First impressions are key, and as the saying goes you don’t have a second chance to make one. When Acura dropped off this MDX, my first impression was “whoa”. I assume you read that in Keanu Reeves’ voice from the Matrix, and if you didn’t at first, you just did now. The Acura MDX kicked off its fourth generation for the 2022 model year, and for the first time there is a tarted up “Type S” version. They tossed me the keys to this bleu one for a week, and I had many thoughts, all of which I will share with you now.
Let’s get it on! (yep, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) reference)
2022 MDX Type S Overview
Much like the new Integra I was just driving recently, building your MDX starts not with trim levels, but with drivetrains. Basically “Bro…bro…how fast do you want to go”. Hey, unintentional rhyme time up in here! There are two engine options, a 3.5L V6 (290 horsepower, 267 lb-ft of torque) and a turbocharged 3.0L V6 (355 horsepower, 354 lb-ft). Both are available with Suuuuuuuper Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD), while only the naturally aspirated version can be optioned with front-wheel drive. Both use a 10-speed automatic and prices start at $48,000 for the 3.5L and $66,700 for the 3.0L turbo.
You’ll also notice that the Type S, like our tester, is only available with the larger engine and SH-AWD. So, let’s tick that box and keep building. From there you can choose from the base Type S or the Type S Advanced. Some of the basic upgrades you get for the Type S include:
- Type S front-end styling
- Sport-tuned adaptive air suspension
- Transmission and AWD tuning
- Larger 21-inch wheels with Brembo front brakes
Meanwhile the Type S Advanced adds a great 25-speaker ELS sound system, a power lift tailgate with hands-free access, as well as upgraded front seats with massage and quilted leather. Just like in the Integra, everything but silver paint is going to cost you. The gorgeous Apex Blue Pearl tacks on $500 to the bottom line. Inside you can choose from ebony or orchid (which would make a great song title). Our car came with the lighter orchid upholstery inside, more on that in a bit. This being the top spec MDX, there isn’t anything else to add save stuff from the “Accessories” section.
Total price – $73,745 including destination and handling.
2022 MDX Type S Inside & Out
After a time period at Acura we may refer to as “the troubles”, the company is firmly on great footing with regard to exterior styling. My buddy Kamil drove a 2020 A-Spec, which was part of the third generation’s facelift that replaced the dreaded “Acura beak”. It was a pretty good looking thing, but the fourth generation is even better looking. Aside from a crease running along the lower body, it’s a very clean design without a lot of fussiness. I love the machined over black wheels, it adds some personality vs. just going with all black.
As the kids would say “no notes” about the exterior. Moving on.
The interior also had a pretty solid first impression, though that aforementioned orchid-colored material would like not stand up to kids abuse. I absolutely adore the seats though, the bolstering is tight, while not being too tight, and the quilted leather is interesting without being overdone. Heck, The MDX even has sturdy sun visors, something sort of rare these days in a “must lose every gram for mpgs” era. Acura has stuck with the same transmission button setup, which I believe originally came from the latest NSX. I don’t mind it, once you get used to where the buttons are, it’s pretty intuitive compared to some rotating knob-controls out there.
The Acura infotainment interface is pretty good, although unfortunately there was no touchscreen. I’m not sure why Acura and Lexus both arrived a bit late to the touchscreen world, but thankfully that seems to be changing. Their interface is clean and easy to use though, and while it is great they have a volume knob, it’s in a strange place. Like the Q7 I reviewed last week, it’s parked down low in front of the gear selector. I think the little wrist rest is cool, and feels like it’s milled from a block of aluminum. You have to use the touchpad to control most things (and it’s better than the Lexus system mercifully) and the rest is positioned well to facilitate that.
You get some handy cubbies and places to store your stuff and second row seating is fairly ample at 38.5 inches. Rear seat passengers will need to be pretty small though.
There is 18.1 cu. ft. of space behind the third row, not ground-breaking, but better than the 14.8 cu. ft. available behind the third row in the Q7. However, like the Q7, I imagine those without 4-5 kids will leave the 3rd row folded until they need it to haul passengers.
The MXX also made easy work of hockey pick-up (at least with the 3rd row stowed) even when we had an extra kid with us (don’t worry, we had permission).
2022 MDX Type S On The Road
Out on the street, I noted that it’s definitely quick, plus it sounds good as well. The car mags have it at 5.5 seconds which is close to a full second quicker than the standard model and way quicker than my electron blue 2001 Prelude. Click the selector into Sport Plus and it has a real mechanical thunk when engaged and actually makes the Type S more fun to drive. The Type S, despite its 4,788 pound curb-weight feels fast, whether it is from a stoplight or passing on the highway. Around town, the transmission would not shift down in the first gear via the paddles even as I was coming to stop. So, I couldn’t impress the mom’s in my neighborhood with that sweet turbo 3.0L downshift blips. Bummer.
Still, it’s very usable, I like the steering wheel buttons, and the overall shape of the steering wheel. From an ergonomic perspective, it was laid out well and easy to get used to. I liked that I could cycle through a variety of displays on the driver’s screen and even change XM stations without taking my hands off the wheel. Speaking of hands off, the semi autonomous steering performed similar to how it did in the Integra. On well-marked highways it did great, but it definitely tries to take an exit lane now and then when you don’t want it to.
The new MDX Type S is damn good, and would make a spectacular daily driver. Compared to that Q7, it’s lighter, more powerful, yet manages to have more cargo space and comparable space for people inside. Oh, and the out-the-door price is over $7,000 less than the Q7. I personally think it looks better too, with some nice ostentatious colors for people like me who want to make a memorable first impression. So, if you want a three-row (but don’t need a three row all the time) SUV with some pizzaz and style, but with all the practical stuff you’d want inside, the new 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Type S w/Advance rocks.