MDX a top-of-the-line SUV

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Acura has quietly been replacing old models and introducing new ones over the last few years.

Acura unveiled three new products in an effort to move the brand upscale: the RDX, a sporty entry-level luxury SUV; the MDX, its top-of-the-line SUV; and the TL-S Type, and entry-level luxury sport sedan.

The RDX is supposed to be aimed at up-and coming urban families who have adventurous, active lifestyles. Given the level of equipment and the performance of the RDX, it probably fits the bill. It's equipped with Acura's first turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 2.3 liter 16-valve unit that puts out 240 horsepower in a five speed automatic with a sportshift. Gas mileage is rated at 19 mpg city and 23 highway.

The 2007 Acura MDX.
Click photo for larger image.

You engage the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel with your thumbs and -- thanks to the car's explosive power -- as you run through the gears it feels far more like a sports car than anything else.

In the meantime, you are supremely entertained with one of the best sound systems in the business: the 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround Premium Sound System, designed by Grammy Award-winning recording engineer and producer Elliot Scheiner, Panasonic and Acura. It gives you the distinct sensation of sitting in the middle of a concert hall with sound coming from every corner of the vehicle.

The interior is well done, with top grade materials and an assertive dashboard design angled toward the driver. What's especially cool are the LED backlit gauges.

The main fly in the ointment is cargo space. It's rather tight, which may be an issue for some of those active families that Acura is targeting.

Prices for the RDX start at $32,995 and go up to $36,495.

Next up is the new MDX, whose styling alone represents a radical departure for Acura. Replacing the older, more conservative design is an aggressive, highly sculptured effort that includes sweeping curves, dramatic angles and a roofline that makes it appear as though it's a smaller, more aerodynamic six seater rather than the usual squarish nine seat SUV.

In reality of course, the MDX does have three rows of seats, though the third one is quite tight, as is the case with just about all SUVs.

The main claim to fame of the MDX is its high performance. It's probably the only SUV that's been on the world-reknown Nurburgring race track. Power comes from a 3.7 liter, 300 horsepower V-6 with a mileage rating of 17 city/22 highway.

Driving the MDX was quite an experience. It's odd, to say the least, to drive an SUV that tears into corners and has responsive steering, but that's exactly what you get with the MDX. Prices for the MDX range from $39,995 to $47,795.



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