SUVs

2019 Acura MDX receives mild tweaks as A-Spec variant debuts

Wider wheels and adaptive dampers make the MDX Advance a little sportier.

Acura

The 2019 Acura MDX receives a handful of equipment changes, and some of them should make the SUV a little sportier from behind the wheel. After Acura gave the MDX an update for 2018, the changes for 2019 are a little subtler.

The first change concerns the Advance package, which for the 2019 MDX has wider wheels (8.5 instead of 8 inches) with more aggressive tires. As on the new A-Spec version (more on that below), those 20x8.5 wheels wear 265/45 R20 rubber, whereas last year's Advance model packed 245/50 R20 tires on its 20x8.0 wheels. The Advance trim level also adds adaptive dampers, which were previously offered only on the Sport Hybrid model.

Acura also says it has reprogrammed the MDX's nine-speed automatic transmission for smoother acceleration, with more frequent second-gear starts. Engine stop-start becomes standard on all MDX variants (last year it was optional), and Acura says the system is smoother and has a "more natural" feeling when restarting. Fuel economy remains 20 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 19/26 with SH-AWD all-wheel drive.

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec

Carbon fiber trim, Alcantara and sport pedals dress up the A-Spec model's cabin.

Acura

Other changes for the 2019 MDX include the addition of second-row captain's chairs as an option with the Technology and Entertainment packages, as well as a new color palette that now includes a total of nine choices -- include an A-Spec-exclusive Apex Blue Pearl.

The big news, of course, is that the MDX adds an A-Spec variant for the first time. Introduced at the New York Auto Show, the A-Spec treatment dresses up the three-row SUV with a new front fascia, new side skirts, gray 20-inch five-spoke wheels, wider exhaust tips, unique gauges, a new steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and various Alcantara interior touches. The A-Spec starts at $55,795 with destination, making it one of the pricier MDX trim levels. Its EPA ratings are a little lower than other models, at 19/25 mpg.

Both the standard and A-Spec models continue to use Acura's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is rated for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque.

The 2019 MDX is on sale in dealers today. Pricing starts at $45,295 with destination for the entry front-wheel drive version, climbing to as much as $61,045 for the MDX SH-AWD with the Advance and Entertainment packages. The 2019 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, meanwhile, will go on sale next month. We expect details on how (if at all) that version has changed later.