2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD first drive review Page 3

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2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, Seattle area, April 2017

2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, Seattle area, April 2017

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Beside the new front-end design, the big news for the MDX this year was the addition of the hybrid version, giving the MDX an entry among a competitive set that uses a remarkable variety of technologies under the "hybrid" label.

The Lexus RX 450h uses Toyota's twin-motor full-hybrid system, though it's always had a reputation for not delivering on its fuel-economy ratings for many buyers. The rare, low-volume Infiniti QX60 has a weak, single-motor mild-hybrid system that was widely panned in its Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid sibling, yanked off the market after a year.

Neither of those vehicles is remotely sporty, though the Infiniti in particularly proved significantly quieter on our test loops than the hybrid Acura MDX.

2017 Lexus RX 450h, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2017

2017 Lexus RX 450h, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2017

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Three other vehicles cited by Acura as possible competitors are the BMW X5 xDrive 40e, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e, and the Volvo XC90 T8 'Twin Engine,' all three of them luxury crossovers at much higher prices.

Those higher prices are due to much more expensive technology: they're plug-in hybrids whose much larger battery packs provide rated all-electric ranges of 12 to 14 miles, though usually less than that in real-world use. They get various federal and state incentives that conventional hybrids, including Acura's, don't.

Features and pricing

Acura says it expects the hybrid MDX to make up roughly 5 percent of all sales, a modest goal it should be able to meet.

The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid model starts just under $53,000 including a mandatory delivery fee, and comes with the standard model's Technology Package built in. That includes active dampers, navigation, premium audio, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, perforated leather seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, and other trim items.

The company expects most hybrid models to be sold with the Advance Package, which adds premium leather, open-pore wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row captain's chairs, a surround-view camera system, and a heated steering wheel. Its sticker price is just under $59,000.

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