“Tire-Smokin’ Eager Acceleration” are not words usually used to describe SUVs….but it is what it is.


Acura’s re-styled-for-’17 MDX is a bit of a surprise.    It might be the first SUV that I wanted to take on the track….not just to the track.


Acuras, to me, regardless of the model, have always seemed to be a vehicle in search of a core identity.     They’ve been “almost-luxury”…..giving me everything and more than I ever needed in terms of luxury and tech…..but never quite cracking the upper-level of auto-awareness ( and to their credit, the upper-levels of price, either.)


And they’ve always enjoyed parent-company Honda’s build-quality, and a level of “feel” that’s been near the top of any class.   But how many real auto-aficionados are out there demanding excellent “feel”?    Sadly, not too many, I suspect.


As for raw “performance”, tho’…..no….not at the top of the class.    Always good, mind you….just not head-snappingly fast.


No more.


And what an unusual vehicle to start kickin’ asphalt a** with…..a three-row SUV.

Go figure.


Perhaps even more unusual is that Acura uses a conventional 3.5 liter, 290 HPV-6 to provide that “kick”.    No turbocharger.    No turbocharger needed.    The 9-speed push-button automatic helps with that “kick”, tho’, …..always ready to drop down a couple of gears and push you back in the seat as needed….or as wanted J


MDXs start in the mid $40’s….and even the base models have heated leather, moonroof, alloys, auto high-beams, Bluetooth, streaming audio,  Pandora and Aha interface….and Acura-Watch…..giving you blind-spot warnings, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and road departure and forward-collision mitigation.   Someday all those features will be standard.    It’s good to see Acura taking the lead there.


And as you’d imagine, you can step it up in $4-$5,000 increments and get virtually everything else.


We tested the “everything else” version….an MDX “Advance”, with remote-start, rear-door smart key entry, perforated heated and cooled leather in the front and heated leather in the second row, voice recognition, 3-D view, premium audio, wood trim, heated steering wheel, third-row USB charging ports, parking sensors, second-row DVD system and more.     All-in, the window sticker came to just a hair over 57K.


AWD would have added $2,000 and cost the usual 1 or 2 MPG from the MDX’s EPA rating of 20 city and 27 highway.   In our week’s test, we never got less than 22 in our usual two-lane + freeway commute…..and had no problem getting 26 – 28 on the road.


If you’re planning to tow some toys, the MDX can handle 5,000 pounds worth.    And if you need room for the occasional trip to Lowes or the Depot, both the second and third rows fold flat….giving you 90 cu ft of room back there.


Room in the third row is a bit tight, but access is easy with push-button second-row sliding and folding seats.


And one more thing.    Back to Acura’s “identity”……..the “beak” is gone.    Yes….the ’17 MDX had a nose job and the result is quite handsome in my opinion.


So…..if you need utility but value “feel”, performance and looks, you might not want to overlook Acura’s refreshed ’17 MDX.


(Bob Jackson - CBS Local)

(Bob Jackson – CBS Local)

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