testing ambient cabin noise and performance, including a new test mode in which the vehicle cabin is pressurized and tested for paths of sounds transmission. This and other tests led to the application of new materials, such as expanded foam in the roof pillars; new pillar separators (located at the bottom of each pillar); and new insulating materials for the rear wheelhouse, rear cargo floor and rear quarter panel. A new floor “sealing plane” further dampens road noise. The 2014 MDX also applies thicker, three-layer acoustic glass for the windshield and front side windows, thicker rear door glass, new triple seal side-sill door seal, and Active Noise Control technology to mitigate low-frequencies associated with the VCM system during three-cylinder operation.
The MDX’s more rigid body, subframes and suspension mounting points, along with a new triple-path front damper mounting system, and a high frequency wheel designfurther enhance ride comfort and vibration damping, particularly for second- and third-row passengers. A more rigid, steering column shaft replaces the previous two-piece column and rubber bushing to greatly reduce the transmission of road vibrations through the steering wheel while providing improving on-center feel and responsive handling performance.
To realize a higher level of interior luxury, designers applied high quality, soft touch materials throughout the cabin. LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination have the appearance of a high-end chronograph. LED lamps are also used for cabin accent lighting on the center console and front foot wells, which also feature progressive illumination and are programmable (the dimming time can be programmed) through the vehicle’s Multi-Information Display. Premium Milano leather is used on the first and second-row seating surfaces, and satin chrome plated trim and simulated wood-grain accents highlight the upscale cabin. The leather-wrapped steering wheel also features new, smoother Euro-style stitching.
The MDX with Advance and Entertainment Package features heated/ventilated front seats and heated rear seats that are electronically linked to the vehicle’s climate control system. The synced system allows the cabin to more quickly reach the user set cabin temperature.
The MDX has standard Smart Entry Keyless Access System with front and rear hatch access. On the Technology Package and above, Smart Entry access is also added to the rear passenger doors. Advance and Entertainment Packages offers remote engine start that can be activated with a range of at least 300 feet from the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to be pre-heated or pre-cooled and defrosted/defogged based on the customer’s preselected settings. Accessory Engine Remote start is available for any grade (pre-wired). Also standard on Technology and Entertainment Packages and above grades are new (manually operated) rear side-window shades.
The rear cargo area has been further refined on the 2014 MDX, with a new, fully-sealed spindle-type tailgate opening mechanism that presents a cleaner, less cluttered appearance. The trailing edge of the rear cargo floor features dual brushed aluminum trim plates for a more finished appearance, while also offering protection during the loading and unloading of goods.
Additional standard and available luxury comfort and convenience features on the 2014 MDX include push-button start, Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, One-Touch turn signals (all standard); rain-sensing wipers (Technology Package and above); and front and rear parking sensors and auto-dimming side mirrors (Advance and Entertainment Packages).
Key luxury comfort details and features:
- Smart Entry Keyless Access System
- 3-layer acoustic windshield and front door glass
- Thicker rear door glass
- Expanded foam in roof pillars
- Noise-insulating pillar separators
- New floor sealing plane
- Triple-path front damper mounting
- New cabin noise test methodology
- New, more efficient multi-link rear suspension
- LED gauge cluster and cabin accent lighting with progressive illumination
- Standard leather seating surfaces
- Euro-stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Heated steering wheel (optional)
- One-touch turn signals
- Heated front seats
- Heated rear seats (Technology and Entertainment Packages and up)
- Ventilated front seats (Advance and Entertainment Packages)
- Rain sensing wipers (Technology Package)
- Puddle lights (Technology Package)
- Rear door window sunshades (Technology and Entertainment Packages and up)
- Perforated Milano premium leather seating surfaces (Advance)
- Auto dimming side mirrors (Advance and Entertainment Packages)
2014 MDX OVERVIEW - Advanced Connectivity and Entertainment
Acura customers have high expectations for state-of-the-art connectivity and entertainment. Enhanced connectivity in the 2014 MDX is made possible by the next-generation AcuraLink® system, which offers thousands of media options via Aha™ mobile, all delivered via the owner’s internet-linked smartphone and data plan. There is also a host of new available security and convenience features, including collision notification, remote unlocking, stolen vehicle tracking and surface street traffic information, all delivered via built-in cell technology (in some instances, a subscription fee applies).
