Update: ‘The Acura MDX Hybrid is not coming back’ section updated.
The fourth-gen MDX isn’t available with a hybrid powertrain, and it may not receive the option later during its lifecycle. In other words, the Acura MDX Hybrid may not return to the U.S. market.
The Acura MDX Hybrid is not coming back
While SUVs across segments are gaining hybrid variants during generational changes, the Acura MDX lost the only electrified powertrain with which it was available. Citing Acura’s global development chief from a media roundtable, a report from Autoblog.com, filed in December 2020, suggested that the Type S variant offers adequate performance in the fourth-gen MDX. So, there’s no need to bring back the Sport Hybrid (SH-AWD) powertrain available in the third-gen model.
More recently, Executive Vice President of Business & Sales of American Honda Motor Company Dave Gardner told CNET in August 2022, that the brand will “bypass hybrids altogether and move directly to zero-emission vehicles”. It is pretty evident that there will likely be no future hybrid Acura models coming to market, with the ILX Hybrid and MDX Sport Hybrid being the last Acura hybrids in the U.S.
Why some customers are still asking for an Acura MDX Hybrid
One could argue that customers demand hybrid variants in cars like the Acura MDX for the benefit of fuel efficiency, not necessarily only performance. Sure, the 2023 Acura MDX Type S can deliver 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, which is noticeably higher than the erstwhile MDX Hybrid (321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet). However, it is nowhere near the 27 mpg combined fuel economy rating of the discontinued MDX Hybrid. The Type S variant is far less efficient, delivering an EPA-est. combined fuel economy of 19 mpg.
Some customers find the standard variant’s efficiency inadequate, wishing there was a hybrid option. As a driving.ca reader review (by Rosa Reyes) concludes, MDX customers still call for a hybrid option due to rising fuel costs and environmental issues. For reference, the standard variant returns 22 mpg combined in FWD and 21 mpg in AWD.
Acura MDX sales
Thanks to the full redesign for MY2022, the sales of the Acura MDX recovered in the U.S market in 2021. Honda sold 60,057 units in the U.S. in 2021, 25.6% more than in 2020 (47,816 units). The MDX surpassed the RDX to become the best-selling Acura model in the country. It contributed 38% to Acura’s sales in 2021 (157,408 units).
In 2022, the MDX’s U.S. sales declined by 22.7% to 46,425 units, as the auto industry grappled with component shortages. It was still the best-selling model for the premium brand, though, which contributed 102,306 units to American Honda’s annual sales.
Pure-electric Acura ZDX arrives in 2024
A pure-electric Acura SUV called ‘Acura ZDX‘ is under development. It will debut later this year, before arriving at U.S. dealerships in 2024.
Underpinned by GM’s BEV3 platform and packing Ultium batteries, the ZDX would belong to the size class of the MDX. However, the e-SUV may not suit a large section of MDX shoppers who want a frugal premium midsize SUV. An Acura ZDX Type S targeted at customers who desire more performance and sportier driving dynamics will be a part of the future EV range, and is expected to cost well over USD 60,000.
Also See: Acura RDX Hybrid not part of the company’s future plans: Report
Featured image: Acura