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The all-new Acura MDX is an act in refinement

The automaker promises driving dynamics matching the sporty design

The MDX is Acura's flagship SUV. PHOTO FROM ACURA

Acura is essentially Honda’s luxury arm, much like Lexus and Infiniti are to Toyota and Nissan. Though the brand currently doesn’t sell cars here, that shouldn’t stop us from taking a look at (and being awed by) the all-new MDX crossover that was recently launched.

The sporty design appears to target younger buyers. PHOTOS FROM ACURA

One of the most striking things about this SUV is the bold exterior design with its aggressive lines, sleek LED headlights, and the uniquely patterned grille. The changes aren’t only skin-deep though, as the car rides on an entirely brand-new chassis and suspension. Not only does it deliver sportier driving dynamics, but the car is also roomier and more comfortable to ride in.

Under hood is still the same 3.5-liter V6 heart making 290hp and 362Nm, but it’s now mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. A Type S version is coming later next year, and it’s coming with a new 3.0-liter V6 turbo engine and Acura’s fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive because SUVs these days have to have a hot version.

Acura signature grille is certainly a talking point. PHOTOS FROM ACURA

The interior also has a lot of big changes, mainly with the premium materials used. You can spec aluminum or wood trim, and even spice up the cabin with red leather upholstery. There are also 27 unique ambient lighting schemes, named after famous roads and racetracks such as Route 66 and Suzuka Circuit.

Both the instrument cluster and the infotainment touchscreen are 12.3 inches in size. The former has several modes and can be paired with an optional 10.5-inch heads-up display, while the center screen supports both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also charge devices on USB-A and USB-C ports, or a wireless charging pad.

The interior can be had in several different flavors. PHOTOS FROM ACURA

One party trick of the MDX is that the second-row seating area can be arranged in two other ways aside from its traditional setup as a bench seat that can comfortably accommodate three people. The middle portion can fold down as an armrest or be completely removed so that passengers have easy access to the third row.

But the ivory seats are easiest on the eyes. PHOTO FROM ACURA

To top it all off, the MDX comes with the AcuraWatch set of driver aids with a bunch of new features, such as Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Pedestrian Detection, and a Driver Attention Monitor so the safety of both the occupants and the pedestrians are covered.

The MDX will get the Type S treatment next year. PHOTO FROM ACURA

But you might be wondering how the all-new MDX is even relevant in a country that doesn’t even have a single Acura dealership. Some of the tech pioneered by Honda’s luxury marque will eventually trickle down to the more consumer-oriented models in one way or another. The next CR-V or Pilot may just be as luxurious as the MDX.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.