The Acura MDX has matured well. If you place a 2020 model next to a 20-year-old version, you might be reminded of the “before and after” pictures so common in makeover TV shows. While the old model looked more like a sibling to the Honda Pilot than a luxury midsize SUV, there’s no mistaking the manufacturer on the newest version of this award-winning nameplate. Acura brings a new light to the luxury segment with the 2021 MDX.

That said, luxury doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag. Keep reading to learn more about this surprisingly affordable luxury SUV. It proves Acura still has what it takes to compete in the high-end crossover segment. You may even find yourself eyeing up a Type-S variant in Apex Blue Pearl. You’ll be able to go fast, look good, and ride comfortably — all in one vehicle.

Performance Specifications

You can choose from three engines on the 2021 MDX. The first is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder capable of 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The second, another turbocharged powerplant, is a 3.0-liter V6 with 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there’s (almost certainly) a hybrid, like that under the hood of the 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. Horsepower and torque on the hybrid model are 325 and 295, respectively.

Gasoline-powered engines on the 2021 MDX are paired to a ten-speed automatic transmission. It’s available in both front- and all-wheel drive. Hybrid models will only come in all-wheel drive and “shift” via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Towing capacity maxes out around 5,000 pounds, when properly equipped.

Available Colors

Acura manufactures the three-row 2021 MDX in the following colors.

  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Performance Red Pearl
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Majestic Black Pearl
  • Gunmetal Metallic
  • Fathom Blue Pearl
  • Canon Bronze Metallic
  • Apex Blue Pearlt

Trimlines and Pricing

As far as trim levels go on the 2021 MDX, there aren’t a lot of specifics available. However, we do know that the base model will likely be priced around $46,000. You can expect a slew of premium features as you move up in trim tiers. You’ll find traditional high-end luxury features such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, keyless entry and push button start, a heated, telescoping, and tilting steering wheel, and plenty more.

Acura doesn’t do different trim levels like you might be used to. Assuming the 2021 model follows roughly the same conventions as the 2020 version, you can expect just a standard MDX with various upgrade packages available. They include the Technology, A-Spec, Advance, and Entertainment packages. The highest end MDX was priced at just above sixty-grand in 2020. You can expect the top tier 2021 model to be in that price range as well.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not yet rated the 2021 Acura MDX. However, the 2020 model received a Five-Star rating from the NHTSA and an overall “Good” rating from the IIHS. We really don’t expect Acura to move backwards with the 2021 version of the MDX.

Acura fits the 2021 MDX with AcuraWatch, the brand’s standard array of driver assistance features. Included within this package are technologies such as “driver awareness monitor, a traffic sign recognition system and traffic jam assist with intelligent cruise control.” You’ll also enjoy the “rear view cameras, lane assist, road mitigation, automatic emergency braking, and traction and stability control systems” on the 2021 Acura MDX.

Fuel Efficiency

There are no official figures yet, as fuel efficiency numbers go on the 2021 Acura MDX. Since both turbocharged engines are new for 2021, it’s hard to compare them to the 3.5-liter V6 engine found in all engine bays of the 2020 MDX. Last year’s model made about 20 EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG) in the city and 27 MPG on the highway.

We estimate those numbers will be comparable to the 3.0-liter V6 found on the 2021 model, given it’s also turbocharged. The four-cylinder engine should make slightly better numbers. The Sport Hybrid model should return the same 26 city and 27 highway MPG as it did last year. That much has not changed.


Speaking of changes, the 2021 Acura MDX’s launch was delayed due to the pandemic. The good news is that we should start to see the new MDX on dealer lots by the end of October 2020. Contact your local Acura dealer if you want to know when you can see one up close and in-person (safely, of course).

In the meantime, there’s plenty of talk of the 2021 MDX from reviewers. Many note that “the new model is all about aggressive styling, performance, and affordable technology.”  It’s easy to see how Acura directs the newest MDX at an audience that’s all about those fine details.

For example, Edmunds called the 2021 MDX “one of the most well-rounded vehicles in the midsize three-row luxury SUV class, yet it’s also one of the least expensive.” You really get a lot of premium features for a price not too much higher than a Honda CR-V or Pilot. With a list of competitors that includes the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, BMW X5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE, there’s a lot of German sophistication to contend with. But with plenty of power beneath the hood, a flair for style across the dynamic body lines, and a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the 2021 Acura MDX stands its ground.

Most reviewers didn’t have much to complain about on the 2021 MDX. That bodes well for anyone eyeing up this newest SUV model. All said and done, we believe the 2021 MDX is one you should have on your shortlist.

The Last Word

The 2021 Acura MDX must meet the high expectations — especially if it’s to compete with iconic luxury imports such as BMW, Mercedes, or Audi. Given there’s room for customization beneath the hood, within the interior, and around the exterior, we think Acura will continue the MDX’s best-selling streak with the newest model.

It remains to be seen if that prediction is true. However, we suggest heading over to your local Acura dealer to form your own opinion. If there’s one thing we know about luxury vehicles, it’s that personalization and comfort are integral components you just can’t skimp on. So go find out for yourself!


Rebecca Henderson has a Master's in German and a Bachelor's in Creative Writing. She alternates her time between writing and working on a variety of motorized projects. Most recently, she and her boyfriend have been building a custom drift trike. Rebecca believes that language, love, and a life worth living are only the first ingredients to happiness.