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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Acura MDX

What is it?  The mid-sized three-row MDX has been redesigned from the ground up for 2014 and Honda/Acura showed what it called a “Prototype” at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, a vehicle that nevertheless looked awfully close to production. It’s a little longer and lower, less angular and more rounded-looking. In fact it looks a whole lot like the smaller Acura RDX.

The company says that the slightly longer wheelbase will provide more second-row legroom and better access to the third row. Power comes from a new 3.5-liter V6, which features direct-injection and cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy. The power specs haven’t been announced, but we would assume that it will be comparable to the 300-hp of the outgoing 3.7-liter V6 but with a little more torque.

Acura says it has paid special attention to cabin quietness, which has been a bit of an Achilles’ heel in many Honda products. The new MDX has a full array of infotainment features and a long list of electronic safety systems. It has already excelled in crash-testing as well.

What's new or notable? Perhaps the biggest departure from tradition is the advent of a front-wheel drive version. That should save on the price, weight, and fuel cost for people who don’t need all-wheel drive.

CR's take: We’ve always liked the MDX or its relaxed driving demeanor and versatility, although the third row was tiny, and fit for children only. Access to the way back seems a little improved but from what we could tell it’s still very tight. If the new MDX hits the marks that Acura says it has this SUV should do very well.

When will it be available? Summer 2013.

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