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Understanding the Acura MDX Towing Capacity

Towing Capacity

The Acura MDX is one of the most popular midsize luxury SUVs, offering a refined ride, plenty of premium features, and the assurance of the Acura brand. As a midsize crossover SUV, the MDX provides a good blend of passenger space, cargo room, and everyday practicality.

One area where the Acura MDX excels is its generous towing capabilities, especially for an SUV that emphasizes luxury and comfort. Depending on the model year and drivetrain, the MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. This gives MDX owners plenty of muscle for towing boats, campers, ATVs, utility trailers, and more.

In this comprehensive guide from [Antich Automotive], we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Acura MDX towing capacity, including:

  • MDX Towing Capacity by Model Year
  • Differences Between FWD and AWD Towing
  • Towing Packages and Equipment
  • Towing Tips and Safety
  • FAQs on MDX Towing

Understanding the towing capacity for your specific MDX is important for safe towing and getting the most out of your vehicle. Keep reading for a detailed look at max towing ratings, proper setup, recommendations, and more key towing info for Acura MDX models.

Acura MDX Towing Capacity by Model Year

The towing capacity for the Acura MDX has increased over recent model years as the SUV has gained more power and refinement. Here’s a quick look at the max towing ratings for current and recent MDX models:

  • 2023 Acura MDX: Up to 5,000 lbs
  • 2022 Acura MDX: Up to 5,000 lbs
  • 2021 Acura MDX: Up to 5,000 lbs
  • 2020 Acura MDX: Up to 5,000 lbs
  • 2019 Acura MDX: 3,500 lbs
  • 2018 Acura MDX: 3,500 lbs
  • 2017 Acura MDX: 3,500 lbs
  • 2016 Acura MDX: 3,500 lbs

As you can see, the MDX received a nice boost in max towing capacity for the 2020 model year and beyond. Recent MDXs with the available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped with a tow package.

Older MDX models, along with current front-wheel drive variants, are rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. While still respectable, there is a significant difference in towing muscle between FWD and AWD MDX models in the last few years.

FWD vs AWD Towing Capacity in the MDX

The main factor determining MDX towing limits is the drivetrain. Front-wheel drive MDX models have a maximum tow rating around 3,500 pounds. Going with the available SH-AWD increases the towing capacity to 5,000 pounds.

This 1,500 pound towing advantage for AWD models comes thanks to the SH-AWD system’s increased traction and control when towing. The ability to actively distribute torque between all four wheels provides more confidence and capability when towing heavy loads.

AWD is strongly recommended if you plan on maxing out the MDX’s tow rating frequently. Even when not towing the max limit, SH-AWD provides noticeably more composure and authority when pulling heavy trailers. The only reason to forgo AWD is if you strictly plan on very light duty towing well below the FWD rating.

Bottom line: Choose SH-AWD if you can for significantly greater MDX towing muscle without sacrificing much in fuel economy or drivability around town.

Acura MDX Towing Packages and Equipment

To achieve the max towing capacity in the Acura MDX, your vehicle needs to be properly equipped. Exact towing equipment requirements vary by model year, but here are the key components:

  • Trailer Hitch: A hitch receiver installed on the MDX is required to tow anything. Genuine Acura hitches are recommended for proper fit and wiring.

  • Wiring Harness: An Acura wiring harness connects the MDX electrical system to trailer lights and brakes. Required for towing.

  • Transmission Cooler: Essential for maintaining transmission health when towing near the max limit. Cooler is standard on most newer MDXs.

  • Trailer Brake Controller: Integrates trailer brakes with the MDX braking system. Strongly recommended for heavier trailers.

  • Hitch Ball: Attaches to the hitch receiver to mate with the trailer coupler. Make sure the ball matches the trailer requirements.

  • Safety Chains: Provides an emergency backup connection between the MDX and trailer. Chains are a required safety item.

  • Trailer Light Tester: Plugs into the harness to test proper function of trailer lights. Recommended to inspect connections.

Along with the proper equipment installed, there are some other requirements for achieving the max published tow rating in the MDX:

  • Only tow using the factory hitch and harness. Aftermarket equipment may reduce the capacity.
  • Towing capacity assumes only the driver is in the SUV. Additional passengers will reduce the rating.
  • Pay attention to GVWR and GAWR ratings to avoid overloading the vehicle.
  • Remove roof racks and carriers when towing near the max limit.
  • Follow Acura’s break-in procedure before towing heavy loads.
  • Service the transmission if you plan on towing the max weight frequently.

Consult your owner’s manual or Acura dealer for full towing equipment details for your specific MDX. Installing the hitch, wiring, and other accessories yourself can save money but does require advanced DIY skills.

Safety Tips for Towing with the Acura MDX

While the MDX can pull impressive loads, towing at or near the max capacity requires caution and proper technique. Follow these tips for safe towing:

  • Know your weights: Confirm the curb weight, payload capacity, GVWR, and GCWR. Never exceed any rating.
  • Load trailer carefully: Distribute weight appropriately and do not overload the rear.
  • Check tongue weight: Ideal is 10-15% of loaded trailer weight on the hitch.
  • Adjust driving style: Drive slower, allow more distance, and take corners wider.
  • Watch transmission temperature: Added strain requires close monitoring when towing.
  • Consider a weight distribution hitch: Helps balance heavy loads and improves handling.
  • Inspect lights and brakes: Confirm proper electrical connections and brake force adjustment.
  • Use tow/haul mode: Helps hold lower gears longer and better control momentum.
  • Check tie downs: Secure cargo in the trailer to prevent shifting loads.
  • Have a co-pilot help: An extra set of eyes is invaluable when backing up trailers.

The Acura MDX can confidently pull heavy loads when set up properly. But higher towing capacities also require greater attention to safety and preparing your vehicle appropriately.

Frequently Asked Questions on Acura MDX Towing

Can you tow with any Acura MDX?

All MDX models have a base towing capacity. But you need to add the proper hitch, harness, and other equipment to tow safely. Never tow anything without the right hardware installed.

How much can an MDX tow without a tow package?

Without any towing equipment, the max capacity is effectively zero. Properly equipped, FWD models can tow up to 3,500 lbs and AWD models can tow up to 5,000 lbs. Tow packages include the necessary hitch, wiring, and transmission cooler.

What can I tow with an Acura MDX?

Common trailers and loads for the MDX are small campers, fishing boats, ATV/UTV trailers, snowmobiles, and utility trailers. Ensure the MDX has the proper equipment and your trailer is within the vehicle’s ratings.

Is the MDX good for towing boats?

The MDX can tow lightweight fishing boats, bowriders, bass boats, inflatables, and pontoons. Make sure the fully loaded trailer is within the MDX’s capacity and use a weight distribution hitch for better stability.

Can I flat tow my MDX behind an RV?

No. The MDX should only be towed using flatbed or wheel lift tow trucks. It is not approved for dinghy towing behind motorhomes. Refer to your owner’s manual for proper recreational and emergency towing procedures.

How much tongue weight can the hitch handle?

Acura recommends 10-15% of the loaded trailer weight on the tongue. Excessive tongue weight hampers steering and braking control. Too little tongue weight can compromise stability.

Should I get sway control?

A weight distribution hitch with integrated sway control is a smart addition when towing heavy trailers. Sway control improves stability if crosswinds or passing trucks

2022 Acura MDX Tow Capacity || Bob Howard Acura

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