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Now in its fourth year of production by Honda’s luxury division, the all-wheel drive Acura MDX is one of many midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicles that can make any drive more appealing. It provides what practically all drivers are seeking – performance, handling, convenience and comfort.

Two more reasons to like the MDX – it’s attractive and the beefy 3.7-liter, V6 engine with 300 horsepower makes it very fun to drive. The MDX, which comes in only one trim model, is equipped with an all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD) that delivers mightily in the handling department.

2012 Acura MDX

  • Power: 3.7-liter, V6, 300 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 16-21 mpg
  • Price: $43,030
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance 4 years/50,000; corrosion 5 years/unlimited

The sales dilemma facing the MDX and the whole SUV crowd is contending with each other. In driving many of them over the past several years, a true favorite doesn’t immediately come to mind.

The 2012 Acura MDX has plenty of company in the Infiniti FX35, BMW X5, Buick Enclave, Mazda CX-9 and the Lexus RX 350.

There hasn’t been much new with the MDX since going through a modest redesign for 2010. What some people may notice first is the adaptation of a grille that some industry folks are calling a “corporate grille” because of its commonality to other Acura models.

The MDX, which has three rows of seating and can accommodate seven passengers, abandoned the standard five-speed automatic transmission and moved to a six-speed two years ago. The change provided a modest increase in both power and fuel economy, which now ranges between 16-21 mpg.

Step inside the interior and one notices a cabin that’s attractive and features a steering wheel with paddle shifters that are standard, plus an assortment of gauges. The optional navigational system is pretty high tech and a multi-angle back-up camera is available as well.

In its sixth year of production, the MDX can make sure all seven passengers are feeling the love in the heat/cool department, thanks to climate controls for all three rows. But the true comfort doesn’t extend to all three rows. While the first two rows provide comfortable seating, the third row is inadequate for young kids because it’s very difficult to squeeze in child safety seats. And when the child seats are in properly, it compromises the room for second-row folks.

One safety item worth mentioning is the collision mitigating braking system. Once the driver gets accustomed to the visual warnings, it’s a wonderful tool to avoid any approaching cars that happen to get into the dreaded blind spot. And if that oncoming vehicle is still not detected, the system automatically brakes quickly to help avoid a potential accident.

The MDX provides good value in the luxury crossover class ($43,030) that is generally rather pricey. It has strong upside, providing a fun SUV with to drive with good performance, strong safety, and very few flaws.