Concept Cars

New Acura MDX Prototype is nearly the real thing

The Acura MDX Prototype has debuted, showing off the future of the SUV.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The Acura MDX Prototype is here, which means that the next-generation MDX is right around the corner. The newest version of the three-row SUV will arrive at dealership lots in early 2021 with MDX Type S models coming in the summer of 2021. This is the exact same lath the 2021 Acura TLX took for its redesign.

The MDX Prototype features a dramatic exterior with sculpted features and a wide face that takes the design of the TLX and moves it to a SUV model. It looks fresh though perhaps more importantly, it looks premium.

Acura MDX Prototype The Acura MDX Prototype is the first step in the official direction of the fourth-generation MDX.Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura is showing off the concept car in Liquid Carbon and Performance Red exterior colors. The Diamond Pentagon grille is flanked by four-element JewelEye LED headlights that have Chicane LED daytime running lights underneath that are inspired by the Acura ARX-05 race car.

The new SUV serves as the debut of the company's next-generation truck platform. It's the most rigid model to date and comes complete with a double wishbone front suspension. It comes with all-wheel drive (available on the next-gen model) and features Brembo four-piston brake calipers, finished in Ivory paint, at all four corners.

Acura has put its strong and tested 3.5-liter V6 under the hood and paired it with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The forthcoming MDX Type S will have a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.

The SUV's 21-inch wheels highlights the MDX's 3-inch longer wheelbase that allows for a larger and more versatile cargo area and added spaciousness for passengers. The prototype shows off more legroom in all three rows than was in the previous-gen model.

Acura MDX Prototype

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura sport seats are featured in all three rows and offer 16-way power adjustment and integrated massage functionality with nine massage modes.

The interior of the MDX Prototype features a sophisticated cabin that is mostly duplicative of what you'll find in the TLX. There is open-pore wood that is infused with metallic flake, polished aluminum, and soft-touch Milanno leather. The instrument panel and steering wheel feature two-tone Ebony and Light Orchid leather.

There's an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof. The SUV's LED ambient lighting is available in 27 different schemes tied to driving modes and representative of various locations, such as iconic roads and race circuits around the world.

Like the TLX, the MDX Prototype features Acura's Precision Cockpit. It features a customizable 12.3-inch, high-definition display in front of the driver. The 12.3-innch infotainment display matches in size and is controlled with Acura's touchpad.

Acura's audio system partnership has resulted in the model featuring the ELS Studio 3D premium audio system. It delivers 1000 watts of power and utilizes 25 speakers.

Acura has promised that, as in the prototype, the company's suite of driver assistance and safety technology, AcuraWatch, will be standard.

Stay tuned to see the next-gen MDX soon.

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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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