The 2022 Acura MDX is a three-row crossover SUV. Sold under Honda’s luxury imprint, the new MDX rivals the Infiniti QX60, Buick Enclave, Hyundai Palisade, and Volvo XC90. Redesigned for 2022, the seven-seater offers some of the automaker’s most advanced technology and most luxurious features, and comes with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. For 2022 most everything is new, though the powertrain is familiar. Sold in base, Technology, A-Spec, Advance, and Type S models, the 2022 MDX has a new body structure, a new cabin, and updated safety and infotainment technology.
The MDX drapes a sinuous body over an expressive interior. With the 2022 MDX, Acura has reinvented its largest vehicle along the lines of the smaller RDX SUV and TLX sedan. The MDX’s sweeping new style mimics some European SUVs at a glance, but evokes more from Acura’s latest offerings with its shield-shaped grille, slim LED headlights, and snip-and-cut lines that accentuate its softly rounded body. The larger proportions give the MDX a longer nose and enable a three-inch wheelbase stretch to give it a newly muscular shape that tapers at the rear and resolves in slim, faceted LED taillights. Type S models have a larger front grille and quad exhaust tips, along with standard 21-inch wheels.
The 2022 MDX is a road-tripper’s delight and a family canyon carver all wrapped in one SUV. Riding on a new chassis, the 2022 MDX taps a standard 3.5-liter V-6 with 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Good for 0-60 mph times estimated in the seven-second range in the chunky MDX—at 4,032 to 4,565 lbs, it’s up about 250 pounds in its new form, the V-6 has a rippling low-end engine note that winds out above 3,500 rpm into a refined moan. If you’re looking for more power, the Type S offers a 355-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 shared with the TLX Type S that makes the SUV feel much quicker and more responsive at low rpm.
The 10-speed automatic changes gears nearly flawlessly, and doesn’t mind at all being paddle-shifted at around fourth and fifth gear in its dedicated Sport mode to hustle through back roads. It has a lower launch gear, a wider gear range, and the ability to change as many as four gear spans at once. The drivetrain’s tied to a drive-mode dial that offers Normal, Sport, Comfort and Snow programs and fiddles with the digital displays, the shift timing, even the amount of engine noise pumped into the cabin. In the Type S the upgraded 10-speed has 40% quicker downshifts with rev matching when using the paddle shifters to make it even more responsive.
Ride and handling set the MDX apart from sloppier rivals. With its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, complete with hydraulic front bushings, the MDX has a guitar-string-taut ride, with springs and dampers that resist small bumps and relax to absorb the bigger ones. It’ll heel over deep into steep corners on its standard 19-inch all-season tires, 20s on the A-Spec, and its steering cuts a precise line without much feedback, but the MDX controls its body with just the right amount of give.
The Type S adds adaptive air suspension that stiffens up to control body roll while the AWD system shifts torque to the outside rear wheel to sling the MDX out of corners. It’s even better in its comfort settings, providing impeccable ride quality that matches most other luxury SUV. And its upgraded brakes are more responsive as well.
Many versions now come with all-wheel drive. Available on MDX and Technology models, standard on the A-Spec, Advance, and Type S, the MDX has a sophisticated system that can transfer 70% of power to the rear wheels and split that rear-axle power between the right and left side for better cornering. With an available hitch, the MDX can tow up to 5,000 lb with AWD, or 3,500 lb with front-wheel drive. Its 7.3 inches of ground clearance give it some off-road ability, but it wouldn’t be the tool we’d pick for a rock-climbing weekend.
The 2022 MDX earns low-20s EPA ratings. It’s average for a vehicle of its size and weight. The front-drive MDX is the most efficient, rated at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. All-wheel-drive models dip to 19/25/21 mpg, while the Type S is even worse at 17/21/19 mpg with its more powerful engine.
