2022 Acura MDX Review: Three Rows of Automotive Therapy

  • 2022 Acura MDX ($48,000 – $72,050)
  • Top Safety Pick + Award – IIHS
  • Best Family Luxury Car – Parents Magazine
  • Pro: The 2022 Acura MDX offers top-notch technology, a spacious cabin, and potent engine choices.
  • Con: The touchpad controller is cumbersome to use and the gas mileage could be better.
A front view of the 2022 Acura MDX Type S in front of a car museum wall.
A front view of the 2022 Acura MDX Type S in front of a car museum wall. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

RELATED: Is the Acura MDX Worth Its Luxury Price?

If you’re shopping for a three-row SUV, then there’s no safer choice than the Acura MDX. We say that not just because the SUV is loaded with safety features, but also because the MDX offers a fair amount of luxury at a fair price point. The MDX undercuts its rivals from Germany by thousands of dollars and offers a lot of value that its fellow Japanese and Korean rivals do not.

The Acura MDX underwent a complete redesign for the 2022 model year. It’s longer, wider, and lower than the outgoing model and its suspension was revised as well. There’s a double-A arm suspension up front and multi-link suspension in the rear, which makes for more robust handling dynamics. There’s also a sporty MDX Type S trim level — which we recently had the pleasure of testing – that comes with a potent turbocharged V6 engine (more on that later).

There are also plenty of luxury features abound, specifically when you opt for the higher trim levels. In fact, the 2022 MDX feels so nice and comfortable, that we think it offers three rows of automotive therapy.

Which 2022 Acura MDX trim level is right for you?

A front-angled view of the 2022 Acura MDX Type S in front of a car museum wall.
A front-angled view of the 2022 Acura MDX Type S in front of a car museum wall. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

If you’re deciding between the 2022 Acura MDX trim levels, then picking the right one is easy thanks to the brand’s value packaging. The MDX comes in five different trims, here is a breakdown:

  • MDX — $48,000
  • MDX Technology — $52,700
  • MDX A-Spec — $58,400
  • MDX Advance Package — $61,950
  • MDX Type S — $66,700
  • MDX Type S Advance — $72,050

If you don’t care about performance or a more premium leather interior, then we suggest the MDX Technology for most buyers. It comes with leather upholstery, adjustable interior lighting, an ELS sound system with 12 speakers, and automatic emergency braking. Also, every trim level is available with Super-Handling AWD (SH-AWD) for an extra $2,200.

Our tester for a week was a 2022 MDX Type S with the Advance package. It came in a sporty Apex Blue color with a fancy Orchid interior, which looked white. The price as tested was $73,745 (including the $1,195 destination charge).

What’s under the hood of the 2022 MDX?

The turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine provides plenty of power.
The turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine provides plenty of power. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Under the hood of the non-Type-S trim levels is a familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. According to the EPA, the base MDX engine can get up to 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in front-drive form. Subtract one highway mpg when SH-AWD is added. Also, the front-drive models can tow up to 3,500 pounds while the AWD models can pull up to 5,000.

If more power is what you seek, then the MDX Type S has it. This up-level model is equipped with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. For any Acura fans, this is the same engine found in the TLX Type S, so the MDX wears its badges well. The only downside is that the EPA rates this sporty model at 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. Despite our best efforts, we squeezed out an average of 18 mpg in combined driving for a week.

The MDX Type S also comes with a Type S exterior appearance package, sport front seats with perforated leather, Brembo 4-piston brakes, and 21-inch wheels.

First row: There is plenty of room up front and a whole lot of luxury

The front-facing view of the first row in the 2022 Acura MDX Type S.
The front-facing view of the first row in the 2022 Acura MDX Type S. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Power figures aside, the main reason anyone buys a luxury SUV like the 2022 Acura MDX is for its interior. As such, we found that the first row was extremely generous when it came to head and leg room. The sport seats are super supportive, the leather is plush, and everything sits well within arm’s reach.

The large 12.3-inch infotainment screen is easy to read and Acura’s TrueTouch pad is relatively easy to use. It gets a little annoying to use while driving, though, because you have to press down on the pad to select menu items. This sometimes means that you need to take your eyes off the road to look at the screen. We wish Acura would just use a touchscreen like the Audi Q7 does, for example.

There are also push buttons for the transmission gear selection, which can be a little confusing at first for some, but they become intuitive quickly. The climate controls are easy to use as well, as are the power seat adjustments. We especially liked the ELS Signature Edition sound system and all of the sweet sounds its 25 speakers have to offer.

The most therapeutic part of the first row, however, is the massage seat function, which has a multitude of massage configurations. Trust us, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill Honda seats.

Second row: Rear seat passengers have plenty of room and their own controls

The second row in the 2022 Acura MDX Type S.
The second row in the 2022 Acura MDX Type S. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The second-row passengers are in for a treat as the 2022 MDX offers plenty of leg and headroom for anyone shorter than 6 feet, 2 inches tall. The panoramic sunroof extends past the second row, so there’s plenty of natural light to be enjoyed. And the second row even has its own climate controls, heated outboard seats, USB ports, and even a household 115-volt outlet.

Best of all, the second-row seats slide fore and aft and recline, which can provide even the pickiest (or most fidgety) passengers a real feeling of comfort and serenity.

Third row: It’s comfortable enough for small adults and kids

2022 Acura MDX Type S third row seats
The third row of seats in the 2022 Acura MDX Type S. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

There’s not too much to say about the MDX’s third row aside from the fact that there’s a decent amount of room for two. Specifically two kids or two small adults. Otherwise, the main form of therapy here relies on the USB port and cupholder on each side. There are vents and speakers back there too, so at least the third row will be cooled and entertained.

Also, if the driver ever wants to communicate with the third row, then they can do so easily with the CabinTalk feature. CabinTalk amplifies the driver’s voice through the car’s speakers so they can talk to the rear-seat passengers loudly and clearly.

How does the 2022 Acura MDX drive?

A rear-angled view of the 2022 Acura MDX in front of a car museum wall.
A rear-angled view of the 2022 Acura MDX in front of a car museum wall. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Over the past year, we had a chance to drive the 2022 Acura MDX Advance and the Type S Advance. We liked the naturally aspirated V6 engine in the MDX Advance as it had plenty of power for the hills of San Francisco, Calif. It also retrieved decent fuel economy ratings and rode smooth with its amplitude-reactive dampers.

The MDX Type S, on the other hand, was quite the performance SUV beast. Its punch 355-hp turbocharged V6 made it feel very sports car-like. The power pulls well in the mid-range and the exhaust note sounds great. It’s also equipped with an adaptive air suspension, which changes with the different drive modes.

In Lift mode, the car is raised up by a couple of inches for more ground clearance. In Comfort mode, the MDX feels very compliant over dips and bumps. In Sport mode, the suspension firms up a bit and the steering sharpens. The ride is noticeably stiffer, but it doesn’t beat you up.

Push and twist the knob for Sport + mode and things really sharpen. The steering becomes razor sharp, although over-boosted. And the suspension stiffens up a lot, which actually does beat you up. In fact, it’s almost a little weird feeling a large SUV with such a race-like suspension – we don’t recommend it.

MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 Acura MDX an expert rating of 8.8 out of 10

The 2022 Acura MDX offers buyers great value for the money considering everything that it comes with. The MDX is also very safe and we liked its ultimate ride comfort and on-road performance, especially in its Type S guise. It’s no wonder that the MDX is Acura’s best-selling vehicle and we’re sure the automaker will sell many more with this winning formula.

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