Quickies: Why Blue Stands Out in Wichita

Ah, yes, that blue Acura MDX I drove while I was on the Mid-Continent Road Trip

Let me set the stage here. First of all, I mentioned that Wichita was not on the original plan for this road trip. A friend of mine asked about having me make a stop in there. After seeing that I could, I added the extra miles and the overnight stop to the trip. 

While I was there, my friend – who happened to the general manager of the Acura dealership in Wichita – wanted to put me in a vehicle during my stay. I agreed, but I explained that I already covered the brand’s latest and hottest offering, the RDX. After some discussion, Wes found me a 2019 MDX A-Spec with Super Handling All Wheel Drive to keep overnight. 

The MDX is no stranger to the site. I reviewed a few. It has been a few years since my last one. So, sure, why not?

Before I go on, here is a tidbit of information you may want to know about certain markets. Wes told me that the Apex Blue MDX A-Spec is not exactly what his market wanted. Wichita vehicle buyers would rather have their rides in white or black. Maybe silver and gray, but not blue? Why not, blue? C'mon, Wichita, show your neighbors you can stand out in a crowd and be proud of who you are!

With that said, the Apex Blue makes the MDX stand out a lot more in the Wichita heat. It really made things during my drive a bit more colorful. 

While the rented Camry SE sat at the Acura store, the MDX became my tour guide around Wichita. I couldn’t have asked for a good tour guide. It rode very well, even through the rougher surfaces of certain streets and parking lots around Wichita. It handled quite well, even though I was not presented with some exciting roads to tackle. It had really good steering and braking systems to make driving easier. 

Power from the 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 was great. It motivated the MDX in everything I asked it to do. The nine-speed automatic was smooth, as long as it was in Normal or Comfort mode. In Sport mode, you had to manage the shifts with the paddles to calm it down a bit. 

Interior space is very good, for the first two rows. The third row is really designed for children. Yet, I had plenty of stretch out room behind the wheel. 

Then, we get to some very interesting pieces about the MDX. For one, I found the steering wheel too thick for my liking. While I’m grateful for having almost every control available to me on it, it is just the rim of the wheel is really not conducive for vehicle control, at best. 

Understanding that the MDX was under the older infotainment architecture, I was never a fan of the two-screen system. Usually, smartphone integration – in my case, Apple CarPlay – is done in the active touchscreen. In the MDX’s case, it would be the lower screen. Instead, the smartphone screen appears on the upper screen which is only controlled by the large knob on the center stack. Not exactly an efficient way to control the infotainment system in my book. 

Then, there’s the A-Spec’s seats. I appreciate bolstering, but I found the ones that matched my shoulder blades obtrusive. A few adjustments helped ease my initial discomfort, yet I did find those bolsters somewhat unnecessary for semi-wide shoulders like mine. 

On the side of having a truly mixed opinion is the push-button transmission actuator. By now, I am used to it. However, I rarely drive Acuras and Hondas these days that I somehow have to relearn this working this transmission. The good news is that you get the aforementioned paddle shifters on the MDX to fine tune your gear selection. 

Keep in mind, I’m only pointing these out because they stood out for me as someone who works with vehicles for the purpose of publication. Your experience may be different than mine. 

With that said, I found the MDX to be a very nice SUV to run. Especially at a 2020 base price of $55,000 for the A-Spec package. I’m sure that someone who appreciates an Apex Blue MDX somewhere in Kansas or nearby will enjoy what the dealer has it on sale for. 

While we enjoy the excellence of the RDX and await the arrival of the new TLX, Acura is on an upward trajectory that fits within its mission to provide premium sporty vehicles. The MDX also fits in the brand’s mission. If you get one, enjoy it!

DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Acura of Wichita, Wichita, KS

All photos by Randy Stern

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