From Car and Driver
- The 2022 Acura MDX will go on sale early next year offering more standard features, a more luxurious interior, and improved performance.
- Next summer, the MDX Type S is coming; it will have a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with an estimated 355 horsepower.
- Acura’s new flagship has a standard 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a new 10-speed automatic transmission, and an upgraded suspension.
Acura will introduce an all-new version of its best-seller early next year. The 2022 Acura MDX will be packing more size, performance, luxury, and standard features than the popular SUV ever has before. Now the self-proclaimed “performance division of Honda,” Acura, is riding high on the strong sales of the RDX and the positive reception of its recently redesigned TLX, but it’s the fourth generation of the MDX that’s most important to its future.
Last year Acura sold about 50,000 MDXs, which was nearly a third of its total volume. (Acura’s skipping the 2021 model year, by the way, and calling this a 2022.) The company has sold over a million MDXs in all since its debut as a 2001 model. That not only makes it the best-selling Acura of all time but the best-selling three-row luxury SUV in history. In spite of all that success, Acura is now attempting to reposition its largest SUV in the increasingly competitive luxury-SUV landscape. “We’re changing the direction of the MDX,” says Art St. Cyr, Acura’s VP of automobile operations. “It’s going upmarket.”
Upmarket means moving it closer in price, features, and performance to the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-class, and Audi Q7. Until now, the MDX has lived in the heart of the segment with the Lexus RX, Infiniti QX60, Cadillac XT6, and the soon to be introduced Genesis GV80. “The heritage of the MDX was at risk,” says the Acura’s global development leader, Tom Nguyen. “The vehicle was dangerously close to becoming mainstream. We had to go big.”
That’s big as in better, not big like Escalade, although the SUV is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. Built on an all-new light truck platform, it also has a three-inch-longer wheelbase, wider tracks, and sheds its strut front suspension for unequal-length control arms with more travel and improved geometry. Its rear subframe and independent rear suspension have also been redesigned, and for the first time its front damper houses are aluminum, so they’re lighter and more robust.
Spring and damping rates are increased, anti-roll bars are stiffer, and the MDX prototype’s 21-inch wheels and tires will make production. The SUV wears all-season Continental CrossContact tires sized 275/40R-21. According to Acura VP and brand officer John Ikeda, for now summer tires aren’t in the plan. Even the MDX Type S, which will reach dealers next summer, will wear all-season rubber.
The new front suspension also allowed the designers to lower the hood. They’ve also increased the SUV’s dash-to-axle length by 5.9 inches, so it’s proportioned more like its German targets. Nguyen says weight is up slightly but