2022 Acura MDX Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Oct 14, 2020
  • Redesigned midsize 3-row luxury SUV
  • Standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Type S performance model has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6
  • Front-wheel drive or optional torque-vectoring all-wheel drive
  • Acura debuts new 12.3-inch digital instrumentation in the MDX
  • Updated True Touchpad Interface infotainment with a wider display
  • Enhanced AcuraWatch collection of safety technologies
  • On sale in early 2021, with MDX Type S following in summer 2021


The 2022 Acura MDX is completely redesigned, continuing to offer three rows of seating in a midsize luxury SUV but with a renewed emphasis on safety, technology, and performance.

2022 Acura MDX Prototype Front View

Now 20 years old, the Acura MDX is the best-selling 3-row luxury SUV in America. Now, as the fourth-generation MDX nears its arrival in showrooms, Acura previews the new 2022 MDX in thinly disguised "prototype" form. Don't let that status fool you; the only thing about the MDX Prototype that might not roll off an assembly line could be the special Liquid Carbon matte paint.

Acura will build the new MDX in Ohio, with an Ohio-sourced engine and a Georgia-made transmission. It goes on sale in early 2021.

Exterior Features

With the 2022 MDX, Acura designers strove to improve the SUV's proportions. An all-new platform supplies a three-inch wheelbase stretch, and by moving the cabin and greenhouse further back, Acura says it has improved the SUV's dashboard-to-axle ratio by six inches.

2022 Acura MDX Prototype Rear View

Blunt front styling combined with a long and flat hood reduces the amount of front overhang and visual weight over the front wheels, while the SUV's long and tapered tail adds elegance and balance to the design. Acura's three-dimensional Diamond Pentagon grille dominates the front styling, flanked by four-element Jewel Eye LED headlights. New signature chicane-pattern daytime running lights and LED taillights quickly identify the MDX as an Acura, day or night.

Acura also says the new MDX is wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces, an impression amplified by available 21-inch aluminum wheels that are likely to see production. 

Interior Features

Acura makes significant changes to the MDX's interior. From the materials' quality to the design and layout of the controls, the 2022 Acura MDX's dashboard is now futuristic rather than anachronistic.

2022 Acura MDX Prototype Dashboard

Equipped with themes established by the redesigned 2021 Acura TLX sedan, the MDX adopts a similar dashboard design and layout. The SUV, however, comes with an exclusive digital instrumentation display and a wider infotainment screen. Iconic Light ambient interior lighting offers 27 themes named after iconic roads and racetracks located all around the world, and a panoramic sunroof is available for the first time in an MDX.

Acura promises a significant improvement in the quality of the MDX's materials. Soft Milano premium leather, polished aluminum, open-pore wood, and French-stitched leather detailing deliver an appropriately luxurious ambiance. Next-generation Acura sport seats promise comfort and support and are available with 16-way power adjustment, perforated leather, curvilinear quilting, contrast stitching and piping, and a massage function.

All three rows of seats boast more legroom than the outgoing MDX, and the front seats and third-row seat offer more headroom. Acura says the new MDX also supplies a larger cargo area.

Under the Hood

Built on a new platform, the new MDX continues to use a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Acura will finalize horsepower and torque ratings closer to the SUV's on-sale date.

For 2022, the V-6 ditches the 9-speed automatic used in the previous MDX for a new 10-speed automatic. It powers the SUV's front wheels unless you upgrade to the next-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. You'll want SH-AWD for its added traction and its performance-enhancing torque-vectoring capability, which can deliver up to 70% of the engine's power to a single rear wheel.

Starting in the summer of 2021, the Acura MDX Type S will be available. This performance-tuned version of the SUV has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 under its hood, making 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. The SH-AWD system is standard for the MDX Type S.

An Intelligent Dynamics System (IDS) offers familiar driving mode choices plus a new configurable Individual mode. All MDX models will have a sophisticated double-wishbone front suspension design for maximum driving enjoyment, and the prototype has Brembo 4-piston brake calipers at each corner. Most likely, Acura will bolt these upgraded braking components to the MDX Type S.


Acura says it builds the new MDX around its next-generation ACE vehicle architecture, which absorbs and deflects as much crash energy as is possible. The MDX also gets the same unique "catcher's mitt" front airbag technology found in the 2021 TLX sedan.

The automaker's collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) also receives upgrades for use in the 2022 MDX. Called AcuraWatch, the package benefits from upgraded lane-keeping assistance technology, enhanced adaptive cruise control operation, and a new traffic jam assistance system that helps alleviate stress in heavy stop-and-go traffic. 

A new Low-Speed Braking Control system aims to prevent damage in low-speed parking and maneuvering situations.


The 2022 MDX is the first Acura to use the company's new 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display. It also features an updated True Touchpad Interface (TTI) infotainment system with a faster processor and a wider 12.3-inch display screen.

In the new MDX, Acura will offer the most powerful high-end audio system in its history. The ELS Studio 3D sound system boasts 1,000 watts of power and 25 speakers, including six speakers mounted in the ceiling and six carbon-fiber-coned mid-range woofers.

Acura is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of October 14, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.

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