2022 Acura MDX

2022 Acura MDX Test Drive Review: Family Fun

The 2022 Acura MDX has a big legacy to live up to. With over one million units sold over 20 years, the MDX is the most successful three-row luxury SUV of all time. But despite the massive sales, the outgoing third-generation MDX felt pretty long in the tooth by the end of its life cycle, exacerbated by shortcomings like an unintuitive infotainment system and a clunky transmission. Both have been replaced. The fourth-generation 2022 Acura MDX arrives as an all-new model, looking to answer any complaints we had with the previous version. Borrowing much of the style and technology from the smaller RDX while adding some unique features and an upcoming Type S version, this latest MDX looks poised to be a sales success.

Sitting in the midsize three-row SUV category, the Acura MDX is not short on competition. Some notable rivals include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac XT6, Genesis GV80, Lexus RX-L, Lincoln Aviator, and Volvo XC90. The MDX's 290-horsepower V6 engine is one of the more potent base engines in the class, and the upcoming Type S model should up the ante with a 355-hp turbocharged motor. Acura has priced the fourth-generation MDX well against its competitors and crammed in a ton of handy features, making it stellar value. CarBuzz tested a 2022 MDX in the sporty A-Spec trim level to find out how Acura's changes stack up in the real world.

2022 Acura MDX Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2021 Acura MDX?

Apart from the badge and name being carried over, everything else is all-new or thoroughly enhanced. The platform, body, and chassis are new, while the enhanced 3.5-liter V6 engine is mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission, although it retains the same power specs as before. New features that are standard across the range include a panoramic moonroof, a multi-function second-row with a removable middle seat, five driving modes, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch high-definition center display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, Amazon Alexa, and traffic jam assist.

Pros and Cons

  • Handsome exterior
  • Smooth ten-speed automatic
  • Doesn't mind being hustled
  • Sport mode makes a difference
  • Competent all-wheel-drive system
  • Spacious interior
  • Brakes don't inspire much confidence
  • Cluttered center stack
  • Touchpad controls not to everyone's liking
  • Base V6 lacks torque
  • iPhone 12 owners beware the charging pad

Best Deals on MDX

2022 Acura MDX Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.5L
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$46,900
3.5L with Technology Package
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$51,600
3.5L with A-Spec Package
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$57,100
3.5L with Advance Package
3.5L V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$60,650

2022 MDX Exterior

Acura says the new MDX is emotionally styled, whatever that means. It's likely marketing speak for an aggressive yet sophisticated exterior with some lovely details. This inspiration is the Acura Precision Concept, albeit toned down significantly and reworked as a crossover. We like the headlights, large Acura badge, and intricately detailed grille. It reminds us of what Captain Kirk sees from his Captain's Chair when the USS Enterprise enters warp speed. Jewel Eye LED headlights with Chicane LED daytime running lights and auto high beams are standard across the range. 19-inch alloy wheels are standard on the entry-level model, while the rest of the range gets 20-inch wheels in different designs. A power tailgate is also standard across the range, with high-end models adding hands-free access and walk-away closing. Finally, every new MDX gets a power moonroof.

2022 Acura MDX Front View CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Rear View CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2022 Acura MDX Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Completely redesigning the MDX allowed Acura to increase the dimensions in every direction. The overall length is 198.4 inches, but the big difference is the 113.8-inch wheelbase, a 2.8-inch increase over the outgoing model. It's also 1.4 inches wider than before with a width of 78.7 inches, but the maximum height of 67.1 inches is 0.3 closer to the ground than before. This, and the all-new panoramic moonroof that's standard across the range, has had an impact on the headroom, but not so much that you'd notice. Also important is the four-inch longer dash-to-axle ratio, which gives the MDX rear-wheel-drive proportions.

These changes have resulted in an increase in curb weight. The older, smaller model had a curb weight of 4,032 pounds in front-wheel-drive guise, climbing to as much as 4,350 lbs for the heaviest non-hybrid, all-wheel-drive version. By comparison, the new model weighs 4,271 lbs in base, FWD format and up to 4,565 lbs in AWD guise.

