Quick Spin in Acura’s First Type S SUV

What’s New About the MDX Type S?

The MDX Type S marks the first ever Acura SUV to be adorned with the vaunted Type S designation. While the still recently new MDX brings over a carryover 3.5L V6 engine with 290 horsepower, it’s interesting that figure hasn’t really changed since the 2007 model year 2nd generation MDX debuted, that one actually had 300 horsepower. So 15 years later it hasn’t really moved the needle.

Tiger Eye Pearl is what Acura calls this distinct paint hue

That’s somewhat understandable. While the 2nd generation seemed to focus on premium performance and dynamics seemingly honing on the likes of the BMW X5, the outgoing 3rd generation took a bit of a softer focus with more space. This 4th generation MDX seeks to bring back the muscle, particularly in this Type S. At its core is a new 3.0L turbo V6 shared with the TLX Type S. It wrings out 355 horsepower along with 354 torques, channeled to the ground through a 10-speed automatic transmission and Acura’s hallmark Super Handling All Wheel Drive. Ride and handling are assisted with Brembo brakes up front and an Acura-first air suspension all around.

Type S cues include the quad exhaust tips out back

Key Contents / Trims Available

MDX Type S comes in 2 levels, the standard Type S includes all the go and stop fast hardware. So the turbo engine, Brembo front brakes, air suspension, etc are all there. Interior and content wise it resembles the MDX A-Spec trim. Price wise all those goodies add about $8,000 on top of the A-Spec.

Light “orchid” interior color is a bit refreshing in this day of dark colors. But please bring back the touchscreen!

Up top there is the Type S Advance. This is priced about $10,000 above the standard MDX Advance, and about $5,300 above the standard Type S. Our Type S Advance stickered for $72,550. The Advance adds things like a handsfree power rear lift gate, roof rails, premium leather seating with added massage for both front seat passengers, heated outboard 2nd row seats, a heated steering wheel, open pore wood trim, surround view camera, head up display, additional ambient lighting and a bespoke version of the premium ELS Studio audio system not found on any other trim. That goes for the massaging front seats as well. Standard MDX Advance models don’t get either of those features. This is truly the brand’s flagship, NSX notwithstanding.

Intricate stitching looks good in our eyes, glad it is more unique than just diamond quilting.

18.1 Cubic Feet of Space Behind the 3rd row 
48.4 Cubic Feet of Space Behind the 2nd Row

Quick Spin

From the first minute, the Type S seems to solve the qualms around the MDX and its family hauler persona. Everything feels sharper and alert. Power, where a bit lackadaisical in the standard model, swells and flows through a rapid shifting transmission here. Ride refinement is also elevated, smooth yet controlled and not floaty, thanks to the air suspension, mitigating much of the harshness of the massive 21″ wheels. Kudos to Acura on making the investment there. Where the MDX might be chided as being a bit “Honda +”, the Type S feels like it finally places Acura into the luxury realm, or at least into the performance sector. Handling is responsive and rewarding making this 3-row family hauler feel nimble, and brakes are nice and tight, helping this 3-row crossover shrink around the driver.

Digital Cluster fits a lot of information. Tachometer along the top reminds me a bit of the S2000.

Improvement Points

As far as improvement, would love to see Acura step up the overall interior materials. Lots of the switchgear and parts feel like they’d be at home in a Honda, but not great for a $70,000+ luxury branded flagship.

Thankful that Acura keeps a lot of actual buttons and controls, but please give us back the touchscreen!

Not new, but the Acura infotainment system with its touchpad is a bit of a let down as well. Almost every OEM has abandoned their respective track pads, or at least allows for both interface controller as well as touchscreen functionality.

Overall the MDX Type S leans towards performance over all out luxury, but to truly succeed it would be best to find a stronger blend of the two, with the understanding that each doesn’t need to live in a vacuum, especially at the $72K+ price point.

Published in Reviews

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