Acura MDX Sport Hybrid Brings 5-MPG Boost for Only a Little More Money

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Hybrids have been a tough sell lately, but Acura is setting up the new MDX Sport Hybrid for success by pricing it at only $1500 more than the equivalent gasoline-powered MDX with all-wheel drive. That makes the new gasoline-electric luxury SUV seem like a smart buy, at least on paper, given that it provides more horsepower and better fuel-economy numbers than its gasoline V-6–powered stablemate. When it goes on sale next month, the MDX Sport Hybrid will start at $52,935 for the Technology model and $58,975 for the Advance model.

The MDX’s hybrid drivetrain comprises a 3.0-liter V-6 and three electric motors to make a total of 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, a boost of 31 hp and 22 lb-ft over the standard MDX’s 3.5-liter V-6 (although the hybrid’s 200-pound weight penalty might negate the extra power). One electric motor is built into the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and two rear motors enable all-wheel drive with torque-vectoring capability. It all sounds complex, but the real benefit is simple: improved fuel economy, specifically 26 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, increases of 7, 1, and 5 mpg, respectively, over the MDX SH-AWD model.

Acura’s hybrid SUV also underprices its closest competitors, the Lexus RX450h and the Infiniti QX60 hybrid. The Lexus, which does without a third row of seats, starts higher at $54,010, while the Infiniti, at 250 horsepower significantly less powerful than the MDX, also costs more, at a starting price of $54,495. Of course, we’ll have to wait until we drive the Acura hybrid before we can give it our full support, but it appears that Acura wants this hybrid SUV to be more than just a niche model.

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