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2023 Acura MDX Platinum Elite: Test drive of the week

2023-05-07

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Choosing a new vehicle is never easy and it usually requires making choices and compromises, regardless of budget. Few models tick all the boxes or come close to doing so, but that's the case with the 2023 Acura MDX, a vehicle that, in my opinion, has everything going for it.

 

The model is performance-oriented without detracting from its luxurious and refined aspect. Add to that the solid reputation of the brand for reliability and you get a vehicle that cannot be faulted. That's precisely what I wanted to prove by test driving the 2023 MDX.

 

Lineup and engines

 

The range of the 2023 Acura MDX clearly revolves around sportiness, as the Japanese manufacturer's SUV comes with performance elements even in its base version. If you want a bit more oomph and some additional gadgets, there's the Tech version. The A-Spec version offers a more aggressive look, trading in its chrome elements for a darker and more provocative finish. Next up is the Platinum Elite version, which adds luxury to the MDX experience. This one notably features a color head-up display, 16-way adjustable seats, and enhanced ambient lighting. Finally, the Type S version sits atop the Acura MDX 2023 range. Unsurprisingly, this one focuses primarily on performance.

 

Base - $61,790

Tech - $65,790

A-Spec - $69,010

Platinum Elite - $73,010

Type S - $83,110

Type S Ultra - $87,110

 

The base, Tech, A-Spec, and Platinum Elite versions share the same mechanics, which is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and benefits from standard all-wheel drive. The Platinum Elite version has an average fuel consumption of 12.6L/100 km in the city and 9.4 L/100 km on the highway according to Japanese manufacturer data. During my test drive, I managed to achieve an average consumption of 10.6L/100 km, which is reasonable considering that I drove on the highway for about 70% of my trips. Therefore, I believe that Acura's figures are quite accurate.

 

As for the Type S version and its Ultra variant, these are powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Once again, all-wheel drive and a 10-speed automatic transmission are included. Not surprisingly, this engine is slightly thirstier, with an average fuel consumption of 13.8L/100 km in the city and 11.2 L/100 km on the highway, which is respectable for a performance version of this caliber.

 

Tested version

 

I had the chance to test drive the Platinum Elite version of the 2023 Acura MDX, a vehicle that I was particularly excited to drive. You see, the brand's philosophy has changed a lot in recent years, with performance becoming Acura's top priority. So, I was eager to see how much emphasis the Japanese manufacturer had placed on the model's sporty side, and let me tell you that I was positively surprised. With a starting price of over $73,000, needless to say, my expectations were particularly high for the model, and Acura managed to satisfy me. The equipment in the Platinum Elite version is comprehensive and the sporty side is well highlighted.

 

The first impression

 

I know I'm going to be criticized for what I'm about to say, but I dare to believe that Acura could have made an extra effort to make the MDX more distinctive in terms of aesthetics. During my test drive, several people I talked to confused it with the RDX. Although the two models look very similar, they have several differences, but it is true that at first glance, it is quite difficult to tell the difference between the two. However, the 2023 Acura MDX remains very elegant and sleek in its uniqueness. It is a model that looks like nothing else in its category.

 

Somehow, Acura always manages to make me both angry and burst out laughing. The interior offers an elegant and sharp design. In short, you feel like you're in a sports car and not a three-row SUV, which is a good thing. What particularly annoys me is the lack of a phone button on the steering wheel. At least, that was the case in the test version. You have to use other buttons and sometimes go through several steps to hang up. I left a several-minute message to my wife before figuring out how to end a call. This is the kind of thing that should be intuitive in a vehicle like the 2023 Acura MDX. The brand's engineers tend to make things too complicated. However, it can be interesting in certain situations. For example, when changing driving modes, there is a nice sound activity and especially a fun animation depending on the mode chosen. As for the practical side of the model, let's just say that the third row of seats should only be used in case of emergency, because once it is raised, the cargo space is tiny.

 

The driving experience

 

The figures that accompany the 2023 Acura MDX do not do it justice, and I beg you not to rely on them. 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque don't sound particularly impressive for an SUV of this size. Fortunately, driving the model feels like it offers 30 or even 40 extra horsepower. It's hard to say how Acura pulled it off, but the MDX is capable of giving you a range of emotions, and it's even better when you activate Sport mode.

 

My recommendations

 

Acura has always been known for its great reliability and durability. The 2023 MDX is no exception, and it is a model that offers a luxurious experience even though that is not its priority. So, you have understood that it is also very pleasant to drive, and that's why I highly recommend it to small families and business people who want to make their everyday life a little less ordinary. It's not perfect and requires some adaptation time. Nevertheless, once you know it, you simply don't want to go back.

 

Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

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