2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Type S Review

Aspirational with the stuff to get there

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Tremendously rewarding driving experience, increased power is palpable, best styling of any MDX to date. Good body control, lots of features, real-world mpg beats EPA highway estimate.
Negatives: Still convoluted infotainment setup, annoyingly complex controls.
Bottom Line: The MDX Type S proves that the brand can do premium and power with the big boys, but they still have a long way to go with in-car tech.
Not only is the MDX the best-selling model in the Acura lineup, but it's also the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time. It has also improved over the past three generations with more power, space, and refinement than the one before it. Now, for the fourth-generation MDX, the brand is going upmarket with the more powerful, more expensive, and pretty much more everything MDX Type S. Instead of the already healthy 290 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Type S gets upgraded to a 355-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. The price also jumps from $49k to $67k, which puts it into BMW X5, Audi Q8, and Porsche Cayenne territory. We drove it for a week to see if the Type S makes a compelling case for the big price increase. Read our full review below.

Driving Experience



The MDX Type S fills in the gaps where the standard MDX SH-AWD was lacking and that's with regard to handling and power. The 355-horsepower turbo 6 is a noticeable jump, and the adaptive suspension makes it much more athletic in the turns.

Ride Quality: The MDX Type S still feels very comfortable in everyday driving with a tad more firmness. That said, the adaptive dampers and air suspension are wonderful to experience and just what the MDX was missing. In Sport and Sport+ modes the MDX Type S lowers by 0.6 inch, and Lift mode raises it 2.1 inches.

Acceleration: 0-60 drops from 5.7 seconds in the stock MDX to 5.5 seconds, which isn't huge difference, but the Type S feels more responsive and properly quick.

Braking: The Brembo brakes were strong and easy to modulate. They do feel like they could use more bite when getting heavy on the pedal from

Steering: The steering in the MDX Type S is quick and responsive, but the feel is on the artificial side, making it tough to feel truly connected. The far less powerful and much less expensive Mazda CX-9's steering is better.

Handling: The MDX Type S's adaptive dampers make it very controlled in the turns. It felt very planted thanks to the SH-AWD and the torque vectoring.




Although the new system looks good, it's rather confusing to use. This is not good for an infotainment system that has to be used while driving. While the graphics are better than ever, it's just too convoluted in terms of controls to operate smoothly.

Infotainment System: The touchpad doesn't operate the way you'd expect. You have to select the position on the touchpad to correspond to what you want to use on the screen. It's confusing, annoying, and not well thought out.

Controls: The center stack has to much going on in our opinion. The drive mode selector bisects the climate controls, and the infotainment touchpad is, as we mentioned before, frustrating. We also dislike the pushbutton transmission that carries over from the last model.




The MDX already looks fantastic, and the sportier trim bits give the Type S a more aggressive look that we think is its best styling effort yet. The black grille, black mirrors, and

Front: The diamond pentagon grille is bigger and more dramatic, paired nicely with the jewel-eye headlights. We wish the vents on the lower fascia were real instead of fake.

Rear: The MDX's taillights look fantastic. Instead of the generic-looking versions on the 2021 model, these have a more refined signature that's leaner and more sophisticated. The creases in the liftgate, along with the thin exhaust ports and the wide expanse of a license plate cutout give it a strong stance from the back.

Profile: The profile view shows a leaner but still athletic look. It looks more refined and less bulky with just the right amount of body creasing. There's still a bit too much chrome for our liking, but that should be resolved with the sportier Type S trim coming soon.

Cabin: Materials quality and interior finish are very good. We wish they would use less piano black in the center stack and console.




This is where the MDX also shines because it has room for up to seven people. It's not a huge vehicle inside, but front row occupants have ample space. The back two rows are very comfortable, but things can be tight in the third row for taller adults. Materials are excellent, as are the ergonomics.

Front Seats: Comfort and adjustability are top-notch, and the leather soft and supple. It has aggressive bolstering for spirited driving, and the seats hug the front occupants extremely well. They also have just the right amount of cushioning.

Rear Seats: There's 36.6 inches of 2nd row legroom and 28.1 inches of 3rd row legroom. The 2nd row outboard positions actually have decent bolstering, not something you see often.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The MDX Type S is quiet and composed with very little wind and road noise at high speeds. It's also incredibly well-built with no squeaks or rattles.

Visibility: Visibility all around is good with only a bit of compromise due to the raked D-pillars. Rear glass is a good size, making views directly out the back very good.

Climate: The climate system works well, as do the heated and ventilated seats in the first two rows. Airflow is voluminous, as well.




Although the MDX hasn't been tested by the NHTSA, it gets top marks from the IIHS, coupled with the fact that it's packed with excellent safety features that should make families confident in the purchase.

IIHS Rating: It's hard to imagine a vehicle scoring better than the MDX did. Not only did it earn the Top Safety Pick+ rating, it scored the maximum in every crash test, crash avoidance tech, and even a rare "good+" for LATCH ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Our tester came standard with Acurawatch, which has Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation, Traffic Jam Assist, and Auto High-Beam Assist. The MDX Advance also comes with Low Speed Braking Control, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, Surround View Camera, and a head-up display.

Optional Tech: None.




There's a lot to love about the usable interior space in the MDX. While we wish the center console was a bit more accommodating, Acura did a good job for the front and rear occupants for the most part. The cargo area is bigger than we expected, as well.

Storage Space: There's a small open binnacle in the center console, and the wireless phone charging tray is handy. We do wish there was a larger open space for other items, but at least the door pockets and center armrest compartment are sizable.

Cargo Room: 18.1 cubes behind the third row is decent, but it's the huge 95 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded flat that impresses us.

Fuel Economy



We really drove the MDX Type S fairly aggressively, so there wasn't much of an attempt to maximize the mileage. Put the vehicle in Sport mode, and things go thirsty fast.

Observed: 13.6 mpg.

Distance Driven: 172 miles.




Our MDX Type S Advancew came standard with the excellent Acura ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio w/ 16 speakers. We cranked up the tunes and found the system powerful, rich, and with good clarity. It's a great system, but not as good as the Mark Levinson system found in Lexus models.

Final Thoughts

The MDX is a top-seller for a reason, but now the brand has made this model the best in its four generations. The Type S antes up the power and refinement properly, but we're not sure it will be subbed out by Bimmer and Audi buyers who want brand cache.
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