In recent tests, the refreshed Acura MDX was Consumer Reports’ highest scoring sports utility vehicle. Thanks to an enhanced power train that yields improved fuel economy and increased speed, the exceptionally attractive vehicle is Consumer Reports’ highest-ranked three-row luxury SUV.

The Acura MDX received an 85, a brilliant overall road test score while beating the Land Rover LR4, the new Lincoln MKT and the Audi Q7, each of which scored in the 70 range.

The Acura MDX is the only one of the four SUVs in this test group to be “recommended.” Consumer Reports only “recommends” vehicles that functioned better than satisfactorily in crash-tests or government rollovers test; had at least standard calculated dependability based on Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Survey of its more than 7 million print and Internet subscribers; and performed well in Consumer Reports tests. The Audi Q7 received sub-par dependability scores and Consumer Reports didn’t gather enough reliability information on the MKT and LR4.

The 2010 Lexus GX 460 was also tested by Consumer Reports within this group. Following the assessment, Consumer Reports judged the Lexus a “don’t buy: safety risk’’ due to a problem its engineers encountered during one of its typical emergency-handling track tests. During Consumer Reports’ lift-off over-steer test, the GX’s rear end slipped away until the vehicle was practically sideways by the time the electronic stability management system brought it back under control.

Lexus stopped selling the SUV and distributed a recall following Consumer Reports’ ordeal. Toyota, Lexus’ parent company, improved the GX 460’s electronic stability control system software, which was believed to thwart the trouble. A Lexus dealership performed the recall work on the GX 460 Consumer Reports tests and sent the SUV through the sequence of emergency handling tests. The GX 460 did not slide out of control during the second lift-off over-steer test, prompting Consumer Reports to remove the “don’t buy: safety risk’’ tag and request all GX 460 owners to have the recall work completed on their vehicles as soon as possible.