Acura’s popular MDX has gained a new look inside and out for 2017, but the big news is what you can’t see: a newly optional hybrid powertrain related to the setup used in the brand’s NSX supercar. Acura bills the vehicle the MDX Sport Hybrid, an obvious nod to its NSX cousin.
The particular setup, known as Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, features a 3.0-liter V-6 gas engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission mated to a trio of integrated electric motors. In the 2017 MDX, the layout of the system is the reverse of what you find in the NSX. A similar setup also features in Acura’s RLX Sport Hybrid.
What really sets the hybrid apart from its rivals is that one electric motor works with the engine to provide power for the front wheels, while the remaining two electric motors motivate the rears and form a “through-the-road” hybrid all-wheel-drive system. Because of the electric motors, Acura was able to integrate electrified torque vectoring.
Horsepower of the hybrid MDX peaks at 325 ponies, a 35 hp improvement to the regular MDX and its 3.5-liter V-6. Meanwhile, fuel economy is up 7 mpg in the city. Overall, Acura estimates the hybrid to be rated at 26 mpg combined, 25 city, and 26 on the highway.
To cope with the additional performance, tuned suspension is included as well as a drive modes selector with a new Sport+ mode added to the existing Comfort, Normal, and Sport options.
The MDX Sport Hybrid joins an otherwise revised lineup that gains the brand’s new “diamond pentagon” grille that debuted at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show on the Acura Precision concept. New LED fog lamps and jeweled headlamps are augmented by chrome rocker panel trim, a new rear bumper, and twin tail pipes poking out of a revised rear bumper. The MDX’s 20-inch alloy wheels have also been redesigned.
More features are added as standard, including an electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, automatic high beam headlamps, updated SirusXM 2.0, and a quartet of 2.5-amp USB charging ports.
Step up to the Advance trim level and the MDX now offers second row captain’s chairs with an integrated center console.
Acura says that the non-hybrid 2017 MDX will hit the market this summer with the MDX Sport Hybrid following later in the year.
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