Here is a short list of things you won’t find on Acura’s MDX.

1) Excessively swoopy, over-the-top styling that stands out from the crowd.

2) “Murdered-out” trim and obscenely large 22-inch wheels painted black.

3) A drivetrain featuring turbos, hybrid battery packs or constantly variable transmissions.

All of the aforementioned gratuitous nonsense would presumably detract from what Acura’s upsized SUV is all about and what people love about it. Indeed, the MDX is a well-conceived, well-designed and very well built machine for larger families led by parental units with egos too fragile to buy an even more practical Honda Odyssey. Or maybe those too self-important to be seen in a more affordable Honda Pilot.

Okay, that’s a little harsh, but there are a number of excellent choices in this class of vehicle that can contain a pioneer-sized family and the MDX is just one of them. Plus, when spec’ed up to our Elite trim, it is a pricey choice, albeit one that offers a lot of luxury.

It’s a popular pick amongst Canadian shoppers too, finishing strongly in fourth place last year in the sales race of the robust luxury mid-size SUV category, right behind the Lexus RX, Audi Q5 and the MDX’s smaller RDX sibling. In fact, in 2014, Acura Canada sold about as many MDXs as they did all of their cars combined, so clearly Honda’s upscale brand is doing something right with their big crossover.

After a week behind the wheel, it turns out Acura is doing plenty right with the MDX. To begin with, the styling is unlikely to offend anyone. It’s fairly plain and innocuous, yet refreshingly uncomplicated. With the multi-lens LED headlights serving as the key styling element tying the MDX to the Acura brand, it’s otherwise fairly generic – and when trying to appeal to large groups, this is a safe bet. Following a few years of distressing styling misdirection highlighted by large shiny Acura-beaked cars, conservative is a better way to go.

The MDX’s universal styling and the popularity of the rig had me actually trying to load my purchases into the back of someone else’s identical MDX on a recent trip to Costco. After readying myself to unleash a barrage of hateful words toward the uncooperative power lift gate, I noticed the vehicle I was about to verbally assault wore a license plate different from my test vehicle, which was parked two rows over. By some miracle, the rightful owner of that MDX didn’t see me and call the cops.

Inside the MDX, the Elite trim level is immediately defined by the beautiful, satin finish chunks of Spanish olive trees adorning the dash and console. This is a nice touch that really helps sell the luxury persona Acura’s striving for in this model.

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