NEW YORK -- While slightly narrower, the redesigned 2014 Acura MDX gains several inches of wheelbase and two inches of overall length to increase roominess.
Responding to Sun Belt dealers' requests, the MDX will be sold with a front-drive powertrain as well as with its traditional all-wheel-drive setup.
The redesigned MDX will be powered by a 3.5-liter Earth Dreams V-6 that generates 290 hp and 267 foot-pounds of torque, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
That's slightly down on power from the current model, but the MDX will get substantially better fuel economy. The front-drive MDX will be rated at 20/28 mpg, while the all-wheel drive model is rated at 18/27, Acura says. The current all-wheel-drive model is rated at 16/21.
The redesigned MDX weighs 275 pounds less than its predecessor, which helps it make a zero-to-60 run a half-second faster than the outgoing version.
The MDX's "Integrated Dynamic System" adjusts steering effort, throttle response, all-wheel-drive response and active sound to suit the tastes of the driver. The suspension features amplitude reactive dampers for more responsive handling and better ride quality.
Third-row access is significantly improved by a two-inch lower step-in height and an entryway that's three inches wider. Touching a button makes the second-row seats fold and slide forward.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and a seven-inch telematics screen with real-time traffic conditions. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and precollision braking.
The MDX will go on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.
Acura sold 50,854 MDXs in 2012, up 18 percent over 2011, when supply was hampered by the Japan earthquake.