Friday, January 24, 2014

Upgraded MDX stands tall in luxury SUV segment

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

Sacramento, California – It’s going to cost you north of $55,000 and maybe get you 20 miles per gallon in the city if you’re savvy on the accelerator.

So, why do you care, right?

You should care, because the third-generation Acura MDX sport-ute rolled out for the 2014 model year is a player in the luxury SUV segment.  Translation: If you have considerable cash, this MDX is worth more than a few minutes of your attention.

OK, you might NOT have to spend in the mid-fifties for it.  The most basic MDX starts at just a shade more than $42,000.  But take my word for it, if you want the full MDX experience, you want to think top-end.

My tester was precisely that, a lavishly loaded MDX with the “Advance Package.”  Said package includes seven-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels; a primo 605-watt audio system with 12 speakers; a jumbo-size rear entertainment system; luxo leather seating surfaces; remote engine start (it can be launched from a football field away); lane-change assist system; a collision-avoidance braking system and adaptive cruise control, with a “low-speed follow” feature that maintains a specific distance between your MDX and the vehicle in front of you.

Luxury for seven?  Yeah, you bet.  And plenty of interior room for ride-along folks to spread out.

From the cockpit, the driver gets a beautifully designed center stack of controls.  Easy to see.  A snap to use.  Little pleasures like this make me smile nowadays.

Acura seriously tweaked the exterior.  The 2014 MDX is longer, lower and narrower than the previous generation, and significantly, it’s 275 pounds lighter than its predecessor.  It has enough angles and front-end cuts to look downright sporty in profile.

On the fly, the MDX cuts through the wind briskly and silently.  The 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 power plant is enthusiastic.  It’s coldly efficient when picking off freeway pokes, and it climbs steep hills with very little noise coming back into the cabin.

I did just about everything to challenge this tester, and it responded like a champ in all conditions.  It even took the trouble to gently tighten my seat belts when I drove hard into sharp corners.  Very considerate, that.

Bottom line: The revamped MDX stands particularly tall in a luxury SUV segment that offers well-heeled buyers so much in so many packages.  For those fortunate enough to afford the fare, the MDX belongs on your test drive list.

 

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