Acura’s been promising to deliver more engaging vehicles lately and I have to say, the brand has succeeded again with the all-new 4th-generation 2022 Acura MDX. As the brand’s flagship, and the best-selling 3-row SUV of all time, I don’t have to tell you how important this 6- or 7-seater is in the segment. The 2022 model adds more room, family-friendly features and safety. My Advance trim test model also debuts new technology features for the brand. It’s also outfitted with Acura's terrific 4th-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
The new MDX shines in Performance Red Pearl (a premium $500 paint color). One key design change is the 2022 model’s longer hood line, which elongates the front end. Acura’s Diamond Pentagon grille adorns the front and I love the changes to the headlights. New four element JewelEYE LED headlights with embedded angular “Chicane” LED daytime running lights are thinner and more stylish. You’ll find chrome accents on various places on the exterior and the Advance rides on attractive 20-inch Premium Silver wheels. Door handle lights look great at night. Wide set LED tail lights round out the rear with roof rails on top along with a standard panoramic moonroof.
The 2022 MDX steps up its interior game in terms of materials and design. The cabin is well-designed and crafted using genuine materials like leather, real aluminum accents and real open pore wood. I love the look of the new soft-touch layered dash which looks amazing.
The cabin is a sporty, modern and tech-forward look that’s the opposite of minimalist. The Advance trim’s Parchment-colored Milano leather-trimmed seating with side bolsters and contrasting stitching looks premium and feels comfortable. The heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats offer lumbar support and a big thumbs up for thigh extenders.
A leather-wrapped, smaller and thicker, sport heated steering wheel hosts easy to use controls for various functions. However, I wish Adaptive Cruise Control was a little more intuitive.
The center console houses a wireless charger, two cup holders and the True Pad Interface. Cool design elements include a pop up socket on the console that reveals 2 USB charge ports. (There are 7 USB ports throughout the Advance model’s cabin, 1 C and 6 A’s).
A padded center console bin opens up to reveal two levels of storage, a top tray and a deeper area below. Standard features include tri-zone climate, an electronic parking brake and push button start.
The 2nd row delivers roominess and comfort as well with A/C controls, along with available manual sunshades. The 2nd row outboard seats are heated in the Advance trim and there’s no middle hump in the floorboard to contend with. There is also more to the 2nd row than meets the eye. The middle seat can be used as a bench seat, or be converted into a console with cupholders. You can also just remove it completely. So the MDX seats 6 or 7-passengers depending on how you configure things.
Just press a button and 2nd-row seats grant you easy access to the 3rd row. In my estimation the 3rd row can technically fit two adults, but it would definitely be more comfortable leg-room wise if the 2nd row occupants graciously moved their seats up a bit. The third-row seats power down easily as well.
There is a lot of utility to the MDX. Smart liftgate features include an available kick sensor and the liftgate opens at a nice pace. A new “grab and go” function allows you to press a button, and it will close on its own when you leave the specified zone (or within thirty seconds.). A hidden storage bin in the cargo area has a reversible smart lid. The hard side is easy to clean if you have dirty or wet items.
Overall, Acura says there is more cargo space in the new model behind all three rows, plus 80% more underfloor storage. Cargo space behind the third-row increases to 16.3 cubic-feet on the 2022 model. There’s also a 12V outlet back there.
Technology impresses in the 2022 MDX. The SUV debuts the brand’s new standard fully digital 12.3-inch Precision Cockpit with Advance and Crafted configurations.
Gone is the old two-screen multimedia-nav setup. Now you get one new 12.3-inch multimedia screen with new motion graphics. It’s not a touchscreen and, placed somewhat farther back in the dash, I found myself wishing it was slightly angled towards the driver. Acura says the multimedia system is faster thanks to a new processor, though it did lag slightly at times when I used voice recognition to change stations. Certainly not a deal breaker and both voice recognition and navigation worked great. Smart Shortcuts in the multimedia system uses A/I to put all your common task go-to’s in one location.
But now let’s talk about Acura’s True Pad interface. It uses what Acura calls “absolute positioning”, something Acura describes as “one to one mapping of the pad to screen”. (You can use it to swipe and it also recognizes handwriting.) In theory it sounds great but in reality the system definitely takes some getting used to, and I imagine even moreso if you’re not used to a pad interface at all. You can check out an Acura video of how it works here.
