2012 Acura MDX

Base Price: $44,000 (est)

Body Type: Midsize SUV

What's New: Still fresh from its 2010 face-lift and powertrain upgrade, the MDX continues into 2012 with few changes. A 300-hp, 3.7L V-6 provides power for the midsize SUV, while Acura's recently developed 6A transmits it to the wheels. The seven-passenger crossover's front end hasn't benefited from the styling revision the TL sedan received this year.

Cool Fact: Acura's "Super Handling" AWD system can route 100 percent of torque to one wheel.

SUM UP: Not pretty, but a star performer.

Star Rating: ***1/2


2012 Acura MDX
Base Engine: 3.7L/300-hp/270-lb-ft V-6
Opt Engine: None
Drivetrain: Front engine, AWD, 6A
0-60 MPH: 6.8 sec
Tow/Payload: 5000/1300-1400 lb
EPA Econ City/Hwy: 16/21 mpg
Basic Warranty: 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety: Airbags: 6; rear cam: S; BMS: O


2012 Acura RDX

Base Price Range: $34,000-$36,000 (est)

Body Type: Compact SUV

What's New: A FWD-only base model was introduced last year that slashed the cost and weight of the entry-level RDX. A turbocharged 2.3L I-4 paired with a 5A transmission continues to be the only drivetrain combination offered. The RDX's styling was brought in line with the rest of Acura's lineup in 2010, and it still wears the polarizing corporate grille.

Best Buy: Unless you live in a snowy climate, front-drive models offer better value.

SUM UP: Close, but no cigar.

Star Rating: ***


2012 Acura RDX
Base Engine: 2.3L/240-hp/260-lb-ft turbo I-4
Opt Engine: None
Drivetrain: Front engine, FWD/AWD, 5A
0-60 MPH: 6.3-6.5 sec*
Tow/Payload: 1500/950 lb
EPA Econ City/Hwy: 17-19/22-24 mpg
Basic Warranty: 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety: Airbags: 6; rear cam: O; BMS: N/A
*Estimated


2012 Acura ZDX

Base Price: $47,000 (est)

Body Type: Midsize Crossover SUV

What's New: Introduced last year, the coupe-like ZDX carries over with minimal changes for 2012. The same 3.7L V-6 that serves in the MDX also powers this curvaceous crossover, blessing it with 300 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Some minor paint color changes are in store, but otherwise the ZDX's dramatically raked profile remains untouched in 2012.

Cool Fact: The Acura ZDX's sleek lines were penned by the brand's first female designer.

SUM UP: Take notes, BMW X6.

Star Rating: ****


2012 Acura ZDX
Base Engine: 3.7L/300-hp/270-lb-ft V-6
Opt Engine: None
Drivetrain: Front engine, AWD, 6A
0-60 MPH: 6.5 sec
Tow/Payload: 1500/1050-1100 lb
EPA Econ City/Hwy: 16/23 mpg
Basic Warranty: 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety: Airbags: 6; rear cam: S; BMS: O


2012 Audi Q5

Base Price Range: $36,475-$43,875

Body Type: Midsize SUV

What's New: The turbocharged I-4 introduced in 2011 continues to serve as the base engine for the Q5, while the 3.2L V-6 has become the range-topper. For 2012, V-6 models offer an S-line Plus package, adding 20-inch wheels and matte black exterior accents. Rear door window shades are now included in the V-6 Prestige package.

Cool Fact: The optional roof rack has sensors that tell the stability control system to automatically adjust when a load is detected.

SUM UP: Still setting the pace.

Star Rating: ****


2012 Audi Q5
Base Engine: 2.0L/211-hp/258-lb-ft turbo I-4
Opt Engine: 3.2L/270-hp/243-lb-ft V-6
Drivetrain: Front engine, AWD, 6A/8A
0-60 MPH: 6.6-8.0 sec*
Tow/Payload: 4400/1050 lb
EPA Econ City/Hwy: 18-20/23-27 mpg
Basic Warranty: 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety: Airbags: 6; rear cam: O; BMS: N/A


2012 Audi Q7

Base Price Range: $47,125-$60,825

Body Type: Midsize SUV

What's New: The supercharged V-6 introduced last year gets an 8-hp boost to 280. New 19-inch wheels are standard on the TDI and optional on the 3.0T. An S-line Plus model upgrades Prestige trim with 21-inch wheels and matte black exterior accents. Two paint colors are added: a new metallic white and a non-metallic replacement for Ibis White.

Avoid: Getting carried away with the options list, as this vehicle can get pricey quickly.

SUM UP: A tech-laden rolling sculpture.

Star Rating: ****


2012 Audi Q7
Base Engine: 3.0L/280-hp/295-lb-ft s-charged V-6
Opt Engines: 3.0L/225-hp/406-lb-ft t-diesel V-6; 3.0L/333-hp/325-lb-ft s-charged V-6
Drivetrain: Front engine, AWD, 8A
0-60 MPH: 7.3-8.6 sec*
Tow/Payload: 5500-6600/1300 lb
EPA Econ City/Hwy: 16-17/22-25 mpg
Basic Warranty: 4 yrs/50,000 miles
Safety: Airbags: 6; rear cam: O; BMS: O
*Estimated