Such a Tease

Here's what to expect from the 2022 Acura MDX, 2021 Nissan Armada debuts on December 8

Acura has teased the forthcoming MDX with this photo.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The redesigened versions of the 2022 Acura MDX and 2021 Nissan Armada will be revealed on December 8. The Armada will go first, bowing at 11 a.m. EST. The MDX will make its appearance at 2:30 p.m. EST.

2022 Acura MDX

Acura previewed the 2022 MDX earlier this year, revealing the MDX Prototype two months ago. The new model will be the company's fourth-generation of its flagship SUV. Acura has already divulged that the three-row SUV will ride on a new light-truck platform and feature a double-wishbone front suspension (a first for the model) and will have a "sumptuously appointed interior loaded with an arsenal of new features and technologies".

2022 Acura MDX Acura previewed the model with a teaser photo. Lightening the photo in Photoshop reveals most of its body structure, which looks remarkably similar to the MDX Prototype.Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has also confirmed that the SUV will continue to be powered by the company's 3.5-liter V6 engine, which will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The model will be available with all-wheel drive and arrive at dealerships in early 2021. An MDX Type S, Acura's first high-performance SUV variant, will follow in the summer of 2021.

The MDX is the best-selling model in its segment where it competes directly with the Infiniti QX60, which is also set for a redesign in the coming year.

2021 Nissan Armada

Changes to the Nissan Armada have been kept under wraps more than the MDX's revisions. There's a big clue, however, and that comes from the 2020 Nissan Patrol, a very similar model that is sold in the Middle East.

The 2020 Patrol refresh featured a new grille and boomerang headlights. At the rear, the Patrol received new taillights, a large chrome nameplate, and sequential rear turn indicators. The cabin featured a dual-display design with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Diamond-stitch quilted leather seats with added padding and a hand-stitched steering wheel also made its debut. Climate control and power lumbar support are available in the model. Nissan reduced the amount of noise and vibration that is passed on to customers and improved airflow distribution in the latest version of the SUV, which also get additional safety features.

2020 Nissan Patrol The Nissan Patrol gives a good idea of what buyers can expect from the refreshed Armada.Photo courtesy of Nissan Motor Corporation

It is likely that the 2021 Armada will receive the bulk of these enhancements. Additionally, there is likely to be the incorporation of Nissan Safety Shield 360 technology, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and rear automatic braking. Nissan already employs this tech in 10 of its models.

The Armada is the sister vehicle of the Infiniti QX80. Improvements to the QX80, like a set of higher-resolution infotainment screens indicate that the Armada is also likely getting screen upgrades, and perhaps wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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All-new SUV

2022 Acura MDX Review

The MDX is all-new for 2022.

Acura

Acura is an interesting company. Its vehicles have long been sort of an afterthought compared to Japanese luxury heavy-hitter Lexus, but the brand offers a sporty, upscale alternative to the plush rollers from elsewhere in the country. The MDX is Acura's flagship vehicle, and though it skipped the 2021 model year altogether, the vehicle that landed for 2022 is worth the wait.

I spent a week testing the 2022 MDX, putting it through its paces, first as a family SUV, and then as a sporty alternative to other traditional luxury options. I liked the previous MDX, but found its infotainment to be too complicated and its third-row seats to be too cramped. The SUV's latest iteration addresses those problems and more – at least partially. Let's take a look at what's what.

2022 Acura MDX Features and Driving Impressions

The MDX starts at just under $47,000, and reaches just over $60,000 in its top Advance Package. My test vehicle landed at the top end of that spectrum, but the base MDX's list of features will likely be enough to make most people happy. The standard 12.3-inch infotainment screen, digital gauge cluster, extensive advanced safety equipment, and spacious interior make the entry-level MDX quite the compelling vehicle.


2022 Acura MDX The 2022 MDX features sleek styling.Acura


Though we're looking at a brand-new SUV here, Acura opted to leave the previous model's engine in place. The tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 makes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, but now comes with an impossibly smooth ten-speed automatic transmission instead of the nine-speed seen in 2020's MDX. The engine, while unimpressive on paper, is strong enough to pull the three-row MDX to 60 mph from a standstill in 6.4 seconds – quicker than I, or anyone else, should hope to go with a family in tow. Additionally, the engine is so smooth and so well in tune with the MDX's chassis that it's impossible to want for more. Of course, the world being what it is, Acura will give you more. If you're willing to wait, the MDX Type S will hit the streets later in 2021 with 355 horsepower from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6.

