FOR that inevitable day when Kevin Federline is living out of his car, may I suggest the Acura MDX?
We don't wish bad things for Fed-Ex. It's not his fault. To put it delicately, Kevin's pinata is woefully short of candy. And yet, that's how this worthless-hubby, canceled-credit-card, Malibu train wreck narrative plays out, right? It's K-Fed, David Gest, Ike Turner and Bobby Brown playin' Texas hold 'em in celebrity man-mooch heaven.
So it might as well be a decent car. The 2007 Acura MDX, the company's redesigned seven-passenger ute brute, totally represents.
For example: Maybe Kev will want to roll while listening to his new, dozen-selling album "Playing With Fire." He could do no better than the MDX's Panasonic/Elliot Scheiner-tuned audio system, a brilliant 410-watt, 10-speaker surround-sound unit that plays high-resolution DVD-audio discs, as well as conventional and rewriteable CDs, MP3 and WMA files (optional iPod jack). Acura's jukebox is one of the two or three best sound systems on the market, with white-hot highs, super-clean bass, perfect instrument voicing and huge spatial imaging. In other words, this is the mobile audio choice for musicians. Or even K-Fed. Oh snap!
You may have heard that Britney repossessed K-Fed's Ferrari F430 Spider. \o7(Biatch!) \f7Well, come on, he wasn't going to get any sleep in that thing. And besides, the MDX is pretty dang sporty on its own. Actually, it uses a technology very similar to Ferrari's race-derived E-diff. When the MDX's multitude of sensors (steering angle, throttle, wheel speed, yaw rate, etc.) detect that the vehicle is cornering hard with the throttle open, it will actually overdrive the outside rear wheel. This has the effect of sharpening the MDX's cornering attack. You can roll off the throttle, turn the wheel and get back on the gas early -- the steering wheel goes feathery in your hands and the MDX arcs around like a big shiny tetherball.
Financially marooned hip-hoppers notwithstanding, the MDX's prime demographic is suburbanites, image-conscious, six-figure moms and dads with the occasional need for seven seats in their SUV (the MDX has third-row seating, like the Audi Q7 and new BMW X5). The MDX covers those bases quite well: It's got all manner of safety hardware (multiple air bags, including side curtain air bags with rollover sensors); electronic stability control; trailer stability assist; tire-pressure monitoring; Xenon headlights; optional remote-activated power lift gate -- and all of that webbed inside a super-stiff, crash-resistant chassis that
can take the worst that La Canada can dish out.
And yet, the safety factor is not irrelevant to K-Fed's case. Much of "Playing With Fire" comprises a wildly gleeful endorsement of driving under the influence. Let's hope that when the inevitable happens, K-Fed only hits a large inanimate object, like his career.
The MDX is not exactly a sleek vehicle -- the bulky profile betrays the effort to cram as much interior volume as possible -- but it has been curried with Acura's high-tech comb. Its high hips have been handsomely creased around the wheel wells. The grille and front fascia have a vengeful Japanese robot look I'm partial to (if you assembled six MDX's Voltron-style, would you get one big Acura?).
The interior is superb, a digitally remastered version of the RL luxury sedan interior with fine-stippled aluminum trim, rich leather and dark polished faux-wood dash trim that apparently comes from the Steinway Forest.
Like K-Fed, the Acura's options are relatively few. Our $48,465 test vehicle came with the Technology and Sport packages, including options such as voice recognition that accepts up to 650 verbal commands -- "Find nearest bag of Cheetos!" Acura's nav system also provides optional real-time traffic updates and Zagat reviews of restaurants.
Another option: the rear seat entertainment system, comprising a nine-inch LCD screen with DVD, auxiliary inputs for games, wireless headphones and remote control. Combined with the rear seat climate control and heated seats, this all makes the second-row environment pretty luxe. \o7Mr. Federline will join you in the library shortly.\f7
What's surprising to me is how darn racy the MDX is. Under the hood is a 3.7-liter, 24-valve VTEC V6 with dual-stage intake, high-flow exhaust, forged crank, magnesium cylinder head covers, and lots of other stuff that would be, under other circumstances, performance mods. This naturally aspirated mill (the smaller RDX is turbocharged) winds the torque converter with 300 hp and 275 pound-feet of torque. The gearbox is a five-speed automatic with manual shift. Unfortunately for those who want to pretend like they are still driving the Ferrari, there are no paddle shifters.