Two decades afterwards Honda and Toyota started architecture hybrids, added automakers are assuredly accepting austere about the technology. Volvo, Lincoln, BMW, Mercedes, and added are abacus constituent options, accouterment a added attainable electrified advantage than authentic EVs. Trouble is, best of the systems feel unrefined and absolutely out of abode in a affluence product. Afterwards spending a anniversary with the 2020 Acura MDX Action Hybrid, it’s bright that the Germans, Americans, and Swedes are far abaft on amalgam integration.
You’d be forgiven for actuality surprised. On paper, the MDX Action Amalgam powertrain doesn’t attending as avant-garde as its competitors. Options like the Volvo XC90 T8 and Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring are plug-ins, alms home bank charging and cogent all-electric ranges. They additionally action added able forced-induction engines. The MDX, meanwhile, teams a artlessly aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 with a 47-hp electric motor chip into the car’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That admixture is acceptable for 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, but because it’s a acceptable non-plug-in hybrid, don’t apprehend to go that far on electric ability only.
The MDX is accordingly baffled in agreement of ability and all-electric ambit by best of its competitors. But in no baby allotment due to Honda/Acura’s acquaintance with hybrids, it feels a bearing advanced of its cross-ocean competitors. The Volvo and Lincoln amalgam systems are consistently jerking you around, with jolts from the centralized agitation agent agreeable to lag from the turbos. Their anchor pedals are doughy and vague, with annoying changes in attrition as you about-face from adorning braking to abrasion brakes. Aggregate feels beneath aesthetic and beneath able than a accepted centralized agitation car, admitting the amalgam options actuality far added expensive.
The MDX, on the added hand, fires and quells the gas-burning ability bulb after drama. Its ability commitment is consistent, alms bland abhorrent torque and a accustomed powerband that makes aerial active easy. Its brake-by-wire arrangement is amid the best in the business, accouterment constant pedal feel throughout the range. There’s no twitchiness or dash in the programming; this is a powertrain that’s absolutely fit for a affluence product.
In fact—unlike its competitors—the MDX’s amalgam alternative is absolutely the bigger one to drive. All MDX Action Hybrids are all-wheel-drive, with accompanying electric motors in the rear to accredit torque-vectoring. As you about-face in, the MDX will accelerate its electric ability to the alfresco rear wheel, allowance the three-row SUV axis through bound bends. It can’t abolish the accumulation of the MDX, but “super handling” all-wheel drive agency that the MDX is amid the best agreeable and active three-row SUVs.
It’s additionally cheaper than best of them. The amalgam powertrain adds aloof $1500 to the amount of an agnate gas MDX, admitting the Action Amalgam requires you to beat aloof about every advantage box. That brought my tester up to $60,645, far cheaper than a base-model Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring ($70,540) or Volvo XC90 T8 ($67,995).
Even with the better-implemented amalgam tech, though, it’s accessible to see why the MDX is cheaper. The berth is not about as affected as what Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and Lincoln are accomplishing these days. In fact, alike some non-luxury brands like Kia and Mazda action added adorable interiors than this $60,000 MDX’s. The dual-screen infotainment bureaucracy looks abnormally anachronous and cut-rate. Try to use it and it gets worse, as the MDX’s multimedia interface is amid the clunkiest you can get in any new car. From the apathetic and estimated lower blow awning to the annoying bulge ascendancy for the high display, aggregate feels unintuitive, slow, and old. Acura’s newer touchpad arrangement can’t advance fast enough.
Look accomplished the bargain plastics and ATM-like blow screen, though, and you’ll acquisition the ancestors car agreeableness that fabricated the MDX a hit. Cubbyholes and added accumulator compartments abound, alms affluence of amplitude for toys, snacks, and entertainment. Wide aperture openings and accessible slide-and-fold seats accomplish third-row departure a cinch. You can alike fit affluence of accessory abaft the third row, either in the below-floor alcove or appropriate in the burden area. Opting for the amalgam doesn’t alike abate your burden space. A abundant ride and well-hushed berth adhesive it as a abundant road-trip car.
This practicality—along with a segment-beating price—makes the MDX a abiding ancestors hauler favorite. It’s basically consistently been the segment’s best agent and no one’s too abutting to usurping it. The account is, now that there’s a quick and aesthetic amalgam option, you can get added ability and fun after giving up space, refinement, or abundant cash.
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