Driven (briefly): 2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

Driven (briefly): 2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

Now that it’s three years into its third-generation, Acura’s MDX sport utility vehicle has undergone a midlife makeover

Acura's MDX gets a makeover for the 2017 model year | Acura photos

Acura’s MDX gets a makeover for the 2017 model year | Acura photos

Now that it’s three years into its third-generation, Acura’s MDX sport utility vehicle has undergone a midlife makeover: New “diamond pentagon” grille up front, the AcuraWatch suite of safety and “driver-assistive” technologies, updated standard luxury and technology features, including LED lighting, real wood interior trim, surround-view camera system, and more, including six — count ‘em, six — USB charging ports in the Advance trim package.

Oh, and the president-elect will be happy to learn that these big SUVs are built right here in the U.S. of A., either in Lincoln, Alabama, or East Liberty, Ohio.

V6 provides nearly 300 horsepower

V6 provides nearly 300 horsepower

The 2017 MDX I’ve been driving recently is, indeed, one of those with the Advance trim package, which for the 2017 model year brings along with it real wood interior trim, two extra USB ports, 20-inch alloy wheels, bi-directional keyless remote engine starting, second-row captain’s chairs with a center console, power folding side mirrors, heated steering wheel, surround-view camera system, HD traffic data, LED fog lamps — and that’s just the new-for-‘17 stuff.

The surround-view camera system is a very nice feature to have on a big SUV and can be helpful when it comes to entering or extracting the vehicle from a parking place, since it shows you just how close you are to obstacles you may not be able to see from the driver’s seat.

I also like the way the power-folding exterior mirrors retract when the vehicle is parked.

Lots of luxurious seating

Lots of luxurious seating

On the other hand, I absolutely hated the motion-adaptive electric power steering that is part of the new and standard on all MDXs AcuraWatch suite.

Here’s how Acura describes this technology:

“The system incorporates driving stability technology that initiates steering inputs that prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction during cornering and in slippery road conditions. Using vehicle speed and steering angle data, Motion-Adaptive EPS works with Vehicle Stability Assist and Electric Power Steering to detect instability in slippery road conditions both during cornering and under braking and automatically initiates steering inputs aimed at prompting the driver to steer in the correct direction. This advanced technology supports the driver’s action in operating the vehicle more safely and comfortably.”

Maybe. But my experience was that if I decided to apex a turn or to change lanes without using my turn signal, the steering system fought my inputs to the wheel and did its best to discourage my maneuver.

Sorry, Acura, I think the driver should be able to drive the car, and if there’s no traffic in the immediate area to notice whether or not I’m using turn signals, I think I should be able to drive into the next lane without nanny technology not only scolding me, but pushing back against my steering efforts.

View from the cockpit

View from the cockpit

It could be that there’s a switch to turn off the system. I didn’t bother to look. I just parked the advanced technology and drove my trusty old pickup truck the rest of the week.

2017 Acura MDX AWD Advance

Vehicle type: 7-passenger sport utility vehicle, all-wheel drive
Base price: $56,400 Price as tested: $57,340
Engine: 3.5-liter V6, 290-horsepower @ 6,200 rpm, 267 pound-feet of torque @ 4,700 rpm Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 111.0 inches Overall length/width: 194.2 inches / 77.2 inches
Curb weight: 4,001 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 19 city / 26 highway / 22 combined
Assembled in: Lincoln, Alabama

There's much to like about the 2017 MDX

There’s much to like about the 2017 MDX

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