2022 Acura MDX

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2022 Acura MDX
2022 Acura MDX

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2022 Acura MDX review: Our expert's take

By Jennifer Geiger

The verdict: A redesign takes the three-row 2022 Acura MDX SUV to new heights of family-friendly refinement, but its maddening multimedia system remains the cabin’s black sheep. 

Versus the competition: The MDX delivers an appealing package highlighted by a solid powertrain, composed road manners and a comfortable cabin, but others in the class have less complicated controls and more efficient powertrain options. 

Acura’s largest MDX SUV rides on a new platform, grows in size and gets a new multimedia system for 2022 after one model year off. The MDX competes against the likes of the Genesis GV80, Lexus RX 350L and Lincoln Aviator. See the rivals compared

Smooth Power, Questionable Efficiency

The sole powertrain is a 3.5-liter V-6 good for 290 horsepower with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and it’s a solid pair. The previous model’s nine-speed automatic was sometimes unpredictable and slow to respond. There’s none of that here — shifts are quick and smooth, furnishing easy power and very little gear-hunting. 

The MDX rides on a new platform with a more rigid body and new suspension setup. The result is a comfortable ride and handling balance, with most bumps absorbed nicely and body motions kept in check; it matches the GV80 in maneuverability but feels more agile than the Aviator.  Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System is again standard and features driver-selectable Snow, Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. I felt the biggest difference in Sport mode, which added punchier acceleration, firmer steering feedback and a throatier exhaust note; it also disengages the automatic engine stop-start system. 

Acura estimates that the 2022 MDX in front-drive form will get 19/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined, while all-wheel drive subtracts 1 mpg highway and combined (the EPA had not released official estimates for the ’22 MDX as of publication). These numbers are slightly lower than the previous gen’s 20/27/23 mpg EPA ratings. They’re also lower than some competitors’ two-wheel-drive estimates: The Genesis GV80 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder estimated to get 21/25/23 mpg; it’s also available with a V-6 rated at 18/23/20 mpg. The Lincoln Aviator, meanwhile, comes standard with a six-cylinder and fuel economy of 18/26/21 mpg; a plug-in-hybrid version is available. The V-6 Lexus RX 350L has an EPA-estimated rating of 19/26/22 mpg and also offers a hybrid variant. The previous MDX featured a hybrid model; no word yet on if that’ll rejoin the lineup.

What is coming is a sport-oriented MDX Type S, which will use a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 good for an estimated 355 hp and 354 pounds-feet of torque; Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive will be standard. Other Type S goodies include standard 21-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, a more premium interior and a more powerful audio system. No word yet on Type S pricing, but it will be a late addition to the lineup. 

Technology Overthink

The MDX makes advances in technology with an updated multimedia interface and new capabilities, but they come at the cost of usability. 

The large 12.3-inch screen sits high on the dash for easy viewing. It’s divided into two sections and both have crisp graphics, straightforward menus and a speedy response time. But while it looks much slicker than the outgoing version, using it was often a struggle. The screen would be within easy reach of the driver — if it were a touchscreen. Alas, the system is controlled via a pair of console-area touchpads that take a lot of getting used to. Even after changing the sensitivity of the touchpad, I struggled to complete tasks in one try as I normally would be able to do with a touchscreen system like the Aviator has. In general, this setup steals focus from the road and feels inherently more complicated (and frustrating) to use than a touchscreen. 

Under the screen there are a lot of physical controls — buttons and dials — which usually help offset the complexity of a touchpad, but even their execution didn’t quite land. While there’s a handy volume knob, there’s no tuning knob, for example; instead, there are two unlabeled arrow buttons. Also, the large drive mode selector dial is nestled within the climate controls and easily mistaken for one of them. 

It’s not ideal, but it’s not all bad, either — and it’s actually a step up from the old clunky two-screen system that we weren’t wild about. In fact, the setup is easier to get used to than some rivals, specifically Lexus’ touchpad setup (which thankfully now comes with a touchscreen), which I found to be even more complex and maddening. 

Also, the system’s Amazon Alexa integration is a big asset. After logging into my Alexa account, I was able to launch my Amazon Music playlist, add items to my family’s grocery list and navigate to the nearest Dunkin Donuts — all using a very accurate voice command system. Alexa even tells stories and jokes (and burps on command — discovered by my kids). I could even connect to my smart home hub and change my thermostat from the car, handy for making adjustments while on vacation. The system also comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Wi-Fi hot spot capability. 

Extra Convenience, Added Comfort

Acura made further strides into luxury territory with the MDX’s upgraded cabin materials. Standouts include classy open-pore wood, lush Milano leather seats and pops of aluminum. The upper-door area could use some more padding and there’s some cheap plastic below arm level, but overall, it’s a cut above the outgoing cabin in design and quality. 

