2020 Acura MDX A-Spec SH-AWD, review, features, specs, fuel mileage
Denis Flierl's picture

2020 Acura MDX A-Spec Brings An Extra Level Of Style And Sophistication

This week we drive the 2020 Acura MDX AWD A-Spec. See how this A-Spec trim brings an extra level of style and sophistication to the MDX.
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Many luxury SUV shoppers don’t think of the Acura MDX when searching for a new SUV or crossover, but it’s definitely a model you need to put on your shopping list. We think the 2020 Acura MDX is one of the best-performing crossovers in its class. It is all-weather capable, has a quiet, spacious cabin and offers good value.

What’s new for 2020?

Acura added the A-Spec trim package for the 2019 MDX model year, but there are no significant changes for the 2020 model change.


2020 Acura MDX

Features & Options

The 2020 Acura MDX AWD A-Spec luxury SUV ($54,900) comes with18-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated mirrors, a power lift-gate, a sunroof, and keyless entry and ignition. Inside, you'll find power-adjustable front seats with heating, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Tech features include a dual-screen infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker sound system with five USB ports, satellite radio, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Safety features include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane and road departure warning and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

The Tech package adds goodies such as a 10-speaker premium audio system with HD radio, navigation, blind-spot information, rain-sensing wipers, and rear-cross traffic alert. Total MSRP including Destination: 56,295.

What is the Acura A-Spec package?

The A-Spec trim level brings blacked-out exterior trim, wider tires wrapped around 20-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, front-seat ventilation, and sport pedals. Overall it brings an extra level of style and sophistication to the MDX.


2020 Acura MDX AWD A-Spec interior

The first thing we had to figure out was the new push-button transmission shifter, located on the center console. But, once we got it handled, it was a nice change from the big sifters in other SUVs. It frees up space on the console, and it’s easy to use with its distinct buttons and levers. The premium leather seats are plush and supportive, with low side bolsters that make sliding in and out easy.

What we didn’t like is how the driver’s seat slides back automatically when the door is opened, and we had to readjust the seat each time we got in. A week isn’t long enough for this journalist to program the seats, so we had to deal with it. The cabin is roomy for this class and the fit, finish, and material quality is first-rate.

Rear passengers are bathed in comfort too with second and third-row seats that fold flat and with both seats folded, the cargo space reveals an underfloor storage area with room for items you need to keep out of sight. It has a handy lid that can be moved out of the way.

Engine Specs

MDX is powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6, making 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft. of torque. It’s coupled with a nine-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels. This MDX came with the optional SH-AWD system for all-weather capability. 

How fuel-efficient is the MDX?

EPA ratings come in at 19/25/ city/highway and 21 combined mpg, using premium unleaded fuel. The idle/stop feature gets you 1 mpg more, though it can be annoying.


Driving Dynamics

For driving enthusiasts, the MDX is one of the sportier crossovers when you get behind the wheel. The 3.5 liter V6 makes enough power to have fun when pushed hard. It offers up strong acceleration, rivaling some of its European competitors while still getting a decent fuel economy rating. We used the steering wheel paddle shifters in Sport mode, enabling the MDX’s 9-speed automatic to quickly shift up or down. When left in normal mode, acceleration is smooth and the nine-speed transmission keeps revs high at full throttle.

On the highway, the ride is comfortable, but we could feel higher frequency bumps through the larger 20-inch wheels at lower speeds. In tight mountains corners, this tester had minimal body roll and the suspension soaked up larger bumps. During city driving, the MDX is easy to maneuver in traffic, but the automatic start/stop function still takes too long to react off the line after coming to a stop.


2020 Acura MDX

The cabin is quiet and kept us insulated from the city, thanks to an active noise-cancellation system, active engine mounts, acoustic glass in the windshield and windows, and extra insulation throughout the vehicle.

For those who live in cold climates, the MDX’s SH-AWD is an exceptional system that moves power front-to-back and side-to-side, depending on where you need traction. In the corners, the system transfers more power to the outside wheels in a curve (torque vectoring), similar to performance cars. This also makes a difference on dry roads where there may be loose gravel near the edge of the road but clean near the middle.

Conclusion

The 2020 Acura MDX is one of the best-driving crossovers in its class. It’s all-weather capable and has a quiet, spacious cabin. Throw in the MDX’s long list of safety features, and you’ve got a top family contender in this class. The A-Spec trim brings an extra level of style and sophistication to the MDX.

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Photo credit: Acura USA


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Comments

Hey Guys, The seat programming for memory or to cancel the exit feature are very simple to do in the settings. Question, does anyone review functions with you before you drive it? All manufacturers now have you tube channels or a quick reference guide for common questions.
I really like the MDX, but would not commit to buying unless they update the infotainment system they've been using since 2013. Besides minor updates with the exception of Apple carplay and Android auto - the system is way too dated at this price point.