Here’s how to make the 2022 Acura MDX AMAZING!

Acura showrooms finally have the 4th generation 2022 MDX. This is one of their most important cars in terms of sales, as well as being their new flagship with the departure of the RLX sedan. (Not really counting the supercar NSX here).

It seems like the current/outgoing MDX has been around forever, it was launched for the 2014 model year, so about 7 years ago. That’s a bit long in terms of product cycles, but Acura has made some good updates along the way, introducing things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

I actually owned a 2nd generation MDX and we had a 1st generation MDX in the family. MDX has been an overwhelming success story from the beginning, carving out a strong 3-row crossover package. Acura actually touts that the MDX is America’s best-selling 3-row crossover of all-time. Of course rival Lexus RX has had stronger sales, but they only recently added a 3-row configuration.

Our 2007 Acura MDX Sport, geared up and headed to Whistler!

The 1st generation MDX was a bit of a minivan in AWD and 4-door clothing, but the 2nd generation, launched for the 2007 model year, actually turned into something special. It shrank a bit in space and started targeting something closer to a BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne. You could get adaptive dampers on the Sport package/trim and it adopted the then-recently launched Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system from the RL. The 2nd gen MDX also pumped out 300 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque from its 3.7-liter V6 engine (that’s actually more power than the new 4th generation is putting down). Man, I loved that thing.

When the 3rd generation MDX came out 7 years later, it seemed to float back towards the AWD Minivan end of the spectrum. It had grown in size, but lost a lot of weight, helping improve 3rd row space and fuel economy. No doubt this helped appeal to the growing masses looking for luxurious family transport, but it lost a bit of that driver’s edge that was so readily apparent in the 2nd gen. No more adaptive dampers, a hair less power, etc. etc.

Now comes the 4th generation, where perhaps we’ve found a bit of the goldilocks formula from the paper specifications. Acura has been on a performance kick as of late and the family hauler MDX receives this attention as well. For the first time, the MDX now has a double wishbone suspension up front, promising to sharpen handling. While baseline power continues to be a V6 with just 290 horsepower (still down from our 2007!) it now comes paired with a creamier 10-speed automatic transmission, avoiding the 9-speed unit of recent years.

The biggest news is that this MDX foundation will also support the first MDX Type S! This range topping model will come with a turbo V6 cranking up power to 355 horsepower and Brembo front brakes to rein it all back in.

MDX Type S

Inside, the new MDX brings much needed updates to available comfort, luxury and convenience features. Two standard 12.3″ screens dominate the dash, with a digital gauge cluster and a large infotainment screen. Wireless connectivity for your Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also standard. Trust me, once you go wireless, you’ll never go back to constantly having to plug your phone to the USB jack.

MDX Digital Dash
MDX Instrument Panel

Crossover customers are often asked to choose between a 2nd row bench seat, for 3-across seating or Captain’s Chairs. Acura brings a bit of ingenuity in the form of a removable center seat section for the middle row.

With 2nd row center section lowered for armrest/cupholders

With center seat/section removed. No inboard armrests! 

This seems to be cribbed from corporate cousin Honda Odyssey. However, in the Odyssey, the resultant captain’s chairs have armrests, something that is lacking on the MDX when you remove the center section. I think that’s going to be a bit of an issue for passenger comfort for those in the 2nd row. I also wish Acura had just gone with taking the full Magic Slide, lateral slide mechanism from said Odyssey. This would have been a #gamechanger for the crossover set. Acura went as far as showing specifically that an UPPAbaby stroller now fits behind the 3rd row in an effort to pander to parents. Even with a center passthrough, it’s tough to get past a rear facing car seat to access the aisle to get to the 3rd row.

Honda’s Odyssey minivan has a similar 3rd row, but has much better seats that have armrests and can slide laterally!

While we’re raiding the corporate parts bin, why hasn’t any crossover taken the also excellent interior cameras from the minivan set? Again, Honda Odyssey was first with its CabinWatch system, something Chrysler is now expanding on with the refreshed Pacifica. This is priceless for being able to keep an eye on little ones, especially those in the aforementioned rear facing seats.

Honda Odyssey”s terrific CabinWatch view

The new MDX offers up a lot of features like a standard panoramic moonroof and acoustic laminated front and front side glass to help keep things quiet. Heated, power front seats, a power adjusting steering wheel and memory settings, signature front and rear LED lighting and a power rear liftgate will also be found on all MDX’s.

Acura’s packages make things straightforward when you’re examining local dealer inventory, but unfortunately many items are only reserved for the top-spec Advance package, ringing up nearly $62,000. Live in a northern climate and appreciate a nice heated steering wheel and/or remote start from your key? Sorry, Advance only. How about that handy around view parking camera to see if your new rig is within the parking lot lines? Again, Advance. Sunshades for the 2nd row? Yup, Advance. (Another chance to steal from Odyssey to add 3rd row sunshades, which many crossovers don’t seem to offer!) One feature oddly missing on this new tech-forward family hauler, a digital rear view mirror. Would love to see some added flexibility for features that customers are starting to demand without having to check all the boxes.

We’ll reserve final judgement until we get some time behind the wheel, but Acura’s initial plans look like they might be vulnerable to the inevitable value comparisons against upstart Kia Tellurides and Hyundai Palisades (at least against the non Type S), while also missing an opportunity to land some serious knockouts with quick and easy items from within the greater Honda/Acura empire.

Published in Reviews

Related Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.