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  • Writer's pictureCory Fourniquet

2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance: Better than Waiting on a Mazda CX-90?

It appears that the performance, 3-row SUV market is going to be hotly contested, especially in the premium segment. We recently drove the brand new 2024 Mazda CX-90 which is set to rival this 2022 Acura MDX in the Type S trim.

Acura, the premium brand from Honda, is not only a luxurious brand but one that prides itself on driving exhilaration. Look no further than their Type S sub-brand of vehicles. The outgoing NSX supercar wore a Type S badge and was highly sought after, the TLX sedan makes a convincing case versus its rivals in Type S guise, and the Integra Type S is on its way to American shores as a premium alternative to the Honda Civic Type R.

Acura’s website claims “the newest generation of Type S propels us toward the pinnacle of Precision Crafted Performance™ with enhanced power, effortless maneuverability, and elevated style.”

The Acura MDX Type S Advance really is a premium vehicle and, in our time testing it, actually delivered an exhilarating driving experience. It is the latest addition to Acura's Type S lineup and is the first 3-row SUV to wear the coveted Type S badge.

Under the hood of our 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance lies a powerful 3.0L turbo V6 engine that generates an impressive 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, which are not far off the marque of the new Mazda CX-90 Turbo S’s 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Acura’s V6 is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth and seamless gear changes and boasts 2 more gears than the new 8-speed box in the Mazda. The MDX Type S also features a rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system that helps to distribute power to the wheels where it is needed the most, providing excellent grip and handling, similar to the formula Mazda employs in the CX-90 with their standard, rear-biased i-Activ AWD.

The MDX Type S has a suspension setup more complex than the Mazda thanks to its dynamic air suspension that adjusts the vehicle’s ride height depending on drive mode. In our first excursion in this MDX last fall, we took the MDX off-road in the highest “Lift” drive mode, but the Sport and Sport+ drive modes lower the vehicle down for better aerodynamics. I would say that the MDX’s double-wishbone front suspension and dynamic air suspension work together to provide a smooth and comfortable ride no matter the situation. The Brembo front brakes bit well while exploring my favorite backroads and ensured that I could bring the MDX to a stop quickly or through a corner safely.

The interior of our Acura MDX Type S Advance is luxurious and spacious, with seating for seven passengers. The front seats are heated, ventilated, and massaging, which made driving a pleasure in city traffic or carving corners in the country. We especially loved the quick access button to engage the massage feature right on the dash next to the heat and ventilation buttons. The second-row bench seat features a fold-down center backrest and a removable center seat, making it easy to configure the interior to suit your needs. The 50/50 split third row provides additional seating when needed.

My favorite feature of the interior was the Azurite Blue leather seats, and premium leather-wrapped dash, complemented by open-pore wood accents that added a touch of elegance and sophistication to the interior. I love when automakers give us color inside the vehicle and this dark navy blue with the contrasting grey piping and stitching really impressed me. The panoramic moonroof provided an expansive view of the sky, while the 12.3-inch infotainment screen gave me access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, controlled by a rather infuriating touchpad interface. Lexus has given up on its trackpads, I hope Acura learns from its rival and does the same.

In addition to the fully digital gauge cluster, I also had an easy-to-read head-up display that provided me with critical information without taking my eyes off the road.

We never really test the sound systems too much in our week with vehicles, but this Acura hosted an ELS STUDIO 3D Signature Edition Premium Audio System with 25 speakers. Tucker’s dinosaur songs never sounded better. Speaking of Tucker, he had his own zone of air-conditioning thanks to the tri-zone automatic climate control system that we could control from the front.

Seating was fine in the front two rows, but the third row left a little to be desired by my 5’10” frame. My head was gracing the ceiling and the second row met with my knees, which makes this third row more of a bonus seat for adults. Acura chose exterior style over third-row comfort, the inverse of their rivals at Mazda. The Mazda definitely had more of a hunchback look to it, but it made the rear much more hospitable to adults.

Speaking of exterior styling, I much prefer the overall look of this MDX over the Mazda myself. The tight lines, sharp angles, and big Acura logo in the grille definitely give the MDX presence on the road. The side profile definitely benefits from Acrua not giving that third row as much headroom as Mazda.

By the numbers, the MDX Type S Advance offers plenty of storage space for all your belongings, however in our real-world load-testing of our luggage set, the 50/50 split rear seat had to be folded to lay our largest suitcase flat. The rear section did have a false load floor which hid some additional storage and give the MDX up to 18.1 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row. If you need more space, the third and second-row seats can be folded down to provide up to 48.4 cubic feet and 95 cubic feet, respectively.

The 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance has a starting price of $67,850, making it a hare more expensive than the Mazda CX-90 Turbo S Premium Plus which starts at $59,950. Our tester topped the scales at a hefty $73,595, quite the premium over the Mazda competition, but with additional features like the massaging seats and adaptive suspension.

2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance Specs:

  • 3.0L Turbo V-6 Engine

  • 355 Horsepower

  • 354 lb-ft of Torque

  • 10-speed Automatic

  • Rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™

  • Brembo® Front Brake Calipers

  • Double-wishbone Front Suspension

  • Dynamic Air Suspension

  • Quad Exhaust Outlets

  • Six Driver-selectable Drive Modes

    • Snow

    • Comfort

    • Normal

    • Sport

    • Sport+

    • Lift

  • Seating for 7

  • Heated, Ventilated, and Massaging Front Seats

  • Second Row Bench Seat with Fold Down Center Backrest and Removable Center Seat

  • 50/50 Split 2-person Third Row

  • Azurite Blue Leather

  • Premium Leather Seats and Leather-wrapped Dash

  • Heated Steering Wheel

  • Open-pore Wood Accents

  • Panoramic Moonroof

  • 12.3-inch Infotainment Screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

    • Controlled by a Touchpad Interface

  • Full Digital Gauge Cluster

  • 21-inch Berlina Black and Machine Finish Wheels

  • 275/40 R21 Continental CrossContact Tires

  • Up to 5,000 lbs. Tow Capacity

  • Power Liftgate

  • Tri-zone Automatic Climate Control

  • ELS STUDIO 3D® Signature Edition Premium Audio System with 25 Speakers

  • Head-Up Display

  • Proximity Key with Push Button Start

  • Up to 18.1 Cubic Feet of Storage Behind the Third Row

  • Up to 48.4 Cubic Feet Behind the Second Row

  • Up to 95 Cubic Feet of Total Storage with All Seats Folded

  • EPA Fuel Economy 17/21/19 (city/hwy/cmb)

  • Starting Price: $67,850 (Type S)

  • Price As Tested: $73,595


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