When Acura unveiled the MDX Prototype Concept it was very clear that the Japanese luxury brand was taking the flagship SUV market very seriously. The company wanted to show that it still had some tricks up its sleeve and that its ongoing efforts to rebuild its performance heritage were not merely a smoke and pony show. Thankfully after a brief wait Acura has pulled the veil off of the 2022 MDX which aims to shatter the perceptions that people have about Acura. Here’s five important things to know about Acura’s new and improved people hauler.
It’s a looker
Acura reps claim that the 2022 MDX is the “most emotionally styled MDX ever” and when you look at it from multiple angles it’s easy to see why they would lead off with such a strong statement. Retaining much of what we raved about on the Prototype the front fascia is boldly designed with an intentionally upright look to it with the sculpted Diamond Pentagon front grille and hood showing off a very muscular but elegant vibe. Acura engineers also gave the MDX a wider and more aggressive stance than before and the MDX also benefits from a 2.8 inch increase in overall wheelbase.
The addition of the fore-mentioned grille also means that the MDX now benefits from the trademark JewelEye LED headlights with the slick set of eyes even featuring an embedded chicane style daytime running light. A chrome strip frames the windows while the rear features a much smoother and more elegantly shaped design. But the MDX has not gone too soft with Acura designers giving it aggressively shaped taillights and a tidy roof spoiler. This new suit of clothes will certainly help the MDX stand out when its out on a night on the town but we will have to wait until we have the chance to compare the MDX to rivals before we determine whether Acura has succeeded or not.
2022 MDX interior is driver focused and quite lavish
When it came to designing the interior, Acura wanted to bring the MDX (and the brand as a whole) back to its roots. The driver is greeted with a driver centric control layout as well as Acura’s Precision Control Cockpit. This system eliminates analog gauges and replaces them with a 12.3 inch digital screen that can be personalized by the driver to suit their tastes via two available modes (Advanced and Crafted.) The right side of the screen also houses a space where other bits of information can be accessed. The 2022 MDX also boasts the latest version of Acura’s True Touchpad Interface with the system also bringing a 12.3 inch center mounted display to occupants. This screen is the largest that Acura has ever used in a model, and it has full HD quality graphics and is designed to work with Acura’s touchpad system which boasts “absolute positioning” capability.
In addition to the technology on board Acura was obviously inspired by some of the finesse and luxury that often defines private yachts and jets. Hard plastics are gone and in their place is a space that is awash with high quality materials. That includes Milano leather accents, brushed aluminum accents, as well as open pored wood too. Acura designers even adorned the top of the dashboard with high quality leather and added bold contrast stitching on the top. While we suspect that this will only be a thing on higher grade models it’s a very nice touch and we like the way it makes the MDX pop. The front sport seats are a perfect balance between support and comfort with the base seats offering 12-way adjustments. Buyers that choose the Advanced package up that number up to 16 (a very impressive figure for a luxury laden seat.)
The MDX is also out to innovate and it will do so by offering a first in its class removable multi-function middle seat. This novel seat allows MDX owners to take advantage of three different seating positions including the traditional rear bench seat, a center mounted armrest for captain’s chairs, or a wide pass through when it is formally removed. This is a game changer for families especially those that will appreciate the wide pass through to help make access to the third row much easier. Design will also be a paramount selling point for the MDX, with the model having six different interior color schemes depending on what package is equipped to it.
Naturally aspirated and proud of it
It’s no secret that turbocharged powerplants are rapidly becoming an accepted way of life in the majority of SUV entries. However, the 2022 MDX is distinct in the way that it attempts to go against the grain with the bulk of the lineup being powered by a 3.5 liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic and this will be the first time that an MDX model has ever been equipped with this many gear ratios to play with.
Along with the extra gears the 2022 MDX also brings Acura’s 4th generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD to buyers. The system is standard on higher grades of MDX but will be an optional extra on both the base MDX and on variants equipped with the Technology Package. This newest iteration will offer 40 percent more rear torque capacity and can quickly transfer 30 percent of the torque between the front and rear wheels. This is much better than the old system and that will certainly translate to better performance and driving behavior especially when it’s pushed hard through corners. Curiously, Acura still did not release details such as a 0 to 60 time but we suspect that since the engine is essentially carried over from the 2020 model look for any enhancement to be a minimal one versus anything to major.
Even the handling hardware was reworked with the 2022 model pitching the old hydraulically operated steering rack for an all new electrically assisted one. Besides the obvious weight saving benefits the high output electric motor also helps create increased levels of boost and is paired with an all new variable gear ratio system.
Type S is your ticket for MDX performance
It wasn’t too long ago that the A-Spec trim once denoted top ranking performance in the Acura model family, but Acura reps revealed that the MDX will be the second all new Acura model to receive the revived Type S moniker. Like the TLX, the MDX Type S will be the first word on performance for utility buyers with that variant being powered by a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 (the only trim to use a boosted engine.) The powerplant is estimated to make 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque which is a radical increase over the outgoing A-Spec model. All Type S models will be equipped with four piston Brembo brake calipers, a 1,000 watt 25 speaker ELS Studio 3D sound system, and even special seats that can accommodate up to nine different massage modes.
Type S variants will also feature an upgraded suspension for improved track day performance, but buyers looking to purchase one will have to wait a bit before they get their chance, with Acura revealing that the first examples of those models won’t make it state side till next summer.
When can I buy a 2022 Acura MDX?
Unlike the Type S the rest of the MDX lineup will be arriving much sooner to dealerships with the first models appearing sometime after February 2nd. When they do, buyers will be greeted with a base sticker of $46,900 which is a slight bump up from the outgoing model. Fuel economy will also be on par for its segment, with a front-wheel drive MDX getting an EPA estimated 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the freeway. Adding the SH-AWD system to it causes weight to go up and in turn that also causes mileage to dip with those models getting one mpg less on the freeway and one fewer in combined driving. It’s important to note to that these prices are before options and the $1,025 destination fee. We have included a preliminary pricing chart below to help provide a reference for buyers looking at one.
|2022 Acura MDX Pricing||3.5L V6, Front Wheel Drive||3.5L V6, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive|
|MDX w/ Technology Package||$51,600||$53,600|
|MDX w/ Advanced Package||N/A||$65,650|
With a new level of swagger, technology, and luxury the 2022 Acura MDX is aiming to take some names in the flagship luxury SUV segment. It will also be interesting to see if it can help Acura improve its fortunes,. but we think that the Japanese luxury brand is off to a roaring start in that regard.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.