We've sung the praises of Acura's appropriately named Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system before (like in this Acura TL versus Audi S4 comparison test or this update on our Four Seasons ZDX), but it's a tune that I'm willing to happily hum again after driving the MDX. On dry roads, the system unobtrusively yet confidently sends extra power to the outside rear wheel in corners, effectively helping turn the vehicle and making it feel significantly more agile. And if road and traffic conditions are appropriate (i.e. a light dusting of snow and no fellow motorists in sight) and stability control is disabled, this big people hauler can become an exuberant drift machine that's able to safely and easily hang the tail out for half a city block. Best one-mile errand to the grocery store ever!
Although the MDX doesn't handle as sportily as the ZDX (blame its 150 pounds of extra curb weight and five inches of height), it's 1000 times more practical than its platform-mate. I never even hit my head on the ceiling or A-pillar during my weekend with the MDX, which also has a spacious row of comfortable middle seats and lots of room behind them for cargo or additional passengers. I try the kids-only third row, but at least it's there. Nonetheless, I think the MDX would be a poor minivan substitute for folks who often travel with six or seven passengers.
Like the ZDX, the MDX has Honda's powerful, rev-happy 3.7-liter V-6 and a smooth six-speed automatic. The leather seats are supple and lovely, but based on how much wear our long-term ZDX's seats are showing, I wonder how well they'll endure daily use.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor