The 2011 Acura MDX has a smartly drawn shape, but the face is one only a few mothers (and fathers) will truly love.
The MDX has been one of top-rated crossovers since it was redesigned for 2007. It's one of the better efforts by Honda at disguising the design's big-box roots. A handful of sleek curves are faired into its tall-wagon body, and they do wonder to relieve the utility-vehicle shape. It's especially effective at the rear pillar--the same visual trick that rounds the roofline works here, while it fails on the smaller Honda CR-V crossover.
The front end is where Acura rightly draws criticism. The big, chromed grille has a shape some have dubbed the "bionic beaver." The controversial front end hasn't been tweaked on the MDX as Acura has on other models. It's not too large for the vehicle--there's more vertical space for it to seem right-sized, and not completely out of scale--it's just out of character for the brand. The MDX's clean, neat lines elsewhere make up for it, especially at the gentle arc of the rear end and slim taillamps.
Once you're inside the big doors the MDX gives a great first impression. The cockpit is a comfortable zone with woodgrain trim and leather and a sweep of controls on the center stack. The gauges are crisp and clear, though switches and buttons and knobs scatter everywhere. That aside, the cabin is a well-tailored, modern workplace.