Acura is making one huge change to its most important SUV

Acura MDXNewspress2017 Acura MDX.

Acura’s upcoming NSX hybrid super car has long been a darling of the auto show circuit.

But at the 2016 New York Auto Show, it was the 2017 MDX crossover that found its way onto Acura’s center stage.

The MDX is there for good reason. It’s Acura’s most important car.

In 2015, the MDX represented one-third of Acura’s total US sales and was the second best seller in the brutally-competitive midsize luxury SUV segment. (The Lexus RX finished first).

For 2017, Acura revamped the third generation MDX for the first since it arrived in 2013.

The most significant change is a brand new front end. Acura’s controversial “metal beak” front grille that has been the centrepiece of the company’s styling for the past decade is gone. In its place is a more conventional diamond pentagon front grille.

It’s a new look that debuted earlier this year at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show with the Acura Precision Concept.

Most of the 2017 version’s styling updates take place at the front end of the car, MDX exterior designer Damon Schell told Business Insider.

In addition to the new grille, the MDX receives a more pronounced clamshell hood, a more sculpted body, and redesigned jewel-eye head lights.

There are some major changes under the hood as well. Acura announced that the MDX will be available with a version of the NSX supercar’s hybrid drive system.

The MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.0 litre, V6 engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and an integrated electric motor to power the front wheels. At the same time, the car deploys a pair of electric motors to power the back wheels.

In total, the MDX Sport Hybrid produces 325 horsepower. That’s a 35 horsepower boost from the 290 horsepower 3,5 litre V6 found on standard MDX models.

According to Acura, the hybrid system returns 26 mpg of fuel economy in combined driving. That’s about 7 mpg better than the non-hybrid version of the car.

Acura MDXAcura2014- 2016 Acura NSX.

Naturally, the version of the hybrid drive system in the NSX is a bit more potent. That unit features a 3.5 litre, twin-turbocharged V6 engine coupled to a trio of electric motors to produce a total of 573 horsepower. The NSX has a manufacturer claimed 0-60 time in the low three-second range and a top speed north of 190mph.

The new 2017 Acura MDX crossover goes on sale in the US this summer while the Sport Hybrid version is expected to arrive later in the year.

Official pricing for the 2017 MDX has not been announced.

Acura NSXMotor AuthorityAcura NSX.

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