The new MDX will thrill audiophiles with its available music entertainment features. The 2014 MDX comes with an 8-speaker, 432-watt (up from 253 watts) audio system featuring a single-disc CD player, AM/FM/SiriusXM radio bands, and standard USB connector. The MDX with Technology Package features a 10-speaker, 501-watt Acura/ELS® Studio system, also with a single-disc CD player and AM/FM/SiriusXM radio plus HD Radio™ and 16-gigabytes of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) media storage. The MDX with Technology and Entertainment Packages features an Acura/ELS® Studio 11-Speaker Audio System with a new ceiling-mounted speaker and a 529-watt amplifier, along with all the features listed above. The MDX with Advance and Entertainment Packages features an Acura/ELS® Studio 12-Speaker Audio System with new ceiling-mounted speakers and a 546-watt amplifier, along with all the features listed above.
Additional standard features on all models includes Pandora® interface, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® hands free telephone interface, and an SMS Text Message function that can read incoming texts aloud over the audio system and allow the driver to reply with any of six factory preset messages (using a compatible smartphone and data plan).
The available Entertainment Package adds a DVD Rear Entertainment system with a ceiling-mounted 9-inch full VGA screen, while the top of the line MDX Advance and Entertainment Packages features a new ultra-wide 16.2-inch full WVGA screen – the largest and highest resolution screen ever offered in an Acura vehicle. The 546-watt audio system provides 5.1-channel surround sound. For the enjoyment of rear-seat passengers, adults and kids alike, the system also includes a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port for attaching high definition players and certain gaming consoles, along with standard composite video and audio inputs. A 115-volt power outlet is rated for devices up to 150 watts.
Both the AcuraLink™ and Acura/ELS Studio system take advantage of a 2014 MDX’s new 7-inch color On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD™) touchscreen with haptic feedback. The addition of the ODMD, along with other interior changes, allowed engineers to reduce the number of hard buttons in the center stack from 41 to just nine. The ODMD touchscreen controls a wide range of features and, with its contextual menus, displays relevant items while minimizing clutter. The system includes customizable shortcuts for Places, Phone, Climate and Audio functional categories.
The MDX Technology Package and above grades feature the latest generation Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ (available in all 50 United States, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico). The MDX navigation system features an 8-inch high-resolution WVGA backlit color display. The system features more than 10 million points of interest and can be controlled by voice, or with a convenient interface dial. The voice-activation system responds to casual command phrases that require less user familiarization. The system now also includes surface street traffic data and provides coverage in many areas within the U.S. (subscription required after first three years), allowing the driver to choose faster, less congested routes. Further, it offers a new level of convenience with AcuraLink, allowing users to send destination information via the AcuraLink Connect mobile phone app and web application (with the available Connect Package).
Key connectivity and entertainment details and features:
- Next-generation AcuraLink with Aha™ mobile interface
- Standard Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Pandora interface, and SMS text messaging
- Standard 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD)
- Available Acura/ELS premium sound systems
- Available ultra-wide 16.2-inch WVGA DVD Rear Entertainment System
- Acura Navigation System with expanded voice command capabilities
2014 MDX OVERVIEW – Safety and Visibility
For the third-generation MDX, engineers once again targeted top-level safety ratings, including a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the highest rating of GOOD in the Institute’s stringent new small overlap frontal collision test.
The 2014 MDX body utilizes the next generation of Acura’s Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE™) body structure to more effectively absorb and direct frontal crash energy away from the passenger compartment. Further, the new MDX features the world’s first ultra-high strength “hot stamped” steel, one-piece stiffener ring for the driver and front passenger front door areas – comprised of the A- and B-pillar, roof rail and lower frame member – to improve crash energy management in frontal offset and side impact collisions as well as roof crush load management.
