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2016 Acura MDX: Back seat ride review

Automotive journalist generally spend very little to no time outside of the confines of the driver’s seat. For this article, Torque News reports from “Row 2,” possibly the most comfortable long-road-trip seat found in a midsize SUV today.

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Acura haters be warned!

You won’t find much if any negative 2016 MDX review news here. Outside on an exceptionally stiff driver’s seat and suspension-city ride, prior to normal component work-in period, (for us at about 600 miles) we found MDX ride comfort to evolve on day 5 of our week-long MDX drive review.

Our fully equipped 2016 MDX SH-AWD Advance with Entertainment System, features Acura’s latest EarthDream ™ direct injected 3.5 liter V6, 9 speed push-button automatic transmission with paddle shifting, IDS and full-time smart handling all-wheel drive; that’s just the mechanical side.

On the tech side of MDX

Our Silicon Valley friends will discover an on-board hard drive, exceptionally personal connectivity, multi-screen visual, voice command and manually manipulated comfort features. For 2016 Acura MDX presents entertainment and active safety systems second to none in the automotive industry; regardless of price-point.

Granted, MDX systems do come at a price($42,865 to $57,080) and a bit of a learning curve; however, after a few hours driving MDX, Torque News found the operation of MDX to become second nature. You may read our initial drive review here.

You take “shot gun,” I want row 2!

Driving in a torrential downpour from Eugene, Oregon to Portland can be an arduous undertaking. Fighting 18-wheelers on Interstate 5 for two hours or more in the rain is an on going battle of lane-change, meets low to no viability.

Our co-pilot Nancy King was willing to take the wheel for an hour or two as we explored the spacious and comfortable confines of Acura MDX row 2.

With the adjustable 60/40 split rear leather covered and heated bench in the tilt-back position, we reached up and turned on the aircraft-like overhead lighting, pulled down the wide-screen from the well crafted head-liner and prepared to watch a video of choice. Reaching to the side windows of MDX, we pulled the shade curtain up as the drop down widescreen fell into position.

Warning: ELS Studio Premium Audio is life like…

2nd row occupants will find an overhead DVD, surround-sound stereo control panel at arms-length; we found the controls to be rather intuitive and easily manipulated. The DVD player is located in the center dash module above the center console. Again, easy to locate and manipulate, Mom or dad may control the DVD from this position for younger passengers; while the rest of us may operate the DVD player, surround-sound volume and balance from the overhead module or via hand held remote control.

Side note: At one point in the featured movie, a life-like passing car with horn blaring was blown through the ELS surround-sound system; not a good thing when driving down the freeway at 70 mph in a torrential downpour. After a quick recovery, we turned down the volume in the cabin. It was so life-like that the driver was anticipating a pending collision.

MDX surround-sound theater comes equipped with 2 wireless headsets, offering the viewing passenger selected volume measure, separate from forward unit control. We like the feature, so did the driver. With a wide-screen surround sound viewing experience afforded the rear passengers of MDX, the 2 hour drive-time to Portland melted away in heated, leather surfaced comfort. You’ll find full tech specifications here.

The ride via Amplitude Reactive Dampers and Fluid Filled Bushings is exceptional

MDX is not heavy or large by North American SUV standards. With the in city maneuverability advantage of its midsize wheel base, body length and interior volume comes the challenge of creating a premium drive and ride experience. Acura MDX features the best of both; a larger car ride and interior argonic comfort, thanks to exceptional interior architecture, Amplitude Reactive Dampers and Fluid Filled Bushings.

MDX passengers experience little to no body-roll, road noise transference or tire-bounce thanks to advanced Acura suspension engineering, passive and active electronic noise cancellation technology and measurable improvements in tire rim design and structural frame rigidity.

In other words

The greatest challenge to comfort while sitting in row 2 of MDX while traveling down the road at speed may be the abrupt wake-up call at the end of the journey; it’s that comfortable! “ Where do I place my extra pillow and blanket, and… what’s the next movie?

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Phast Phil (not verified)    March 25, 2015 - 11:40AM

Parks, from reading this, it seems that you may not have known that the control for the rear system can be released from the overhead and used as a remote