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Acura's newest tech barge

CNET Car Tech takes a first look at the 2007 Acura MDX.

The 2007 Acura MDX

With amenities such as navigation with live traffic reporting and a phenomenal stereo system, Acura led the way in car technology with its RL and RDX models. Now it has taken the tech from those cars and loaded it into the full-size MDX SUV. We just got the 2007 Acura MDX in at CNET Car Tech, and this car gives us a lot to chew on. As with many SUVs these days, the MDX gets a third row of seats. With its relatively short body, the third row occupies most of the cargo area, so you can either haul six people or four people and luggage.

The 2007 Acura MDX steering wheel.

In our initial cruising, we found the MDX's acceleration to be adequate but not spectacular. There's no rush as you jam down the accelerator, largely due to the 3.7-liter V-6. Honda/Acura doesn't do V-8s, not even in its Ridgeline pickup truck. While we appreciate that the company doesn't overpower its cars, fuel economy isn't completely wonderful here, with an EPA rated 17mpg city/22mpg highway for the MDX. One culprit for the relatively low highway number is the five-speed transmission--we're surprised Acura hasn't gone to a six-speed in the MDX. By comparison, the Chrysler Pacifica we reviewed recently has a 4-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic, and it posts 24mpg on the highway.

The 2007 Acura MDX phone screen.

Power train issues aside, the cabin of the MDX is a very satisfying place to be. It has a big, 9-inch LCD which shows navigation, music, and other car information. The navigation system shows live traffic through XM radio's traffic data channel. The stereo is the top-grade ELS Surround Sound System, which came very close to winning our 2006 Best Audio System award. As befits an SUV, there is also a rear-seat DVD system to keep the kids entertained on long drives, complete with wireless headphones and three headphone jacks. There is also a Bluetooth cell phone system.

One thing we particularly like about Acuras is the voice-command system, which is present in the MDX. The commands are pretty intuitive, and the voice recognition is superb. There is also a voice-command system for controlling the phone system. We weren't particularly impressed that the car has two disparate systems like this, with two different buttons for issuing navigation or phone commands. But at least the control interface, which we complained about in the Acura RDX, has been cleaned up in the MDX.

Look for our full review of the 2007 Acura MDX on CNET Car Tech next week.