2014 Acura MDX Elite: Super performance luxury SUV has what is takes

2014-Acura-MDXThe MDX is Acura’s flagship crossover SUV and is much improved with both cosmetic technology and engineering upgrades for the New Year.  This smart, handsome looking SUV is still one you must put on your list if you are looking for a premium SUV.

The flagship model is the fully loaded Elite trim-level which features heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information and Acura’s Collision Mitigation Braking system. Additional creature features included Acura’s   surround-sound 15GB hard-drive audio system, a choice of two DVD entertainment screens and personal sound features, navigation with voice recognition, a multi-view rear camera setup and tri-zone air conditioning with sun detection and humidity control.

Pricing for the 2014 MDX begins with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $49,990, an impressive $3,260 reduction compared to the 2013 model. The available Technology package adds a DVD Rear Entertainment System with a ceiling-mounted 9-inch full VGA screen, while the MDX with Elite Package features a Rear Entertainment System with an all-new ultra-wide 16.2-inch full WVGA screen – the largest and highest resolution screen ever offered in an Acura vehicle. The system also includes a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port to allow the attachment of high definition players and compatible gaming consoles, along with standard composite video and audio inputs. A 115-volt power outlet is rated for devices up to 150 watts.

The Acura dash panel is very hi tech and features all the sophisticated technology you would want. The spacious MDX cabin   seats seven passengers and carries an adequate amount of cargo. Sumptuous leather seating, high quality trim and materials and superb design and finish are Acura hallmarks and well executed. The new MDX, similar to its flagship sedan counterpart, the 2014 RLX, harnesses a host of Acura signature technologies including AcuraLink™ and Agile Handling Assist.

Available safety systems include available Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and an available Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS).

The new MDX offers an impressive range of advanced driver-assistive, and information and media technologies. These include the standard next-generation AcuraLink™ connected car system with collision notification (complimentary for 4 years ), a standard Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and Expanded View Driver’s side mirror, along with available Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Information (BSI) system.

Powertrain on the MDX is a new 3.5-litre, 290-horsepower direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine rated at 290 peak horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of peak torque (both SAE net).  This 24-valve V-6 engine is Acura’s second Earth Dreams™ Technology engine, which features a next-generation set of advancements that greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency. For the first time, the MDX has standard Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which switches seamlessly between 3- and 6-cylinder modes, depending on engine load, effectively varying engine displacement to match driving conditions for improved fuel efficiency.

Compared to the 3.7-litre engine it replaces, the 3.5-litre V-6 in the 2014 MDX offers an 8-percent increase in torque at engine speeds below 2,750 rpm for greater overall responsiveness. Due to improved operating efficiency, horsepower output per liter is up two percent and torque output per liter is up 4.4 percent compared to the previous model’s engine

Traction to all four wheels is via the excellent SH-AWD, (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) system) which can split torque between the right and left wheels and send extra torque to the outside wheels when cornering.

This ‘Torque splitting’ allows for the outside wheels to provide extra traction when needed.

On the road the MDX is fast and agile. The V-TEC variable valve technology engine is smooth and powerful and provides instant acceleration. If you wish, you can use the shift paddles on the steering wheel to auto change gears.  A driver operated button allows for control of the ride modes – Comfort ride mode is good for a full complement of passengers whilst Sport mode adds sharper handling and more feedback.

It is very hard to find fault with such a polished SUV. The 2014 Acura MDX is a beautifully executed SUV that seats seven-passengers in luxury and comfort.  This is one superlative SUV that is highly recommended.

2014 Acura MDX Elite priced from $65,990

2014   Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged- Very special!

The scarily expensive looking 2014 Range Rover Sport rubs shoulders with such esteemed competition as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X6. The supercharged version I might add is the most desirable and looks the part – dripping class from its imposing looks and stance.

And the pricing reflects this, as the 2014 Range Rover Sport has a starting price of $73,990 for the 340-horsepower V-6 engine and a heady $104,990 for the 510 hp supercharged V-8 Range Rover Sport Autobiography. First up- the more powerful Land Rover RR Sport with the 5.0-liter supercharged engine V8 delivering 461 pound-feet of torque. All this thundering power is delivered via six-speed automatic transmission you can activate through steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Extensive use of aluminum in the Sports design means the V-8 Sport despite its size is capable of a blistering sports car- like acceleration figure of 0-100 km/h in less than five seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h.

The Sports interior is pretty much a work of art and it is one place you feel the hefty price tag is justified. It is a simply beautiful with high quality interior surfaces and textures, using typical British leather and metal in unique combinations that take your breath away. The designers have also done a good work in tidying up the previous slightly idiosyncratic dashboard; keeping buttons and switches in more logical locations.

The Sport interior is well up to the standard of the benchmark Porsche Cayenne, and BMW X6 competition here in terms of taste and quality. The levels of equipment and features are just too much to mention, but rest assured the Sport gets all the toys and creature comfort you can think of. Heated and cooled seat, power this and power that the list goes on and on…

However one area the Sport suffers is despite the tall cabin, interior space still seem oddly cramped and this where the big American offerings from Cadillac and Lincoln will win out.  On the road- the sound of the big V8 is tempered by the luxurious cabin that insulates the engine roar so well. Acceleration is blindingly fast and the refined power delivery curve means the Sports shift itself very smoothly and without any jerky transitions no matter how hard you accelerate.  An active locking differential controls wheel-spin whilst Torque Vectoring uses the electronic stability control and throttle inputs to improve cornering by sending power to the wheels with the most grip.

And for such a big SUV, the Sport holds when it comes to cornering.  You can control road height for more planted stability and tighter handling via Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. The Sport handles sand, mud, snow and ice and can traverse streams and rivers water up to 850 mm deep. Positioned at the lowest click of its adjustable ride height settings, the Sport delivers stunning levels of traction, impressive cornering and the ability to deliver sports car- style handling in fast curves. The various traction and engineering aids keep the Sport well planted and composed no matter what the road conditions are or what the driver imposes. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged is luxurious, fast, and reassuringly expensive for owner. It is the one SUV you should always promise yourself.

2014 LAND ROVER – RANGE ROVER SPORT

SUPERCHARGED    Base Price: $73,990 – $104,990