It's easy to assume that the 2022 MDX is just another frumpy family hauler, but that's not entirely the case. Acura gave the vehicle an all-new chassis that the brand says is actually a light truck platform that has been tuned to target the driving dynamics of a sports sedan. That, combined with a double wishbone front suspension and a multilink rear suspension system, help the new MDX handle like a much smaller vehicle while retaining a family-friendly ride in most circumstances. Steering is noticeably assisted, but not to the point of feeling too light or disconnected.

2022 MDX Technology

Acura ditched the overwhelming dual-screen infotainment setup seen in previous MDX models for a single screen and touchpad controller – similar to the system that comes in the smaller RDX. Though it's easier to use than the screen-on-screen system, the touchpad takes longer to learn than it should. Over time, however, it's likely to become more intuitive than I could give it credit for in a short week of testing. The 12.3-inch unit runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot, Amazon Alexa capabilities, and Bluetooth. A Qi wireless charging pad is standard as well, but depending on how you like to charge your smartphone you might end up with a confusing pairing situation. My preference is to charge with a cable, which caused wireless Apple CarPlay to disconnect my iPhone in favor of a wired connection, but this didn't happen all the time. The sometimes-connected-sometimes-not situation was frustrating and confusing, so it's probably best to charge with the wireless pad if you choose to use wireless CarPlay.


2022 Acura MDX The MDX's interior is an extremely nice place to spend time.Acura


My tester's Advance Package meant that I had access to even more tech. There was a 10.5-inch head-up display, an ELS Studio 3D premium audio system with 16 speakers, and charging ports in the second and third rows. When it comes to safety tech, however, everyone gets in on the party. Acura includes a load of advanced safety features as standard gear on the 2022 MDX, which includes forward collision warnings, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and traffic sign recognition.

2022 MDX Safety

That list of features and stellar crash test scores helped the MDX achieve a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The agency scored the MDX Good in all crashworthiness categories and Superior in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention with the standard safety systems.


2022 Acura MDX The MDX is a solid premium family hauler.Acura


The MDX was already a compelling vehicle with great standard features and attractive styling, and the updates have only made the Acura's case stronger. The new ten-speed automatic transmission and chassis tuning have made the family-hauler an engaging vehicle to drive, but haven't in any way compromised its ability to do the boring "SUV stuff" well. On top of that, the MDX matches or beats many of its competitors on fuel economy, returning up to 26 mpg on the highway, and let's not forget about safety scores, which for any family should be top of mind.


2022 Acura MDX The MDX is sporty but refined.Acura

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The 2022 Frontier gets a brand-new face and updated tech.

Nissan

After 16 years on sale in its current form, the Nissan Frontier is a familiar face on our roads. The truck, which is technically old enough to get a driver's license and drive itself, is being totally overhauled for 2022, and the new look is a big departure from the ute we've seen for so many years. Nissan announced that production has started, so we don't have much longer to wait to see it in action for ourselves.

The new truck's 3.8-liter V6 has already been in action powering the 2021 Frontier. It produces a class-leading 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, and sends its power to either the rear or all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.


2022 Nissan Frontier Production is underway in Mississippi.Nissan


This is the first new Frontier we've seen in over a decade, so the upgrade in technology is steep over the previous truck. The 2022 Frontier can be optioned with a surround-view camera system with off-road mode that automatically displays terrain around the truck when it's shifted into 4LO. The system displays guidelines and can help the driver navigate tough obstacles on the trail. A host of safety features will be available that includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, high beam assist, and more.

Other than its age, there was nothing particularly wrong with the previous Frontier's interior, but the new truck looks to be considerably more upscale and modern. Various trims come with interesting contrasting color schemes and the truck gets Nissan's excellent Zero Gravity seats as standard. New hydraulic cab mounts should help quell vibrations inside, and traditional hydraulic power steering will provide excellent steering feel and feedback.

Nissan is building the new frontier in its Canton, MS facility, while the truck's engine is being built at the automaker's powertrain plant in Tennessee. We'll start seeing the new model on dealers' lots sometime in late summer 2021, and you can find a first drive review of the truck right here in a few weeks.


2022 Nissan Frontier The new trucks will arrive on dealers' lots later this summer.Nissan

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