  • Length 198.4 in
  • Wheelbase 113.8 in
  • Height 67.1 in
  • Max Width 78.7 in
  • Front Width 67.7 in
  • Rear Width 67.7 in
  • Curb Weight 4,534.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

There are eight exterior colors to choose from but not all of these are available across the entire range. Unlike most manufacturers that offer a basic black and white as the only no-cost options, Acura offers Lunar Silver Metallic and a funky Fathom Blue Pearl. Platinum White Pearl, Liquid Carbon Metallic, Majestic Black Pearl, and Performance Red Pearl cost an additional $500 each.

From there, it gets a bit more complicated. If you want the base MDX in Apex Blue, you have to add the Technology Package, the A-Spec Package, and AWD. Together, these upgrades will cost a steep $10,200, excluding the $500 cost of the paint itself. Another color, Phantom Violet Pearl ($500), can be specified by adding the $4,700 Technology Package with the Ebony interior. There are other limitations, such as not being able to order this violet shade in tandem with the sporty A-Spec Package.

Thankfully, Acura's model configurator is extremely easy to use and will explain exactly what you need to add and remove to get the color you want. We were pleasantly surprised by our tester's Platinum White Pearl paint, which looks great contrasted with the dark grey A-Spec wheels.

  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Majestic Black Pearl
  • Phantom Violet Pearl
  • Performance Red Pearl
  • Apex Blue Pearl
  • Liquid Carbon Metallic
  • Fathom Blue Pearl
  • Lunar Silver Metallic

MDX Performance

Although Acura says that the 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine is enhanced, it retains the previous model's outputs of 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration hasn't changed much, with independent tests measuring the MDX in the mid six-second range for the 0 to 60 sprint. The V6 includes a host of friction-reducing technologies, working in combination with an Active Shutter Grille up front. When the engine needs cooling, the shutters on the grille open to provide the necessary airflow. Once the engine is running at optimal temperature, the shutters close, which results in smoother airflow around the car and less drag. Acura will later introduce an MDX Type S variant for the first time, powered by a smaller 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 producing around 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Performance in this model should be substantially better.

The ten-speed automatic transmission is also new this year, adding one extra gear operating with a smoothness that was absent from the previous nine-speeder. Where the old automatic felt dimwitted and clunky, this new one is smooth and precise. The base MDX and Technology Package model are equipped with front-wheel drive as standard, with Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) being an optional extra. The A-Spec and Advance Packages get AWD as standard. FWD models have a tow rating of 3,500 lbs, while AWD models can manage 5,000 lbs.

2022 Acura MDX Forward Vision CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

The 3.5-liter V6 engine is a reliable one, delivering 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. While this isn't the most powerful base engine in its class, it's far from the weakest. We still love the sound of Acura's V6, especially higher in the rev range. Though it sounds phenomenal, the V6 can often feel sluggish due to its lack of torque. Turbocharged options in this segment deliver gutsier, albeit less aurally stimulating performance. We'd suggest waiting for the upcoming Type S model to add a turbocharger to the mix.

The V6 is now mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. Acura claims the transmission allows for a wider spread of gear ratios, including a lower first gear and higher ratios for improved fuel efficiency. It also provides for four-gear direct downshifts. Though the engine is not all-new, this ten-speed automatic delivers such an improvement to the drivetrain, it makes the 2022 MDX feel like a completely new vehicle.

  • Engine
    3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Acura MDX has a strong reputation for athletic handling throughout its illustrious history. With a new Light Truck Platform boasting a 32% increase in structural rigidity, improved multi-link rear suspension, double wishbone front suspension, and excellent SH-AWD, the latest MDX is a prodigious handler. It may seem like a knock on a luxury vehicle of this caliber, but one of the kindest comparisons we can make is to the Mazda CX-9, which is known as one of the most thrilling three-row crossovers in the mainstream segment. This is not a boulevard bruiser like a BMW X5 M, but the handling makes the MDX feel much nimbler than its mid-size proportions would suggest.

That being said, we don't love every element of the MDX experience. The steering is a variable-ratio setup and feels extremely over-assisted in all drive modes. Ditto for the brakes, which reminds us of the pedal on a racing video game. It's difficult to tell how much pressure to apply because the pedal is highly over-assisted and delivers nearly no feedback to the driver. As for ride comfort, the MDX never feels too stiff and the cabin is nicely isolated, even at the top legal speed. Acura's Traffic Jam Assist adds steering assistance at low speeds, but it's not the most confidence-inspiring system we've tested. A large, NSX-inspired knob on the dash allows drivers to change the drive modes, which include Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Custom. We love how each mode change is accompanied by a video game-themed beep and a new gauge cluster color.

