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2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

As the market for cars continues to shrink, SUVs are playing a larger role in niche segments. And there's no better proof of this than the expanding availability of performance SUVs, including the redesigned 2022 Acura MDX Type S. 

Coinciding with the launch of the fourth-generation MDX, which skipped the 2021 model year and debuted for 2022, the all-new MDX Type S is packing improved performance and handling capabilities.

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2022 Acura MDX Type S Exterior

2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

Right out of the gate, the 2022 Acura MDX looks sportier than its predecessor, and showcases the bold new design language we first saw with the RDX A-Spec

While the last generation MDX was no slouch in the styling department, the overall look and stance of this new model makes it look even better. The front fascia which features a larger, more upright grille, and narrow LED headlights, is probably where the tweaks are most notable.   

With its added performance, the MDX Type S gets a sportier exterior featuring enlarged side air inlets in the front fascia, blacked-out body trim, quadruple exhaust outlets, and 21-inch wheels which expose red brake calipers. This particular MDX Type S had a restrained look to it, as it was painted in Lunar Silver Metallic hue (the only non-premium paint color). But if brighter colors are your thing, the MDX is also offered in Tiger Eye Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, and Apex Blue Pearl.

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2022 Acura MDX Type S Interior

2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

To match its aggressive exterior, the 2022 Acura MDX gets a stylish, high-tech cabin design that retains a luxurious feel. The driver gets a pair of 12.3-inch displays (for the gauge cluster and infotainment system), along with a flat-bottom steering wheel. This trick tiller is wrapped in perforated leather and fitted with oversized shift paddles which facilitate spirited driving.

For a vehicle with sporty intentions, the seat bolstering isn't as performance-oriented as the Type S name implies. But that could be a selling point for buyers looking for a more comfortable experience from their performance SUV. For maximum comfort, the $5,350 Advance Package adds massaging front seats, a 25-speaker Acura ELS 3D audio system, head-up display, heated outboard second-row seats and a hands-free liftgate. This cabin definitely has an eye-catching look with the Azurite Blue leather (exclusive to the Type S) that features an intricate stich pattern on the seat backs. Perhaps the one downside of this interior is the small touchpad controller for the infotainment screen, which lacks the size and ease of use delivered by the MDX's rotary drive mode selector and push-button gear selector.

The 2022 Acura MDX is longer and wider than the previous model. There's an extra 2.8 inches of wheelbase, and these added dimensions result in a roomier cabin. The 2022 MDX can seat up to seven passengers, but the second row features a removable center seat, allowing for a six-passenger configuration. Sitting in the first and second rows, the roomier dimensions are obvious, but the biggest gains were added to the third row, which receives considerably more hip room and shoulder room. 

With 16.1 cubic feet available behind the third row, and up to 71.4 cubic feet with both rear rows folded flat, cargo space is up as well. Previous models offered 14.8 cubic feet and 67.9 cubic feet, respectively.

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2022 Acura MDX Type S Powertrain

2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

In base form, the 2022 MDX comes with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. But the Type S upgrades to a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that puts out 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and while the base MDX can be optioned up with Acura's advanced Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, the Type S gets this as standard equipment. 

The added power and standard AWD system drops the fuel economy slightly compared to the base MDX. But with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 17 city and 21 highway, the Type S still returns respectable efficiency.

In addition to SH-AWD, the MDX Type S comes with the new-for-2022 adaptive air suspension system. Not only does this suspension deliver a smooth ride and  ultra-responsive handling, it also adjusts the MDX's ride height. In Sport and Sport+ modes, the suspension hunkers down the stance by 0.6 inches, and for added clearance in more rugged terrain, the Lift mode raises the MDX two inches over its default ride height. Overall, Acura did an excellent job of balancing comfort and performance on the MDX Type S.

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2022 Acura MDX Type S Safety

2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

While the SH-AWD versions of the 2022 Acura MDX have yet to be fully rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FWD models earned a 5-Star overall crash rating. 

All 2022 MDX trim levels come standard with Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Braking With Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control With Low-Speed Follow, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, while the Type S adds Rain Sensing Wipers, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, along with parking sensors front and rear. 

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2022 Acura MDX Type S Overall

2022 Acura MDX Type S Test Drive

The 2022 Acura MDX Type S might not offer the level of raw performance BMW, Audi, or Mercedes do. But it delivers more excitement than most of its three-row, mid-size luxury SUV rivals, including the Infiniti QX60 and Cadillac XT6.

As new-vehicle prices have risen, the 2022 MDX remains reasonably priced. The cost of entry starts at $48,000, but opting for the added style and performance of the Type S raises the price point to $66,700. Factor in the Advance Package, and the as-tested price of this MDX comes to $72,050.

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Jeffrey N. Ross | November 18, 2022

2022 Acura MDX Type S

Layout

4-door
5-passenger
AWD

Engine/Transmission

Turbo 3.0L V6
355 hp, 354 lb-ft
10-speed automatic

Mileage

17 / 21 mpg
City / Highway

NHTSA Rating

N/A


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