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2011 Acura MDX: A seven-seater with a sports car's soul?

If you're looking for a sport sedan that seats seven and has room for bulky cargo, the 2011 Acura MDX Advance will likely not disappoint with its fantastic performance and modern suite of cabin tech.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET
2011 Acura MDX
The Acura MDX offers seating for seven and impressive performance, but what's the catch? You'll find out at the pump. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley said it best in his First Look video for the 2011 Acura MDX when he said--if I may paraphrase--that if you're pushing a big seven-seater SUV for sport driving, you need a second car, not Acura's Super Handing All-Wheel Drive system.

I understand exactly what he means, but as I swung that big-ol' SUV around a bend in my favorite mountain road, I honestly didn't care. With its six-speed automatic transmission manually locked into second gear, the 3.7-liter V-6 engine was able to output all 300 of its available ponies, more than enough to make MDX feel light on its toes. Meanwhile, the adaptive suspension and SH-AWD systems managed available grip, measuring and adjusting damping rates many times per second and distributing torque from fore to aft of the vehicle and across the rear axle to scoot the MDX's rear end around corners like a much smaller vehicle than its 4,500 curb weight supposes. Hot on the tail of a fellow driving enthusiast in a late model Volkswagen GTI, I was all grins as the MDX seemed to shrink around me while I explored its handling limits on the way up and back down the mountain.

However, the MDX is no physics bender. As evinced by the unpleasant smell of scorched brakes at the end of our run and the low fuel economy estimate on the trip computer, getting a vehicle this big to play will cost you in the end.

To find out just how much the biggest Acura of them all will cost you and what sort of cabin tech you'll get for that price, check out the full review of the 2011 Acura MDX.