NEW YORK – Derogatorily called “slackers” while they grew up in the 1970s, members of Generation X apparently are doing well enough now for luxury auto makers to woo them.
’s luxury division aims to do that with its new ’14 Acura MDX midsize cross/utility vehicle unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show.
“Generation X’ers and even some leading-side Gen Y’ers are moving into the family-formation stage,” Jeff Conrad, Acura’s vice president and general manager, tells WardsAuto. “We very much expect many of them to become new MDX owners. They are a prime audience for us.”
Such potential buyers represent an affluent side of people in their late 20s and mid-30s. Most consumers in that age range typically aren’t shopping for new premium vehicles. But for those who are, Acura offers price points that others can’t match, Conrad says.
Still, he uses the word “luxury” repeatedly throughout his auto-show introduction of the MDX. It goes into production next month in Alabama and will be on sale this summer.
“It is like an executive-class family jet,” Conrad says of the vehicle, touting its speed, amenities and advanced technology.
The latter is a must for 30-something luxury CUV shoppers, he adds. “They come with expectations, particularly concerning technology and connectivity.”
The ’14 MDX offers a new version of the AcuraLink connectivity system. Driver-assist technologies include a multi-angle rearview camera, lane-straying notification, blindspot alerts and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.
The MDX became the first CUV to offer third-row seating when it debuted in 2001. The current model dates to 2007.
The new 7-seater is on a redone platform. The vehicle is longer, lower and 270 lbs. (122 kg) lighter for better agility and fuel economy, Conrad says. The weight loss largely results from greater use of magnesium and other lightweight materials.
Power will come from a direct-injected 3.5L i-VTEC V-6 engine. The existing model came only with all-wheel-drive, popular in snowbelt states. The new MDX also will offer front-wheel drive “to meet the needs of people in warm climates who are looking for a 2-wheel-drive configuration,” Conrad says.
Acura sells about 50,000 MDXs a year. Conrad says the Japanese auto maker expects to top that with the new model, although he declines to predict by how much.
Pricing is pending. Acura sees the MDX’s main competitors as the Lexus RX andX5.