The Acura MDX is a luxury midsize SUV, providing room for seven across three rows of seating. Introduced in 2001, the MDX is now in its third generation. Please read on as we analyze the highlights of the Acura MDX as well as alternatives you might consider.
When the Acura MDX made its debut it was the first model in the segment to include a third-row seat. Two seats are up front, a three-row bench seat is in the middle and two additional positions are found in the third row. The Acura MDX is based on the same platform underpinning the Honda Pilot.
Since its inception, a V6 has powered every MDX. A five-speed automatic was used through 2009, and a six-speed automatic is found in 2010 to 2015 models. The 2016 MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This model is EPA-rated at 19/27 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available and the MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Significant highlights of the current-generation Acura MDX include jewel-eyed LED headlights, a rearview camera, a leather interior and a power liftgate. Also available is Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, navigation, adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation warning.
Unlike the Acura MDX, the Audi Q7 offers standard all-wheel drive. Introduced in 2007, the first-generation Q7 was in production through 2015. A second-generation model arrives for the 2017 model year. This model seats seven and shares its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne.
The current model is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. A turbodiesel engine was previously available, but has been shelved pending the outcome of Volkswagen Group’s emissions investigation and remedy. This model comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and is EPA-rated at 16/22 mpg city/highway. When properly equipped, the current Q7 tows up to 7,700 pounds.
The Audi Q7 is outfitted with aluminum wheels, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control and a 10-speaker audio system. A voice-recognition navigation system, rear cross traffic alert and a 19-speaker Bose audio system are also available.
More wagon-like than SUV, the Lincoln MKT offers three rows of seats. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The MKT shares its platform with the Ford Flex.
Two engine choices are available: A normally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 is found in the front-wheel drive model and makes 303 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, this model is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg city/highway. A turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine is available with the all-wheel drive model. Also paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, this version is EPA-rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway. This model has a maximum towing capacity of up to 4,500 pounds.
The current Lincoln MKT comes with aluminum wheels, Bridge of Weir leather seats, heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel. A power-folding third-row seat and a second-row refrigerated console are available. A voice-activated Sync with MyLincoln Touch infotainment system is standard. Available safety features include lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Active park assist, providing parallel parking assistance, is also available.
Land Rover LR4
The Land Rover LR4 offers standard five-row seating. However, a two-position third row is also available and offers surprising room for the sixth and seventh passengers. Introduced in 2010, the LR4 represents the fourth-generation of the model line still known as Discovery in Britain. Four-wheel drive is standard across the model line.
Earlier models — built from 2011 to 2013 — are powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine making 375 horsepower and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Beginning in 2014, Land Rover replaced the V8 with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 making 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. This model is EPA-rated at 15/19 mpg city/highway and has a maximum towing capacity of 7,716 pounds.
The 2016 LR4 comes with heated sideview mirrors, an 11-speaker Meridian audio system, navigation, leather seats, hill start assist and hill descent control. Adaptive cruise control, a heavy-duty package with an active locking rear differential and a surround-view camera system are available.
GMC Acadia Denali
The GMC Acadia is worth comparing, especially when the top-end Denali line is the focal point for that comparison. GMC launched the Acadia in 2007 and has maintained that first-generation model ever since. In 2011 the Acadia Denali was launched, a model best compared with luxury SUVs. It is also similar to the Buick Enclave.
The GMC Acadia Denali offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. This model seats seven or eight. The middle bench seat can be replaced by a pair of captain’s chairs, resulting in a corresponding loss of one seating position. All Acadia Denali models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine making 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This model is EPA-rated at up to 17/24 mpg city/highway and can tow up to 5,200 pounds.
As the top trim level, the Acadia Denali brings in chrome embellishments, 20-inch wheels and heated, power-folding sideview mirrors. A power liftgate, a leather interior with aluminum trim and a color touch-screen navigation system are standard. Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Hill-hold assist is also standard.
Luxury SUV Considerations
Besides the models mentioned, other three-row luxury SUVs include the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Volvo XC90. Even larger models offering three rows include the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Lincoln Navigator and Lexus GX.