Luxury SUVs are usually all about excess, but the 2014 Acura MDX is the sensible shopper's choice. It's priced right, not too flashy and full of thoughtful features that real families will appreciate. Plus, this isn't just the same old MDX. Acura has completely redesigned it for 2014 with numerous tweaks and enhancements. Here are five reasons why the latest MDX could make sense for you.

Losing Weight, Feeling Great

The all-wheel-drive MDX is 275 pounds lighter than the previous model, and that's a difference you can feel. The sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour, for example, is a half-second quicker. Also, fuel economy is massively improved, from 21 miles per gallon to 27 mpg on the highway. Lighter still is the new front-wheel-drive MDX, which returns 28 mpg at a lower price than the all-wheel-drive model, and gives you even quicker acceleration besides.

Twin Displays Simplify Infotainment

We expect luxury SUVs to come with a fancy central display screen, but the MDX has two of them. The upper screen uses Acura's familiar control knob for operation, but now there's a second screen: a crisp mid-mounted touchscreen that handles radio and climate functions. As a result, there's no button clutter, whereas the previous MDX's dashboard was littered with identical-looking buttons. More power to you -- literally -- if you get the stellar optional ELS sound system, which is one of the best in any midsize SUV.

Versatile Seating

The MDX's front seats must be chiropractor-tested, because they have back support you wouldn't believe. We'd want an MDX for these seats alone. In the second row, each side conveniently slides fore and aft, allowing second-row passengers to find their own comfort zones while also accommodating third-row riders. As for that third-row seat, it may not be huge, but it's easy to access thanks to second-row seats that power forward at the touch of a button. All told, the MDX packs impressive helpings of comfort and versatility into its midsize frame.

Strong Value

If you look at other 3-row luxury crossovers, you'll find that the MDX gives you a lot for the money. We're talking about the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GL-Class; they're all comparatively pricey. The MDX provides a true luxury experience at a reasonable price, and that's why it's a strong seller year after year.

Composed Handling

The MDX is still a large vehicle despite its weight loss. But remember, Acura is Honda's luxury division, and Honda cares about the driving experience. As you may expect, the MDX feels confident and responsive in corners, yet the ride remains supple on city streets. It's a well-rounded package.

AutoTrader Says

If you're a sensible shopper, the 2014 Acura MDX has your name all over it. Make sure you try Acura's finest before buying something else.

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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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