Acura’s MDX is America’s all-time best selling, seven-seat, three-row luxury SUV. With its all-new, larger, fourth-generation 2022 version adding more tech and better performance, it intends to keep its crown.
Acura waited until 2022 to completely revamp its family-friendly mid-size MDX.
Last year even as a tired third-generation vehicle it still outsold standard upscale three-row competitors such as Audi Q7, Cadillac XT6 and Volvo XC90 and standard two-row luxury SUVs with options for a third row, like BMW X5 and Genesis G80. MDX remains very price competitive.
Now the flagship of the Acura line-up, MDX is Acura’s best-selling vehicle of all time, having surpassed one million sales.
To stay on top, Acura is ramping up technology with new features like voice-activated Alexa for dozens of functions, an expanded 12.3-inch elevated dashboard touchscreen is also usable via touch-pad with a palm-pad to reduce twitchiness. Additionally, AcuraLink handles in-vehicle communication, voice recognition for navigation, interior lighting, WIFI hotspot, wireless phone charging (Apple wire-charging cord may be required for iPhone), ELS Premium audio, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and dynamic driving controls. On top of the new in-car technologies, MDX is bigger and more attractive with a sculpted grille and hood, a wider stance and a sportier look with LED lighting.
We test-drove the black-themed MDX SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) A-Spec above MDX, MDX/Technology Package and below MDX/Advance Package – all on a new, stiffer platform.
The 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine mated seamlessly with a sequential SportShift 10-speed automatic transmission with shift-paddles, riding on 20-inch wheels using double wishbone front and all new multi-link rear suspension for excellent stability and cushioning.
MDX’s highly touted SH-AWD used all-wheel torque-vectoring to inspire confidence in sharp turns and on twisting roads using drive modes Normal, Sport, Comfort or Snow.
The Acura MDX added cutting-edge driver safety aids new traffic jam assist, driver attention monitor, pedestrian sensing, emergency braking and traffic sign recognition, although posted speed limits are not always shown. Controls are ergonomically positioned, MDX earns top crash safety ratings.
The cabin is spacious, the third row has expanded but remains suitable for children. On our test drive, the interior materials were upscale with red stitching and suede insets to decorate soft-touch leather seats with suede inserts.
Third row seats fold easily, the second row can seat three across or the middle seat can be removed. Total cargo space has increased and there is 16.3 cubic feet behind the upright third row with tools for the spare tire.
At a Glance
LIKES: Looks, handling, ride, quickness, spacious cabin, technology, resale value
DISLIKES: Mileage, missing speed limit readings, wireless charging challenges
BOTTOM LINE: Discriminating buyers will remain attracted to the MDX
Fact File: 2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-SPEC
3.5 liter, i-VTEC, V-6, SOHC
290 hp at 6,200 rpm
267 ft.-lbs. at 4,700 rpm
10-speed automatic, manual paddles
19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy
18.5-gallons, premium gas
0-60 in just under 6 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.