If style plays a factor in your new car buying decision, you should pay attention to what’s going on at Acura. Crisp angles and sharp character lines have been a part of Acura’s design language for some time. But this latest iteration as seen on the flagship 2022 Acura MDX, with a stylish front grille and Jewel-Eye LED headlights, has some of the strongest road presence yet. Our 2022 MDX was the A-Spec trim, which includes dark finishes to the trim, grille and graphite wheels for an extra aggressive look. Do those aggressive looks translate to a drive that allows the MDX to stand out from a crowd? We rotated the MDX through the Limited Slip crew to get everyone’s thoughts.
Scott: Back Roads
Simply put, the MDX is one of the most agile three-row SUVs that we’ve driven. That revelation began with an all-new stiffer body and chassis. From there, Acura fitted a new double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension that allows the MDX to be more athletic in its handling. That new suspension, plus wider tires up front, allow for a larger contact patch with the road. This means more grip through the corners, which isn’t something a lot of people think about with a three-row SUV. That being said, all is not perfect. The variable gear ratio electric power steering is quick and light, but provides little to no feedback in any of the drive modes. Strong brakes, with larger and thicker front brake rotors for 2022, provide ample stopping power however. That’s quite helpful when the 3.5L direct-injected i-VTEC V6 produces 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft torque. You may ask yourself, who is going to drive a 3-row SUV like this? The answer is…us — and people like us. Acura claims you can have your cake and eat it too, and we plan too.
Chris: Winter Weekend
A day trip to Lenox, Stockbridge and Great Barrington, three picturesque New England towns in Western Massachussets seemed like the perfect opportunity to test the 2022 Acura MDX’s comfort, convenience and capability. Unfortunately, Mother Nature couldn’t decide if she wanted rain or snow on my trip through the Berkshires. The MDX’s rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system kept me securely on the road through rapidly changing conditions. The fourth-generation SH-AWD system on the 2022 MDX can send up to 70% of the engine torque to the rear axle and features 30% quicker front-to-rear torque transfers than the previous generation. It also features torque vectoring, applying up to 100% of the rear axle torque to either rear wheel. While I didn’t have a chance to use adaptive cruise control or several other safety and driver-assistive technologies, I was glad for the Low Speed Braking Control. The system uses the MDX’s parking sensors to warn the driver and apply the brakes to avoid a collision; a very helpful feature when trying to quickly parallel park on a busy street with poor visibility.
Spending several hours in the MDX’s cabin helps appreciate the attention to detail paid to this six-passenger SUV. The front sport seats are supremely comfortable and the driver controls feature elegant screens and physical buttons for all major controls. The 12.3″ Precision Cockpit is customizable to show a variety of information to the driver as well as two crisp and easy-to-read digital gauges. A second 12.3″ infotainment display is operated by Acrua’s True Touchpad interface. It does take a few hours to really get used to the touch pad, but once familiarized with the series of swipes and gestures necessary to navigate, it becomes second nature. I also appreciated the MDX’s unique wireless charging station, hiding it below the driver arm rest. It is both easy to access and out of the way, a feat that very few automakers have been able to accomplish. It’s a good thing, too, since you’ll want to be charging while using the standard Wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
Second row occupants will find a comfortable bench that, with some fiddling, can be converted into pseduo-captain’s chairs by removing the middle seat. The third row gains 0.4 inches of headroom and 2.4 inches of legroom, plus a higher seating height for a more natural seating position. The standard panoramic sunroof and USB charging ports for the second and third row make it a nicer place to spend time. While you could stuff 7 passengers inside the MDX, adults may be cramped all the way in back. If cargo storage is more important to you, the new MDX has more of that, as well. There’s even a cargo well beneath the rear floor area for more storage.
Ken: Easy Listening
Acura endows the 2022 MDX A-Spec with a standard 16 speaker ELS STUDIO® 3D Premium Audio System that we eagerly listened to our favorite music through. This highly-advanced sound system has been meticulously tuned for the MDX’s cabin to offer a true surround-sound experience. The system proved to be excellent at providing a sense of space to the music, especially letting it breathe fore and aft, if not projecting the deepest sound side to side. Cranked up and played loud, the system offered plenty in the way of power (710 watts) and distortion-free sound. Bass sounded clean and clearly articulated, though more thump and deeper-reaching bass would’ve sweetened the deal even further. Overall, this system was very good and will certainly have you wanting to play your favorite music again and again.
|2022 Acura MDX A-Spec||$57,400|
|Liquid Carbon Metallic||$500|