Dec 6, 2019

What we're driving: 2020 Acura MDX

2020 Acura MDX A-Spec. Photo courtesy of Acura

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the family took a road trip from Detroit to Toronto in the 2020 Acura MDX.

The big picture: The MDX is the best-selling three-row luxury SUV in America and it's easy to see why. Starting at $45,395, it's comfortable and has a premium feel, without being ostentatious or over-engineered.

  • Our all-wheel-drive MDX with the A-spec sport package and premium "Apex Blue Pearl" paint job cost $56,295, but still felt worthy of the price.
  • It's also available as a fully loaded hybrid model for $60,645.

My thought bubble: It would have been cramped with seven passengers, but with the third row folded down, we had plenty of room for four passengers, four suitcases and assorted other stuff.

  • After the obligatory stop at Canada's own Tim Horton's donut shop, we nestled a box of Timbits into the surprisingly deep storage bin in the car's center console. (When the donuts were gone, it was a great place to stow my purse.)

After a couple of hours, I handed the wheel to my 23-year-old daughter, who is a great driver but was unnerved initially by the car's assisted-driving features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping technology, which nudges the car back to the center of the lane when it drifts too close to the lane markings.

  • It was interesting to watch her learn to trust the system. There is a learning curve to assisted-driving features, but as with most technologies, the more you use them, the more comfortable you become.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

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What I’m driving: The top contenders for 2020 North American vehicle of the year

NACTOY finalist 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Photo: GM

In the next week, I and 49 other journalists must cast our final ballots for the 2020 North American car, truck and utility vehicle of the year.

Why it matters: I am trying to squeeze in extra seat time in the nine finalists that were announced in November, and my driveway has been extra crowded lately.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

High-tech cars drive auto loans to record highs in the U.S.

Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Loans for new and used cars hit a new record in the third quarter, as consumers continue to opt for cars with newer technology and higher price tags, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Auto debt in the U.S. continues to grow and topped $1.32 trillion in the third quarter — up $50 billion from last year, Bloomberg notes. The number of 90-day car loan delinquencies also increased from 4.27% last year to 4.71%.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

Digital assistants are riding shotgun

NIO's digital assistant, Nomi, uses AI technology to help drivers. Photo: NIO

Some people like to name their cars (we called our old minivan "Chad" and my daughter's sedan is named "Trudy"). With the help of digital voice assistants, cars now are starting to take on their own personalities.

Why it matters: Using voice commands, rather than a touchscreen, can make cars safer by helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. But most early voice technologies have been disappointing or downright frustrating to use while driving.

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019