By Emme Hall.
There may come a time in your life when you need a large SUV. Maybe you have a huge family, or maybe you were elected carpool driver for the next ten years at work. Whatever the reason, you’re looking for a seven passenger vehicle. But hey…you’re not a luddite. This SUV has got to be large and in charge, while still offering the luxury you desire. Today we’re looking at two such SUV’s: The 2014 Acura MDX and the 2014 Infiniti QX60.
The MDX gets a 3.5L V6 engine, good for 290 horsepower and 267 lb/ft of torque. Power is put to the front wheels via a 6 speed automatic transmission, although AWD is optional. EPA fuel ratings are 20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 combined. Numbers are lower for the AWD version, at 18/27/21.
You get one trim line with the MDX, but there are many optional packages to suit your needs. It comes standard with 18” wheels, heated front seats, keyless entry/ignition, a sun roof, power accessories, a dual console display featuring a 7” touchscreen and an 8” information screen, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and iPod connectivity. The Technology package add-ons include navigation, 19” alloy wheels, lane departure, blind spot, and forward collision warnings, a 10 speaker sound system, rain sensing wipers, and keyless entry for the rear doors.
The Technology and Entertainment package add-ons include heated rear seats, rear seat DVD entertainment system, and a 115-volt power outlet.
Finally, the Advance and Entertainment package includes add-ons like remote start, parking sensors, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, an HDMI input jack, and an upgraded rear seat entertainment system.
The 2014 Acura MDX did lose some power in 2014, but acceleration still feels adequate enough for most drivers. You can choose from three driving modes: comfort, normal, and sport. Comfort leaves you with a throttle that is slow to respond and steering that is light and playful, but not in a good way. Select normal mode and the throttle becomes a bit more neutral. The steering sharpens up a bit but still remains light at parking lot speeds. Sport mode will hold your gears longer and gives you a responsive throttle, with crisp and sharp steering. Here is where the MDX handles closer to a car than an SUV, and the optional Super Handling All Wheel Drive only ups the ante, advancing your confidence in wet weather.
The 2014 Infiniti QX60 features a 3.5L V6 engine, knocking out 265 hp and 248 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission, and AWD is optional. EPA fuel ratings are 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. Expect slightly lower numbers in the AWD version. The QX60 is also offered as a hybrid, but it is not reviewed here. Like the MDX, the QX60 comes in one trim line with various optional packages. Standard features include18” wheels, keyless entry/ignition, heated front seats, a sunroof, Bluetooth, a 7” touchscreen display, back up camera, satellite radio and iPod connectivity.
The Premium package includes a heated steering wheel, remote ignition, a 13 speaker Bose sound system, and driver memory settings. Premium Plus includes an 8’ touchscreen, navigation, parking sensors with a 360 degree parking camera system. The Theater package includes a rear seat entertainment system and Driver Assistance package includes forward collision and blind spot warning systems, a back up collision intervention system, adaptive cruise control, and the Eco-Pedal, which tells you when you’re driving in a non-fuel efficient manner by pushing back on your foot.
The Deluxe Touring package includes 20” wheels, ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, a 15 speaker Bose sound system, and a panoramic sunroof. The Technology package can be added to the Driver Assistance package and includes a lane departure warning system, and a blind spot intervention system, applying the brakes if you attempt to move into an object hanging out in your blind spot.
The QX60 is certainly a comfortable SUV to drive. Rough roads are easily soaked up by the compliantly tuned suspension and the cabin remains quiet, even at higher speeds. However, that soft suspension translates into a lot of body roll in the turns and coupled with a fairly light steering feel, the QX60 is not a willing partner in the Twistie Tango.
The 2014 Acura MDX starts at $42,290 and can go all the way up to $56,505 with the SH-AWD and the Advance and Entertainment packages. The 2014 Infinite QX60 starts at $41,550, with the top of the line AWD coming in at $56,445. The choice here is easy. The MDX outperforms the QX60 across the board. It handles better, has a better transmission, and gets better gas mileage. You can even lead it in a tango.