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All new for 2022, the Acura MDX promises a sleeker and sportier exterior design, more room for occupants' legs in all three rows, and a massive amount of updates to the tech and creature comfort features. As if the MDX couldn't get any more advanced, right?
The outgoing MDX (from 2020; Acura skipped over making it in 2021 in order to focus on making this massive overhaul) was by all means an excellent third-row luxury SUV. It had much of what you want and everything you need. The optional SH-AWD system was also a great add-on since it could vastly improve stability and traction control for the MDX. And the V6 engine delivered such a smooth, quiet, well-rounded performance. But there were a few issues, namely with the lackluster interior materials' quality. It just didn't look as refined as some of its competitors. Adaptive cruise control could also be frustrating since it was slow to respond. Also, the dual-screen infotainment system could be hard to figure out then try to control while driving.
For 2022, Acura has tried to address a lot of these issues. The MDX's body is bigger now - wider, longer, and even stiffer. This results in increased vehicle stability, which is going to feel fantastic if you decide to equip SH-AWD. The same 3.5-L V6 engine is still equipped as the base and continues to make 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. However, gone is the former 9-speed automatic transmission, swapped out in favor of a brand-new 10-speed automatic. In Normal and Comfort modes, the engine can be a bit bland, but when shifted into Sport mode, it shows some zest. It isn't as fun as some of the turbo V6s on the market though, and the engine can be a little noisy when you press down hard on the accelerator.
Gone for 2022 is the Sport Hybrid model. Instead, there is a new Type S model that offers a 3.0-L turbo V6 that generates 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. SH-AWD is standard on this trim level, as are wider tires and some upgraded brakes.
As we already mentioned, interior space has been boosted by the widened and lengthened wheelbase. The now-standard panoramic sunroof keeps head room in the second row about the same as before, but leg space in all three rows is improved. The third row has a lower floor, which equals more leg space.
The materials are also much more luxurious than before. Everything is soft-touch. You will find gorgeous open-pore wood, a number of different high-grade upholstery options, and some chic stainless steel covers for the speakers in the front row. You also get a ton of interior/exterior color options, including Phantom Violet Pearl and the A-Spec's Apex Blue Pearl for the outside. Flashy, yes, but the interior colors are a bit more toned-down, as they should be.
As for the tech upgrades, color us impressed. There is a brand-new 12.3-inch central display screen and touchpad controller that eliminates the hassles of using the 2020's obnoxious two-screen infotainment system. You also get wireless smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto this year, which is the new trend in vehicle technology. Overall, the touchpad controller is easy to use once you get through a small learning curve.
Now that you have an idea of what has changed on the 2022 Acura MDX, we can take a more in-depth look at what each trim level specifically offers. You can select between the base MDX, the Technology, the A-Spec, and the Advance. Given that there are some pretty significant price jumps between them, you will want to take your time deciding on what you need and what you can forego. Hang on until the end, as that is where we will give our final verdict on which MDX trim level we think gives buyers the best deal.
2022 Acura MDX Standard vs Technology. What is the difference?
Every trim level comes with the 3.5-L V6 engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain includes features like throttle control, variable cylinder management, and idle stop. On the FWD models, you get 22 mpg combined (with 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway) while the SH-AWD models drop down slightly to 21 mpg combined (19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway). The FWD has a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds while the Sh-AWD can handle up to 5,000 pounds.
Also, all trim levels are equipped with a front suspension done in the double wishbone style and a multi-link rear suspension. The dampers are amplitude reactive, and you also get front and rear stabilizer bars, an integrated dynamics system with Individual Mode, Agile Handling Assist, and variable-ratio electric power steering that is belt-driven. There are also newly upgraded front ventilated and rear solid brakes. 19-inch split-5-spoke silver wheels are standard on the base MDX, but the Technology is upgraded to 20-inch shark gray split-5-spoke wheels with a machine finish.
The exteriors of these two trim levels are fairly similar but have a few key differences. Both come with the newly standard panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate. The lighting system includes LED headlights in the Jewel Eye style, LED daytime running lights from Chicane, wiper integration with the auto-off/on headlights, automatic high beams, and Chicane LED taillights. The side mirrors have LED turn indicators built into them, a reverse tilt-down function, and heating capability. On the Technology, power adjustability gets added to them.
The sunroof and windows all have remote operation, and there are two exhaust outlets situated on the rear. Front side glass and a windshield done in acoustic laminate come equipped, as does a capless fuel filter. Ground clearance comes out at 7.3 inches.
