2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Episode 3642
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When Acura gave the 3rd generation MDX crossover a new look halfway through its lifecycle, it would have been easy to think that was it. But not for Honda’s luxury brand. For this engineering minded company the Sport Hybrid Version of the 2017 MDX is the real headline. Of course the only way to see how well “sport” and “hybrid” work together is to go for a drive.

The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid is the brand’s first gasoline-electric utility vehicle. In keeping with Acura’s hybrid tradition, the internal combustion engine is matched with three electric motors, like we’ve seen in the RLX Sport Hybrid sedan, and the NSX supercar. 

On that score, the MDX closely mirrors the RLX’s all-electric Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive setup with one electric motor up front, and two in the rear.

The rear motors provide both go and sharper turns through torque vectoring, sending cornering power, when needed, to an outside rear wheel, while simultaneously braking an inside rear wheel.

And, just as in the Sport Hybrid RLX, it all works quite seamlessly, as power is constantly being distributed to different wheels in different amounts at all times.

Conventional power is from the well regarded corporate 3.0-liter V6, here rated at 257-horsepower, or 33-less than the 3.5 liter V6 on the standard MDX. But, since this is a hybrid with a trio of electric motors, the total output is boosted to 321-horsepower and 289 lb-ft. of torque.

Up front is a 47kW electric motor, built into the 7-speed DCT transmission. Each rear wheel is driven by a 36kW motor. That draws power from a 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the driver’s seat. 

The hybrid hardware’s 200 plus pounds of extra weight lowers the Sport Hybrid’s center of gravity by an inch compared to the standard MDX, but actual rough road ground clearance remains the same.

On the twisting roads east of Seattle, Washington, we found that between the near instant power vectoring, and rapid response of the active dampers, the MDX Sport Hybrid easily mastered uphill switchbacks at speed.

The Sport Hybrid adds a 4th drive mode, Sport Plus, making this MDX even more of a driver’s SUV. It disables EV only driving, and adds more battery assist on takeoff. 

There are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, but we didn’t find the DCT needing an extra pair of hands.  The SH-AWD torque vectoring is neither seen nor heard.  Of course, you can actually see it working on the upper display screen, and certainly can feel it with the Sport Hybrid’s confident road manners in the wet and dry.

Like all MDXs, the Sport Hybid comes with three row seating, but in only two trims. 

The Technology Package makes room for seven; Advance has 6 seats with captain’s chairs in the second row.

The front cabin environment maintains the level of understated luxury that we’ve come to expect from Acura. Stainless steel sport pedals are one of the subtle signs that you’re in the Sport Hybrid. All MDXs now include AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistance.

The Sport Hybrid’s technology leaves plenty of practical room inside. Cargo space behind the rear seat remains the same as the standard MDX at 15 cu-ft.  That increases to 38.4 cu-ft behind the second row, and 68.4 cu-ft with all the rear seats out of the way. 

Outside, the hybrid only reveals itself through a small badge on front fenders…and a blue “S-H” on the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive badge at the rear. The side sills and front and rear skid garnishes are the same color as the body. Other than that, it’s a carbon copy of its gasoline-only twin… including the new and far more attractive diamond pentagon grille.  

One thing you won’t see here is a trailer hitched to the back. Acura says towing for the MDX Sport Hybrid is “not recommended”.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 26-City, 27-Highway, and 27-Combined. That beats the standard all-wheel drive MDX by 23% Combined and 37% in the city.

The Energy Impact Score is slightly better than average, burning 12.2-barrels of oil yearly with 5.4 -tons of CO2 emissions.

The MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $ 52,935 for Technology and $ 58,975 for Advance. Both are surprisingly only $1,500 more than their regular all-wheel-drive sibling.

We already consider the 2017 Acura MDX one of the best three row crossovers at any price point. With the addition of the Sport Hybrid, and its electrified Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology, the reach of this luxury laden, family crossover has no equal.


  • Engine: 3.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 321
  • Torque: 289 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 26 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon 1

2023 GMC Canyon

Canyon Goes Bigger

Episode 4303
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!

Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.

Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.

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The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.

At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.

And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.

But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.

Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.

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The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.

Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.

So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!


  • Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed auto
  • Torque: 430 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
  • EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined