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2022 Acura MDX gets a complete redo, gains high-tech features, Type S model

The Acura MDX has been redesigned top to bottom for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura's flagship SUV has gotten a complete makeover. The three-row 2022 Acura MDX takes full advantage of Acura's latest exterior and interior styling efforts, fresh technology, and safety innovations. It's also priced well compared to its closest competition.

The 2022 MDX slots above the RDX as the other SUV offering in the company's lineup.

The fourth-generation model is more athletic-looking than its predecessor. It has a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase, with a stance that's 1.4 inches wider in the front and rear. The hood of the new model is elongated thanks to a four inch increase in the dash-to-axle ratio.

2022 Acura MDX exterior

Photo courtesy of Acura

At the front of the model is the SUV's Diamond Pentagon grille, which is flanked by four-element JewelEye LED headlights with embedded Chicane daytime running light. The sculpted fascia blends this area into the fog light housing. A chrome strip frames the windows in the most models while MDX A-Spec models have a gloss black surround.

The rear of the SUV has wide-seat taillights with the same Chicane design that is set in a thin blade design.

The MDX rides on the automaker's new light truck platform. This allows the SUV to have the drive dynamics of a sports sedan, according to Acura. The MDX has a double-wishbone front suspension and new multilink rear suspension, which allow the model to have a smooth ride while adding to body rigidity for improved cornering performance, passenger comfort, and cabin noise.

Acura has given the SUV more powerful brakes and new electric power steering that uses a ratio that is quicker than the previous editions of the MDX. With these stronger brakes, the Collision Mitigation Braking system is able to reduce stopping distance from 30 mph by 12 feet.

New wheel and tire packages give the 2022 MDX improved handling and performance. Nineteen-inch wheels are standard while 20-inch wheels are available. A new tire developed exclusively for MDX features a revised rubber compound, construction and tread pattern to reduce rolling resistance by 17 percent.

Acura will sell the fourth-generation MDX in eight paint colors including two new offerings: Phantom Violet Pearl and Liquid Carbon Metallic. Apex Blue Pearl returns as an exclusive color offered on the MDX A-Spec, which also gets gloss black accents front to rear, darkened headlight and taillight treatments, and Shark Gray wheels.

Under the hood of the 2022 MDX is a 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine that is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and achieves 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. That's the same engine and and power that comes in the 2020 model.

All-wheel drive is available. Now in its fourth generation, the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system delivers 40 percent more rear torque capacity and 30 percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer than the third-generation system in the previous MDX. It can transfer 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle during normal driving conditions, while continuously apportioning up to 100 percent of that rear-axle torque between either the left or right rear wheels.

Drivers will be able to choose from Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Individual drive modes using the control knob on the center of the dashboard. This is the same setup as in the RDX and Acura TLX. When the Technology Package is added to the MDX, an LED lighting scheme is standard with lighting schemes tied to the drive modes, with 24 additional user-selectable illuminations themed for iconic roads and race circuits around the world, such as Route 66 and Suzuka.

The 2022 MDX with front-wheel drive has an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. The MDX with all-wheel drive does about the same fuel economy: 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. Those numbers are about average for the class.

2022 Acura MDX interior

Photo courtesy of Acura

The 2022 MDX has a sophisticated cabin with space for up to seven passengers. Open pore wood, brushed aluminum, and soft-touch Milano leather are used to achieve the premium aesthetic.

Depending on the package, MDX is available in six different interior color schemes including Ebony, Parchment, Graystone, and Espresso. A-Spec models will be available exclusively in either Ebony or Red leather with black Ultrasuede inserts. All MDXs but the base models get Milano leather seating with contrast stitching. Advance Package models get contrast piping as well.

The SUV comes standard with next-gen Acura sport seats with 12-way adjustment, three-way seat heating, and three-position memory. MDX A-Spec models get ventilated front seats while models equipped with the Advance Package also get power-adjusting side bolsters and thigh extensions.

Buyers can opt for one of three seating options in the model: a traditional second-row bench seat (seven-passenger capacity), a captain's chair style with a wide armrest (six-passenger capacity), or a wide pass through with captain's chairs (six-passenger capacity).

The third row of the model as more head- and legroom than before while the seating position is two inches higher from the floor than the 2020 model. With the Advance Package, third-row occupants have their own USB charging ports on the sides of the cabin.

Behind the third row, cargo space has been increased by 1.5 cubic feet to 16.3 cubic feet and can expand to up to 71.4 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded. Like the RDX, the MDX has a large amount of cargo space under the floor. Removing the floor panel expands the cargo area behind the third row to 18.1 cubic feet.

In front of the driver is an all-digital cockpit that replaces traditional gauges with a 12.3-inch screen. Drivers can choose from two different appearance options: Advanced and Crafted. In addition to different displays for the main gauges, a fully configurable content selection is available to the right of the display for functions such as navigation, trip computer, AcuraWatch, maintenance, tire pressure, SH-AWD status, and a G-meter.

The SUV also gets a 10.5-inch head-up display that can show critical vehicle alerts, collision warnings, navigation instructions, vehicle speed, and incoming calls and texts.

In the center console is a refreshed version of Acura's True Touchpad Interface that pairs with 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen.

Buyers get a nine-speaker, 350-watt audio system with the standard model. Adding the MDX Technology Package bring along the ELS Studio system with 12 speakers and 550 watts. On A-Spec and Advance Package models, the ELS Studio 3D premium audio system includes 16 speakers and 710 watts of power.

