Acura at the Top of SUV Luxury Brand List

Consumer Reports has rated the newly redesigned Acura MDX at the very top of the three-row luxury sports utility vehicle category. The MDX, with its improved powertrain, has better acceleration and improved fuel economy. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the vehicle is $46,715.

The following is a description of the MDX from Consumer Reports: “The MDX rides firmly yet absorbs bumps with good grace. Handling is the MDX’s strong suit, and the body stays level in corners. The Acura MDX is powered by a 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine that delivers strong performance and gets 18 miles per gallon overall in CR’s own fuel economy tests. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. Fit and finish are impressive. With the center- and third-row seatbacks folded out of the way, it has ample cargo space.”

Also included in the list of test vehicles to determine the best SUV were the Land Rover LR4, the Lincoln MKT at $56,555 and the Audi Q7 at $54,225.

The road test score for the Acura MDX was rated “excellent” at 85. It beat the Land Rover LR4, which earned a “very good” 73. The Lincoln MKT was also rated “very good” at 72, and the Audi Q7 earned a “very good” 68.

Of the vehicles tested, Consumer Reports only recommended the Acura MDX. In order to be CR recommended, vehicles must meet the standards of predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey and have adequate crash-test and/or rollover test performances. CR did not have enough information on the MKT or the LR4 to make a recommendation, and the Audi Q7 has shown below-average reliability.

The 2010 Lexus GX 460 was also a part of the CR test group. After it failed one of the emergency handling track tests the magazine judged the GX a “don’t buy: safety risk.” When engineers put the vehicle through the lift-off oversteer test, the rear of the GX slid until it was nearly sideways before electronic stability control gained control of the vehicle.

Following the testing, Lexus stopped sales of the GX, issued a recall, and parent company Toyota was able to improve the software for the stability control system to correct the defect. After making the changes, the GX passed the CR oversteer test, and the “don’t buy: safety risk” label has been lifted. All owners of the vehicle are urged to have the upgrades installed on their vehicles immediately.

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