Honda's luxury offshoot looking to sharpen its identity amidst the huge number of luxury brands out there with the new Acura MDX. Setting the MDX apart from the crowd is a new sport hybrid powertrain and a new grille, which was previewed on the Precision Concept in Detroit and is expected to slowly work its way across the rest of Acura's range.

The Sport Hybrid Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) model has 325 hp (242 kW) on tap - 35 hp (26 kW) more than the non-hybrid version thanks to three electric motors, one mounted on the front axle and two on the rear. As well as providing a handy power boost in a straight line, the electric motors are used for torque vectoring in the car's NSX-style all-wheel drive system.

While EPA ratings are not yet out, the hybrid system is expected to deliver an extra 7 mpg (3 l/100km) over the non-hybrid, AWD MDX model, which would put it at around 26 mpg on the combined cycle.

If it's to steal buyers away from Lexus, Acura's new SUV will need to be safe, so there's a full suite of active safety features fitted to the MDX as standard. Auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are all fitted under the umbrella of AcuraWatch, which uses a millimeter wave radar and monocular camera to detect other cars and lane markings on the road.

The system sounds similar to Subaru's fantastic EyeSight system, although we'll have to try Acura's setup before passing judgement.

Even though the full safety suite is standard, there's still some options slipped onto the SUV's spec sheet that are worth looking at. For example, if you're not worried about using the MDX's full seven-seat capacity, the rear bench can be replaced with individual "Captain's Chairs" and a unique center console with extra USB ports for power-hungry rear-seat, er, captains.

The MDX launched at this year's New York Auto Show, but there's no word on pricing just yet.

Source: Honda

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