The MDX also employs a new driver’s knee airbag, as well as driver- and front-passenger front airbags, driver- and front-passenger side airbags, and three-row side curtain airbags with a wider deployment profile to mitigate passenger ejection in a rollover. The Advance and Entertainment Packages adds driver- and front-passenger seatbelts with e-pretensioners. The 2014 MDX also features LATCH child-seat anchors in all second-row seating.
Other advanced safety technologies include Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) on Technology Package and above grades, and the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) on the Advance and Entertainment Package.
Apart from those safety technologies, for enhanced visibility and road awareness, the MDX employs a range of new driver-assistive technologies, including standard Expanded View Driver’s Mirror and Multi-Angle Rearview Camera; Blind Spot Information (BSI) system ) on Technology Package and above grades; and Lane Keep Assist (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow on the Advance and Entertainment Packages. These systems are designed to operate intuitively and with a minimum of driver manipulation, while aiding the driver and his/her ability to operate their vehicle with increased confidence and situational awareness.
Key safety details and features:
- Anticipated Five-Star NCAP Overall Vehicle Score
- Anticipated TOP SAFETY PICK+ IIHS safety rating
- Next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
- World’s first ultra-high strength steel, one-piece front door stiffener ring
- Pre-tensioning driver and front passenger seatbelts
- Driver’s knee airbag and three-row side-curtain airbags
- LATCH child seat anchors in all second row seating positions
- Available Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Available Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
Key visibility and driver assistive technologies:
- Expanded View Driver’s Mirror
- Multi-View Rear Camera
- Available Blind Spot Information (BSI)
- Available Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
- Available Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow
- Available Front and rear parking sensors (4 front/4 rear)
2014 ACURA MDX: POWERTRAIN
An all-new 3.5-liter direct injected i-VTEC® 24-valve V-6 engine, rated at 290 peak horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. peak torque (both SAE net), powers the 2014 MDX. This is the second application of Earth Dreams Technology (following the 2014 RLX sedan) comprised of a next-generation family of powertrain technologies that greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency.
Compared to the 3.7-liter engine it replaces, the 3.5-liter V-6 in the 2014 MDX offers an 8 percent increase in torque at engine speeds below 2,750 rpm for greater overall responsiveness. Together with the 2014 MDX’s 275-lb. reduction in curb weight, overall performance is enhanced, including quicker 0-60 mph times and 8-second-faster laps of Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) compared to the outgoing model.
The new direct-injected engine contributes to the MDX’s substantially improved EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings – The SH-AWD version of the MDX improved city ratings by 12.5-percent, highway ratings by 28.6-percent, and combined ratings by 17-percent. The 2014 MDX with front-wheel drive fuel economy ratings feature a 28-percent increase in combined mpg, achieving 20 city/28 highway/23 combined, versus the 2013 model with SH-AWD (the only type previously offered). The MDX also meets the stringent ULEV-2 California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions rating. No other vehicles in the MDX’s competitive set offer a comparable combination of power and fuel economy ratings.
The 2014 MDX’s new direct-injected V-6 precisely places fuel into each combustion chamber for better combustion and greater overall efficiency. The MDX engine also incorporates a range of advanced friction-reducing technologies that help boost fuel efficiency and power output. A new crossflow magnesium intake manifold, special “tumble” type intake ports, new piston-crown shapes, and an elevated 11.5:1 compression ratio are keys to the MDX’s blend of power and fuel efficiency.
A new generation of i-VTEC® (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) for the intake valves is now combined with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) for the first time ever in the MDX. VCM adjusts the working displacement of the engine to match the driving requirements from moment to moment. During startup, aggressive acceleration or when climbing hills – when high power output is required – the engine operates on all six cylinders. During moderate speed cruising and at low or moderate engine loads, the system operates just the front bank of three cylinders. Since the system automatically closes both the intake and exhaust valves on the rear bank of three cylinders, pumping losses from air intake and exhaust are eliminated and fuel efficiency gets a further boost.
The Earth Dreams Technology 3.5-liter V-6 is teamed with a Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission with racing-inspired shift paddles located on the steering wheel. The transmission offers two automatic modes (Drive and Sport), or the paddle shifters can be used for full manual operation of the transmission for maximum control and driving engagement.
