- - Thursday, December 22, 2016

Long a fan of the Acura brand, my recent week driving the 2017 Acura MDX proved no different. It is a midsize SUV and it rides and drives with comfort and ease. Said to have a sportier vibe than most of the competition, this comes in part due to the new addition in 2017 of cleaner lines and a new grille. Look for the Hybrid sport version mid-year — all together these additional perks easily rival the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 or Lexus RX350 competition. Also new for 2017 is the auto high beams, which I found to be particularly useful as was the new surround-view camera system.

The Acura MDX is a three-row luxury crossover that carries seven passengers. There is a choice of three trim levels including the Standard, Technology and Advance and the AcuraWatch safety suite is included in all trims now.

For additions, you can add the Entertainment package on the Technology and Advanced trims.

On the basic Standard trim, there are all the expected goodies like 18-inch wheels, heated side mirrors and front seats, power liftgate, sunroof and keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

For the Technology trim, you add the dual dashboard with a seven-inch touchscreen and above that an eight-inch regular screen. There are 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, a remote engine start, power-folding side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring and a color driver information display.

On the Advance trim, there are front and rear parking sensors, LED fog lights, automatic engine stop-start and the heated steering wheel with higher-end leather sport seats and air-conditioned front seats. Natural wood trim rounds out the interior experience and the second row has captain seats that also come heated and with extra USB ports.

If you add the Entertainment package to either trim, there is the addition of the DVD option in the back seats. And on the Technology package, that is with a nine-inch screen or the Advance trim has a 16.2-inch screen with additional speakers.

Also look for the upcoming Sport Hybrid, which will come in the all-wheel-drive version with 325 horsepower using a smaller 3.0-liter V6 engine and three electric motors.

Otherwise, under the hood, you get a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower with a nine-speed transmission.

For safety, the AcuraWatch couldn’t be a better regular feature on all the trims. Count on all the standard safety features and add to that adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane and road departure warning and mitigation.

With plenty of room and the feel of luxury, this is an excellent option in the mid-size SUV segment with a third row offering a good amount of room for passenger comfort.

For hauling, you get a maximum of 68.4 cubic feet when the second and third row is folded down. The seats are easy to flatten for loading and you have plenty of storage space around the interior.

You will drive with a self-assurance since there is plenty of power and you can be sure you will feel a confidence that has become synonymous for me when behind the wheel of an Acura.

Should You Need to Know: Take note of the capless fueling new on the 2017 Acura MDX — an easy convenience that I found very appealing.

Miles: The miles per gallon on the 2017 Acura MDX came in at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2017 Acura MDX comes in with a price tag of $43,950.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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