Acura has fully revamped the MDX for the 2022 model year with a new exterior design, new interior and a host of mechanical improvements. In fact, the brand skipped the 2021 model year entirely and released the 2022 earlier this spring which is sure to help the marketing team out. I rather dislike the fact that automakers can alter model years in such a fashion and I think there should be a firm production cutoff date (say September 1) where the year switches to the next similar to the school year.
Venting aside, the new MDX certainly looks great on paper with it’s myriad of upgrades. On the exterior there is styling inspired by the Acura Precision Concept and enabled by the new platform features a wider and more aggressive stance, larger proportions highlighted by a longer hood and upright front fascia. The rather large grille in the front has an amazing design that makes it look like the Acura logo is suspended in a type of vortex. Acura did this correctly if you compare it with how Toyota’s large, extravagant and questionable grilles have been going lately.
Moving on the interior, we have one of the most futuristic cabins on the market that is both visually appealing and comfortable. The new larger platform enables more room, with all three rows benefiting from natural light thanks to the standard ultra-wide panoramic moonroof. The 2022 MDX has a new, all-digital cockpit which replaces physical gauges with a customizable 12.3-inch HD display.
I like the fact that the third row has USB ports for the youngsters to charge their devices (though only on one side for some reason). With all the noted improvements in size, I was surprised I couldn’t fit more stuff inside. I packed the family in for a ride up to the cottage and it was a snug fit. We are two adults and five children with luggage and supplies for two days and the MDX was filled to the brim.
Ergonomically, the MDX feels amazing to operate with intuitive controls to operate the screen, a place to wrest your wrist, a wireless charge location that makes sense, and plush, high quality materials.
The Achilles heel in all this would be the awful touchpad interface used to operate the infotainment system. Lexus had implemented a similar system years ago and it’s astounding to me that anyone would want to emulate it. It makes basic operation of the radio and other functions a painstaking process because the cursor jumps around the screen and then moves off the correct button right before you click it. It’s so infuriatingly useless that I’d be surprised if Acura didn’t lose sales over it. The most effective way to operate an infotainment system is via a control knob similar to Mazda and BMW and that’s what all vehicles need to have.
Powering the MDX is a 3.5-litre V6 engine making 290 horsepower paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The gear shift selections are done via push-button in the dash and work reasonably well though a smaller delay between selection and implementation would be welcome. The 290 horses can deliver any amount of acceleration a prospective MDX owner would need and more with precise steering feel and a firm but comfortable ride. Acura moved to a double wishbone suspension setup up front as well as a stronger multi-link suspension in the rear. The Super-Handling AWD system is a staple for the brand and ensures you will never get stuck in our Canadian winters.
No hybrid option is available as of this writing which is a bit of an oversight as most other brands have one. A turbocharged 3.0-litre engine is coming in the future Type S trim level which will be something else for sure.
We tested two trim levels: The A-Spec which starts at $65,895 and the top-of-the-line Platinum Elite which starts at $69,895 both including transport. Both come loaded with features such as heated front- and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging, multi-color LED ambient lighting, LED lighting all around, sunroof, power tailgate, driver and passenger seat memory, triple-zone climate control, and an intercom to talk to the people in the rear rows.
The level of tech and quality of the overall product make the MDX a contender even if some of the interfacing is difficult to get used to. It represents an enticing package that is definitely worth a try if you’re in the market.