A pop-up socket in the center console contains USB-C and USB-A. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interact with the infotainment system wirelessly. A standard Qi-compatible 15-watt charger is standard. Amazon Alexa is built into the system.

The Cabin Console allows passengers to control music, audio settings, rear climate controls, navigation and the panoramic moonroof's sunshade position using a smartphone app. A-Spec and Advance Package models come with CabinTalk, a system that is similar to what is in the Honda Odyssey and offers targeted voice amplification to second- and third-row passengers.

The latest generation of AcuraLink with Wi-Fi compatibility allows for over-the-air software updates and cloud-based services.

All 2022 MDX trims will come standard with an expanded suite of AcuraWatch advanced safety and driver assist technologies. The roster of tech includes road departure mitigation, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, pedestrian detection, and driver attention monitor. Adaptive cruise control with low speed follow works to alleviate stress in heavy traffic situations. In addition, MDX will feature a new front and rear automatic low speed braking control system that is included in the Technology Package and uses sonar-based parking sensors to sense solid objects at low speeds, such as in parking situations, and warn the driver or apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a collision.

Just like in the 2021 TLX, the 2022 MDX features Acura's next-gen passenger front airbag.

Pricing: 2020 Acura MDX vs. 2022 Acura MDX

The 2022 Acura MDX will arrive on dealer lots on February 2 with the most technologically advanced interior of any model in the company's lineup and a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $46,900. That's up from the $44,500 starting price of the 2020 model. Acura has opted to skipped the 2021 model year MDX.

Here's the complete model pricing breakdown.

  • 2020 Acura MDX FWD: $44,500
  • 2022 Acura MDX FWD: $46,900
  • 2020 Acura MDX FWD + Technology Package: $49,500
  • 2022 Acura MDX FWD + Technology Package: $51,600
  • 2020 Acura MDX FWD + Advance Package: $46,250
  • Not available for MY 2022
  • 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD: $46,500
  • 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD: $48,900
  • 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD + Technology Package: $51,500
  • 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD + Technology Package: $53,600
  • 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD + A-Spec Package: $55,000
  • 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD + A-Spec Package: $57,100
  • 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD + Advance Package: $58,250
  • 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD + Advance Package: $60,650
  • 2020 Acura MDX SH-AWD + Entertainment Package: $53,500 (with Technology Package); $60,250 (with Advance Package)
  • Not available for MY 2022
  • 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD + Technology Package: $53,000
  • Not available for MY 2022
  • 2020 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD + Advance Package: $59,750
  • Not available for MY 2022
All models came/come with an additional $1,025 destination and delivery charge.

2022 Acura MDX Type S

2022 Acura MDX Type S

Photo courtesy of Acura

The Acura MDX Type S is coming in the late summer 2021. It is the first application of the Type S high-performance nameplate on an SUV and feature unique design accents, equipment, and tuning.

The exterior of the SUV alters the aesthetics to include an open diamond mesh grille, quad exhaust outlets, and gloss black trim.

Under the hood is a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, paired with all-wheel drive. The standard 21-inch wheels are wrapped in 275-series tires while larger brakes and four-piston Brembo front calipers provide additional stopping power.

Buyers get more interior refinement in the Type S model as well. The front seats are available with nine-model massaging functionality and are accented with unique colors and trim unique to the Type S. A new Signature Edition ELS Studio 3D premium audio system delivers more than 1,000 watts of power.

More details on the highest-performing ever SUV from Acura will be released closer to its on-sale date.

The 2022 Acura MDX joins its three predecessors in being designed, engineered, and developed in America. The MDX will be built exclusively at the company's auto plant in East Liberty, Ohio.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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The Type S gets a 355-hp V6.

Acura

The Acura MDX is a sharp three-row SUV that shares its roots with the Honda Pilot. The similarities between the two stop at the platform, however, as the MDX is more upscale, more engaging to drive, and more sharply styled. Acura skipped over the 2021 model year for the MDX, instead opting for a refreshed model in 2022. The new SUV is more of all the good things that it predecessor was, with the addition of new technologies and features. Acura recently announced that production for the higher-performance MDX Type S has begun, meaning we're about to see the hotted-up SUV in the wild.

2022 Acura MDX Type S Interior finishes and features are all high-end.Acura

While the standard MDX gets a 290-hp V6, the Type S receives a massaged version of the engine with a turbocharger that produces 355 horsepower. Beyond its significant power advantage, the Type S also gets adaptive air suspension, Brembo front brakes, and 21-inch wheels. Acura says the Type S is the most luxurious MDX it has made to date. To prove it, the automaker added nine-way massaging front seats and a 25-speaker Acura ELS Studio sound system to the Advance Package trim.

2022 Acura MDX Type S Massaging seats are available for the top Advance Package trim.Acura

Unsurprisingly, the Type S carries a notable price premium over its standard counterpart. The SUV's starting price is $67,745 including destination. The top MDX Type S with Advance Package starts at $73,095. The 2022 MDX was designed, tested, and developed in the United States. It's joined by the standard MDX in production at Acura's East Liberty facility in Ohio. The NSX supercar is also built in America, by hand, in Marysville, Ohio. Additionally, Acura notes that all of its 2022 model-year vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in the U.S. using domestic and global parts.

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