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
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined