The luxury SUV pool is deep these days, and Acura’s updated 2022 MDX platform brings a lot to the party, comfortably rubbing elbows with pricier European competitors. That sturdy foundation hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Japanese brand, which is now building on those strengths with its performance-minded Type S badging. More than a jazzed-up crossover, the MDX Type S hones Acura’s proven SUV to a fine point and raises the bar across the board.
The 2022 model year marked numerous changes to the MDX range, receiving aggressive styling, greater legroom across all three rows, and a host of new technologies. We’ll raise a pinky to ritzy additions, but the Type S boasts greater horsepower, improved suspension, and extra options that make this a daily driver with a fighting spirit. Trips to soccer practice and recitals will never be the same.
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2022 Acura MDX
8.30 / 10
- 3.0-Liter V-6 Twin Turbo Engine
- Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
- 4-Piston Brembo Calipers
- ELS Sound 3D Signature Edition Premium Audio System with 25 Speakers
- Three Seating Rows
- Exclusive Type S Styling
- Adaptive Air Suspension
- Model: MDX Type S
- Engine:: 3.0-liter V-6 Twin Turbo
- Power Output: 355 HP
- Torque: 354 LB-FT
- Range: 352 Miles
- Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic
- Driveline: All-Wheel Drive
- MSRP: $66,700
- MSRP (As Tested): $73,595
- Punchy Turbocharged Engine
- Superb Handling
- Excellent Interior Comfort and Amenities
- Braking Could Be Sharper
- Tires Don't Match The Type S Performance
- Transmission Can Be Indecisive When Pushed
Performance And Handling
2022 Acura MDX Type S Right 3/4 Front
Upping the performance ante is Acura’s turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 cranking out a punchy 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, putting the power down via the brand’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system and a retuned 10-speed automatic transmission.
With the lovely growl piped into the cabin, there’s a healthy bite to match its bark, which speaks to the Type S’ lively personality. A wink and a nod to the ample torque, as its good low-end shove makes everyday city driving and passing a breeze. Plentiful power remains on tap while stretching the legs of the MDX Type S, and yet, it doesn’t crest into an unmanageable realm — engaging, not excessive. Coloring the whole experience are various driving modes: Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+ (exclusive to the Type S), Individual, Snow, and Lift (raises the chassis by 50mm).
All of these do far more than alter throttle response and shifting patterns, as they inform the Type S’ standard air suspension and adaptive damping settings. Sport and Sport+ are best sampled in twisting mountain roads, where the MDX Type S hunkers close to the tarmac and digs into the curves with quick-witted agility, while the all-wheel drive system keeps everything in shape. Though, the transmission does tend to shift a touch early or late when pushed, requiring you to step in with the paddle shifters.
That’s life on the sporting side, whereas the Normal and Comfort modes reinforce the Acura’s well-rounded nature. When not going for quick rips through the canyons, I’d often default to the luxuriously soft Comfort mode and let the MDX’s pillowy air suspension handle rough stuff without flinching.
The takeaway is that the MDX Type S isn’t a one-trick pony, as its chassis can go from taut and tempered at a button’s touch. Snow isn’t something we can readily test in Southern California, though the Lift function is designed to help clear easements. Acura is clear that neither of these settings is for off-road use as if the 21-inch alloy wheels didn’t already convey that message.
2022 Acura MDX Type S 21-Inch Alloy Wheel and Brembo Caliper
The larger brake rotors speak to the MDX Type S' sportier aspirations, but they appease a broader audience than those in the thrill-seeking camp. The brakes lack a firm initial bite that one might anticipate with an athletic crossover like this. Conversely, those who aren’t accustomed to hard-edged braking experiences won’t be taken aback.
And those observations extend to the undeniably handy all-season self-sealing 275/40 section tires that prove themselves more than capable in most situations. Though, you can make them cry for mercy prematurely when tossed into corners with gusto. They’d be perfectly suitable on the standard MDX, while the Type S could benefit from a summer tire option.
The turbocharged mill is EPA rated to achieve 17 city and 21 highway mpg. As usual for Acura and Honda vehicles, it can easily accomplish those figures with a light foot at the pedals. If you’re looking to spin the Type S' turbos up regularly, you’ll pay for it at the pump, but that’s always been the cost of performance.