Other features in the 2022 model include new wireless charging, new wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Amazon Alexa Built-In. Upper trims also come with Cabin Talk, a system that amplifies your voice for back seat passengers.
Acura’s new available HD rear view camera system - with a 61% larger display - delivers impressive clarity. The Acura Advance also benefits from a terrific 10.5-inch color Head Up Display.
The MDX’s 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D Sound system with four highline speakers is a highlight, delivering excellent sound quality. The available Iconic Drive Lighting is cool as well, with 27 interior color themes.
The MDX is powered by an updated 3.5-L V6 that delivers 290-horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque (along with a 21 mpg combined fuel economy.). The horsepower is ample overall for a 4,500 pound SUV but I’d love to see a torque boost with a hybrid offering. The engine is mated to Acura’s new smooth-shifting in-house 10-speed automatic transmission with a wider ratio range and lower first gear which improves launch. Start stop isn’t terribly noticeable. You can turn it off or it automatically disengages in sport mode. Available remote engine start on the key fob is great to have.
Ride and Drive
The 2022 MDX is built on a new light-truck platform and is also Acura’s most rigid SUV ever. It’s also equipped with the MDX’s first-ever double wishbone front suspension (and wider tires developed exclusively for the MDX) and improved multi-link suspension in the rear. So what does all this mean to drivers? Improved handling, stability and ride comfort.
While on a light-truck platform, Acura still manages to give it sedan driving characteristics. They aren’t the sporty handling and dynamics of say a German counterpart, but I enjoyed the ride comfort, responsive handling and quietness along with its smooth driving dynamics. Acceleration could be quicker off-the-line, but felt great overall in traffic and on the highway. Steering is responsive and more powerful, larger front disc brakes, feel confident. The MDX has four drive modes: snow, comfort, sport and normal. Sport heightens responsiveness and delivers the most engaging ride, especially with the paddle shifters.
The 2022 MDX is loaded with safety features. The MDX lineup comes with an expanded suite of AcuraWatch driver assist features. Upgrades include updated Road Departure Mitigation plus new technologies, such as Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Pedestrian Detection and a new Driver Attention Monitor. Additionally, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic are also standard.
The MDX also offers an available new front and rear automatic braking system called Low Speed Braking Control which uses sonar-based parking sensors to sense objects at low speeds.
Also notable: the MDX also features a new next-gen front passenger airbag that Acura says is designed to more effectively protect the occupant’s head. The front end has even been re-designed to improve head and leg protection for pedestrians.
The Advance model requires the Technology package. It includes Acura’s 3D View Navigation System, Iconic Drive Ambient Lighting, rain sensing wipers, low speed braking control, power fold side mirrors, and front and rear parking sensors. The Advance package adds the surround view camera, LED fog lights, hands-free power tailgate, Head Up display, remote engine start, ELS 3D Sound System,16-way front, heated and ventilated seats.
Acura did an amazing job redesigning the new MDX - loading the top model with so many new terrific technology, convenience and safety features at an excellent value, just over $62,000. Overall, the MDX is a 3-row SUV that’s sporty, stylish and full of technology yet practical too, delivering what a modern family needs on the go.
2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Advance
- What I liked most: Exterior Looks, Interior Quality, Multimedia Graphics, New Multi-Function 2nd-Row Seat, and ELS Sound System.
- What I would change: Touchpad interface.
- MSRP: Base price $60,650, as equipped As equipped: $62,125
- Fuel Economy:19 city/ 25 highway/21 combined
- Official Color: Performance Red Pearl ($500)
- FWD/AWD:Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,830 miles. (Week-ending odometer number.)
- Weight: 4,565
- Spare Tire: Spare tire.
- Length-Width-Height: 198.4” long/ 78.7” wide/67.1” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons with filler on the driver’s side. (Capless Fuel).
- Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
- 2022 Acura MDX Advance SW-AWD:Who says a practical family vehicle has to be boring? The MDX is anything but, delivering comfort, tech and style in spades.
- Final Assembly Location: East Liberty, Ohio.
- Warranty: 4-year, 50,000 mile Limited Warranty; 6-year, 70,000 Powertrain Warranty; Acura Total Luxury Care 4-year, 50,000 mile.
- Manufacturers website: Acura