MDX SUV Gas Mileage

According to the EPA and Acura's website, the FWD models should be able to achieve 19/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined. Adding the SH-AWD system marginally lowers gas mileage to 19/25/21 mpg. These figures are a bit worse than the 2020 model equipped with the nine-speed automatic. The reason behind this is most likely the increase in weight over the old model. Unfortunately, the fuel tank capacity has been dropped from 19.5 gallons to 18.5 gallons, so the combined cruising range on a full tank drops from 449 miles to 407 miles in the case of the FWD model.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 19/25 mpg
* 2022 Acura MDX 3.5L SH-AWD with A-Spec Package

MDX Interior

The MDX is a large crossover sporting three rows. As is the case with most crossovers in this class, the third row is more suitable for the kids. Passengers in the front and second row have nothing to complain about, with copious amounts of space available. All models come as standard with a panoramic moonroof, which means the headroom is slightly down compared to the old model. Since there's still loads of headroom available, it doesn't matter. The seats are notably comfortable, and they'll keep passengers happy on long trips. Interior storage is good, and the cabin has a genuinely upmarket feel, though some European competitors feel more premium. Standard features include power-adjustable front seats with heating, tri-zone climate control, and traffic sign recognition.

2022 Acura MDX Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Central Control Panel CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Cup Holder CarBuzz
See All 2022 Acura MDX Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Acura MDX is a three-row vehicle with seven seats, and it's been improved in nearly all dimensions compared to the outgoing model. Front passenger space is excellent with 38.5 inches of headroom and 41.6 inches of legroom, increases of 0.4 and 0.2 over the old MDX. In the second row, passengers receive 38.1 inches of headroom (a slight decrease) and a generous 38.5 inches of legroom. Not only do the second row seats slide and recline, but owners can also remove the middle seat entirely to create a captain's chair layout. Getting into the third row is a cinch thanks to spring-loaded buttons that move up the second row seats. Once back there, you'll find that legroom is increased to 29 inches, a 2.4-inch improvement over the outgoing MDX. We'd still say the third row is best left for children or adults on shorter journeys though.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.6 in
  • Front Head Room 38.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The base MDX is equipped with leatherette seats available in Ebony or Parchment. The Technology Package adds sports seats in perforated Milano premium leather with contrast stitching. This upholstery is also available in Ebony and Parchment but adds a light brown color known as Espresso. The A-Spec gets the same perforated Milano leather but with Ultrasuede inserts, contrast stitching, and piping. This interior is only available in Ebony or Red. The Advance Package removes the Ultrasuede but retains everything else included with the A-Spec. Color options include Espresso, Parchment, and Ebony.

All models have a leather-wrapped steering wheel but the A-Spec's steering wheel has a sporty flat-bottom design. Ambient lighting is standard but on all but the base model, customers can choose from 27 color themes. Brushed Aluminum trim on the entry-level MDX and MDX with the Technology Package makes way for open-pore wood with the Advance Package and geometric-patterned brushed Aluminum for the A-Spec. Compared to some of its European counterparts, the MDX feels a bit pedestrian in terms of fit and finish, but it's far from spartan.

MDX Trunk and Cargo Space

The more significant overall length and increased wheelbase have had a drastic effect on cargo capacity. Seats in all three rows are adjustable, which means you get a standard cargo capacity and a maximum capacity with the seats moved forward. With all three rows in place, the MDX provides 16.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity. While the third row does not slide forward, the available space increases to 18.1 cubes when you include the under-floor storage. With the third row folded flat, you have 39.1 cubes to work with, rising to 48.4 cubes with the second row moved forward. Fold both the third and second-row flat, and you get 71.4 cubes. Slide the front seats forward and it increases to a colossal 95 cubes of space.

Interior storage space, as you'd expect in a family-sized SUV, is excellent. Besides the usual glovebox and well-sized door pockets, there are two large cupholders for front occupants, a slot ahead of this for your smartphone, and a covered center console armrest with a small tray on top and a larger compartment beneath this. In the second row, there are seatback map pockets and the middle seat can fold down when not in use, revealing two cupholders and a cutout where you can store two smartphones.

