Last time when I took the 2019 Acura MDX on a road trip to the Okanagan, it didn’t leave me with a great impression. Back then, the powertrain felt underwhelming for the mountainous roads and the interior felt dated. Fast forward to 2021 and I had the completely redesigned MDX for a week; both the driving experience and the interior design are much more appealing.
So, what’s changed? While the engine is still 3.5L V6 that produces 290hp and 267lb-ft of torque, it’s now mated to a 10 speed automatic instead of the 9 speed from previous generation. What’s also new for 2022 is the double wishbone front suspension designed for better handling and traction. In addition to mechanical upgrades, the interior received a tremendous amount of makeover and is honestly long overdue. The previous generation had a dull interior that lacks premium feel, so it’s nice to see that Acura finally gave the MDX an interior makeover that it deserves.
Sharing design cues with the RDX, the interior of the MDX feels sporty, premium and spacious. My tester was the top-of-the-line Elite trim and offered 16-way power adjustable front and passenger seats with 4-way lumbar support. The seats felt plush and supportive and you sit high with a commanding view. The MDX Elite comes with features you would expect at this price range, such as heated and ventilated seats, head-up display, ambient lighting, 360 degree camera with parking sensors, navigation system, premium ELS audio with 16 speakers, last but not least is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The wireless Android Auto worked seamlessly for me and it never had trouble with connection. Wireless is much more convenient than wired Android Auto.
The only thing I wished Acura would offer is a touch screen display. Acura is persistent with their Touch Pad which is usable but I still rather have a touch screen.
Acura tuned this new generation MDX with sporty handling and acceleration. In normal mode, the MDX is still a bit lazy to shift down; thus, power delivery is not thrilling. Once in Sport mode, the SUV responds quicker and is more eager for speed. Comparing to the RDX which is a smaller vehicle, the RDX felt a bit quicker off the line but the MDX is more than adequate for daily use. One thing that is slightly annoying is the fake engine note that is pushed into the cabin via the speakers. I also noticed that Acura seems to tune the suspension of their SUVs softer; the ride is very comfortable over bumps but somewhat at the expense of lateral body movements. Fuel economy was about 12L/100km over mostly city driving, which isn’t too bad but a plug-in hybrid model would definitely be popular.
Acura MDX is a 7-seat SUV and the third row is good for children. Adults will find the third row lacking in legroom and is not a very comfortable space to be in. Kids will find the third row useable. With the third row folded down, the MDX offers a very spacious trunk and some under-floor storage. The second row is extremely comfortable and there is ample legroom and headroom. The HVAC controls for the second row includes temperature, mode and fan speed. There is also one 12-V outlet, one USB and one regular household outlet which is perfect for plugging in vacuum and inflating those camping air mattresses.
At a starting price of $56,405, the redesigned 2022 MDX offers what you would expect from a premium 7-seater. After driving it for a week, my impression is that this SUV does everything well. It looks contemporary and stylish; its interior is modern and the cabin quality justifies its price tag. It drives like a sporty SUV and offers different modes for various situations. It offers a suite of safety equipment. I honestly think there are no deal-breakers for this redesigned MDX; it’s a very sensible choice for car buyers looking for a reliable and premium 7-seat SUV.
Please check out the gallery below to see the redesigned MDX.