For the first time, the MDX is available in both all-wheel-drive (SH-AWD) and front-wheel-drive layouts. With its high efficiency and lighter weight, the front-wheel drive MDX has enhanced fuel economy ratings. The MDX is also available with Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), which progressively distributes torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels. Using torque vectoring to help turn the vehicle, SH-AWD® creates a more responsive, neutral and predictable platform while providing outstanding all-weather confidence and control.
2013 MDX SH-AWD
Belt drive, SOHC, VTEC® 24-valve
Belt drive, SOHC,
Horsepower @ rpm (SAE net)
300 @ 6300
290 @ 6200
Torque @ rpm (lb-ft) (SAE net)
270 @ 4500
267 @ 4500
Compression ratio (:1)
Drive-by-Wire throttle system
6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters, Grade Logic and Shift Hold Control
6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters, Sport Mode, Grade Logic and Shift Hold Control
EPA Fuel Economy Ratings1 (city / highway/ combined)
Premium unleaded 91 octane (required)
Premium unleaded 91 octane (recommended)
CARB emissions rating
No scheduled tune-ups required for 100,000 +/- miles
No scheduled tune-ups required for 100,000 +/- miles
Powertrain at Glance
- Earth Dreams™ Technology 3.5-liter, SOHC, V-6 engine produces peak horsepower of 290 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and peak torque of 267 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm
- i-VTEC® (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) for intake valves with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
- Computer-controlled Direct Injection (DI) with multi-hole fuel injectors
- 11.5:1 compression ratio
- High-strength steel crankshaft
- Crossflow magnesium intake manifold
- Drive-by-Wire throttle system
- Direct ignition system
- Detonation/knock control system
- Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) provides two unique drive-by-wire profiles
- Maintenance Minder™ system optimizes service intervals
- 100,000 +/- miles tune-up interval
Emissions/Fuel Economy Ratings
- High-flow, close-coupled next-generation precious metal catalytic converters plus under floor catalytic converter
- High capacity 32-bit RISC processor emissions control unit
- ULEV-2 Emissions compliant
- 20/28/231 (city/highway/combined) mpg EPA fuel economy ratings (FWD)
- 18/27/211 (city/highway/combined) mpg EPA fuel economy ratings (SH-AWD)
Noise & Vibration (NV)
- 60-degree cylinder V-angle for smooth operation
- Automatically tensioned, maintenance-free serpentine belt accessory drive
- Active Control engine Mount (ACM)
- Active Sound Control (ASC)
Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
- Straight-gate style console-mounted shifter
- Sequential SportShift automatic transmission allows semi-manual operation
- Steering wheel mounted racing-inspired paddle shifters
- Sport mode with remapped, more aggressive automatic shift points and more pronounced engine braking during deceleration
- Cooperative control between Drive-by-Wire throttle system and transmission makes for quicker, smoother shifts
- Advanced shift-hold control limits up shifts during spirited driving
- Grade Logic Control System reduces gear “hunting” on steep hills
The MDX 3.5-liter VTEC® V-6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners, a smooth-firing 60-degree V-angle, and compact overall dimensions. As in the 2014 Acura RLX, the MDX powerplant combines Direct Injection with i-VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to give the MDX impressive fuel economy ratings and overall performance. This clean-running engine meets ULEV-2 emissions standards in select states, and Federal Tier 2, Bin 5 standards.
A wide range of improvements, including revised intake and exhaust ports and updated valve timing, help make the 3.5-liter V-6 nearly as powerful as the 3.7-liter engine it replaces. Due to greater operating efficiency, the engine’s horsepower per liter has risen by 2 percent and torque has been increased by 4.4 percent per liter. The aluminum-alloy 24-valve engine now produces 290 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and generates 267 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Torque has improved up to 8 percent at engine speeds below 2,750 rpm, aiding the MDX’s responsiveness.
The updated V-6 contributes to a 28.6-percent increase in the EPA highway fuel economy rating of the 2014 MDX with SH-AWD and a 33.3-percent increase in models with front wheel drive, versus the 2013 MDX SH-AWD (the only drivetrain available in the previous model).
