2022 Acura MDX review: More style, more tech, more luxury

Acura MDX review: The Acura MDX has been around for more than two decades, making it one of the brand’s best-selling vehicles. These days, Acura’s largest SUV faces fierce competition, but thanks to a new platform, improved technology and sleeker design, this fourth-generation MDX 2022 is more compelling than ever.

Contents

Like it

  • A lot of space
  • The super-maneuverable all-wheel drive is fantastic
  • Tailgate trick

I do not like

  • Soft shock absorbers
  • Meticulous infotainment

The new MDX is larger than its predecessor in almost all dimensions. The wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer, the overall length has been increased by 2.2 inches, and the MDX is 0.6 inches taller. Still, the SUV’s proportions are exceptional, with a long hood ending in Acura’s sleek Jewel Eye LED headlights. The compact fog lights also use LED bulbs and the grille has a diamond pattern that looks like you’re accelerating to cornering speed on the Millennium Falcon. There is a good amount of chrome trim and the only things I don’t like are the fake air vents on the front. All in all, the MDX is a nice and neat package.

Acura MDX review
Acura MDX review

Under its skin, the MDX 2022 has a new double wishbone front suspension configuration with a multilink rear design, just like the one Acura debuted on the 2021 TLX. The MDX travels on a new light truck platform that’s stiffer and lighter than before, and my loaded Advance tester has the latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology with a torque-vector rear differential. SH-AWD can send up to 70% of the engine torque to the rear axle and then shift 100% left or right as needed. All of this makes the MDX sharper and more composed when driving on winding roads.

Acura MDX review

However, the fixed shock absorbers do not perfectly match the rest of the sophisticated suspension. Driving in Sport mode on my favorite canyon road, the MDX is like two cars at the same time. On the one hand, I have an SUV that’s happy to dive into corners, the 3.5-liter V6 engine’s 290 horsepower and 267 Nm of torque providing ample thrust to get out of corners. On the other hand, the shock absorbers make the ride float, making me dizzy on the undulations and sliding me on the leather seats.

Unlike the fully loaded TLX Advance, the MDX Advance does not have adaptive dampers. Switching between Snow, Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes varies only the SH-AWD torque distribution. It’s a shame: the 10-speed automatic transmission is well tuned for sporty driving, and the AWD technology is one of the best in the business. I guess really enthusiastic drivers will have to wait for the next one MDX type S.

The 3.5-liter V6 delivers 290 horsepower and 267 Nm of torque.

That said, for everyday driving, the MDX is comfortable and quiet, and there are plenty of standard driving aids. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Front Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking are fitted to every MDX and my Advance tester has extras like traffic sign recognition, pedestrian detection and Traffic Jam Assist by Acura, which combines adaptive cruise control and retaining technology.

Upon entering, the MDX’s available cabin technology includes a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 12.3-inch center screen, head-up display, standard wireless charging, and plenty of USB-A, USB sockets -C, 12 volts and AC to keep all your devices full of energy. The 2022 MDX also has a version of Honda’s Cabin Talk voice amp system, so you don’t have to scream to tell the little ones in the third row to throw it away.

Acura’s tech play is strong, but the infotainment interface continues to be a bit of a bugaboo. The MDX has the same True Touch interface as the RDX and TLX, with one-to-one mapping between the touchpad and the screen. If you want to access satellite radio in the upper right corner of the screen, tap the upper right corner of the touchpad. This is fundamental knowledge to have before starting, for fear of thinking it’s a normal touch pad and then screaming in frustration when literally nothing works. (Ask me how I know.)

The cabin is comfortable, but the touchpad technology is still complicated.

The infotainment icons are quite large, so you’ll have a better chance of positioning the touchpad correctly, but it’s still difficult to select something placed near the center of the screen. The hardest part is learning to swipe a second or third page; it’s more of a movie than a swipe. Be prepared to spend some time with the owner’s manual and be prepared for some initial irritation, but as I found out with our long-term TLX sedan, this technology becomes easier to use over time.

Both Android Auto And Apple CarPlay they are standard, but once you start using these smartphone mirroring technologies, absolute touchpad positioning doesn’t work. Here, it functions like a standard scroll pad, so if you plan to switch from Acura’s native system to Apple / Android technology, be prepared for a few hiccups. The fact that the touchpad doesn’t work the same for all applications is rather frustrating.

The cabin design is fantastic, with some fresh aluminum accents and open-pore wood available. The seats are incredibly comfortable and the ambient lighting looks cool. There are 27 different lighting schemes inspired by all kinds of destinations, such as the Vegas Strip, Suzuka Racetrack, Pacific Coast Highway, and more.

Second row passengers have a lot of space.

There is plenty of legroom in the second row, and the 29 inches of legroom in the third row is enough for kids, but it might be tough for adults. The middle part of the second row can be folded down for cup holders and storage, or you can remove the whole thing, but the result isn’t the same as having separate captain’s chairs, as there’s no armrest in sight. However, in my upper Advance trim, those outboard second row seats are heated. The entire interior feels more open and airy thanks to a standard panoramic moonroof.

Cargo space gets a boost this year with 18.1 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubes behind the second, and 95 cubes when both rows are folded. This is more than the Genesis GV80 has and much more than BMW X5.

A great new feature available on the MDX is a Walk Away Close tailgate. There is nothing worse than having your hands full and having to negotiate by pressing a button to close the tailgate. The MDX solves this problem with an internal button that you can press before collecting all your groceries. Then walk away and the door closes automatically and all doors lock after 30 seconds.

If you’re planning to haul cargo via a trailer, the all-wheel drive MDX can tow up to 5,000 lbs. Front-wheel drive models can only handle 3,500 pounds.

The new MDX makes a stronger statement than ever.

MDX 2022 starts at $ 48,245 including $ 1,045 for the destination. A $ 4,700 tech package adds plenty of niceties, like perforated leather seats, ambient lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a premium ELS audio system, navigation and parking sensors. Both the A-Spec ($ 3,500) and Advance ($ 7,050) packages require the addition of the tech upgrade, and while the former goes for a sportier look, the latter is a bit more focused on luxury. A fully loaded MDX Advance comes in at just under $ 62,000.

As for the rivals, the Genesis GV80 is probably the toughest competitor, with its great design, excellent interior and interesting technologies such as a group of digital gauges with 3D effect. The Lincoln aviator is another good option and of course there is always the traditional trio of German options: the Audi Q7, BMW X5 And Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.

MDX is less expensive than these rivals, but it’s by no means cheaper. Just as it has been for the past two decades, Acura’s three-row SUV remains a compelling alternative to proponents of the segment.