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Test Drive: 2017 Acura MDX SH-AWD

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The Acura MDX has long held an enviable position in the mid-size crossover market — more refined than the entry level Japanese and South Korean models, but not as expensive as its German counterparts. As such, it is a popular choice for those seeking both value and a certain level of luxury and performance in a seven-passenger SUV.


AMERCIAN HONDA MOTOR COMPNAY - The 2017 Acura MDX has been restyled with the company's new grill design, more substantial fenders, new headlights and more. The result makes an impression.The Acura MDX has long held an enviable position in the mid-size crossover market — more refined than the entry level Japanese and South Korean models, but not as expensive as its German counterparts. As such, it is a popular choice for those seeking both value and a certain level of luxury and performance in a seven-passenger SUV.

Now thanks to a significant face-lift, the 2017 Acura MDX should sell better than ever before. Gone is the last trace of the polarizing "shield" that dominated the top of the front grill, replaced with the first of the company's more open diamond pentagon grills. The hood, front federal, headlights and rear end are new, too, all crafted to give the MDX a more substantial appearance.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - The dual display screen set up in the 2017 Acura MDX reduces the number of button and knobs on the dash for a clean and relatively simple look.But all the good stuff remains intact, including the smooth and powerful 3.5-liter V6 and the available Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system that, well, helps the MDX handle super on slippery roads. Together with the Sport setting that comes with the nine-speed automatic transmission, they combine to made the MDX one of the, well, sportier mid-size crossovers on the market. And it also drives well when set in in the Comfort or Normal modes, too.

Inside, Acura continues to offer a level of luxury that is hard to distinguish from more expensive competitors. The interior materials are first rate, the fit and finish is excellent, and the genuine wood trim that came on our test model was the height of tastefulness. The dual display screen set up reduced the number of control buttons and knobs considerably, helping the dash look clean and relatively simple.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - The 2017 Acrua MDX can hold six or seven passengers, depending on how it's configured.The 2017 MDX does not come in different trim levels but is available with three packages that add or combine different features — the Technology Package, the Entertainment Package and the Advance Package. Out top-of-the-line test model came with the Advance Package, which included most of the technology and entertainment upgrades, and added such welcome features as a Surround View Camera system and heated and ventilated perforated premium leather front buck sport seats. The overall result was nearly up to the highest European standards, for a lot less money.

The two Captain Chairs that make up the second row in the Advance Package may have eliminated one seat, but they made the passengers feel pampered. And the third row of seats is reasonable for a mid-size crossover, and produces an impressive amount of additional cargo space when folded flat.

All versions of the MDX come with the Acura Watch safety package as standard equipment. It is as advanced as practically anything on the market and includes everything from Adaptive Cruise Control to Collision Mitigation Braking and Lane Departure Warning system to help drivers stay out of trouble without being too intrusive.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPNAY - Second-row seat passengers will feel pampered in the 2017 Acura MDX.One feature that takes a little practice is the console-mounted shifter that consists of buttons that must be pushed or pulled to select the right gear. It works fine once you figure it out.

Our test MDX was also remarkably quiet on the road, a sign of its high level of engineering and quality construction. Our overall impression after a week of mixed driving was very positive, especially considering that much of our driving took place during heavy fall rains that caused localized flooding and landslides in our part of town. But the 2017 Acura MDX never seemed to notice as it plowed through standing water during our daily commutes and recreational drives.

For those looking for a well-built crossover SUV that seats up to seven and is still fun to drive, the 2017 Acura MDX with the SH-AWD is hard to beat.

2017 Acura MDX

Base price: $43,950

Price as tested: $57,340

Type: Mid-size crossover SUV

Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (290 hp)

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 19/26

Overall length: 196.2 inches

Curb weight: 4,001 pounds

Final assembly: Lincoln, Alabama