The Acura MDX, one of the best-driving crossovers in its class, is improved for 2017, with a prettier face, better ride and handling, and more standard active safety features.

The MDX comes with a 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 making 290 horsepower with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. With AWD, it’s EPA-rated at 18/26/21 mpg, on Premium fuel.

The MDX earns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus rating, as well as five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including five stars in front and side crash test, four stars in rollover. For 2017, the MDX gets the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assist systems as standard equipment. That includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, road departure mitigation, and an adaptive cruise-control system with low-speed follow. A multi-view rear camera is also standard, while blind-spot monitors, surround-view cameras, and front and rear parking sensors are optional.

Acura MDX with front-wheel drive ($43,950) is equipped with leather, eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio, tri-zone automatic climate control, four fast-charging USB ports, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, automatic headlamps, multi-view rearview camera, heated front seats, folding second-row seats, power tilt/telescope steering, steering-wheel audio and phone controls, and 12-volt power outlets in the center console and front armrest. Also a package of safety gear that includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The Technology Package adds navigation, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, remote start and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Advance Package adds Stop/Start, roof rails, and Milano premium perforated leather upholstery with ventilated front seats. Entertainment adds a DVD player, a 150-watt AC inverter, heated second-row seats, and second-row window shades.

The MDX is roomy for its class. The second row slides six inches fore and aft, giving either second- or third-row passengers more legroom (but not both). It’s split 60/40 and folds almost flat, although there are a lot of gaps and holes, not good for dogs. A small illuminated button at each side of the second row moves the seat to enable reaching the third row. An easier way is going for the optional captain’s chairs.

The third row folds perfectly flat by pulling a lever; the headrests flip forward, and can stay with the seats rather than having to be removed, a good safety feature because they won’t be missing when needed.

With both seats folded, the cargo space reveals an underfloor storage area with room for a laptop, camera bag, or more shoes. It has a lid that can be moved out of the way. The cabin is very quiet and vibration-free, thanks to an active noise-cancellation system, an active engine mount system, acoustic glass in the windshield and windows, and heaps of insulation elsewhere.

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