This enhanced efficiency is due to a range of engineering features, including internal friction reduction, an oil-ring ion-plating treatment, plateau honing, low-friction 0W-20 engine oil, and reduced auxiliary-belt tension. A new tumble-type intake port design improves combustion efficiency, and torque-converter function in the standard 6-speed automatic transmission has been refined.
Engine Block and Crankshaft
With its 60-degree V-angle, the MDX’s V-6 engine is inherently smooth and has compact overall dimensions that allow efficient packaging within the vehicle. The V-6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. Made with a centrifugal spin-casting process, the thin-wall liners are high in strength and low in porosity. The block incorporates a deep-skirt design with four bolts per bearing cap for rigid crankshaft support and minimized noise and vibration. The 3.5-liter V-6 uses a high-strength steel crankshaft for minimum weight.
A cooling control spacer positioned in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders helps control warm-up and operating cylinder liner temperatures to reduce friction. Plateau honing of the cylinder lining further reduces friction between the piston skirts and the cylinder walls by creating an ultra-smooth surface. This two-stage machining process uses two grinding processes instead of the more conventional single-stage honing process. Plateau honing also enhances the long-term wear characteristics of the engine.
Designed with “cavity-shaped” crowns, the 2014 MDX engine’s pistons help maintain stable combustion and contribute to stratified-charge combustion. Ion-plated piston rings help reduce friction for greater operating efficiency. The compression ratio (relative to the 2013 MDX 3.7-liter engine) has risen from 11.2:1 to 11.5:1. Heavy-duty steel connecting rods are forged in one piece and then the crankshaft connecting rods are “crack separated” to create a lighter and stronger rod with an optimally fitted bearing cap.
Like other Acura V-6 powerplants, the MDX engine’s 4-valve cylinder heads are a single-overhead-camshaft design, with the cams driven by the crankshaft via an automatically tensioned toothed belt. Made of low-pressure cast, low-porosity aluminum, each cylinder head incorporates a new “tumble port” design that improves combustion efficiency by creating a more homogeneous fuel-air mixture. An integrated exhaust manifold cast into each cylinder head reduces parts count, saves weight, improves flow and optimizes the location of the close-coupled catalyst.
i-VTEC with 2-Stage Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
The MDX SOHC V-6 combines Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC), which changes the lift profile, timing and lift duration of the intake valves. A switching mechanism allows each cylinder to operate with low-rpm valve lift and duration or high-rpm lift and duration. The rear cylinder bank’s valve gear closes all intake and exhaust valves to minimize pumping losses while operating in three-cylinder mode.
The “intelligent” portion of the system is its ability to vary valve operation based on the driving situation and engine rpm. At low rpm, the i-VTEC intake valve timing and lift are optimized (low lift, short duration) for increased torque, which allows a wide range of 3-cylinder operation. As engine rpm builds past 4,950 rpm, the i-VTEC system transitions to a high-lift, long-duration intake cam profile for superior high-rpm engine power.
To help improve the fuel efficiency of the MDX engine, a new variation of Acura’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) is used. The VTEC system combines with Active Control engine Mounts (ACM) to allow the VCM system to operate with three cylinders in a wide range of situations to maximize fuel efficiency and lower emissions. When greater power is needed, the system switches seamlessly to six cylinder operation.
During startup, aggressive acceleration, or steep ascents – any time high power output is required – the engine operates on all six cylinders. During moderate-speed cruising and at low or moderate engine loads, the system operates just the front bank of three cylinders.
The VCM system can tailor the working displacement of the engine to match the driving requirements from moment to moment. Since the system automatically closes both the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders that are not used, pumping losses associated with intake and exhaust are eliminated and fuel efficiency gets a further boost. The system combines maximum performance and maximum fuel efficiency – two characteristics that don’t typically coexist in conventional engines.
VCM deactivates specific cylinders by using the i-VTEC (intelligent Variable Valve-Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system to close the intake and exhaust valves while the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) simultaneously cuts fuel to those cylinders. The spark plugs continue to fire in inactive cylinders to minimize plug temperature loss and prevent fouling induced from incomplete combustion during cylinder re-activation.
