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Acura MDX offers standard safety tech, pleasing ride

The Acura MDX has been a popular choice in the mid-size crossover SUV segment for its sporty styling, versatility, three-row seating, capable powertrain, luxuries, technologies and hard-earned reputation.

That popularity should continue as the 2017 Acura MDX receives refreshed exterior styling, added standard amenities, newly available features and an available hybrid powertrain.

Sharing a platform with the Honda Pilot, the 2017 Acura MDX is in its fourth year of its third generation. The new MDX is very attractive. I like its sportier exterior styling that includes a better-looking diamond pentagon grille and restyled jewel-eye LED headlights. MDX’s hood, front fenders, front and rear fasciae and side sills have also been restyled.

For those who appreciate safety technologies, all 2017 MDX models now come standard with the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies. AcuraWatch utilizes camera and radar technology and includes adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation and a multi-view rear camera with dynamic guide lines.

All 2017 Acura MDX non-hybrid models are powered by a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and can be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The all-new 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid model (AWD only) offers 321 combined horsepower via a 3.0-liter V-6 engine mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automated transmission with front and rear electric drive motors.

The recommended fuel for non-hybrid and hybrid MDX models is premium unleaded. Fuel economy ratings for the non-hybrid MDX are 19/27 mpg city/highway (FWD) and 18/26 mpg (AWD). City mpg does increase by one mpg when choosing the Advance package (which includes an auto stop-start feature). The fuel economy rating for the hybrid model is 26/27 mpg.

MDX models with AWD feature Acura’s impressive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This system delivers excellent traction for all types of road conditions by progressively distributing torque between the front and rear axles, as well as between the left and right rear wheels.

MDX’s cabin offers a pleasing level of luxury, convenience and technology with comfortable seating for up to seven passengers. There is plenty of head and leg room up front and in the second row for taller folks, but the third row is better suited for younger children.

The center stack features an upper 8-inch color audio/information screen and lower 7-inch color touch screen. A premium eight-speaker audio system is standard, and several upgrades are available.

MDX’s cabin is very well insulated and remains appreciatively quiet when cruising at highway speeds. I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a non-hybrid MDX.

Power from the 3.5-liter V-6 engine is more than adequate, and the nine-speed automatic transmission delivers pleasing shifts.

Pricing for the MDX starts at $44,050. Pricing for SH-AWD models starts at $46,050. Pricing for the MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $51,960. In my opinion, the MDX is a smart choice in the mid-size luxury crossover segment.