By Asian Journal Auto Editor

For 2019 Acura’s bestselling MDX premium SUV is highlighted by its bold and distinctive styling. A roomy three-row SUV that can seat seven people, additional styling updates include new chrome rocker panel trim, a revised rear bumper and skid garnish, and dual exhausts with bright finishers. For 2019, MDX models benefit from increased standard luxury and technology features, including an Electric Parking Brake with Automatic Brake Hold, Auto High Beam headlights, four 2.5-amp USB charging ports and capless fuel filler. All 2019 Acura MDX models come equipped with a new long-range remote engine starter. Interior versatility features easier access to the third row, and the One-Touch Walk-In feature, which moves the second-row seat out of the way at the push of a button. Across the model ranger, there are new exterior color options, including Gunmetal Metallic, Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, Canyon Bronze Metallic, and a stunning Apex Blue Pearl, that’s exclusive to A-Spec models. Desert Olive Ash wood trim and high-contrast interior stitching is featured, and there are now standard four-way power lumbar adjustments on the driver and front passenger seats.

There are a number of MDXs in the model lineup. Of note is the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, the brand’s first ever hybrid SUV. The Sport Hybrid is available only on the top tier MDX Elite trim offering superior levels of performance, fuel economy and luxury. The Sport Hybrid MDX is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 gasoline engine that itself generates 257 horsepower and 218 lb.ft. of torque on its own, while the hybrid system comprising a battery and three electric motors (As in the NSX) increases power to 321 horsepower and 289 lb.-ft. of torque.

For 2019, an A-Spec model joins the regular MDX and MDX Sport Hybrid models. The A Spec does not offer significant performance upgrades, but features a cosmetic package that includes exclusive 20-inch gray aluminum wheels with wider lower-profile 265/45 tires, a unique front fascia, body-color rocker panels, larger diameter exhaust tips, and gloss black and dark chrome exterior trim. The MDX’s 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 267-lb-ft of torque offers plenty of power and a nice snarly, raspy engine note. With its Apex blue paint, it looked particularly fast and expensive.

Interior wise, The A-Spec offers cool perforated red or black leather with black Alcantara inserts and contrast stitching. There are also unique A-Spec red gauges, sport pedals, black Alcantara door panel inserts, gloss black trim, A-Spec-badged door sills, and a leather-wrapped and thicker-rimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters. Options include: Technology package that includes a 10-speaker ELS Studio audio system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, and LED puddle lights. The Acura Watch suite of driver-assist features is standard. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio are standard. The front dash is superbly featured and add duel screens for infotainment. The multi-function steering wheel is exceptional in how it accesses features. Also nice to see the return of as proper volume knob. All the seat offer excellent comfort. Both the second and third rows are spacious and comfortable. And there is plenty of cargo space behind that third row.

On the road, the MDX’s 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 267-lb-ft of torque offers the naturally aspirated V-6 gets to power, it’s strong, willing performer with wonderful exhaust note. The big premium crossover handles well for its size, its stable in hard corners with a firm, planted feel. Acceleration is good with smooth acceleration. Acura’s SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive enables excellent on road dynamics even when pushed. Downsides are few, the nine speed transmission could be more responsive and the acceleration is a shade below the Sport Hybrid MDX. Nevertheless, these are not deal breakers, the MDX is still all-round one of the best SUVS you can buy with a high level of performance, standard equipment, and decent fuel economy – 12.2 city / 9.5 highway / 11.0 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km). It comes well equipped even on the entry level model. The A-Spec really does stand apart in the MDX line up and its extra add-ons make it look very special, good if you want something unique. To sum up, the Acura MDX is a satisfying and pleasurable SUV to own and drive.  Highly recommended.

2019 Acura MDX A Spec: MSRP from $62,662.