2017 ACURA MDX SPORT HYBRID FIRST LOOK
2017 ACURA MDX SPORT HYBRID FIRST LOOK BY AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
One of the hidden gems in the premium sedan segment is Acura’s RLX Sport Hybrid…a stealthy, road carving machine with a super smart all-wheel drive system.
Well now, Acura has applied that same Sport Hybrid powertrain to the 2017 MDX, the brand’s flagship SUV. But unlike the RLX, the MDX uses a smaller 3.0-liter V6 as the gas-powered part of the equation. The rest of the electrified components are the same. Most hybrids use 1, maybe 2 electric motors to augment the gas engine with additional power. But this MDX uses 1 motor at the front and 1 at each rear wheel to truly give credence to the term Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This adds a modern twist to Acura’s torque vectoring all-wheel drive system by using an electrified Twin Motor Unit in the rear. It’s fed its power from a lithium-ion battery pack and the two 36 horsepower motors work independently to both get the car through turns more gracefully and to regenerate power for the battery. Creating what is called a yaw moment by sending more power to the outside rear wheel during cornering, this motor-based Super Handling All-Wheel Drive can create larger power differences between the left and right rear wheels substantially magnifying its effects. The front motor is built into the 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Depending on driving style and the road conditions, the MDX Sport Hybrid can be driven by the rear motors alone, the gas engine alone, motor assisted or a combination of all components providing front drive, rear drive or all-wheel drive motion.
Total system output is 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, considerably more than the standard MDX. Plus, it ratchets up its combined fuel economy by 23%, rated at 26mpg city/27mpg highway.
Model-exclusive Active Damper technology and the addition of new SPORT + mode give customers even more MDX.
This Sport Hybrid version comes in 2 grades priced from near $53,000 with either 6- or 7-passenger seating configurations.