The system is electronically controlled, and uses special integrated spool valves in the cylinder heads. Based on commands from the system’s Electronic Control Unit, the spool valves selectively direct oil pressure to the rocker arms for specific cylinders. This oil pressure in turn drives synchronizing pistons that connect and disconnect the rocker arms.
The VCM system monitors throttle position, vehicle speed, engine speed, automatic-transmission gear selection and other factors to determine the correct cylinder activation scheme for the operating conditions. In addition, the system determines whether engine oil pressure is suitable for VCM switching and whether catalytic-converter temperature will remain in the proper range. To further smooth the transition of activating or deactivating cylinders, the system adjusts ignition timing and throttle position and turns the torque converter lock-up on and off. As a result, the transition between three and six cylinder modes is effectively unnoticeable to the driver.
Direct Injection System
The MDX’s V-6 engine is the second application of direct injection for an Acura vehicle in the United States, following the 2014 RLX sedan. The system features a compact, high-pressure, direct-injection pump that allows both high fuel flow and pulsation suppression, while variable pressure control optimizes injector operation. A multi-hole injector delivers fuel directly into each cylinder (not to the intake port, as in conventional port fuel injection designs), allowing for more efficient combustion.
The multi-hole injectors can create the ideal stoichiometric fuel/air mixture in the cylinders for good emissions control. Theoretically, a stoichiometric mixture has just enough air to completely burn the available fuel. Based on the operating conditions, the direct-injection system alters its function for best performance. Upon cold engine startup, fuel is injected into the cylinders on the compression stroke. This creates a weak stratified charge effect that improves engine start-up and reduces exhaust emissions before a normal operating temperature is reached.
Once the engine is fully warmed up for maximum power and fuel efficiency, fuel is injected during the intake stroke. This helps create a more homogeneous fuel/air mix in the cylinder that is aided by the high-tumble intake port design. This improves volumetric efficiency, and the cooling effect of the incoming fuel improves anti-knock performance.
Active Control Engine Mounts and Active Sound Control
A new, more powerful 28-volt Active Control Engine Mount system (ACM) is used to minimize the effects of engine vibration as the VCM system switches cylinders on and off. The 28-volt ACM is a key factor in the VCM’s broad range of operation in the new MDX. Sensors alert the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to direct ACM actuators positioned at the front and rear of the engine to cancel engine vibration using a reverse-phase motion. In the cabin of the MDX, an Active Sound Control (ASC) system further mitigates low frequencies that can occur during three-cylinder operation. (See Interior section for more information.)
There are two different Active Sound Control profiles available in the MDX. When the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) is in the Normal or Comfort setting, the ASC is tuned for maximum interior quietness. When the IDS Sport mode is selected, the ASC allows a more aggressive interior engine note. (See Chassis section for more information.)
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
The MDX’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system replaces a conventional throttle cable with smart electronics that “connect” the accelerator pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle-body. The result is less underhood clutter and lower weight, as well as quicker and more accurate throttle actuation. Plus, a specially programmed "gain" rate between the throttle pedal and engine offers improved drivability and optimized engine response to suit specific driving conditions.
Acura’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system establishes the current driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine speed (rpm) and road speed. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity that gives the MDX’s throttle pedal a predictable and responsive feel that meets driver expectations.
There are two different throttle profiles available in the MDX. When the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) is in the Normal or Comfort setting, the transmission is in “D” (Drive) the drive-by-wire system uses the normal profile. When the Sport mode is selected, the system switches to a more aggressive throttle map to enhance responsiveness.
Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control
The MDX’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors engine functions to determine the best ignition spark timing. Two engine block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensors "listens" to the engine, and based on this input, the ECU can retard the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The 3.5-liter V-6 has an ignition coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned above each spark plug’s access bore.
