2022 Acura MDX

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
January 28, 2021

Buying tip

The Sport Hybrid has been dropped, so we’d choose an MDX in the Technology trim, with or without all-wheel drive.

features & specs

FWD
FWD w/Technology Package
SH-AWD
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
MSRP
$47,200
MSRP
$51,900
MSRP
$49,200

The 2022 Acura MDX wears its new flagship mantle with confidence, from its styling to its eager road manners.

What kind of car is the 2022 Acura MDX?

The 2022 Acura MDX is a three-row crossover SUV that’s sold under Honda’s luxury imprint. It can seat up to seven passengers, offers some of the automaker’s most advanced technology and most luxurious features, and comes with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It introduces a new design and follows the 2020 model year; there will be no 2021 Acura MDX.

What does it compare to?

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It’s in the same class of vehicles as the Buick Enclave, Hyundai Palisade, and Volvo XC90.

Is the 2022 Acura MDX a good car?

We give it a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10, before safety rating and EPA numbers are confirmed. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Acura MDX?

Most everything, though the powertrain is familiar. Sold in base, Technology, A-Spec, and Advance models, the 2022 MDX has a new body structure, a new cabin, and updated safety and infotainment technology.

The MDX’s new shape elevates its former good looks into something higher-wattage on the glam scale. It’s a sinuous shape, with a broad grille that leads into swole fenders and a leaner look that belies its chunkier curb weight. The cabin’s swept up by a ribbon of wood or metallic trim that dodges below a big central display, surrounded by synthetic leather on base cars and real hides on all other models. 

Acura’s 290-hp V-6 couples to a 10-speed automatic in the new MDX, and steps off from stoplights and through interstate passes with authority; a twin-turbo-Type S is in the works, too. The power’s similar to the 2020 model, but ride and handling have made a quantum leap: A stiffer body lets even the MDX A-Spec ride on 20-inch wheels and still quell big bumps with deft control.

Interior space expands in the first two rows. In front, driver and passenger have at least 12-way adjustment in well-bolstered buckets. Synthetic leather gets an upgrade to real leather on all above the base model, and cooling and heating are available. Second-row passengers have great space—and the middle seat section can be removed to turn the seven-seat MDX into a six-seater with a middle aisle to the skimpy third row.

All MDXs will come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and traffic-jam assist. Crash-test scores have historically been good, but the NHTSA and IIHS haven’t completed their batteries of tests on the 2022 edition yet.

How much does the 2022 Acura MDX cost?

At least $47,925, not including $2,000 more for all-wheel drive on the base models. Every MDX has a panoramic sunroof, wireless smartphone charging, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. High-end ELS audio, navigation, 20-inch wheels, leather upholstery, and a surround-view camera system come on the top versions.

Where is the Acura MDX made?

In East Liberty, Ohio.

8

2022 Acura MDX

Styling

The MDX drapes a sinuous body over an expressive interior.

Is the 2022 Acura MDX a good-looking SUV?

It’s better-looking than last year’s version, which we rated highly. The body outshines the cabin, we think, but it’s worth a few extra points for an 8 here.

With the 2022 MDX, Acura has reinvented its largest vehicle along the lines of the smaller RDX SUV and TLX sedan. The MDX’s sweeping new style mimics some European SUVs at a glance, but evokes more from Acura’s latest offerings with its shield-shaped grille, slim LED headlights, and snip-and-cut lines that accentuate its softly rounded body. The larger proportions give the MDX a longer nose and enable a three-inch wheelbase stretch to give it a newly muscular shape that tapers at the rear and resolves in slim, faceted LED taillights. 

Inside, the lovely MDX interior takes a slimmer horizontal set, with a wide center display perched over toggles and pushbuttons that activate its climate controls and transmission, banded by ribbons of open-pore wood trim and contrast-stitched leather on some versions. A customizable 12.3-inch digital display takes the place of analog gauges.

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7

2022 Acura MDX

Performance

The 2022 MDX is a road-tripper’s delight.

With a carryover powertrain on tap and a twin-turbo one in the offing, the MDX guns for greatness and outruns the pack of big crossovers with its well-tuned ride and handling. That gives it two points above average, for a 7 here.

Is the 2022 Acura MDX 4WD?

Many versions now come with all-wheel drive. Available on MDX and Technology models, standard on the A-Spec and Advance, the MDX is a sophisticated system that can transfer 70% of power to the rear wheels and split that rear-axle power between the right and left side for better cornering.

How fast is the 2022 Acura MDX?

Riding on a new chassis, the 2022 MDX taps a standard 3.5-liter V-6 with 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Good for 0-60 mph times estimated in the seven-second range in the chunky MDX—at 4,032 to 4,565 lb, it’s up about 250 pounds in its new form—the V-6 has a rippling low-end engine note that winds out above 3,500 rpm into a mediocre moan; the drivetrain sounds better in the Odyssey minivan, of all things. 

In the offing: a 355-hp turbo V-6 in the MDX Type S, with 21-inch wheels and adaptive dampers.

The 10-speed automatic changes gears nearly flawlessly, and doesn't mind at all being paddle-shifted at around fourth and fifth gear in its dedicated Sport mode to hustle through back roads. It has a lower launch gear, a wider gear range, and the ability to change as many as four gear spans at once. The drivetrain’s tied to a drive-mode dial that offers Normal, Sport, Comfort and Snow programs and fiddles with the digital displays, the shift timing, even the amount of engine noise pumped into the cabin.

