Midway through its third generation, Acura gives its MDX SUV a hybrid drivetrain with impressive sport characteristics.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The MDX Sport Hybrid also shows off new styling, with a revised grille. That grille will find its way throughout the Acura line-up.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The MDX Sport Hybrid retains the MDX's core attributes of being a premium three-row crossover.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The MDX uses a hybrid system originally developed for Acura's RLX sedan, and heavily modified for the NSX sport car.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

In the MDX Sport Hybrid, that hybrid system means a 3.0-liter V6 engine and electric motor driving the front wheels, and two electric motors driving the rear wheels. This setup means all-wheel-drive and precise torque vectoring.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Adaptive dampers help keep the MDX Sport Hybrid level in the turns, but also contribute to a more comfortable ride for everyday driving.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The new grille comes from the Acura Precision concept, shown off last year at the Detroit auto show.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Acura standardized on what it calls Jewel Eye LED headlights a few years ago.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The hybrid drive system in the MDX Sport Hybrid only leads to 27 mpg average, with most of that coming from improved city fuel economy. The system seems mostly designed for improved handling.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Visually, the MDX Sport Hybrid mainly distinguishes itself from its gasoline-only counterpart through small badges.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

This all-wheel-drive system seems tuned more for handling than dirt, but will likely help a bit on slippery roads.

Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
Caption by / Photo by Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow
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