THE RIDE: Four-door, seven-passenger 2007 Acura MDX midsize luxury SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Introduced in 2001, the MDX has been redesigned for 2007 with more horsepower and torque, a longer wheelbase and a standard all-wheel-drive system similar to the one found in the Acura RDX and RL models. Available in five trims, handling is even crisper and stability is solid, thanks to the AWD engine.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.7-liter (from the previous 3.5) SOHC V-6 engine doles out a healthy 300 horsepower (from 253) at 6000 rpm and 275 (from 250) pounds-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. It is mated to a slick center-mounted 5-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities. Suspension is handled via an independent MacPherson strut in the front and an independent multilink with trailing arm in the rear. A torque-sensing rack-and-pinion steering system conveys an on-center feeling, even if you push pedal to the metal in haste. If you are towing up to 5,000 pounds, the 13-inch front and 13.2-inch rear disc brakes prove their mettle's worth. Grip from the all-season 18-inch tires is unyielding.
LOOK & FEEL: Based on a unit body structure, the MDX sports a larger Acura pentagon-shaped grille with dark silver satin plating than its predecessor. Also catching your eye will be sweptback auto-leveling xenon HID headlights, body-colored sideview mirrors and tailgate spoiler and two large exhaust outlet pipes. Step in and you will appreciate the roomy, spacious front-bucket leather seats while holding on to the three-spoke, electronic tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The dashboard and door panels share a pleasant-looking wood grain trim. Similarly sprinkled around the cabin are metallic accents, especially around the shifter knob area, door, cupholders and the audio system. With the 60/40-split second row and the 50/50-split third row folded, there is 83.5 cubic feet of storage space. A covered storage pocket for the front passenger and a center console with dual armrest comes in handy.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all three rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, antiskid and traction control, electronic brake distribution with brake assist, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, front-seat active head restraints and front and rear crumple zones are among the standard security features.
OUT THE DOOR: $43,495, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. This includes the $3,500 Technology Package, which comes with a navigation system, rearview camera, AcuraLink assistance system and an updated sound system.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P255/55R18 all season; wheelbase, 108.3 inches; length, 190.7 inches; weight, 4,539 pounds; fuel capacity, 21 gallons; highway, 22 mpg; city, 17 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: The 2007 MDX should appeal to buyers not just for its excellent gearbox and stylish looks but also because of its people- and cargo-hauling practicality. I've no doubt that the recent redesign will further drive up the sales of this agile Acura.