Ride and handling set the MDX apart from sloppier rivals. With its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, complete with hydraulic front bushings, the MDX has a guitar-string-taut ride, with springs and dampers that resist small bumps and relax to absorb the bigger ones. It’ll heel over deep into steep corners on its standard 19-inch all-season tires (20s on the A-Spec), and its steering cuts a precise line without much feedback, but the MDX controls its body with just the right amount of give. The brake pedals need to be tuned better, though—the stroke’s long and all the progressive feel sits at the bottom of the travel.

With an available hitch, the MDX can tow up to 5,000 lb with AWD, or 3,500 lb with front-wheel drive. Its 7.3 inches of ground clearance give it some off-road ability, but it wouldn’t be the tool we’d pick for a rock-climbing weekend. 

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9

2022 Acura MDX

Comfort & Quality

The MDX can seat up to seven; five get the royal treatment.

We give the MDX a 9 for comfort and utility, thanks to very good front and back seats, its five-passenger-plus capacity, and its excellent cargo space.

By the numbers, the 2022 MDX measures 198.4 inches long (up 2.2 inches from the outgoing model), 78.7 inches wide (up one inch), and rides on a 113.8-inch wheelbase (up by 2.8 inches).

In front, heated power seats have from 12 to 16 ways of adjustment. They’re formed for good support and excellent space; 6-foot drivers can measure about four inches of head room below the standard sunroof. Base seats wear synthetic leather, but all other versions have true hides. Top trims have seat cooling. 

Splitting the front passengers, the center console has lots of useful storage tucked in its extravagantly extruded shape. Still, the design eats up usable space, particularly around the saddle-style transmission controls. One example: Wireless smartphone charging happens under a hand support that’s necessary because Acura omits touch inputs on its infotainment screen. 

Second-row seats go for flexibility and function. There’s plenty of head room for 6-footers to sit behind 6-footers, but toe space is skimpier. The MDX has 38.5 inches of second-row leg room, and the three-person bench slides on a 5.9-inch track. It also has a removable center seat that allows easier access to the third row, and pushbutton assist to open up access to the wayback.

Those functions help but access to the third row remains tight. The two seats in back have 36.2 inches of head room and just 29.0 inches of leg room; it’s for medium-sized people and those smaller.

On the cargo front, the MDX has a two-level cargo floor with 1.8 cubic feet of storage beneath a reversible panel. That complements 16.3 cubic feet of space behind row three, 39.1 cubic feet behind row two (48.4 with the seats moved forward), and 71.4 cubic feet behind the front seats (95.0 if those seats are moved forward).

In the most expensive versions, the MDX gets a stitched dash cap, leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim, and aluminum trim. It’s showy and subdued all at once versus the overt glam of a Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, easily their equal in refinement.

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2022 Acura MDX

Safety

Acura hopes for top-notch scores, but the MDX hasn’t been tested yet.

How safe is the 2022 Acura MDX?

The ratings aren’t in yet from the NHTSA and the IIHS, but every MDX has automatic emergency braking front and rear, low-speed braking control, traffic-jam assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and a driver attention monitor. Technology editions and above get front and rear parking sensors; the Advance model gets a head-up display and a surround-view camera system.

The MDX also has adjustable headrests, which resolves seat comfort issues from past Acura vehicles. Outward vision to the rear isn’t great, though—the rear seats and thick roof pillar block the view.

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7

2022 Acura MDX

Features

Thumbs up for the standard features; thumbs down for the MDX’s touchy interface.

Sold in base, Technology, A-Spec, and Advance models, the 2022 MDX has excellent standard features, and its trim levels function as options. That puts the MDX at a 7; it’d be higher if its warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles included some service, and if its infotainment system had better input paths.

It’s $47,925 for the base model, and $2,000 more for all-wheel drive. The MDX gets standard power features, keyless start, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, 19-inch wheels, wireless smartphone charging, synthetic leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, nine-speaker audio, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The infotainment system is comprised of a non-touch-sensitive display and a touchpad on the console which takes finger swipes to toggle between icons; the difficulty is that there’s not enough space on the pad to equal the width of the display, so it can take three or four swipes to swap between functions. Backup inputs on the steering wheel and by voice commands work better, but there’s work to be done here.

Which 2022 Acura MDX should I buy?

We’d choose the $52,625 MDX Technology, which gains 20-inch wheels, Milano leather, 12-speaker 550-watt ELS audio, and navigation. All-wheel drive costs $2,000 here, if you really need it.

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Acura MDX?

The sport-tinged $58,125 A-Spec gets black trim on the grille, mirrors, headlights and taillights, and windows, along with 20-inch gray wheels, sueded seat trim, and cooled front seats. Until the Type S edition arrives, the $61,675 MDX Advance caps the lineup with 20-inch silver-look wheels, a surround-view camera system, 16-way power seats, a head-up display, heated outboard second-row seats, and 710 watts of 16-speaker ELS audio.

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4

2022 Acura MDX

Fuel Economy

The 2022 MDX earns low-20s EPA ratings.

Is the 2022 Acura MDX good on gas?

It’s average for a vehicle of its size and weight. No EPA ratings have been published, but Acura estimates the front-drive MDX will be rated at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. All-wheel-drive models should dip to 19/25/21 mpg. We’ve assigned a provisional rating of 4 based on those estimates. 

The former Sport Hybrid model has been dropped.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$47,200
MSRP based on FWD
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7.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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