As the Luxury SUV winner of Kelley Blue Book's inaugural Best Buy Awards of 2015 and one of KBB's 10 Best Luxury SUVs it was with open arms that we welcomed the 2016 Acura MDX into our long-term test fleet. When Acura first launched the MDX as a 2001 model, it paved the way for the three-row luxury SUV segment where it is a dominant player. Against rivals like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Infiniti QX60 the Acura MDX's polished driving manner, reliability and value make it a standout.

Our 2016 Acura MDX has an MSRP of $58,000, which includes a $920 destination charge and standard features such as remote keyless entry, push-button start and shifter, heated and ventilated front seats, Bluetooth, navigation, moonroof, auto-dimming heated side mirrors, jewel-eye LED auto headlights, multi-view rear camera, 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/55R19 all-season tires, and a power tailgate. We selected the MDX SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) trim with the Advance Package (collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, front passenger's 10-way power seat, remote engine start, and heated second-row seats) and Entertainment Package (ultra-wide 16.2-inch DVD rear entertainment system). Notable safety features also included are the lane keeping assist system, forward collision warning, and rear cross traffic monitor.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Optimized powertrain

In terms of power the Acura MDX comes equipped with a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine, which is the only engine on this model, and it's mated to Acura's new ZF 9-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous model's 6-speed gearbox. This new paring delivers EPA fuel economy 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg with auto idle stop, but drops down one mpg to 18 city/21 combined without the start/stop feature.

The 2016 Acura MDX has only been with us for a short time but the consensus is definitely positive. So far it has been used to shuttle family members around town and fill in as a moving van. During the MDX's yearlong stay it will be put to use for road trips, shopping trips, daily commutes and whatever else we can conjure up. Check back to find out how the MDX is adjusting to life in our long-term fleet.

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