Critics Are Split Over the 2022 Acura MDX

The TLX sedan isn’t the only Acura that’s getting some significant upgrades. The 3-row MDX SUV is getting a redesign, too, for the 2022 model year. But while the redesign comes with a new interior and a new performance trim, it’s inherited a problem: split opinions. Just like the 2020 model, the 2022 Acura MDX has created some critical division.

What does the Acura MDX offer with its 2022 redesign?

The Acura MDX’s 2022 redesign is fairly extensive, MotorTrend reports. The crossover/SUV has a new platform, a new exterior, upgraded suspension, and an upgraded interior. It’s also larger inside and out. Naturally, this all comes with a roughly $2400-higher price. But in the powertrain department, the 2022 MDX is slightly less new.

The front 3/4 overhead view of a gray 2022 Acura MDX Advance
2022 Acura MDX Advance overhead front 3/4 | Acura

Previously, Acura offered the MDX with an optional hybrid powertrain, Car and Driver reports. As of this writing, though, that doesn’t appear to be available for the 2022 model. Instead, every trim except for the upcoming Type S has the same 3.5-liter V6 as the 2020 model. But, while it still makes 290 hp and 267 lb-ft, it now comes with a 10-speed automatic, Car and Driver reports.

The 2022 Acura MDX is available in five trim levels: base, Technology, A-Spec, Advance, and Type S. Front-wheel drive is standard on the base and Technology, while AWD is optional. The A-Spec, Advance, and Type S models come standard with AWD, The Drive reports.

The red-leather front seats and black dashboard of the 2022 Acura MDX A-Spec
2022 Acura MDX A-Spec interior | Acura

Part of the Acura MDX’s 2022 redesign is a new 12.3” center screen with a center-console-mounted touchpad controller. The SUV also has a standard 12.3” digital gauge cluster, as well as a wireless charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, and a moonroof, Autoblog and Motor1 report. And even the base 2022 MDX has an extensive ADAS suite, with standard adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking, Car and Driver reports.

Going beyond the base to the Technology trim adds navigation, leather upholstery, power-folding mirrors, and an ELS Studio audio system. The A-Spec trim adds LED fog lights and Ultrasuede seat trim to that, and swaps in an ELS Studio 3D system. And with the Advance trim, you get open-pore wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tailgate, and a 360° camera system.

Why is critical opinion split on the 2022 Acura MDX?

Some of the significant changes that come with the 2022 Acura MDX have been a bit divisive. And as a result, opinions on the 3-row luxury SUV are somewhat mixed.

MotorTrend, for example, found that, while the third-row seats were more spacious, the interior as a whole was “lacking luxury.” While the front seats especially are very comfortable, and the center console has good ergonomics, the touchpad has some exposed screws. That’s a problem because you’ll be touching it a lot to interact with the center screen.

And on the road, while the 2022 Acura MDX has accurate steering and an excellent AWD system, MT found the ride to be overly soft and unsettled. Plus, the brake-by-wire system “doesn’t inspire confidence.”

However, Roadshow praised the interior’s material quality and the plethora of soft-touch surfaces. True, the touchpad system is a bit awkward, but you adjust to it fairly quickly. And interestingly, Roadshow had little issue with the 2022 MDX’s ride quality or handling. To quote, it “doesn’t feel like a 4,500-pound crossover most of the time.” Roadshow found that the 2022 model had less body roll in the corners as well as a smoother ride and quieter cabin.

Car and Driver and The Drive had similar impressions. The former noted that the touchpad “is no replacement for a well-executed touchscreen.” However, reviewers noted that the 3-row SUV has sharper handling. The Drive found that the brake pedal was too soft, and the ride quality was actually “a touch on the harsh side.” But again, reviewers noted accurate steering, calling the 2022 MDX “a surprisingly deft handler.”

And it’s worth pointing out that MotorTrend is the only publication that reported about any exposed screws.

Is it a 3-row luxury SUV worth considering?

A white 2021 Lexus RX
2021 Lexus RX | Lexus

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In regards to value., the base 2022 Acura MDX starts at $46,900 before destination. But the Advance trim starts at $60,650 before destination. In terms of price, the closest competitor is the 2021 Lexus RX, which in RX350L AWD trim starts at $49,400. However, Motor1 reports that it has a significantly smaller interior and worse driving dynamics.

There’s also the BMW X5, which in sDrive40i trim has 335 hp and 331 lb-ft. And in AWD xDrive40i trim, it’s a fairly sporty and fun car to drive, Car and Driver reports. However, the X5 xDrive40i starts at $61,700. And that doesn’t even get you leather upholstery, Wi-Fi, or a wireless charging pad. A power liftgate, though, is standard, Car and Driver reports.

The side view of a dark-blue 2021 BMX X5 xDrive40i side driving
2021 BMX X5 xDrive40i side | BMW

RELATED: The 2013 Acura MDX is Affordable Luxury Worth Buying

Ultimately, the best way to decide on any vehicle is to take it on an extended test drive. So, if the 2022 Acura MDX catches your eye, take it for a spin first. And you can see which impressions you agree with.

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