If you’re a technology enthusiast—and you obviously are, because you’re reading Ars Technica—you’ll know that poor software or a bad UI can drag down even the best hardware. It’s frustrating, and not just because lousy software can make using the newest, shiniest gear less fun. The frustration is also fueled by the vision of what could have been if the manufacturer had truly gotten its act together.
That, in a nutshell, describes my week with the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid.
The MDX is the first hybrid SUV from Acura. It was refreshed for the 2017 model year, and, aside from a few new color options, it is essentially unchanged for 2019. It’s a three-row, midsize SUV that sits in the same luxury segment occupied by the Infiniti QX60 (look for our review soon), Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and Lexus RX 350L. It has a 3.0L, 24-valve V6 under the hood, accompanied by three electric motors—borrowed from the hybrid NSX supercar no less. There’s also a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that works sans torque convertor, which Acura says improves its efficiency.