A more expensive sport package also is available, which includes the technology package plus perforated leather seats, metallic interior accents, self-leveling headlights, active damper system, and a unique wheel design. HID headlights are standard across the trim-level range for better night visibility, and two new exterior colors have been added for 2009, Bali Blue Pearl and Mocha Metallic.

The MDX has a laundry list of safety features, including standard dual front airbags, driver and front passenger side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active headrests, and seatbelt pretensioners. The result is a "top safety pick" rating from the IIHS, five-star ratings in all four of the NHTSA crash-test ratings, plus a four-star rollover rating.

So while the MDX is by all accounts a solid luxury seven-seat sport/ute on multiple levels, there is just one catch: the price.

In our 2007 comparison, the MDX was by far the priciest and that has not changed. In fact, the MDX sticker has gone up by almost $1000 since its 2007 redesign. For 2009, the MDX runs $41,500 for the base model (all prices include $760 destination fee), $45,600 when equipped with the technology package, and $47,350 for the technology and entertainment packages. Last, the topline sport package MDX costs $47,700 without the entertainment package and $49,450 with it.

Now that's some serious change. But on the flip side, the MDX's grille stays the same -- at least for now.

Base price $41,500
Vehicle layout Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door, SUV
Engine 3.7L/300-hp/275-lb-ft 24-valve V-6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Curb weight 4535-4590 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 108.3 in
Length x width x height 190.7 x 78.5 x 68.2 in
Headroom, f/m/r 39.2/38.6/35.7 in
Legroom, f/m/r 41.2/38.7/29.1 in
Shoulder room, f/m/r 61.6/61.5/57.1 in
Cargo vol, behind f/m/r 83.5/42.9/15.0 cu ft
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 15/20 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.15 lb/mile