It’s also more functional, with a newfound family focus that shows up in the form of some minivan-inspired features. First, the CabinTalk system, which debuted on the Odyssey minivan from Acura parent Honda, is now available on the MDX. The microphone-based system projects the driver’s voice to the second and third rows. I found it gimmicky in the Odyssey and not super-necessary in the smaller MDX, but some families might find it helpful. I’m a big fan of Honda’s useful camera-based CabinWatch system, but that’s not available in the MDX. 

Next, the second row got a revamp, making it more versatile for kids in car seats with redesigned Latch anchors that are easier to find and use as well as a third set of Latch anchors for the middle seat, an uncommon (and welcome) provision.  Check out our full Car Seat Check

The middle seat itself is also new and again borrowed from the minivan playbook. It’s removable, so the second row can be used either like a bench seat, which accommodates three car seats across, or as captain’s chairs. I appreciate the added flexibility, but removing the seat requires some muscle — it’s heavy and awkward. Once it’s out though, it leaves a big minivan-like aisle nearly 14 inches wide. Another option for third-row access is the easy push-button walk-in feature on each outboard seat, which quickly collapses the second-row seat and slides it forward. This won’t work with car seats installed, however, and the opening is a bit small.

But you’ll probably only be hustling kids into the third row anyway. Although Acura says room has increased for 2022, space in the wayback is still pint-sized, with no knee clearance if the adjustable second row is positioned all the way back. There are new USB ports in back for passengers in the Advance Package trim, but no third-row Latch anchors — a curious omission given that an extra set was added to the second row.  

We measured 23.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 11.5 cubic feet behind the third row. Wary of how manufacturers measure cargo space, Cars.com has begun measuring the space behind our test vehicles’ second and third rows, and our numbers place the MDX ahead of the three-row version of the Genesis GV80 (22.1 cubic feet behind the second row and 6.8 cubic feet behind the third row) and Lincoln Aviator (23.1 behind the second row and 10.5 behind the third). We have not yet measured the Lexus RX 350L. 

A few new handy features also make the space both more useful and easier to use, including a larger underfloor storage cubby and a two-tier reversible cargo floor with an easy-clean hard plastic side for messy stuff. A kick-activated liftgate joins the feature list this year, as well as a handy new grab ’n go button (the latter for just the Advance Package trim): Press the button to close the liftgate and finish your business without rushing. It will close once it senses you’re gone, or within 30 seconds, and then lock all the doors. 

Safety and Value

Several new standard safety features join the MDX equipment list, including the new Traffic Jam Assist system, which enables lane-centering steering down to a stop. Other newbies include traffic sign recognition, pedestrian detection and a new driver attention monitor. These join the already standard AcuraWatch suite of active safety and driver assistance features, which include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

New optional safety features include a front and rear automatic braking system called Low Speed Braking Control, which is included in the Technology Package. It uses sonar-based parking sensors to sense solid objects at low speeds and then warns the driver or applies the brakes.

The 2022 MDX starts at $47,925 (all prices include destination) in base front-wheel-drive trim, which is just above model-year 2020’s $45,525 starting price. All-wheel-drive versions start at $49,925 compared with 2020’s $47,525. I tested a top-line MDX with the Advance Package at a price of $61,675. The RX 350L is similarly priced, but the GV80 (which comes standard with two rows instead of the MDX’s three) and Aviator start a couple of thousand dollars higher

My family of five and I found a lot to like about the new MDX — multimedia-induced temper tantrums notwithstanding.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Jennifer Geiger
News Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior design 4.8
  • Performance 4.9
  • Value for the money 4.9
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 4.9

Most recent consumer reviews


Love this car!

I am in love with this car. My entire family loves it too. The exterior and interior design is so slick and sexy. The car has SO MUCH leg space. My husband is 6’3” and he vouches for the space. The rear sitting areas are equally comfortable. Car drives so smoothly and causes minimal exertion while on a long distance trip. The car is so tech savvy! Has inbuilt navigation system as well as Alexa as a basic default as a art system. On top, you can access Siri too. The most awesome feature is the extended sunroof. Car has remote start from app. The Cabin control app also allows the passengers to control their temperature, fan, even sunroof length.


Very stylish ,comfortable ride

We were looking for a while ,we like the look and ride of this car technology is great! Very roomy like that we have a 3rd. Row if needed.


Most comfortable car to drive

I love the styling and the new design. It handles like a smaller vehicle but the ride is smooth and quite. I am enjoying using the Level 3 autonomous driving that only Honda and Tesla posses. The car ticks all my wants for technology and comfort.

See all 15 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Acura
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Six model years and less than 80,000 odometer miles
Basic warranty terms
Precision Certified: 24 months or up to 100,000 miles
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
182-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

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