2022 Acura MDX Review - A worthy flagship



The Acura MDX has been one of the brand’s best sellers for over a decade. We previously reviewed the 2020 Acura MDX that was first introduced in 2014. While it remained a solid offering in the 3-row luxury SUV segment. The third generation MDX was definitely due for a redesign. 

Recently, Acura has been trying to reconnect with its performance orientated roots. The 2021 TLX sports sedan is a perfect example of that. Now the company has applied the same treatments to its all-new flagship, the 2022 MDX.

The fourth-generation MDX promises to be the most premium, performance-focused and technologically sophisticated SUV in Acura history. 

Does it live up to the claim? Thanks to Acura Canada, we were loaned the 2022 MDX Platinum Elite for one week to find out. Below is our unbiased review.


The previous generation MDX was a handsome SUV, but the 2022 MDX looks bolder, sharper, and much more sophisticated from just about every angle. Many of the design cues come from the Acura Precision Concept vehicle unveiled in 2016. We see the same influences on the new TLX. 

At the front, the black diamond pentagon front grille is flanked by the new four-element Jewel Eye LED headlights with embedded Chicane daytime running lights. The new headlamps are much slimmer compared to the previous generation. The new MDX is only 3.5cm wider in the front, but thanks to the wide grille and slim headlamps, the front fascia appears much wider. The front apron and side air intakes are intricately sculpted with sharp character lines extending well into the bumper, blending the fog light housings with the rest of the bodywork. 

The new MDX has a 7cm longer wheelbase and sits 0.8cm lower than its predecessor. The dash-to-axle ratio has also been extended by 15cm to give the car a sportier proportion. According to the company, the body panels of the MDX are inspired by the wind-shaped rocks in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon. These can be seen in the pronounced shoulder line and the chiseled lower portion of the doors. I also like the spoke design of the large 20” wheels. They give the MDX a classy, premium vibe. 

In the rear, the new MDX looks much cleaner than its predecessor with slimmer tail lights and matching Chicane light-blades. A large wing incorporated into the power tailgate and dual rectangular exhaust tips reflect the sporty nature of the new MDX.


The interior is where the 2022 MDX shows the most improvement. The last generation interior was well appointed, but the curvy dash design had really started to show its age. The new interior is much more modern and high-tech in comparison. A clean, horizontal dash design is reinforced with sculptured ridges for a modern architectural feel. Quality materials are generously appointed. They include open-pore wood panels, brushed aluminum trims, soft-touch Milano leather surfaces, and solid feeling switchgears. Some piano black trims are found around the center console, and they do tend to get dirty quickly. 

The standard 12-way adjustable front seats are more aggressively bolstered than the previous generation. Not only do they feel comfortable, but the seats also look great with white contrast stitching. Seat heating is standard for all trims. A-Spec adds ventilated front seats, and the Platinum Elite trim gains additional power-adjustable side bolsters and thigh extensions. The new steering wheel looks almost identical to the one found in the new TLX, but the bottom is not flat. Steering wheel heating is standard, perfect for those cold Canadian winter days. 

The second-row of the MDX features a first-in-class removable center seat similar to the one found in the Odyssey. When the middle seat is in place and stays upright, three people can sit quite comfortably side by side. There is plenty of legroom even for the person sitting in the middle. With the middle seat folded, the seat back becomes a captain’s chair style wide center armrest. By removing the middle seat altogether, passengers can enter the third row cabin through the center aisle, without disturbing the two chairs on the side. It is perfect for parents who need to secure two child seats and still want the ability to access the third row cabin. The middle seat is quite heavy and clunky, not something you will want to remove and install everyday. Other premium features such as privacy shades, dedicated climate controls, and a large panoramic sunroof make the second-row cabin quite a comfortable place to be. 

MDX is the first SUV to introduce third row seating, and for 2022, the third row cabin is slightly more comfortable. It offers an additional 1cm of headroom, 6cm of legroom, and the seats are 5cm higher off the ground. In practice, they are still best suited for children and teens. A full-size adult can survive a 15-minute trip around town in a pinch. In our Platinum Elite trim tester, rear seat occupants also have their own USB charging ports on the sides. 


The infotainment system of the 2022 MDX has been completely redesigned. An ultra-wide 12.3” center display replaces the dual screen setup in the past. It is not a touchscreen. Instead, an improved version of the True Touchpad Interface is used to interact with the infotainment system. The touchpad is different from many others on the market because it is based on an Absolute Position mapping system. Basically the top right corner of the touchpad represents the top right corner of the display, unlike that of a swipe based system. While some people dislike the touchpad system, I find this generation of the True Touchpad Interface quite accurate and responsive. Once your fingers develop the corresponding muscle memory, clicking the correct icon on the screen becomes much faster and natural. There is another dedicated swipe bar on the right hand side of the touchpad. It is used to control the right portion of the screen. Acura has also included three quick access buttons on the top, as well as physical Power, Volume, and Seek controls with the new MDX. The palm rest position is excellent, and I love how the floating design allows for more space for the wireless charging pad below.

The infotainment interface looks sharp and modern. It is also quite responsive to the inputs from the touchpad. I find the menu layout clean and intuitive, very much like a modern smartphone. The 2022 MDX also features wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto. These functions really take advantage of the included wireless charger.

