For 2007, the Acura MDX has been completely redesigned. As it moves into its second generation, it rides on a new platform that it no longer shares with the Honda Odyssey minivan. It’s also longer, lower and wider than the model it replaces.

The MDX uses an all-new 3.7-litre V6 that makes 300 hp, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. With its standard fluid cooler, the MDX can tow up to 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs), and it has Trailer Stability Assist built into its standard vehicle stability assist system to help stabilize the vehicle if it detects trailer sway. It also features Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD); similar to that used in the new-for-2007 Acura RDX, it automatically delivers the optimum amount of torque between the front and rear axles, and also between the left and right rear wheels for better cornering.

The MDX is a seven-passenger vehicle and comes in a base model or with two packages, the Technology and Elite.

The base model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, tire pressure monitoring system, heated mirrors with passenger side tip-down, heated leather seats with ten-way driver and eight-way passenger power adjustment, tri-zone automatic climate control, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, garage door opener, hands-free telephone interface and second-row heated outboard seats.

The Technology Package adds a 410-watt ten-speaker surround sound stereo with six-disc CD/DVD changer, XM satellite radio, satellite navigation with bilingual voice recognition, rearview camera, premium full-grain leather seats and GPS-linked climate control system.

The Elite Package includes all of the Technology Package features, and adds exclusive alloy wheel design, roof rails, auto-levelling Xenon headlamps, active damper system, 115-volt AC outlet, power-operated tailgate and nine-inch flip-down rear-seat DVD screen.

The MDX’s makeover is a very good one: it’s extremely powerful, its handling is confident and it corners flat, and throttle response is immediate. It is much more nimble than its size would suggest, and its fuel economy is relatively good, given the engine’s power.

The two packages boost the price considerably, but they offer quite a bit in return, and the rearview camera is a useful add-on, as it is on all SUVs. Second-row passengers are fine for legroom, but the third row is suitable mostly for children. Everything folds up to form a massive cargo area, and the improved towing capability will be welcome for those who like to haul around boats or other big toys. Fit and finish are up to Acura’s usual standards, but that big cowcatcher grille might be just a little too much for some.

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