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Now in its seventh year of production by Honda’s luxury division, the Acura MDX is one of many midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicles that can make any drive more appealing.

The MDX is quite versatile. It serve as the family-friendly sport utility vehicle that has three rows of seating and can haul up to seven people, or provide appropriate transportation for kids and their many activities.

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But it can also be the cool SUV that one uses as a daily commuter to work or the MDX can act as the comfortable, classy mode of travel for a small family.

The dilemma facing the MDX and the whole upper-end SUV crowd is contending with each other. In driving many of them over the past several years there are a lot of vehicles worthy of buying.

2016 Acura MDX

  • Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 290 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 18-27 mph
  • Price: $42,865-$44,865
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles;roadside assistance 4 years/50,000; corrosion 5 years/unlimited

The 2016 MDX, which comes with some notable changes this year, is one of the standouts in this segment. Yet it has plenty of company in the remodeled Volvo Xc90 and Audi Q7, plus the Infiniti QX60, BMW X5 and Buick Enclave.

Although the MDX went through a major redesign in 2014, that didn’t stop Acura from adding some appealing features this year. The most notable is the nine-speed automatic transmission that makes the MDX more refined and shifting a little faster. It also he helps improve  acceleration and hikes the gas mileage to 18-27 mpg.

The standard nine-speed automatic transmission is not the only change. The MDX also has a revised all-wheel drive system that Acura says improves agility. There’s added safety features that have been added as options.

While the additions are good ones, a feature that’s not appreciated here is the gear selector. Instead of the standard shifter, the MDX has a push button selector that one utilizes to hit park, reverse, neutral and drive. While one does get accustomed to it, the feature seems like a change for the sake of change.

The Acura MDX has one very solid engine, a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged option would be a nice addition, since that’s a popular choice these days. The base model is front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive with (SH-AWD) is an option. The MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Even without the Sport mode engaged, the MDX offers a good ride. It handles with ease in any around-town driving and demonstrates its agility when challenged by some S-curve road or maneuvering in freeway traffic. In Sport mode the MDX shows off a little more and does it with a pleasing engine roar.

A smart interior characterizes the MDX. It has an appealing look with leather upholstery, quality material, and a very sensible layout The interior has both an upper and lower touchscreen that are intuitive in nature.

Comfort is also a plus with the MDX, with the exception of the third row, which is only comfortable for a child. Front and back seat folks will enjoy the head and leg room. The third row eats up much of the trunk space (15.8 cubic feet), but fold it down and there is ample storage capacity.

The MDX provides good value for the price (around $43,000) in the luxury crossover class that is generally rather pricy. It has strong upside, providing a fun SUV to drive with good performance, strong handling, comfortable ride, and very few flaws.

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