The all-new SUV focuses on performance as much as premium features.
The Acura MDX has evolved from a humble crossover to a stunning luxury SUV with a gorgeous design that manages to be both bold and classy. It's one of the best-selling offerings from the Japanese outfit, and although it has shared much with the cheaper Honda Pilot, it's certainly a much more attractive offering. For the 2022 model year, the MDX has been totally overhauled, and it's got the substance to go with all that style on the surface. It is thus worthy of being the brand's flagship model, and because it's built on an all-new platform "designed for new levels of performance", it should be better than ever.
Acura calls this "the most emotionally styled MDX ever", and although that sounds like a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo, the MDX does appear to have been designed with some passion. There are plenty of clear nods to the Acura Precision Concept that inspired this new design, including an intricate front grille and hood.
In terms of dimensions, the new vehicle carries a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase than before at 113.8 inches. This will mean better rear legroom and better cargo-hauling capacity, while a 1.4-inch wider stance will improve handling. The wheels have also swelled by an inch to 19s, while a standard panoramic roof and highly-detailed LED taillights make this a looker from any angle.
Acura is offering the MDX in six different interior color schemes, including Parchment, Ebony, Graystone, and Espresso. If you opt for an A-Spec model, you'll get exclusive access to either Ebony or Red leather with faux suede inserts. Milano leather will also be offered, while Advance Package models will boast contrast piping for each of the three rows.
A 12.3-inch configurable driver display is the new normal here and is called the Precision Cockpit. Since Acura wants you to think of this as a performance-focused SUV, you get a G-meter in there too, while the aforementioned Advance Package models will also boast a 10.5-inch full color head-up display.
The infotainment display is a 12.3-inch unit with full HD that works in conjunction with Acura's True Touchpad Interface. This will be offered with an optional 16-speaker, 710-watt ELS Studio 3D audio system while wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard. Wireless charging, Amazon Alexa, and CabinTalk voice control are also thrown in.
Acura says that the all-new light truck platform under the MDX aims to mimic the driving dynamics of a sport sedan. With double-wishbone front suspension and a multilink setup at the rear, the MDX will offer new levels of ride comfort and handling ability. Variable-ratio electric steering is an expected feature, while larger and thicker brake discs work in conjunction with the electric brake booster and the Collision Mitigation Braking System to react 230 milliseconds faster than before.
The MDX's Integrated Dynamics System will feature Snow, Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes and also includes Acura's IconicDrive ambient lighting system with 27 different lighting schemes.
Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, giving you an extra ratio over the old model. You can also skip up to four gears when downshifting, so it should accelerate rather well.
With the available rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, the MDX offers up to 70 percent rear bias but can also split up to 100 percent of the torque between either of the rear wheels, thus enhancing handling.
A Type S version of the MDX is coming soon too, and will have a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with an estimated 355 hp and 354 lb-ft. Brembo calipers and 21-inch wheels will help this model outperform the regular MDX, while gloss black accents and a quad-exit exhaust will help it stand out in a crowd.
At the front of the SUV, an Active Shutter Grille system helps enhance aerodynamics. This should help the AWD MDX achieve its EPA rating of 19/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined. The FWD version promises 19/26/22 mpg.
The MDX will be offered in four variants, with half of those exclusively available with AWD. The base model will be the regular MDX, and in FWD guise will retail for $46,900. The MDX with the Technology Package will be $51,600, with each of these gaining $2,000 on their price tags if you opt for AWD. The MDX A-Spec will be AWD only and retail for $57,100 while the top-tier MDX with the Advance Package will cost $60,650.
This pricing will make it an attractive alternative to the likes of the Audi Q7, BMW X5 (although this is not available with seven seats), and the Lexus RX 350. It goes on sale next year on February 2.