At the track, the MDX's numerous technical improvements translate into a sprightly 0-to-60 time of 6.8 seconds - though that number is highly misleading as the MDX's multitude of gears reward it with far quicker downshift reactions than you might expect. And given the MDX's tallish center of gravity, its 120-foot stopping distance from 60 is tolerable, considering its Michelin tires' all-season nature -- which is good for light snow, opines the Tire Rack. However, at 255 mm in width, we suspect you might not comfortably venture into snow much deeper than that.

Those wide tires and their surprisingly squat, 50-series sidewalls (and their accompanying sport-oriented suspension) deliver a decidedly firm ride, so the MDX is probably not a good choice for transporting vials of nitroglycerine or herniated disc patients (and definitely not both). But, gosh, was the MDX ever explosive (and maybe spine dislocating) and around our figure-eight course. Beyond its best lap's respectable 26.7-second time is the lateral-g number generated during the execution - 0.85 g. Gads, that's respectable for a performance car. With MDX's flat stance, quick pickup of cornering grip turning off-center, snap-your-fingers-quick paddle shifts, and extraordinary SH-AWD system, the MDX simply handles better than crossover within multiples of its price.

Negatives (beside that raised flag about ride quality)? While we like the 2010 MDX's visual freshening, its looks continue to suggest a transformer impatient to reconfigure its appearance. And you might have noticed our test MDX's startling $54,565 price.

Understand that ours was the full-boat edition, including navigation system and a multiview rear camera (ingredients of the Tech Package), active dampers, blind spot detection, sport leather seats, and pre-braking for stopping emergencies (grouped under the Advance Package banner) as well as such comforts as a rear DVD display and heated second-row seats (these, part of the Entertainment Package). Remember that our Acura's extraordinary vehicle dynamics can all be for $52,665 by adding the Advance Package alone (and even in base, $43,040 trim, the MDX still includes its SH-AWD system).

And of course, considered as an antidote for that dreaded Silver Lexus Crossover Syndrome I so tragically witnessed on the way to work this morning, it's priceless.