2022 Acura MDX Front Seats CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Second-Row Seats CarBuzz
2022 Acura MDX Trunk Space with Third Row Folded CarBuzz

MDX Infotainment and Features

Features

Acura has been extremely generous with the new MDX. Even from the base model, you get many standard surprise and delight features that German rivals would charge extra for. The base model comes with 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, a removable center seat in the second row, one-touch access to the third-row, tri-zone climate control, keyless entry with push-button start, a panoramic moonroof, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column, ambient LED lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Higher spec trims add niceties like GPS-linked cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, LED fog lights, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel. The top-spec model comes with a surround-view camera system whereas all other models get a multi-view rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, providing clear images to the driver when parking.

Infotainment

All of the infotainment features are operated via a 12.3-inch high-definition, dual-content center display. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a touchscreen, so you have to operate it via a True Touchpad Interface. Fortunately, it comes with a lot of functionality from the base model upwards. Traffic Jam Assist, Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity are all part of the package. The Amazon integration here is seamless, meaning the voice command immediately wakes up to the "Alexa" trigger word, and offers the same functionality found on your Echo Dot at home. This is a game-changing feature in a vehicle because you can ask it nearly anything about the weather, local news, or other topics and receive a near-instant, distraction-free response. All models also come with HD Radio, a USB audio interface, charging ports in the first two rows, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Higher-spec models add navigation and additional USB points for the third row. A nine-speaker sound system is standard. The Technology Package gets a 12-speaker ELS Studio system, while the A-Spec and Advance models get a 16-speaker premium ELS Studio 3D premium sound system. Though its speaker count is lower than some others in the segment, the ELS Studio audio system is one of the best we've tested, and it retains near-perfect quality at any volume.

MDX Problems and Reliability

A J.D. Power rating for the Acura MDX doesn't yet exist since the 2022 model is an all-new arrival, but historically it has scored between the mid to high 70s. According to the NHTSA, no recalls have yet affected the new Acura MDX SUV. With its well-known V6 engine and Honda's excellent reputation for reliability, the MDX should be a dependable vehicle.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

Acura MDX Safety Rating

An Acura MDX crash review has yet to be conducted by the NHTSA for the 2022 model. However, the IIHS did and the SUV returned the best possible Top Safety Pick Plus result. It scored maximum ratings for every crash test, and the same goes for crash avoidance and mitigation.

Key Safety Features

Acura includes a very generous standard safety suite consisting of collision mitigation braking, advanced pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, auto high beams, and rear cross-traffic alert. In addition to this, it has a full suite of airbags including front knee airbags and all of the traditional safety acronyms. There are only slight differences between the base model and the higher trims. Parking sensors front and rear are available from the Technology Package upwards, as is low-speed braking control. The Advance Package also comes with a head-up warning display and a surround-view camera system. Every other model is equipped with a multi-view rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Acura MDX a good SUV?

The 2022 Acura MDX feels like a significant improvement over the outgoing model, making it a mid-size SUV we'd happily recommend. Our biggest gripes with the outgoing model, the infotainment and transmission, have both been replaced by better options. The last MDX wasn't an ugly car but this new model dials up the attraction even more while improving the handling and interior space. We wish the naturally-aspirated V6 engine possessed a little more oomph, but that's what the upcoming Type S performance model is for.

Buyers in this category have no shortage of options. Rival SUVs in the USA like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Genesis GV80, and Volvo XC90 feel more premium than the MDX inside, but most will cost more for similar features and not all offer more power in their base configurations. Acura's updates for the 2022 model year have not instantly vaulted the MDX to the top of the midsize segment but unlike last year's long-in-the-tooth model, we think this new one is a compelling option.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Acura MDX?

The FWD MDX has a base price of $47,200 in the US, while the Technology Package retails at an MSRP of $51,900. An SH-AWD system can be added to both these models for an additional $2,000. A-Spec and Advance Package models come standard with the SH-AWD system. The A-Spec Package retails for $57,400, while the Acura MDX will cost $60,950 with the Advance Package $60,950. The price of the Acura MDX excludes the handling and destination charge of $1,045.

