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2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec by Mark Fulmer


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Luxurious Contradictions

New but the same. Some things don't change even when the year does, and the 2020 MDX is one of them. And that makes a lot of sense when you have a luxury vehicle with an impressive track record and a well deserved reputation for reliability as witnessed by its excellent owner loyalty and resale value. While change is on the way next year, the MDX remains true to its commitment to performance blended with luxury and style.

Costs a lot but it doesn't. The 40-60K cost level of this needs to be viewed with the low maintenance costs and high resale value in mind as well. Most of its Asian and European counterparts cost considerably more to purchase and maintain.

Big but doesn't act like it. Inside, the seats feel roomy and comfortable. The second and third rows can be folded flat for an immpressive cargo space of 90.9 cubic feet. With all that space you m ight conclude that the MDX drives like a truck. Not in the least. It weighs in at four thousand pounds, and that may sound heavy, but it is actually the lightest in its class. That is achieved through a lot of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel. When you power that with the Acura 3.5-liter V6 capable of 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque you can cruise or make moves like a middleweight. That is where the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) factors in with enhanced traction and control. Off-road or bad weather? No worries.

Twice the gears that feel like 1. The 9-speed automatic transmission does its thing like an undercover spy. Try as I might to feel the shift changes, they were masked like a super hero, hard a work saving gas, yet ready instantly to make the move you need.

Simple but deep tech. To fully enjoy your MDX seriously, you must seriously opt for its Technology package ($5,000). That gives you an Acura Navigation System with an 8-in color display, a color multi-information display with turn-by-turn guidance, GPS-linked climate control, the Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio System with 10 speakers, HD Radio and Song By Voice, 20-in aluminum-alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-folding side mirrors with LED puddle lights, remote engine start, rear-door Smart Key entry, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. And my favorite, a voice recognition system for navigation, audio, climate control, phone and email compatibility. The experience of having your car read aloud incoming text messages has all the feel of piloting a Trek shuttlecraft.

So point at the windshield, and in your best Shakespearian accent proclaim: "Engage!"

p.s. I tried that, but the Nav voice just kept saying "Pardon?"