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How the 2018 Acura MDX Might Have Changed My Mind About SUV’s

U.S. News and World Report had recently named the Acura MDX the best three-row luxury SUV for the money…and I have to say, that I have a hard time arguing with them. So the next time you’re searching Acura dealer near me, I highly recommend that you take the time to check it out.

I make little secret of my lack of enthusiasm over crossover SUV’s. Epitomizing what I consider to be a lack of focus, the kitchen-sink mentality used by most automakers in designing a crossover that has something for everyone can result in a confused mishmash of features and amenities. And by shoehorning so many into the offering, there seem to be few options as to bodystyle, making most crossovers the stylistic equivalent of a wedged door stop on wheels.

Sure, most offerings boast countless benefits in terms of sustainability, versatility and safety features; but an absence of confident power handling, sporty handling and an appealing aesthetic can do plenty to damn most crossovers when viewed through the eyes of an uncompromising car enthusiast.

That said, the Acura MDX feels like a game-changer in that regard. When viewed as part of the crossover segment as a whole, it reflects a sense of refinement (both in terms of performance and styling). Granted, as a luxury SUV, it enjoys somewhat of an unfair advantage over the likes of more accessibly-priced crossovers but it exists on the more economical end of the spectrum.

Priced to start around $44,200 the 2018 MDX is served up in its traditional form, as well as a Sport Hybrid variant. Depending on the option selected, it comes powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that confidently churns out 290 hp, or the 3.0-liter three motors hybrid system wrangles 321 hp. With all-sheep drive, the MDX is a capable performer, and is accommodating as well as a three-row crossover.

But stylistically, there’s simply something so pleasing about the MDX, from first glance alone. The bold nature of the pentagonal shield anchored by the iconic badging lends it an aggressive edge, accentuated by the elongated design of the wraparound headlights.  But following the eye-line around the vehicle, its sporty intentions are echoed in its contoured body and a low-stance which gives the impression of an animal ready to spring into action. And while more crossovers than ever aspire to this more athletic sensibility, the MDX does it through refinement as opposed to employing jutting angles and gaping maws. Factor in the classic use of color options, and the MDX just feels like a sleeper hit in terms of appearance, matching its confident performance.

Interested in taking a closer look at the 2018 Acura MDX? Here’s a look at how it measures up against competition from BMW, Audi and Lexus courtesy of GEARshift TV: