Acura recently gave the TLX some much needed fun with the addition of the TLX Type S and now it’s expanding its Type S lineup with the first ever MDX Type S. This is the first time that the Type S badge has been applied to one of Acura’s SUVs and it joins the lineup, which also includes the NSX Type S.
The Type S lineup isn’t as hardcore as BMW’s M or the Mercedes-AMG models. Instead the Type S versions add a bit more sport under the hood, but without sacrificing comfort.
Lets start with the changes under the hood. The standard MDX is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, but stepping up to the Type S gets you a sweet turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. It’s the same engine that powers the TLX Type S and it generates 355 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque at a very low 1,400 rpm.
That low end torque makes pulling away from a stop a breeze and passing on the highway is effortless. The V6 also feels more refined than the MDX’s standard engine.
The turbocharged V6 is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that Acura says delivers 40 percent quicker downshifts and 30 percent quicker upshifts. Even with the enhancements, the transmission can take a little longer than we’d like to find the right gear.
As expected, the MDX Type S is slightly less fuel efficient than the standard version with its 17 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined ratings.
One other big benefit of stepping up to the MDX Type S is that it gets a standard air suspension. This is the first time that an Acura has been equipped with this tech. The air suspension combined with the adaptive dampers make the MDX Type S feel more agile than the standard MDX and at the same time without sacrificing any comfort.
You’d think that those large 21-inch wheels would make the MDX’s ride harsh, but that’s not the case here. The MDX Type S is a comfortable cruiser that is ready to tackle the corners.
The Type S comes standard with Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system which can not only send power from front to rear, but also side to side. The all-wheel drive system is great and confidence inspiring. The steering is a bit light, but it is quick and accurate.
Inside the MDX Type S’s interior feels pretty much the same as the standard version. In front of the driver there’s a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. The digital gauge cluster looks good, although the info could be better organized a bit, but our bigger issue is with the infotainment system. Why do automakers still keep trying to use a touchpad to operate their infotainment systems rather than a simple touchscreen?
The MDX’s system uses a small touchpad on the center console, which takes a bit to get used to and can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to do something simple, like select a new playlist without removing your eyes from the road. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.
There’s also a head-up display that does a good job of displaying the necessary info.
The MDX Type S’s cabin feels more luxurious than the standard MDX with its seats that are wrapped in soft leather. The Type S is also available with massaging front seats, which came in so handy, especially on a long road trip or after a quick visit to the gym. All three rows are spacious and comfortable as well. Acura has really stepped up its game with its interiors, which can now easily go toe to toe with its German rivals.
The 2022 MDX Type S is offered with or without the Advance package, which adds features like, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, ambient lighting, extra USB ports and the excellent 25-speaker ELS Studio audio system. The pricing for the MDX Type S starts at $67,895, while the Type S with the Advance package lists for $73,245. That might seem pretty pricey, but the MDX Type S is still cheaper than a BMW X5 xDrive40i.
At the end of the day, the 2022 Acura MDX Type S is an excellent luxury three row SUV, that finds a near perfect balance between comfort and sport. It’s easily one of our favorites.