2022 Acura MDX Preview

By Erin Riches-Wong and Christian Wardlaw | Dec 08, 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 AWD
  • 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 February 2021, with MDX Type S following in summer 2021
  • Pricing starts at $47,925

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 A-Spec Liquid Carbon Front Quarter 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 release date of February 2, 2021, Acura has revealed the production version of the new 2022 MDX. As we expected, it looks exactly like the thinly disguised "prototype" shown in October. And while the prototype's matte-finish Liquid Carbon paint didn't make the production color palette, a metallic version of that color is one of the premium paint options.

Acura will build the new MDX in Ohio, with an Ohio-sourced engine and a Georgia-made transmission. Pricing should continue to be a major MDX strength, with the base, front-wheel-drive 2022 Acura MDX starting at $47,925 (all-wheel drive adds $2,000). Available with either drivetrain, the Technology Package costs $4,700. The AWD-only MDX A-Spec model comes in at $58,125, while the 2021 MDX Advance is priced at $61,675.

Exterior Features - Find the best Acura deals!

With the 2022 MDX, Acura designers strove to improve the SUV's proportions. An all-new platform supplies a 3-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 6 inches.

2022 Acura MDX Technology Advance Lunar Silver Rear Quarter 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. Coordinating LED fog lights are included on A-Spec and Advance models.

The new MDX is 1-inch wider and has a 1.4-inch wider track than the vehicle it replaces, an impression amplified by the 21-inch aluminum wheels on the prototype. We'll see those wheels again next summer on the MDX Type S. For now, the 2022 MDX wears 19-inch wheels with 255/55R19 tires in base trim and 20-inch wheels with 255/55R20 tires from the Technology Package on up.

Interior Features - Find the best Acura deals!

Acura makes significant changes to the 7-passenger 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 Parchment Interior 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. Part of the Technology package, the MDX's Iconic Light ambient interior lighting offers 27 themes named after iconic roads and racetracks located all around the world. A panoramic sunroof is available for the first time in an MDX and it's standard on all trims.

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 standard 12-way power adjustment and contrast stitching and piping. The A-Spec adds ventilation, while the Advance has power-adjustable side bolsters for 16-way power adjustment. The upcoming Type S will get higher-grade leather with curvilinear quilting and a 9-mode massage function.

This is a roomier cabin than before thanks to a significant increase in overall passenger volume, which is 139.1 cubic feet versus 132.7 in the outgoing MDX. The wider body translates to about a half-inch more shoulder room in all three rows. There's also more hiproom up front, and the front seats and third-row seat offer more headroom.

Legroom doesn't change significantly, but Acura has made some key changes. The center seat in the second row is removable in every 2022 MDX to provide walk-through access to the third row. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you have car seats in the second-row outboard seats. Removing and reinstalling those suckers just to let people into the third row is not an option. In addition, the third-row bench seat is mounted 2 inches higher off the floor, making for a more livable seating position for adults and kids in booster seats alike. 

The cargo area is larger, too. If you're using all three rows of seating, you now have 18 cu. ft. (up from 15.8), which is plenty for a stroller or a quick grocery run. Drop that row and you'll open up 48.4 cu. ft., and with the second-row seats folded, there's a maximum of 95 cu. ft. -- an increase of 4 cu. ft. from the previous Acura MDX.

Optional Features - Find the best Acura deals!

Acura continues to group options in packages. The MDX with Technology Package is likely to be a worthwhile upgrade over the base model, because it has leather upholstery and factory navigation so you don't have to rely on your phone in remote areas. 

The A-Spec model has an exterior appearance package and gives you more options for styling the interior. It's the only MDX that you can get with red leather seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and metal trim on the pedals. It also comes with the automaker's Cabin Talk feature which amplifies the front occupants' voices to minimize the need to shout at rear passengers.

The Advance comes with nice-to-have extras, including a head-up display, a surround-view camera display, a hands-free power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, second-row sunshades and outboard heated seats, and a third-row USB port (other MDXs have those only in the first two rows).

Under the Hood - Find the best Acura deals!

Built on a stiff new platform that provides improved handling and better noise isolation in the cabin, the 2022 Acura MDX continues to use a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Its ratings are unchanged from 2020, as it still generates 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque.

Real-world performance should improve, though, because for 2022, the V-6 ditches the 9-speed automatic used in the previous MDX for a new 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed has a shorter 1st gear ratio which will undoubtedly make the 2022 Acura MDX feel quicker off the line. And when you floor the gas pedal in traffic, this transmission is able to drop 4 gears to help you catch that opening in the next lane.

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.

Fuel economy is on par with other midsize luxury SUVs with 4- and 6-cylinder engines. Front-drive 2022 MDXs are EPA-rated for 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. With SH-AWD, the 2022 Acura MDX rates 19 city, 25 highway and 21 combined. For the sake of fuel efficiency, the new MDX automatically closes shutters in the grille to reduce aerodynamic drag and reopens them when more cooling is needed.

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, which will also get upgraded brakes with the Brembo 4-piston front calipers seen on the prototype. Other MDXs get larger front brakes for 2022 along with a faster-acting electric brake booster.

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, along with a new, variable-ratio electric power steering system. Acura officials contend that the steering response on the redesigned MDX will set it apart from other midsize luxury crossover SUVs, and we look forward to testing it on our favorite roads in 2021.

Safety - Find the best Acura deals!

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 in the Technology package aims to prevent damage in low-speed parking and maneuvering situations.

Technology - Find the best Acura deals!

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. As you'd expect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is standard (and it's wireless), as is Amazon Alexa. All MDXs come with a wireless charging pad and three USB ports up front (one of them a Type-C).

In the upcoming MDX Type S, 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. There are less elaborate versions of the ELS audio system in other 2022 MDXs. The MDX Technology package has a 12-speaker setup with 550 watts, while the A-Spec and Advance get a 16-speaker ELS 3D system with 710 watts.

A standard Cabin Control feature will allow rear passengers to adjust the music, climate controls and the moonroof's sunshade via a smartphone app – with the driver's permission, of course.

Acura is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of December 8, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.

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