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2022 Acura MDX - Review by Larry Nutson

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Twenty Years On

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand in the U.S. arriving on our shores 35 years ago in 1986. The first vehicle models they sold were two-door and four-door sedans.

Times have changed. Car buyers needs and wants have changed. In 2000 the first-generation MDX utility vehicle was introduced. Now today, two decades later and after selling one million units the fourth-generation MDX has arrived.

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The MDX is Acura’s flagship. This three-row luxury utility vehicle rides on an all-new platform, and features a bold new exterior design coupled with a sophisticated and elegant new interior combined with a high-tech and advanced cockpit. LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights punctuate the exterior.

The new MDX has the most rigid SUV chassis that Acura has ever had and it’s the first to have double wishbone suspension in the front. The new MDX rides on a 2.8 inch longer wheelbase. Overall, it’s longer, wider and a bit taller

Localized rigidity at all 4 corners is dramatically improved via cast aluminum damper housings in front and a new dual load path structure in the rear. The dash-to-axle ratio also increased by more than 4 inches, contributing to excellent design proportions. With a long hood and prominent cabin the MDX has a bold, athletic stance.

The new platform helps provide improvement to handling, NVH, and ride comfort, as well as advanced safety. The new double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension aid performance, ride quality, steering response and as well as cargo and passenger space.

Steering and brake systems as well as wheels and tires have all been upgraded and improved.

Under the hood sits a 290-HP 3.5-L 24-valve V6 engine mated for the first time with a new-to-MDX Sequential SportShift 10-speed automatic transmission. Shift paddles make manual control easy. The MDX is available with front wheel drive or with the latest generation of torque-vectoring Acura Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

A new Integrated Dynamics System uses a rotary dial on the center of the dash to switch between Normal, Sport, Comfort, Snow and Individual settings. Each mode offers unique settings for engine and transmission performance including Idle Stop, transmission and throttle response and steering settings, as well as SH-AWD responsiveness.

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MDX with front-wheel drive has EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. MDX with SH-AWD has the same city rating and one mpg less at 25 mpg highway rating for a 21 mpg combined rating.

All 2022 MDX models come with a complete suite of AcuraWatch advanced driver-assist safety technologies (ADAS), including updated Road Departure Mitigation plus Traffic Jam Assist, a Driver Attention Monitor, Pedestrian sensing and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Pedestrian AEB), and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). Also equipped is a front and rear automatic braking system, Low Speed Braking Control, that uses sonar-based parking sensors to sense solid objects at low speeds and warn the driver or apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a collision.

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Inside the well-crafted cabin, sophisticated design, premium materials and soft touch surfaces abound in all seven seating positions. Acura’s sport seats provide lots of comfort as well as good support for some performance driving. A customizable 12.3-inch HD display sits before the driver. A 12.3-inch center display with touchpad interface access the infotainment. An innovate removable middle seat in the second row adds versatility.

MDX is Acura’s first model to have Amazon Alexa built in. By simply using the ‘Alexa’ wake word you are able to summon radio stations directly, input an address, or search for a nearby point of interest.

For moving more than just passengers the MDX front-wheel drive can tow 3,500 lbs. and 5,000 lbs. with AWD. There’s 16.3 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row. That increases to 39.1 cu.ft. when folded and to 71.4 cu.ft. with the second row also folded.

The 2022 MDX is available in a base trim, with a Technology Package, in A-Spec trim, or with an Advance Package. Base and Technology trims are offered in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. A-Spec and Advance are AWD only.

MDX pricing starts at $46,900 for the base front-wheel drive model. Acura forecasts the MDX with Technology Package to be its most popular, priced at $51,600. AWD adds $2,000 to both of these models. A-Spec is priced at $57,100 and Advance at $60,650.

For my drive experience in the new MDX I drove the Advance model finished in Majestic Black Peral that added $500. Along with the $1,025 destination charge the bottom line totaled $62,175.

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The 2022 Acura MDX is a candidate for the North American Utility of the Year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year as well as many other awards. More details and information on the different MDX models can be found at

The new MDX is a very viable offering in the three-row premium utility segment. When compared to the likes of the 3-row Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, Cadillac XT6 or the Lexus RX-L, Genesis GV80 and BMW X5 which each offer a third-row option, the MDX is well positioned to meet or exceed the features and performance of many while also being well valued.

Acura is bringing back the Type S performance line and the first Acura SUV to ever wear the Type S badge will be the 2022 MDX Type S. The MDX Type S will be powered by a 355-horsepower Type S Turbo V6, and will also feature standard SH-AWD. More details about the MDX Type S will be available closer to its launch later this year.

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy