Entry price: $58,000
Price as tested: $58,975

This week, we’re driving Acura’s impressive 2017 MDX, the exciting luxury SUV that competes in a crowded market. Built in Lincoln, Alabama, this high tech wonder comes loaded with Acura opulence and safety items that buyers nowadays expect with their luxury brand purchase. And, as the top brand of the corporate Honda family, our Acura MDX also features a special Hybrid system that connects to a powerful V6 engine and three electric motors resulting in over 300-horsepower at your disposal.

For 2017 Acura MDX arrives with a new diamond pentagon grille, standard Acura Watch safety suite, electric parking brake, auto high beams, Sirius/XM Radio 2.0 and four USB charging ports. All Acura MDX models offer a smaller third row of seating, best situated for kids and the lovable family pets but also room enough for smaller adults.

Notable is that prospective consumers can slip into a 2017 Acura MDX non-Hybrid starting at $44,050. These non-Hybrids come with a 290 horse V6, nine speed automatic and room for up to seven passengers. From there, the consumer decides if they want the high tech safety and infotainment options.

Our Acura MDX Sport Hybrid AWD, however, is the ultimate top line model that incorporates the Tech, Advance and AcuraWatch safety systems as standard fare. All MDX Hybrid Sport models seat six (second row console) and come standard with a bevy of features that attract a wide age demographic from Millenials to Baby Boomers. The exterior design is more aggressive, and I especially like the front jewel eye LED headlamps and rear fascia design.

Acura MDX Hybrid comes powered by a fine running 3.0-liter V6 that combines with the three motor electric hybrid system to pump out a total of 321 horsepower overall. Broken down, this Sport Hybrid AWD system uses the 257-horse V-6 that joins with a 47 horsepower electric motor located in the transmission housing that helps power the front wheels. There are two additional 36 horsepower motors mounted side by side between the rear wheels and each rear motor powers a single rear wheel as they operate independently. A lithium-ion battery powers the three motors and when the vehicle is decelerating, the motors charge the battery. Very impressive, but don’t add up the individual horsepower ratings as the maximum available is 321 at any one given moment.

The resulting fuel mileage increase allows this Hybrid AWD to deliver 26 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. For comparison, a non-hybrid MDX with AWD and the 3.5 V6 delivers 18 city and 26 highway. Noteworthy is hybrid’s performance, as the 321 available horsepower offers excellent torque (289) and strong acceleration to 60 mph like many of the muscle cars back in the 1960s. Specifically, we timed zero to 60 in 5.9 seconds several times which is amazing for a 2-ton plus hybrid.

Unlike the other MDX non-hybrid models that rely on a nine-speed automatic, the MDX Sport Hybrid features a special seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT). This special Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system is up to any and all traction tasks that it may encounter and provides a stable ride thanks to a sophisticated system designed to boost high-performance dry-road handling by directing engine power to match weight distribution, available traction, driver input and other conditions.

As for the ride, the MDX front strut and rear multi-link setup are tuned to provide a combination of secure handling and exceptional ride. Also assisting the ride are 20-inch Continental all season tires on beautiful aluminum alloys. Overall, the Acura MDX ride and handling is very good to excellent.

As mentioned, our tester comes standard with the Advance, Technology and AcuraWatch packages, meaning this MDX is a fully loaded SUV with not one option on the price list. Standard are voice Navigation with AcuraLink; power liftgate; power sunroof; heated front and second row seats; beautiful stitched leather interior; GPS-linked Tri-zone climate control; enhanced safety rearview camera; Bluetooth; ELS Premium 10-speaker surround sound HD stereo system with Sirius/XM satellite; 115-volt outlets; ELS 10-speaker stereo; Bluetooth/USB access; and push button start and transmission selector.

There are many more features on the MDX Hybrid that your Acura dealer will explain, especially how the safety lane and road departure, adaptive cruise, blind spot, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic, surround view and forward collision mitigation systems work. Yes, every safety item available nowadays is standard on this MDX Sport Hybrid AWD.

Competition comes from BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Range Rover. However, Acura high points include its top line safety, luxurious ride, quiet interior and overall economical hybrid roadworthiness in dollar-for-dollar comparisons.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 111.0 inches, 4,484 curb weight, 7.3 inch ground clearance, 14.9 to 68.4 cu. ft. of cargo space, 19.4 gallon fuel tank and a turning radius of 38.4 feet.

Acura’s upgraded 2017 MDX is one of the best crossovers available in the luxury market. Not surprisingly, Acura MDX earns a Five Star government crash worthiness rating, another “top buy” advantage. Check with your dealer concerning current lease deals on both new and “off-lease” Acura MDX models.
Likes: Design, interior, powerful hybrid assist V6, quiet ride.
Dislikes: Hybrid towing is not recommended, but MDX gas powered vehicles can tow 3,500 lbs., tight third row.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at greg@gregzyla.com.