The exhaust manifolds of the 3.5-liter V-6 are cast directly into the aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight, decrease parts count, and create more underhood space. The result of this casting design is that the two primary catalytic converters are positioned much closer to the combustion chambers, enabling extremely rapid converter “light-off” after engine start. A significant weight savings is realized by eliminating traditional exhaust manifolds. Downstream of the close-coupled catalytic converters, a hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries exhaust gases to a secondary, underfloor catalytic converter.
The 2014 MDX 3.5-liter V-6 engine meets the tough EPA Tier 2/Bin 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards, and is certified to this level of emissions performance for 120,000 miles. A number of advanced technologies are factors in the emissions performance. The unique cylinder head-mounted close-coupled catalytic converters light off more quickly after engine start up, and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor within the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) boosts computing power to improve the precision of spark and fuel delivery.
The MDX’s V-6 engine features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that continually adjusts the fuel delivery to yield the best combination of power, low fuel consumption and low emissions. Multiple sensors constantly monitor critical engine operating parameters such as intake air temperature, ambient air pressure, throttle position, intake airflow volume, intake manifold pressure, coolant temperature, exhaust-to-air ratios, as well as the position of the crankshaft and the camshafts.
To further improve emissions compliance, the 3.5-liter V-6 makes use of an after-cat exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system that allows cleaner, cooler EGR gas to be fed back into the intake system. An EGR system, especially one that delivers a cleaner, cooler charge, reduces pumping loss for better fuel efficiency.
One-Touch Start System
To ensure consistent starting, the MDX has a one-touch start system that maintains starter engagement until the engine starts. Should the driver release the Start button before the engine starts, the system will start the vehicle. Simply push the Start button (with a foot on the brake pedal and the fob in the vehicle) and the engine will automatically start up.
Noise & Vibration Control
With its 60-degree V-angle and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block assembly, the 3.5-liter V-6 powerplant is exceptionally smooth during operation. Other factors that help reduce engine noise and vibration are a rigid forged-steel crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts, and a stiff cast-aluminum oil pan that reduces cylinder block flex.
100,000+/- Mile Tune-up Intervals
The MDX’s 3.5-liter V-6 requires no scheduled maintenance for 100,000+/- miles or more, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. The first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment, replacement of the camshaft timing belt, and the installation of new spark plugs.
Maintenance Minder™ System
To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the MDX has a Maintenance Minder™ system that continually monitors the vehicle's operating condition. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a message on the Multi-Information Display (MID).
The Maintenance Minder™ system monitors operating conditions such as oil and coolant temperature along with engine speed to determine the proper service intervals. Depending on operating conditions, oil change intervals can be extended to a maximum of 10,000 miles, potentially sparing the owner considerable expense and inconvenience over the life of the vehicle. The owner-resettable system monitors all normal service parts and systems, including oil and filter, tire rotation, air-cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, spark plugs, timing belt, coolant, brake pads and more. To mitigate driver distraction, maintenance alerts are presented on the MID only when the ignition is first turned on, not while driving.
Sequential SportShift 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
The 2014 MDX is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission featuring Sequential SportShift with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and two automatic shift modes. The Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic offers excellent launch-feel, acceleration performance and fuel efficiency. Gearing is unchanged from the 2013 model.
The straight-gate shifter is an intuitive and easy-to-use design that takes up little space in the center console. The shifter allows the driver to choose P (Park), R (Reverse), N (Neutral), D (Drive) and S (Sport mode) for more performance-oriented shift programming.
Both shift performance and smoothness are improved by cooperative control between the Drive-by-Wire throttle system and the electronically-controlled, Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and downshifts; thus the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, the peak g-forces (or "shift shock") are reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.
The 6-speed transmission can be controlled by a straight-gate console-mounted shifter or a steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter system that works whenever the transmission is in either of its two automatic modes.
In addition to Grade Logic Control, Shift Hold control and Cornering G Shift control, common with the outgoing model, the 2014 MDX adds a Sport mode for increased driver involvement. All of the transmission logic systems work together to automatically alter shift timing based on driving conditions.
The Sequential SportShift 6-speed transmission can be operated in two different, fully automatic modes with the console-mounted straight-gate shifter. The D (or “Drive”) mode is ide