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Acura MDX, VW Touareg Diesel, and Lexus GX-460

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Acura MDX, VW Touareg Diesel, and Lexus GX-460

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ACURA MDX

Here are some of the more expensive SUV offerings that will please anyone with a thick wallet. First is the 2014 Acura MDX. Horsepower of the 3.5 liter V-6 has dropped to 290, but weight has also dropped 300 pounds. As a result, acceleration is the same, while gas mileage has improved to 18-27 mpg. This one got 20-25 overall.

Inside, there is plenty of room for passengers, and the glove box has enough storage space if that huge owner’s manual is removed. The gauge cluster is easy to read. Materials and workmanship are very good, but not much better than what is seen in less expensive Honda products that share some parts. The radio controls are complicated to use. Why not stick to simple knobs please?

With the optional AWD, the traction is increased on slippery surfaces; best performance is on the pavement. This drives like a sports sedan, with responsive steering, firm brakes, and great cornering ability. Three settings allow for comfort, normal, or sport mode. The former is too soft, the latter too stiff, so stick with normal dial for everyday use. Base price for a FWD model is $43-K, but this loaded AWD version listed at $57,400.

VW TOUAREG TDI

This German Volkswagen offers three engine choices. First up is the 280 hp V-6 rated at 280 hp. Gas mileage is listed at 19 average, with a base price of $42-K. Next is this one, with the turbo-diesel power plant. Horsepower is less at 240, but the torque is massive at 406 ft-lbs. Mileage is officially 24 average, and this one got 30 at 70 mph freeway cruising. A high output V-6 hybrid with an unreal 380 horses for those rich enough to plunk down $64-K is offered, but with mileage of only 22-24.

While the outside styling is boring, the interior is outstanding with super high quality materials and workmanship. All controls are easy to use. True class. The suspension offers a firm yet comfortable ride, with excellent handling. On the highway, this is a dream machine, very comfortable with lots of passing power while sipping fuel at 30 mpg. A great piece of German engineering.

LEXUS GX-460

With the luxury interior and comfortable suspension, this might give the impression of being a fluff machine. NOT. Yes, this is a dream to operate, but has all the off-road ability of its cousin, the Toyota 4-runner. We get 4x4 low range, locking differentials, air adjustable raised/lowered suspension, comfort modes, and much more. This was made for serious dirt trails, and can do so with ease.

The 4.6 liter V-8 has plenty of power, but this rig is heavy, and gas mileage is only 15-20 mpg. But if you can afford the base $58-K price, or the $67-K of this one, you can afford it. Best of the three if someone else is paying for the gas.

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