After testing out the new Mazda CX-90 in San Francisco, and Holli testing the INFINITI QX60 in winter conditions in Montana, we now take out the performance luxury SUV from Acura in the MDX Type S.
As a family of three, we recently spent a week living with the 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance, and we were impressed by its performance and features, but it was by far a perfect vehicle. This luxury SUV is packed with advanced technology, luxurious features, and impressive performance capabilities that make it a great choice for families who want both comfort and power, but how does it stack up against its competition from INFINITI and Mazda that we have recently driven?
One of the most notable features of the MDX Type S is its 3.0L turbo V-6 engine, which delivers an impressive 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-biased Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ system provide a means to get the power to the ground, but something there does not translate perfectly from those statistics to reality. While the power numbers are similar to its competition, and possessing a transmission with 2 extra gears, one would assume that the driving experience in Acura’s most athletic version of the MDX is nothing short of stellar. In track-type environments, it is. In city traffic… not so much.
The 10-speed seemed slow to respond to driver input on the throttle in stop-and-go traffic, making this powerful and quick SUV feel large and sluggish. We will note that this feeling was only noticeable in Normal drive mode. Switch the dial to Sport or Sport+ and all seemed to be forgiven as the vehicle seemed much more receptive to quick starts from a standstill.
Speaking of drive modes, the MDX Type S also comes with six driver-selectable modes, including Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Lift. These modes allow you to adjust the vehicle's performance and handling to suit your driving style and road conditions. In addition to our woes with Normal mode in traffic, Lift really is best left for exploring off-road as it firms up the ride and makes it evident that the vehicle is on its toes. Comfort made for nice cruising on highway stretches, and even declutters the instrument cluster.
As a family vehicle, the MDX Type S has a lot to offer. It seats up to seven people comfortably, with heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats and a second-row bench seat with a fold-down center backrest and removable center seat. Those with many child seats will rejoice that all three center-row positions each feature two lower latches and a top tether for securing child safety seats. The third row is a 50/50 split 2-person seat, providing enough space for two small adults or children.
The vehicle's interior is finished with Azurite Blue leather seats as well as a leather-wrapped dash, along with open-pore wood accents. The panoramic moonroof provides plenty of natural light, making the cabin feel spacious and airy. The 12.3-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is controlled by an infuriating touchpad interface, making it somewhat cumbersome to operate in a pinch. Other automakers like Lexus have decided to move away from these touch interfaces, we hope Acura gets the memo.
Other features include the 21-inch Berlina Black and Machine Finish Wheels and slick exterior styling with a large grille boasting thoughtful design elements that provide a sense of motion. The ELS STUDIO 3D® Signature Edition Premium Audio System with 25 speakers made Tucker’s dinosaur songs sound amazing and the head-up display kept us both informed while driving. The MDX Type S also comes with a power liftgate with a smart close button, tri-zone automatic climate control to keep us all comfortable, and up to 18.1 cubic feet of storage behind the third row, which expands to 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row and up to 95 cubic feet of total storage with all seats folded.
When it comes to fuel economy, the MDX Type S gets an EPA-estimated 17/21/19 (city/highway/combined) mpg, which is decent for a vehicle of its size and performance capabilities, but does not live up to the results seen in the hybrid Mazda CX-90 we recently drove.
Overall, the 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance is an impressive luxury SUV that offers a great combination of performance, technology, and comfort. With its powerful engine, advanced handling capabilities, and spacious interior, it's a good choice for families who want both luxury and practicality. The only downside is the starting price of $67,850, which may be a bit steep for some families, easily overshadowing the price of the more affordable Mazda. However, for those who can afford it, the MDX Type S is definitely worth considering.
2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance Specs:
3.0L Turbo V-6 Engine
354 lb-ft of Torque
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
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
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
Tri-zone Automatic Climate Control
ELS STUDIO 3D® Signature Edition Premium Audio System with 25 Speakers
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