Car Review: 2014 Acura MDX AWD

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Acura has made huge strides in their SUV lineup, and the 2014 Acura MDX AWD appears to be a hot pick for luxury buyers in this segment. Built on a completely new platform, the seven-passenger MDX offers improved ride comfort, a more versatile and luxurious cabin, increased fuel efficiency and enhanced dynamic performance.

EXTERIOR

Our forest midst-colored test model MDX had extraordinary good looks with a refinement that takes luxury SUVs to a new level. The 2014 MDX body applies more than 55 percent advanced lightweight materials – including high strength steel, aluminum and magnesium – resulting in a vehicle that is both more rigid and lightweight, with total vehicle weight reduced 275 pounds from the previous model. Measuring 193.6 inches in overall length, 77.2 inches in overall width (excluding door mirrors), 67.6 inches in overall height, and riding on a 111-inch wheelbase (up 2.75 inches from the previous model), the new MDX boasts an “Executive Aero Sculpture” exterior design that lends it a sleek, tailored and sophisticated appearance. The aerodynamic body design – refined by engineers in a new wind tunnel at the company’s Ohio R&D center – helps the MDX achieve a more than 17 percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, making it one of the most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient luxury SUVs on the road.

INTERIOR

When you first enter the cabin of the 2014 Acura MDX AWD, you get the feeling of a high-end vehicle with a plethora of room that can’t be gauged from the exterior. Equally adept at carrying clients and kids, the new MDX boasts a luxurious and versatile interior. The revised body dimensions and new, more compact multi-link rear suspension, combined with innovative new technologies on the second-row seats, significantly improve third-row access and all-around passenger comfort. Third-row ingress and egress is significantly improved by a two-inch lower step-in height and three-inch wider entryway, and by the introduction of a new One-Touch Walk-In feature. With a single press of the illuminated One-Touch Walk-In button, the second-row seats automatically fold and slide to their forward-most position. The second-row seats now feature a four-position recline and a new Extended Slide capability that provides six inches of total seat adjustment for optimal balance between second- and third-row legroom. Rear cargo capacity is also improved and includes a new underfloor storage area.

Up front, there is a 10-way power adjustable and heated driver’s seat and an 8-way power and heated passenger seat. The MDX also addresses a major shortcoming of many luxury SUVs – available front-seat storage space – with a spacious new center console that can accommodate a purse, laptop case or a pair of iPads. The MDX’s luxury quotient is further boosted by its upgraded interior appointments, including premium leather-trimmed interior, silver plated accents, LED overhead and cabin accent lighting, along with new optional luxury features, such as Smart Entry, second-row sunshades, remote engine start and auto-linked air conditioning and climate-controlled seats. The 2014 MDX also takes a big step up in luxury comfort and quiet. The MDX’s dynamically tuned platform, more airtight body and triple path isolated dampers, along with the use of new sound-deadening materials such as acoustic glass and expanding body sealers, and Active Noise Control technology, make this the quietest and most composed MDX yet.

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15 Cars to look for at Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show for consumers, even if most manufacturers don’t use it to unveil their most important new cars and concepts. Still, it’s located in the massive and beautifully designed McCormick Place in downtown Chicago and it has many of the new cars you’ll want to see.

I spent Thursday and Friday walking the show with other members of the media before the show opens to the public today, and a number of cars caught my eye. I’ve listed a number of them below though it’s by no means an exhaustive list of the show’s highlights. Most were not introduced at this show, but you’ll want to look for these cars and see them up close.

2015 Ford Mustang

The 50th Anniversary Mustang was completely redesigned for 2015 and was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show. This was my first opportunity to see it up close, and I have to admit I liked it more after seeing it in person. I’m still not thrilled with the dramatic change with the styling of the front headlights, but they do fit the new design. The more dramatic fastback is easier to appreciate when you see this car in person, and overall it’s an impressive design. Ford only has one at this show so make sure to look for it. You can see more photos of the Mustang from the show here along with official photos here.

2015 Ford Mustang at Chicago Auto Show 1

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2015 Ford Mustang at Chicago Auto Show

I wasn’t really blown away when Ford revealed the 50th anniversary Mustang with a complete redesign. Sure, moving away from the retro design was a huge challenge, but the new look didn’t really grab me at first when I saw the photos. I have to admit, however, that I like it much more having seen it in person at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The fastback, in particular, jumps out right away. And while I can’t get too excited about the new headlights, they do fit the new, more aerodynmaic design. Still, I would have preferred that the headlamps sloped down at the far edges instead of flaring up. That might have made the new design perfect, but overall, it looks like the Ford team was able to meet some pretty high expectations.

  

Booth Babes at 2014 Chicago Auto Show

As usual, the good folks at Chrysler were the most consciencious about providing lovely eye candy to go along with their cars. We found some beautiful booth babes helping to promote some of their sexier cars, including an orange Dodge Challenger and a candy green SRT Viper. We also got to see the all-new Chrsyler 200 which looks like a great car and was promoted by a pretty brunette.

  

Nissan unveils Frontier Diesel Runner at Chicago Auto Show

We were on hand with Nissan today at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show as the company debuted the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins at a press conference featuring Fred Diaz, senior vice president of Sales & Marketing. Nissan recently announced a partnership with Cummins Inc. to provide a 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 in the next-generation Titan full-size pickup, which will arrive in calendar year 2015. The Frontier Diesel Runner is being presented as a “technical study” to guage the reaction of consumers and the market to a Nissan mid-size pickup with a diesel engin. The feedback Nissan receives will help the company plot a potential future direction for the Frontier.

As you can see from the photos and the short video below, Nissan put together a unqie and eye-catching design for this vehicle. The color scheme includes a custom “Arrest Me Red” and Matte Silver paint treatment and a transparent acrylic hood insert that provides as a window to the engine bay, where all powertrain-related elements continue the red theme. It also features an aerodynamic full-bed tonneau cover and tailgate spoiler. The 16-inch wheels, borrowed from a Frontier PRO-4X, were also treated with special two-tone paint, with red and black in the rear wheels and sliver and black in the front. The silver and red exterior design carries over into the interior of the Frontier Diesel Runner with red accents throughout and carbon-trimmed seats and panels. I love the overall design of this truck.

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