Acura MDX — Meeting all crossover needs

By David Finkelstein

With the introduction of the heavily refreshed 2017 Acura MDX three-row SUV, you'll discover a luxury vehicle that will likely meet all of your motoring and people moving needs on many fronts. With it's large window glass, dominant greenhouse and commanding view of the road from the drivers seat, it helps to give you an overwhelming field of vision of the road ahead.

Turning back the clock, it was in 2014 when Acura global engineering elected to offer the third generation of MDX with a complete redesign. Some of the more notable upgrades and improvements for '17 include a more contemporary and refreshed exterior body design plus its now highlighted with a bold new diamond pentagon front grille assembly of which was drawn from the vehicles show car concept design. The vehicle was further revised with a more sculpted hood, new front lower fascia, new front fenders and attractive jewel eye headlights.

Its "executive/athletic" appearance and commanding footprint helps thrust MDX in being a class-leading sport utility. Additional styling updates include new chrome rocker panel trim, a revised rear bumper and skid garnish and new “large” dual exhausts outlets with bright finishers.

You'll find LED lighting with the headlights, front turn signals, tail lights, outside mirror-mounted puddle lights and on their Advance grades, new LED fog lights. Optional are the up-sized 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels as they were previously 19-inch. Other available exterior features include power folding outside mirrors, available roof rails and improvements with the remote keyless entry system.

All 2017 MDX models now come with the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assist technologies as well. It's a first of it's kind to be offered in a luxury SUV.

To further define AcuraWatch, it combines the next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering or A.C.E. that incorporates a comprehensive list of active and passive safety features to deliver and disseminate intelligent safety and confident driving performance. The vehicle's standard luxury and technology includes an electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, electronic governed automatic high beam headlights, SiriusXM Radio 2.0 and four 2.5-amp USB charging ports.

Optional are factory installed keyless remote engine start, power folding side door mounted mirrors (a must have in congested city tight parking situations), capless fueling system and HD Traffic reports. In addition to these aforementioned features, MDX's higher trim levels add genuine Olive Ash Burl or Black Limba wood interior trim, heated steering wheel and Surround-View Camera Safety System with six selectable viewing angles coming across a brightly lit and clear center dash mounted large screen.

Other optional equipment includes two second-row captain's chairs and a rear center console with two USB ports. This seating arrangement tends to replace the three-person/second-row seating configuration found on the entry grades. A unique overhead ultra-widescreen rear entertainment system is also available on MDX, as it depends on the trim packages.

Smart interior packaging provides usable and versatile passenger and cargo space, including an extended slide feature for the second-row seats and convenient One-Touch/Walk-In access to the third row. While seated up front, a large storage area in the center console can accommodate a purse and even tablet computers. New seat styling includes highlighted contrasting piping and stitching and perforated Milano premium leather seating surfaces.

Every MDX model now includes the a suite of advanced safety and driver-assist technologies. This includes automatic collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, radar governed adaptive cruise control with automatic low-speed follow and road departure mitigation. Furthermore, MDX is offered with a choice of their standard front-wheel-drive chassis set-up or an all-wheel-drive underside suspension and powertrain.

Under the heading of performance and fuel efficiency, power comes from an advanced 3.5-liter direct-injectedV-6 engine. It's rated at 290 peak horsepower. With front-wheel-drive, MDX is rated at 20 mpg city/27 highway/23 combined, with idle stop/start technology.

Its automatic transmission is a 9-speed computer controlled gear box. Braking is certainly on par as it gives a positive foot pedal feel to the driver. MDX's suspension componentry helps to translate that luxury ride you would expect in a vehicle such as this.

The pricing starts at $43,950 as all versions are produced in Lincoln, Ala., at Honda's manufacturing facility using domestic and globally sourced parts. Additionally, it's planned that in early 2017, MDX production will be taking place at both the Alabama plant and at theirEast Liberty, Ohio auto plant. If you elect to check all of the boxes and choose the flagship model, expect to pay around $60,000. Shipping charges are excluded, they come out to be $950.

The high level of luxury, convenience and technology in a spacious cabin certainly makes the 2017 MDX a solid choice in its cross shopped class such as offerings from Lincoln, Lexus, Cadillac and Infiniti Motors.