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In a crowded luxury mid- to full-size SUV class, the 2016 Acura MDX stands out--and not just because of its size. While it's one of the more spacious 3-row SUVs, that's not its only talent. Safety scores, ride quality, and lots of tech features also carry the day for the most satisfying Acura of all.
The Acura MDX competes with the Lexus RX, Buick Enclave, Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Infiniti QX60, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz ML-Class. The Lexus offers only two rows of seating, however. The Acura offers three rows of seating for up to 7 people.
There's more distinction when viewed from the front. The MDX nose resembles a beak, drawing mixed reviews, though the beak is more flattering on this SUV than on Acura sedans, and crisp matte-chrome details and LED headlamps lend a streamlined, elegant look.
Inside, the MDX cabin looks similar to Acura's sedans. The dash, with its sloping, tiered look and V-shaped center stack, is in pace with the sedans. It's not overly decorated or festooned with glitz and metallic trim. The controls could be easier to use, especially those focused around the central knob on the infotainment system, but the dash itself is nicely styled.
The MDX draws power from a 3.5-liter V-6. It's set at 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The torque is produced at low engine speeds, and the engine revs smoothly from idle to its 6,700-rpm redline.
The 9-speed automatic now fitted to the MDX works well enough, but it's not a huge improvement in smoothness or fuel efficiency. Pressing the "D/S" button changes the shifts between "Drive" and "Sport." In Drive, everything's handled for the driver, and the gearbox selects a cog for the best fuel economy. In Sport mode, the driver has more control via the paddle shift controls mounted on the steering wheel.
The 9-speed has ratios galore, but it can get confused when called on to pick one. Moderate acceleration when merging on a freeway can deliver a lumpy shift, for example. It has some keen features: it goes into Park automatically when the pushbutton start toggles it off.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.