By Nitish S. Rele,

It is a no-brainer if you ask us. The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid, i.e. Unlike the regular MDX, which ekes just 19 city/26 highway, this one rates at 26/27. And best of all, it is priced at just around $58,000 like its gasoline twin.

A 3.0-liter (down from 3.5 in regular trim) SOHC V-6 engine pumps out a total of 321 horsepower (up by 31) and 289 pounds-feet of torque (increase of 22). Being a hybrid, it is equipped with three electric motors and a 1.3 kWh lithium-ion battery. Instead of a 9-speed gearbox in the regular SUV, this MDX gets a smooth and capable 7-speed dual-clutch auto. Once again, the MDX is offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Thanks to Integrated Dynamics System (IDS), the driver can choose comfort, normal, sport and sport+ settings. Looking to save even more fuel? The Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system can operate in three or four cylinder modes for more fuel savings.

Look-wise, jewels-eye LED headlights surround a new diamond-pentagon grille. Blue tint in the SH-AWD badge on the power tailgate is proof you are sitting in a hybrid version. Acura has left the interior of this MDX intact with a supersized center console bin, which is large enough to accommodate a laptop. And the second-row seat can go fore and aft 6 inches so third-row passengers can settle in effortlessly. There is a generous 68.4 cubic feet of space behind the first seat. Other amenities are tri-zone auto climate control, power moon roof, 10-way power front seats, second-row Captain chair, manual rear door sunshades, stainless-steel pedals, electronic tilt/telescopic steering column, and wood/metal trim blend.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, front/rear crumple zones, side-impact door beams, vehicle stability assist with traction control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist (which maintains the ride in its path), blind-spot monitor, collision mitigation system, multi-angle rearview camera, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

Regular or hybrid? We whole-heartedly recommend opting for the latter. It will save plenty more gas at the pump while still lavishing driver and all occupants in luxury. And despite its 4,484-pound weight, the MDX hybrid provides tremendous acceleration, remarkable handling and steering feel.

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