The MDX crash-tests well by earning both a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS and a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. Every MDX has automatic emergency braking front and rear, low-speed braking control, traffic-jam assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and a driver attention monitor. Technology editions and above get front and rear parking sensors; the Advance model gets a head-up display and a surround-view camera system. The MDX also has adjustable headrests, which resolves seat comfort issues from past Acura vehicles.
The MDX can seat up to seven; five get the royal treatment. Inside, the lovely MDX interior takes a slimmer horizontal set, with a wide center display perched over toggles and pushbuttons that activate its climate controls and transmission, banded by ribbons of open-pore wood trim and contrast-stitched leather on some versions. A customizable 12.3-inch digital display takes the place of analog gauges.
Splitting the front passengers, the center console has lots of useful storage tucked in its extravagantly extruded shape. Still, the design eats up usable space, particularly around the saddle-style transmission controls. One example: Wireless smartphone charging happens under a hand support that’s necessary because Acura omits touch inputs on its infotainment screen.
In front, heated power seats have from 12 to 16 ways of adjustment. They’re formed for good support and excellent space; 6-foot drivers can measure about four inches of head room below the standard sunroof. Base seats wear synthetic leather, but all other versions have true hides. Top trims have seat cooling. In the most expensive versions, the MDX gets a stitched dash cap, leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim, and aluminum trim. It’s showy and subdued all at once versus the overt glam of a Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, easily their equal in refinement.
Second-row seats go for flexibility and function. There’s plenty of head room for 6-footers to sit behind 6-footers, but toe space is skimpier. The MDX has 38.5 inches of second-row leg room, and the three-person bench slides on a 5.9-inch track. It also has a removable center seat that allows easier access to the third row, and pushbutton assist to open up access to the wayback. Those functions help but access to the third row remains tight. The two seats in back have 36.2 inches of head room and just 29.0 inches of leg room; it’s for medium-sized people and those smaller.
By the numbers, the 2022 MDX measures 198.4 inches long (up 2.2 inches from the outgoing model), 78.7 inches wide (up one inch), and rides on a 113.8-inch wheelbase (up by 2.8 inches). On the cargo front, the MDX has a two-level cargo floor with 1.8 cubic feet of storage beneath a reversible panel. That complements 16.3 cubic feet of space behind row three, 39.1 cubic feet behind row two (48.4 with the seats moved forward), and 71.4 cubic feet behind the front seats (95.0 if those seats are moved forward).
Sold in base, Technology, A-Spec, and Advance models, the 2022 MDX has excellent standard features, and its trim levels function as options. That puts the MDX at a 7; it’d be higher if its warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles included some service, and if its infotainment system had better input paths.
It’s $47,925 for the base model, and $2,000 more for all-wheel drive. The MDX gets standard power features, keyless start, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, 19-inch wheels, wireless smartphone charging, synthetic leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, nine-speaker audio, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The $52,625 MDX Technology gains 20-inch wheels, Milano leather, 12-speaker 550-watt ELS audio, and navigation.
Among the non-performance models, the $61,675 MDX Advance caps the lineup with 20-inch silver-look wheels, a surround-view camera system, 16-way power seats, a head-up display, heated outboard second-row seats, and 710 watts of 16-speaker ELS audio. But the new king is the Type S, which tops out at $73,095 with the Advance Package. That vehicle offers all of the features of the MDX Advance, but adds a more powerful engine, 21-inch wheels, front seat massagers, an optional blue leather interior, and a mind-blowing 25-speaker ELS audio system.
Acura has once again redefined the premium large SUV class with the 2022 MDX. The Acura MDX brings together all that it has learned and wrapped it into a near-perfect package with strong powertrains, evolutionary new styling that looks fresh, and blends it with cutting-edge technology. All of that is just a bonus compared to the MDX’s impeccable road manners that make some sport sedans cringe, this is definitely the crossfit athlete of SUV’s. In the end, the new 2022 MDX blends the best of Acura’s hallmarked past in an amazing new package.