Judy Rae

Acura’s MDX A-Spec is a study in SUV luxury and performance

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Beach Wheels

By Jeff Mitchell

As longtime readers know, I place a high premium on those automobile manufacturers who really focus on build-quality and the overall fit and finish of their products.

After all, it’s small details that count.

Acura, the upscale luxury division of Honda, is such a manufacturer.

Recently, I spent a week with a 2020 Acura MDX A-Spec sport utility vehicle and came away impressed.

The MDX, Acura’s SUV flagship, offers three rows of seating and is the big brother to the popular and smaller two-row RDX. 

My particular tester, all dressed up in beautiful Apex Blue Pearl paint, came in the sporty A-Spec trimline which offers 20-inch steel alloy wheels, two-tone sports seats of Alcantara, sport gas and brake pedals and LED fog lights. The front grill of the A-Spec is blacked out with the exception of the main Acura badge. The front wrap-around headlights are jeweled and I must say very badass.

First appearing in 2001, the MDX’s last significant refresh was in 2017.

With its all-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension, my MDX offered great handling and ride quality and is designed to be a spacious and safe family hauler in all kinds of weather. 

Under the hood is a responsive 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 290 horsepower and 267-pound feet of torque. That engine is mated to a competent 9-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel.

Tip — for maximum fun and performance, I would keep the drive mode in the Dynamic setting which really helps the SUV fly when you mash down its throttle. The MDX handles curves with confidence. Steering is light but responsive. 

As part of the A-Spec package, you’ll find red and black Alcantara and leather seating and special badging on sides and rear. On the dashboard, you will find two screens handling all of your infotainment and navigation needs. The top screen handles navigation while the bottom handles audio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and other functions.

A 10-speaker ELS sound system offers amazing sound.

My MDX also offered a power moonroof, power tailgate. blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and forward collision warning and braking. The front seats offered 12-way adjustment and were heated and ventilated. 

Gas mileage on my MDX was solid — 19 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg overall.

The MSRP of my tester, as optioned, was just over $55,000. 

Final thoughts: As a midsized luxury SUV, the MDX A-Spec is a solid, sporty value and you should definitely put it on your list to test drive. My guess is that you will like it. Buy with confidence.

Jeff Mitchell is a Los Angeles-based automobile writer and reviewer. Reach him at j.edward.mitchell@gmail.com

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