The instrument cluster has also become completely digital. A standard customizable 12.3” display conveys information to the driver in personalized fashion. You can choose between two display themes, Advanced and Crafted. In addition, the right side of the display can be configured to display for functions such as navigation, trip computer, AcuraWatch, maintenance, tire pressure, AWD status and a G-meter.

Our Platinum Elite tester comes with a 10.5” full color Head-Up Display. It can be configured to show critical vehicle information such as navigation instructions, vehicle seed, collision warnings, and incoming calls. A CabinTalk announcement system similar to the one found in the Odyssey is also available. It allows the driver to talk to passengers in the rear cabins without raising voices. 

Safety and Driver Assistance

All 2022 MDX trims will come standard with an expanded suite of AcuraWatch advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. This is not the case for many of the MDX’s competitors. These standard features include:

  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Traffic Jam Assist (TJA)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Pedestrian Detection 
  • Driver Attention Monitor
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow
  • Traffic Jam Assist 
  • Low Speed Braking Control

With the technology Package, the MDX also gains sonar-based parking sensors. 

It earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS, the highest rating from the agency. 


The 2022 MDX is powered by the same naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 engine that produces 290hp of power and 267 lb.ft. of torque. An active shutter grille is implemented for the first time to improve the engine’s thermal-efficiency. What really sets this drivetrain apart from the previous generation is the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The wider gear ratio and lower first gear makes the drivetrain feel much more responsive and provides great power delivery at all speeds. 0-100km/hr happens in roughly 6.8 seconds. Pretty speedy for such a big car. 

The standard Super handling All-Wheel Drive system is rear biased. It can transfer up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle while continuously apportioning up to 100 percent of that torque between the left and right rear wheels. The torque-vectoring system allows for sharper, more accurate turn-in when cornering. It also helps keep the car in control when the road is slippery. 

Turning the large control knob on the center of the dash enables drivers to quickly switch between drive modes. They include: Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual settings. Each mode offers unique settings for the engine and transmission, and changes SH-AWD characteristics. I find the Normal mode perfect for day-to-day driving. 

On the road, the new MDX drives much more like a sedan compared to its predecessor. A new light truck platform as well as a new suspension setup greatly improves the maneuverability of the MDX. 

The new chassis is much stronger thanks to a new cast aluminum front housing that is 45 percent stiffer, a new rigid-mounted subframe that increases lateral torsion resistance by 7 percent, and a new dual-balanced rear body that contributes to a 41 percent improvement in stiffness and 80 percent improvement in torsion resistance. 

Also, for the first time, the MDX sports a double-wishbone front suspension and an all-new multilink rear suspension. It certainly feels like the new MDX is designed to handle much more power than it currently possesses, and there is a good reason why. According to the company, a high performance MDX Type S is on the horizon. Under the hood of the Type S will be a 3.0L turbocharged V6 that produces up to 355hp of power. I will be thrilled to test drive that car. 

I have to say that the new MDX is much more enjoyable to drive. It doesn’t lose the ride comfort you would expect from a luxury car, but gains the handling of a sports SUV. For those of you who wish to hitch something behind the MDX, it can tow up to 2268kg (5000lb).

For a three-row SUV, the 2022 MDX is quite fuel efficient. It is rated at 12.3L/100km city, 9.4L/100km highway, and 10.8L/100km combined. Our one week city test drive returns a fuel economy figure of 13.2L/100km.

Cargo Space & Storage

The 2022 MDX has more room behind the 3rd row compared to the previous generation. The trunk volume has increased from 447L to 461.6L. There is an additional 50.9L of storage under the cargo floor. The floor can be dropped into the cargo well to expand the rear cargo area. It is also reversible, with a carpeted side and an easy-to-clean plastic side for dirty or wet items. 

The MDX also introduces an innovative feature called Walk Away Close. When you press the dedicated button on the left side of the cargo wall, the power tailgate automatically closes when the key holder walks away. It is very handy when you know your hands will be full from carrying groceries or luggages. 

The cargo volume increases to 1107.2L with the 3rd-row seats folded, and 2021.8L with both the 2nd and 3rd-row seats folded. A spare tire is located underneath the car below the trunk. 

In cabin storage options are plentiful. The glove compartment is average in size, but the side door pockets are quite deep. The center console storage bin is not as big as the previous generation, but features an extra layer of foldaway storage trays. 

Second row passengers can find additional storage behind the middle seat back. There are also hard-shell storage pouches behind the front seats. Third row passengers will find two small storage trays on the side armrests. 


The 2022 MDX lives up to the claim of being the most premium, performance-focused, and technologically sophisticated SUV in Acura history. It is a significant step up from its predecessor, and competes with the best in the market both in terms of luxury and performance.

Moreover, with the base MSRP of $56405, the MDX provides tremendous value with tons of standard premium features. I personally would opt for the Tech trim that includes some very practical features such as navigation system, ELS Premium Audio, heated 2nd row seats, parking sensors, perforated leather seats, and power tailgate at $60,405 CAD. 

In any case, I have no doubt the new MDX will continue to be a commercial success for the brand. I am looking forward to the Type S!

Test Vehicle
2022 Acura MDX Platinum Elite

$67,405 CAD as tested

Liquid Carbon Metallic


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