The 2012 Acura MDX has a handsome profile, but its brash front end--a contrast to an otherwise conservative design--can be polarizing to some of this model's buyer set.
For the most part, the MDX remains one of our favorite luxury crossovers, and the design has aged well since its last full redesign. It's one of Honda's better efforts at giving a rather utilitarian, box-on-wheels design some character. The few sleek curves applied to its fairly upright body really do wonders, particularly at the back pillar.
What doesn't work, of course, is the big chevron of chrome across the MDX's nose. It's Honda's latest attempt at a family theme for all its products, and it's been dubbed everything from a bottle opener to a "bionic beaver." Acura hasn't tried to do a retake with it, as it has on the TL sedan, and in truth it almost fits on the big ute. Thankfully, the rest of its lines stay clean and neat, and the gentle downward arc and taillamps slim it somewhat at the rear.
Inside, the MDX cabin is a well-executed comfort zone, with Milano leather, wood-grain trim, and a dash that cascades downward at the center stack as in Acura's sedans yet a look that's somewhat more upright. It looks well-tailored, with clear gauges and a restrained look--though with the usual Acura array of buttons, knobs and switches in abundance.
The cabin’s a well-executed comfort zone with Milano leather trim and woodgrain trim cascading from the midline of the dash, as on the bigger RL sedan. In all, it’s a modern, well-tailored workplace--except for the center stack, which can seem a bit cluttered.