For the last 11 years George Hugh has been focused on helping people build wealth through his company, Taurus Mortgage Capital Inc. A former banker, the Markham-based mortgage broker works in conjunction with Realtor partners, and regularly drove across the city to meet with clients and attend real estate showings.
When he’s not working, Hugh – who is a proponent of maintaining a healthy lifestyle – played sports, especially golf. To accommodate his needs, he typically sought out the biggest SUVs available.
Hugh had leased the 2017 Volvo XC90 Excellence, a top-of-the-line ultra-luxe crossover SUV. Hugh wasn’t too thrilled with the car, finding that it lacked power, and returned it when the lease was up last August. Unfortunately, Hugh’s new car plans were thwarted by the global semiconductor shortage: Despite having put in an order for an Audi Q8, Hugh found himself without a car until a delayed April 2022 delivery date.
Being constantly on the road, Hugh needed a car and borrowed his mother-in-law’s Toyota RAV4. Although serviceable, the RAV4 wasn’t an exciting ride for Hugh, who also enjoys driving for pleasure.
This continued for three months as Hugh searched for an alternative solution. Unfortunately, he found dwindling market options, especially ones that also satisfied his criteria for ample cargo space. On a followup visit to his Audi sales representative, he learned that its sister dealership, Acura of North Toronto, was bringing in two 2022 Acura MDX A-Specs – one in Liquid Carbon Metallic, the other in Platinum White Pearl. Having owned an earlier generation of the MDX, Hugh purchased the vehicle on the spot (“I was told I had about two minutes to make a decision if I wanted one or it’s gone, so I took it,” said Hugh).
He tells us what he loves most about his vehicle.
“I used the car to pick up clients,” said Hugh. “More recently, I’ve been meeting clients more than picking them up, but I fully expect the times to change back to where I would actually drive them in my car. So, I want something that's spacious and comfortable for them – where they're not cramped in my backseat, and I wanted a seven-seater in case they had kids or others who want to join.
More than space, Hugh had many praises for the fourth generation MDX.
“They've changed the shape on the MDX, and it seems a little bit more aggressive. The lines on it looks more like one of the big sports cars. There are two packages with MDX. There’s the regular MDX, which looks nice, but I like wider rims, lower profile tires and stuff which I was told you get with the A-SPEC trim. So, I got the [racing-inspired] A-SPEC package, which is just esthetics, but it makes the car look sportier, and the rims are nicer.
“There’s no chrome on the car – it’s an all-black build. Because there’s no chrome it looks more rugged, which I like. You know, it's funny that the mirrors on the car are not painted the same colour as the car. I asked [the dealership], ‘Why aren’t the mirrors painted the same color?’ and I was told that it’s the style now where they’re not painting the mirrors on the side of the car (but the mirrors on the regular cars are painted the same color).
“I've been very pleasantly surprised with the ride, the drive, comfort, and everything. I bought the car because it was available, and I've had experience with it before, but this car has a lot of features that [my old MDX] didn’t have. The interior is a lot nicer. There’s a control pad just like a computer where you select everything, and you can split the screen into two screens: one for your GPS and one for your music, or other stuff. It’s very easy to use. You can change the color of the interior accent lighting [with IconicDrive]. It’s just all these little things. The seats are very comfortable. The middle row is big enough to be three seats but has a console, so it becomes like two bucket chairs, and there’s three more seats in the back. So, it's a comfortable ride that's not only spacious and meets my needs, but the handling and stuff is pretty good.
“The performance is nicer, and I’ve enjoyed just driving it around. In the first week, I drove 1,700 kilometres! [Laughs] It’s been a surprising experience so far. I like the sound of the engine when you press the gas: It sounds a little sporty. It’s very good around corners, like it sticks to the road, and it has some pretty good power in it – it's much better than a bigger engine Volvo, to tell you the truth.
“The reason why I was so quick to buy the MDX again without really test driving it is because I know Honda, [Acura’s parent brand, produces] very reliable cars. I’ve had some problems with my Volvo (it actually shut off on me while I was driving!) and I had to get a flatbed tow truck for it twice. So, one thing that was very important to me was reliability. I'm very comfortable with Hondas from that perspective. I’ve never had problems with them as long as I change the oil every once in a while. That's a good thing.”
Even though the MDX is serving him well, Hugh is still on the waitlist for the Q8.
“I might still get [the Audi] when it comes in,” said Hugh. “So, I will just transfer this car to my son or something. [But if it takes longer], I’m happy with the MDX.”
This article was edited for space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Renée S. Suen
is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer/photographer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen
A CLOSER LOOK: 2022 Acura MDX A-Spec
“It’s a new grey that came out this year,” said Hugh of his car’s paint colour and trim details. “The Liquid Carbon Metallic colour makes the car look great. Even the interior has the ebony leatherette trimmed with Ultrasuede seats and dashboard. It's the A-Spec package has red stitching that’s nice and tight.”
“The car can take premium or regular gas,” said Hugh. “I really like that I have the option. The price of gas today is crazy and premium gas prices can be 30 cents more than regular. That’s a $20 difference in gas. I've filled up a couple times putting in premium once and regular another time, and didn't really notice any major difference. The dealership rep says that the difference would be in the performance, but it's winter now and I’m not driving crazy out there. The gas mileage seems to be around the same. So, for casual winter driving, I have that option to put in regular, which is nice.”
Being roughly 5.5 cm longer than the previous generation, the 2022 MDX’s new design provides an extra 181 litres of passenger room, or 2,690 litres of room when both the second and third row seats are folded down.
“I love the size,” said Hugh. “It feels bigger [than my previous model].”