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2022 Acura MDX Type S Right Profile
For 2022, Acura brought an all-new MDX design to market that promotes a broad and muscular appearance accompanied by sharp bodywork and LED lighting. Overall, the brand is hitting high marks with what it calls “athletic proportions” via the elegantly long hood and massive Acura badge smack in the middle of the attractive diamond grille.
A rear 3/4 shot of a the 2022 Acura MDX Type S
Beyond that, the Type S replaces most of the chrome bits with inky black for a moodier vibe. And, of course, the red Brembo calipers are a racy touch. When equipped with the Advance Package, the sleek 21-inch wheels also feature a machined finish.
Our test unit came in the vivid Apex Blue Pearl ($500), boasting deep finishes from nose to tail. Between the slick badging and subtle design choices, the MDX Type S impresses in person and commands quite a presence in front of a camera lens.
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2022 Acura MDX Type S Review Interior
The standard MDX Type S is dressed to impress, while we tested the fully-loaded version featuring the Advance Package, which takes the luxury experience to new heights. Acura rolls out the red carpet with niceties such as open-pore wood trim, ambient lighting, massaging front seats, leather seating upholstery, and much more. Things are plush and live up to the healthy price tag that the MDX Type flaunts.
The front seats are nothing short of stellar, the second row is more than adequate, and the third row is a bit tight. It’s probably best reserved for rambunctious youngsters or those that simply want to treat to a unique experience.
2022 Acura MDX Type S Center Console and Trackpad
The 25-speaker ELS sound system is impressive, providing the best acoustic overkill any music fan could want. It’s crisp, clear, and vibrant, yet those qualities improve as you crank up the tunes. Acura employs a novel touchpad to interact with its attractive 12.3-inch infotainment system. As part of a generation raised by gaming consoles and someone frequently stuck behind a laptop, the trackpad feels intuitive.
And since you’re not reaching for a touchscreen, the display is placed higher on the dash, directly in your eye line. That means less attention is diverted from the road. Now, I won’t deny that this system has a learning curve, and some will take to it faster than others. The trackpad either pleases or perturbs, with little middle ground achieved. Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are seamlessly integrated. The Advance Package also brings other electronic aids, including the 10.5-inch head-up display and a surround-view camera system.
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Price, Warranty, And Key Safety Features
2022 Acura MDX Type S Review Right 3/4 View
The 2022 Acura MDX Type S starts at $66,700 and presents a solid value in the luxury SUV segment. Meanwhile, our fully-loaded 2022 MDX Type S with the Advance Package comes in at $73,595 after adjusting for the following:
- Apex Blue Pearl paint ($500)
- Advance Package ($5,350)
- Destination and Handling ($1,045)
Acura’s AcuraWatch driver aid suite is comprehensive, matching, and in some ways exceeding what the competition offers. Here’s what’s included:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Collision Mitigation Braking
- Forward Collision Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keeping Assist System
- Road Departure Mitigation
- Traffic Jam Assist
- Auto High-Beam Assist
The star of the show is the ACC, which works flawlessly in traffic. Set your distance from the vehicles ahead and actuate the brake pedal as needed. It’s a welcome feature for those battling congested freeways daily. The lane-keeping assist warning is overzealous, and while appreciated, I’d often disable it. Meanwhile, the panic-braking functions are well worth their weight in gold.
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The 2022 Acura MDX Type S Rests At Interaction of Sport, Comfort, and Practicality
2022 Acura MDX Type S Front
Acura has managed to slot the MDX Type S in a unique place within the greater luxury SUV segment. Indeed, its technology and soulful driving experience put it in the same circles as costlier European offerings, yet, it is still focused on the core roles of an SUV. And let’s not mince words here: An SUV that cresting into the $70,000 realm is pricey, though it still hasn’t reached stratospheric heights.
More importantly, storage, cargo capacity, and comfort aren’t compromised in the name of performance. The MDX Type S is still a readily capable sports SUV without taking things too far in any direction — it’s a lesson in balance.