The 2021 Acura MDX has been revealed overnight in the US and while it’s already confirmed not for Australian sales, it does provide a look into possible future Honda products for local release. While the Acura name is unfamiliar to Australians – it’s Honda’s equivalent of Lexus and Infiniti in North America and China – its products have been sold here with the Honda badge, including the Accord Euro and the first generation MDX in the early 00s.
The MDX is the brand’s longest-running nameplate having been launched in the US in 2001. It’s a large seven-seat SUV that competes with cars like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX and the Land Rover Discovery though Acura also names cars like the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade as rivals too.
“This new fourth-generation MDX really builds on all of the values that have made MDX a perennial favourite with customers over the past 20 years,” said Tom Nguyen, MDX global development leader.
“By injecting higher levels of craftsmanship, performance and technology, the 2022 MDX is truly a vehicle befitting of its flagship position.”
Sitting on an all-new platform that will eventually underpin other Acura and Honda products in North America, the 2021 Acura MDX features a new suspension layout, new engines and is larger than before for more interior space. The interior is more modern and high-tech than before, with two 12.3-inch screens – one for the driver and one for the centre of the cabin. Acura’s latest touchpad controller also features for the centre screen, with handwriting recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless charging and even Amazon Alexa.
A 710-watt 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D sound system is available too, while the use of leather upholstery is much more liberal than before as well. All MDX models offer seven seats as standard, though on some models, the middle seat in the middle row can be fully removed to create a six-seat layout.
On the styling front, the 2021 Acura MDX has been made more modern, sharper and bigger than before, with 71mm added to its overall length. The MDX wears the brand’s new ‘Diamond Pentagon’ grille, ‘Chicane’ LED daytime running lights and pretty sharp and angular sheetmetal. We really dig it!
Customers will initially be offered one engine: a 217kW/362Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 matched to a 10-speed auto – front-wheel drive is standard, while the brand’s torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system will be an option with capacity to send up to 70 per cent of torque to the rear wheels. The 3.5L V6 is capable of combined fuel consumption of 10.5L/100km
Acura is also launching the first ever 2021 Acura MDX Type S, which uses a turbocharged 265kW/480Nm 3.0-litre V6, as well as 21-inch alloy wheels, sportier suspension, a bodykit and four-piston Brembo brakes.
New active safety kit under the brand’s ‘AcuraWatch’ name include ‘Jewel Eye’ LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a huge 10.5-inch heads-up display, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, low-speed auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection and driver attention monitoring.
Pricing in the US kicks off from US$46,900 (approximately AU$62,000) for the entry level MDX, rising to US$57,100 for the tasty Type S and US$60,650 (AU$80,000) for the top-tier Advance model.
Alas, the 2021 Acura MDX is not destined for Australian showrooms but we can dream, right – and hope that its design and features migrate to the next-generation CR-V. But until then, talk about a missed opportunity to sell this beast in SUV-hungry Australia.