Despite wearing Acura badging at its official debut at the 2013 New York auto show, a spokesperson last year told CarAdvice exclusively that the MDX will likely return to Australia wearing a Honda badge.
Front-wheel-drive availability for the first time, and a return to right-hand-drive production at the sole Alabama, US production facility, leaves the all-new seven-seat luxury SUV pegged at an 80 per cent chance of reaching our shores, according to the Honda spokesperson.
The Honda MDX debuts a brand new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that falls under the Honda ‘Earth Dreams’ banner, and offers direct injection for the first time in a six-cylinder petrol Honda.
Producing 216kW or power and 362Nm of torque, the new DI V6 offers impressive outputs for its capacity – few engines of 3.5-litre capacity produce more than 350Nm. Yet, in front-wheel-drive guise, the MDX sips just 10.2 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle.
Both two- and four-wheel drive models get a six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddleshifters.
Built on an brand new platform, the car is 48mm longer but 15mm lower than the old model.
Honda claims the new multi-link rear suspension is more compact than before, adding extra third row legroom and permitting a 76mm wider entry point to the twin back seats.
A new centre-bench folding system, dubbed “one-touch walk in”, has been designed with a single illuminated button flipping the backrest forward and sliding the bench fore to allow rear access. The centre bench is also on rails, to adjust middle and rear-seat legroom.
The cabin includes twin colour screens, including a higher-mounted eight-inch display screen and a seven-inch lower touchscreen interface, the latter helping to reduce the number of buttons on the console from 41 to just nine.
Both a nine- or 16-inch rear entertainment screen is also available.
Honda says it has expanded the level of storage space offered by the MDX, in addition to adding ventilated front seats, rear door sunshades, and air conditioning that can be switched on via remote control.
New safety equipment includes a multi-angle reversing camera, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with a low-speed follow function, blind-spot monitor, and auto-braking collision avoidance technology. LED headlights are also now standard.
All models get adaptive dampers standard, with an Integrated Dynamic System (IDS) offering three suspension-adjustable modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport.
The modes also adjust steering and throttle, and on AWD models, power distribution characteristics to each wheel. The Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system is a similar system to that currently available on the Honda Legend.
Honda cites an Agile Handling Assistance package – which works with the adaptive dampers to help minimise bodyroll – as helping to slice the Honda MDX lap time at the Nurburgring by eight seconds. Both 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels are available.
If Honda Australia decides to bring the Honda MDX back to our shores, the front-wheel-drive model wil start at less than $60,000, with the all-wheel-drive models fighting the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and BMW X5 just above.