Acura MDX Hybrid not planned for the new generation, says report

  • American Honda apparently not considering the MDX Hybrid's relaunch
  • A pure-electric mid-size SUV alternative, Acura ZDX, comes out this Spring
  • Gas-powered 2023 Acura MDX delivers up to 22 MPG; priced from USD 49,550

Update: ‘Acura MDX Sales’ and ‘Pure-electric ZDX arrives in 2024’ sections updated.

The fourth-gen MDX, launched in 2021, 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.

Why 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.

2024 Acura MDX rear
We’re not expecting the hybrid system to make a comeback in the MDX as Acura’s electrification plan is about doubling down on battery-electric vehicles starting with the ZDX this year.

In August 2022, Dave Gardner, former executive Vice President of National Operations, American Honda, told CNET that the Acura brand will “bypass hybrids altogether and move directly to zero-emission vehicles”. It is evident that there will likely be no future hybrid Acura models coming to market, with the ILX Hybrid and MDX Sport Hybrid (both discontinued) being the last Acura hybrids in the U.S.

Why some customers still ask 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.

2020 Acura MDX Hybrid front three quarter
The previous generation Acura MDX Hybrid achieved a fuel economy of 27 mpg (combined). Image Source: Acura

Acura MDX sales

Thanks to the full redesign for MY2022, the sales of the gas-powered 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. In 2023, MDX sales were 24.1% higher compared to the same period in 2022—57,599 units—maintaining its position as the brand’s top seller.

Pure-electric ZDX arrives in 2024

A pure-electric Acura SUV called ‘Acura ZDX‘ has been officially revealed, but it is yet to reach series production. Priced from $64,500, it will start arriving at U.S. dealers in early spring 2024.

Underpinned by GM’s BEV3 platform and packing Ultium batteries, the ZDX belongs 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 is also a part of the future EV range and is priced at $74,500.

Also See: Acura RDX Hybrid not part of the company’s future plans: Report