2022 Acura MDX Models

Whereas most automakers offer standalone trims, Acura sells the MDX with various packages that build on top of each other. There are four models in the Acura MDX range: standard, Technology Package, A-Spec Package, and Advance Package. All models are powered by the same 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine delivering 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. A ten-speed automatic is standard. The base MDX and Technology Package are FWD, while A-Spec and Advance models have AWD.

Standard features on the base MDX include 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, a removable center seat in the second row, tri-zone climate control, keyless entry with push-button start, a panoramic moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column, ambient LED lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The next step up comes via the Technology Package. This model includes GPS-linked climate control, 20-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, low-speed braking control, navigation with a 3D view, real-time traffic, and a 12-speaker sound system.

The A-Spec Package includes everything you get in the Technology Package plus LED fog lights, a few model-specific exterior accents, heated and ventilated front seats, a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, sports pedals, and a 16-speaker sound system.

Finally, the Advance Package comes as standard with everything included in the Technology Package and then adds heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view camera system, a 10.5-inch head-up display, charging ports for the third row, and remote engine start with vehicle feedback.

See All 2022 Acura MDX Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Acura does things a little differently from other manufacturers. What we usually refer to as trim levels, it calls packages. You can add the Technology Package, plus A-Spec or Advance. The latter two can't be ordered together, though. Once you've added everything, there are only a few standalone options left. These are primarily lifestyle-related items, including crossbars for the roof rails ($322), a fork mount bike attachment ($182), or a kayak attachment ($246).

🚗What Acura MDX Model Should I Buy?

While the base Acura MDX is a fine vehicle, we think this SUV is best enjoyed with the $4,700 Technology Package, adding premium leather sport seats, 20-inch wheels, parking sensors, built-in navigation, a 12-speaker ELS Studio audio system, and more. From there, you can choose between the sporty A-Spec ($3,500) and luxurious Advance ($7,050) Packages. The Advance Package is tempting, but we'd go for the more aggressive styling and cabin found in the less expensive A-Spec Package. This package requires SH-AWD for $2,000, but includes sportier exterior details such as 20-inch grey wheels, Ultrasuede seats with heating and ventilation in front, a 16-speaker ELS Studio sound system, and more. With the Technology and A-Spec Packages, a 2022 MDX costs $57,400.

2022 Acura MDX Comparisons

Acura RDX CarBuzz
Honda Pilot Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Acura MDX290 hp19/25 mpg$47,200
Acura RDX 272 hp22/28 mpg$38,400
Honda Pilot 280 hp20/27 mpg$32,550

2022 Acura MDX vs Acura RDX

It's interesting to note that in terms of pricing, there isn't a huge difference between the top-spec RDX and the entry-level MDX. In previous years, the MDX's only advantages were the seating and cargo capacity, but now there's more to consider. The MDX's V6 is more powerful than the turbocharged four-pot in the RDX, though the latter is more fuel-efficient. While we like everything you get in the top-spec RDX, we can't help but be impressed by everything Acura decided to include as standard on the new MDX. You get 90% of the comfort and safety features, which makes the base model a bargain.

For the same price, we'd take the base MDX over the top-spec RDX. We don't feel as if we're giving up anything important, plus you get the added advantage of a V6 engine, more space, and a lot more cargo capacity.

See Acura RDX Review

2022 Acura MDX vs Honda Pilot

As Honda's luxury arm, surely every Acura is automatically better than the equivalent Honda, right? Surprisingly, reviews of some Acuras have shown that this hasn't always been the case although the 2022 MDX is comfortably more accomplished than the 2021 Honda Pilot. The top-spec Pilot Black Edition costs $50,220, making it less expensive than the mid-range MDX with the Technology Package. However, the MDX justifies its higher price with a more luxurious cabin, a more refined ten-speed automatic transmission, and the availability of more high-tech features. None of this means that the Pilot isn't an excellent vehicle, especially if you have a tighter budget. Given the choice, we'd choose a lower-spec MDX over a higher-spec Pilot.

See Honda Pilot Review

Acura MDX Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2022 Acura MDX:

See All 44 Comparisons

2022 Acura MDX Video Reviews

Check out some informative Acura MDX video reviews below.

60
Photos
$47,200 - $60,950
Price Range (MSRP)
Acura MDX
Back
To Top