Acura – like its mainstream parent, Honda – likes to tease major product updates, and we got a first look at the “Acura MDX Prototype” back in October. Now, the Japanese luxury brand has rolled out the official production model.
As you might have guessed, the 2022 Acura MDX doesn’t stray far from what we saw with the show car, which itself picked up key design cues from the brand’s latest TLX sedan and NSX supercar. The new SUV also introduces several new technologies, including its Precision Cockpit all-digital instrument cluster, along with integrated Amazon Alexa and wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
“This new fourth-generation MDX really builds on all of the values that have made MDX a perennial favorite with customers over the past 20 years,” said Tom Nguyen, MDX global development leader. “By injecting higher levels of craftsmanship, performance and technology, the 2022 MDX is truly a vehicle befitting of its flagship position.”
First launched for the 2001 model year, Acura’s first SUV was little more than boxier, higher-riding version of the brand’s TL sedan. Each generation has grown larger, more lavishly executed and more technologically advanced. With the debut of the fourth-generation model, and the recent demise of the RLX sedan, the MDX evolves into the brand’s flagship.
Acura describes the 2022 MDX as “the most premium, performance-focused and technologically sophisticated SUV” it has ever produced, a high benchmark to clear. It picks up on the new mantra of the brand, “Precision Crafted Performance,” starting with its more emotional exterior design.
Like the prototype, the new MDX has grown in most key dimensions. It’s been stretched 2.2 inches, to an overall length of 198.4 inches. Width grows to 78.7 inches, about an inch more than the outgoing model. Height rises to 67. Inches, a 0.6-inch increase. And, what might be most noticeable to a casual eye is the fact that the dash-to-axle ratio extends another 6 inches emphasizing the hood line and giving the new SUV a more “cab rearward” feel.
As with the concept model, the production MDX avoids the slab-like face used for many recent SUVs. The front end has a more three-dimensional appearance, with a larger version of the familiar Acura “Diamond Pentagon Grille.” It’s framed within four-element LED “Jewel Eye” headlamps and “Chicane” running lamps.
The design team claims to have been motivated by “the wind-shaped rocks in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon,” according to Acura, “and can be seen in the pronounced shoulder line that defines the upper portion of the vehicle, and the sculpting along the lower portion of the doors.”
Like the TLX and NSX, the new Acura MDX opts for a more sporty cabin design while also adding more high-line details to befit its flagship role. The instrument panel adopts a horizontal layout which, like the rest of the cabin blends materials such as Milano leather, brushed aluminum and open-pore wood.
But the anchor of the Precision Crafted Cockpit is that 12.3-inch customizable gauge cluster which can be switched between two distinctly different appearances. A second, wide-screen 12.3-inch display handles infotainment duties, while there’s also an optional, 10.5-inch head-up display.
The infotainment system can be operated by voice, touch, steering-wheel controls or Acura’s now-familiar “True Touchpad” interface which operates much like the touchpads on modern laptop computers.
On a less high-tech front, the front seats feature 12-way power settings and the MDX A-Spec model adds ventilated front seats and even optional power-adjusting side and thigh controls.
The second row features a multi-function removable seat which, among other things, can ease entry to the third row. All three rows are more spacious than the outgoing model, according to Acura.
There’s also new under-floor storage available behind the third row, overall cargo space increased substantially.
As we’ve come to expect from Acura, the new MDX also offers the latest audiophile system in the form of the optional ELS Studio system with its 12 speakers. The A-Spec and Advance Packages bump up to a 710-watt systems with 16 channels and 16 speakers.
The 2022 Acura MDX rides on an all-new platform which gets a double-wishbone front suspension for the first time.
Offered in both front and all-wheel-drive, the MDX will launch with a 3.5-liter V-6 carried over from the third-generation SUV. It pushes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque through a 9-speed automatic. The Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system will allow for torque vectoring to enhance cornering capabilities.
The real performance package, the MDX Type S, will follow next summer and use a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 that will push past the 300 hp mark.
The 2022 Acura MDX will start at $46,900 with the front-drive package – before adding in taxes and delivery fees. A top-line version with SH-AWD and the Advance Package will start at $60,650. Look for the new SUV to reach showrooms early next February.