2014 Acura MDX to be unveiled at Detroit Auto Show

2014 Acura MDX teaserAcura will unveil the next generation of its MDX SUV at the Detroit Auto Show in January, almost. The 2014 MDX Acura plans to show will technically be a prototype, but it should be fairly close to what consumers will be able to buy.

Acura’s current styling has received a lot of criticism, so the Japanese luxury brand is softening up the MDX’s lines. In a statement, the brand said the 2014 MDX “will feature alluring proportions with smooth, arching body lines matched to an efficient architecture.”

Regardless, the grille that some have described as a beak, and the curve over the front wheel well first seen on the TL are still apparent in Acura’s teaser image. So far, the look is part RDX, part RLX.

Acura isn’t releasing any technical details, but it’s possible that the 2014 MDX will keep the current model’s 3.7-liter V6, which produces 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It will also be interesting to see if Acura keeps the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) systems, which sends more power to certain wheels to help guide the car through corners, or use a simpler system, as it did with the 2013 RDX.

Acura also has the Sport Hybrid version of SH-AWD developed for the RLX sedan. This system uses the gasoline engine to drive the front wheels and electric motors to drive the rear wheels. It’s similar to what Acura plans to use in the NSX sports car, although the roles will be reversed in that application.

Borrowing the NSX’s all-wheel drive system would definitely put the “sport” in this sport-utility, but there is no guarantee that this is part of the plan.

Whatever drivetrain it uses, the MDX prototype Acura shows in Detroit will probably be very close to the production model. Carmakers have a habit of previewing nearly-finished models as “prototypes” or “concept;” usually they just remove the mirrors and add impractically large wheels. Acura did this at the New York Auto Show back in April with the RLX.

Introduced in 2001 and based on the Honda Pilot, the MDX is Acura’s midsize SUV, competing against the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Thanks to a far-reaching product placement scheme, it’s also the official SUV of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel movie universe.

We’ll learn more about the 2014 MDX when it its unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, which opens January 14.