What is it?

The latest generation of Acura's venerable three-row luxury crossover SUV.

The 2014 Acura MDX is redesigned with efficiency and versatility in mind. Thanks to a smaller 3.5-liter V6 engine and available front-wheel drive, the MDX gets better fuel economy than ever before -- up to 28 mpg on the highway according to the EPA. But thanks to a weight loss of 275 pounds, the 2014 MDX is actually faster than its more powerful predecessor.

Inside, the new One-Touch Walk-In feature powers the second-row seats forward at the press of a button, facilitating access to the now-roomier third row. The second row can now also slide a full six inches forward or back to enhance seating comfort for all rear passengers. Up front, twin information displays -- an 8-inch driver information center and a 7-inch central touch-screen -- enabled Acura engineers to reduce the physical button count from 41 to just nine.

Acura also claims that the new MDX is more athletic in corners and evasive maneuvers than the outgoing model, while road and wind noise are said to be significantly lower.

How much?

Pricing info for the 2014 MDX hasn't yet been released. We expect the base front-wheel-drive version to be in the same ballpark as the base 2013 MDX (about $44,000) -- although the old model included all-wheel drive.

When can you get it?

The 2014 Acura MDX should go on sale this summer.

Add it to your shopping list because...

The 2014 Acura MDX is a significantly improved version of what was already one of the top three-row luxury crossovers on the market. Don't be put off by the smaller V6 and its 290 horsepower, as this velvety-smooth engine should provide more than enough get-up-and-go. The fuel economy gains, meanwhile, are nothing to sneeze at; after all, it wasn't long ago that a V6-powered Honda Accord sedan would struggle to get 28 mpg, let alone Acura's big crossover SUV. Throw in the 2014 MDX's seriously upgraded technology and tastefully restyled exterior, including those "Jewel Eye" LED headlights, and you've got a legitimate must-test-drive vehicle in the full-size luxury crossover segment.

Other cars to consider:

Buick Enclave: Buick's upscale three-row Enclave family hauler has received frequent updates to keep it fresh, and even the quieter 2014 MDX will struggle to match the Enclave's tomb-like interior noise levels.

Ford Flex EcoBoost: The stylish and roomy interior of the Flex is nice enough to be considered luxury-grade, and you can easily get into the ridiculously powerful, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost version for MDX money.

Infiniti JX: A luxury version of the new Nissan Pathfinder, the three-row JX is right up the MDX's alley. Don't buy one of them without first driving the other.

Used Mercedes-Benz GL-Class: There's nothing on the market that combines luxury, power, and presence quite like the regal Mercedes GL-Class, and depreciation has brought some certified pre-owned specimens down to MDX territory. We particularly recommend the fuel-efficient GL 350 turbodiesel.

Used Infiniti QX: Not many MDX shoppers are likely to think about the three-row Infiniti QX56 with its 5.6-liter V8, but they could definitely afford a used one. If absolute power appeals to you, consider giving the distinctively styled QX a shot.

See all New York Auto Show news.

Do you like the new look of the Acura MDX? Tell us in the comments.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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