The cabin is where things get shaken up a bit. While the base MDX has a leatherette-trimmed interior with sport seats, the Technology gets upgraded to perforated Milano premium leather trim with contrast stitching on the sport seats. Both front seats are 12-way power adjustable and offer lumbar support and a heating function. The second row has a removable center seat and offers four-way manual adjustability. The third row has 50/50-split folding as well as easy access thanks to the one-touch smart slide walk-in system. Tri-zone climate control heats and cools the cabin, but the Technology has GPS-linked climate control added on.
Acura's Personalized Settings come with the keyless access system, and you also get a push-button ignition. The windows are soft-close power functioning with auto-reverse and auto-up/down. The sunroof and windows have retained accessory power, and the Technology adds manual sunshades for the second-row windows.
Up front, you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with the power tilting and telescoping steering column. Audio and cruise controls are mounted onto the steering column. You also get an electronic gear selector, active sound control, ambient interior lighting (which gets upgraded to Iconic Drive LED ambient lighting with 27 themes on the Technology), an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, brushed aluminum trim, a headliner that matches the interior color choice, and a reversible smart lid with the hidden cargo storage.
The base MDX is equipped with a 9-speaker premium sound system, but the Technology upgrades you to a 12-speaker Acura/ELS STUDIO premium system. Both vehicles come with Amazon Alexa connectivity, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, a USB audio interface, multiple charging ports in the first two rows, a charging port in the cargo area, a wireless charging pad, an MP3/auxiliary jack, HD Radio, speed-sensitive volume control, Siri Eyes Free, wireless smartphone app integration, and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink for phone usage. The Technology adds the Acura Navigation System with a 3D view, which gives you AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic and Traffic Re-routing. Natural voice recognition comes on both trim levels, as do the True Touchpad Interface, the 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a 12.3-inch HD Precision Cockpit Digital Instrument Cluster, Acura Link Connected Services, wi-fi hot-spot connectivity, HomeLink, Cabin Control, and a built-in compass.
AcuraWatch tops the list of standard safety features with its lengthy list of bundled driver aids. These aids include a collision mitigation system, advanced pedestrian detection, low-speed follow on the adaptive cruise control function, lane keep assist, a road departure mitigation system, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, forward collision warning, and a lane departure warning. Additionally, you get a multi-angle rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and the next-gen Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. The Technology adds rain-sensing windshield wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and low-speed braking control.
2022 Acura MDX Technology vs A-Spec. What is the difference?
The Technology does a thorough job of adding a ton of extra features, especially when it comes to technology. So, what does the A-Spec add? It comes with upgraded 20-inch shark gray split-5-spoke wheels, SH-AWD, LED fog lights, and the A-Spec Exterior Sport Appearance Package.
Inside, the A-Spec comes with sport A-Spec seats done in a mixture of perforated Milano premium leather and Ultrasuede trim with piping and contrast stitching. Ventilation is added to the front seats, and there is a flat-bottom sport steering wheel that is wrapped in leather. The brushed aluminum trim has a cool geometric pattern, and you also get some details added with the A-Spec Interior Sport Appearance Package. Metal pedals and a footrest and an ebony headliner are equipped for a sportier vibe.
Tech-wise, the big upgrade is a 16-speaker Acura/ELS STUDIO premium sound system. Cabin Talk (an in-cabin intercom system) comes equipped too. The safety features are all the same as what you get in the Technology.
2022 Acura MDX A-Spec vs Advance. What is the difference?
Upgrades on the Advance start with the 20-inch Premium Silver Split 10-Spoke wheels. Walk-away close and hands-free access come with the power liftgate, and there are outside LED door handle lights for extra visibility in the dark. Roof rails get equipped up top.
The cabin sees some major additions and upgrades too. The seats are the same as the ones you get in the Technology, but they are 16-way power adjustable with power lumbar support, thigh extension, and side bolstering. The second row's outboard seats gain a heating function. Vehicle feedback comes with the key fob activated remote engine start function. The steering wheel gains standard heating, and you get authentic open-pore wood trim throughout the cabin.
An AC power outlet gets added to the second row, as do two third-row charging ports. A 10.5-inch head-up display rounds out the list of tech additions. A surround view camera system gets added to the list of safety features along with a head-up warning.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2022 Acura MDX is technologically superior to the outgoing model, that is for sure. But, as far as power goes, the MDX is a bit bland. Those wanting more power might want to wait for the Type S to come out midway through the model year. Its turbocharged V6 promises a sportier performance, which leaves us a bit more hopeful.
However, the MDX has a lot going for it outside of its lackluster V6. If you upgrade one trim to the Technology, you get a plethora of additional interior features. The sound system on it gives you even better quality thanks to ELS STUDIO's technology. There are plenty of high-quality materials used inside, and you get more options for how you wish to design the cabin.
• Compare the 2020 Acura MDX Trim Levels