The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S is the first SUV from the Japanese brand to receive the coveted Type-S badge. In the past, this badge was placed on the most unique and performance focused cars that Acura made. There was the CL, the TL, the RSX (or Integra in other markets), the TLX and now this MDX. But on the MDX, is it more about trying to sell a car or does it actually have the performance to back up this unique badge?
Engine – The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S is powered by a 3.0L turbocharged V6. Power output is rated at 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque (265 kW & 480 Nm). With the SUV tipping the scales at 2,169 kg (4,781 lbs), this engine has enough grunt to accelerate it from 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. Thing is, it’s not the most exciting turbocharged V6 engine around and that is mostly due to the fact that it is very muted. Thanks to government regulations, the exhaust doesn’t let this engine scream its performance when you put your foot down. But this is a remarkable engine when the mood for excitement takes you. It has a very flat torque curve and peak torque is reached at just 1,400 rpms. This allows it to respond quickly and effortlessly when you put your foot down on the throttle pedal.
Fuel Economy – With this being a sporty oriented 3-row SUV, the fuel economy does take a bit of a hit compared to the standard MDX. Officially the 2022 Acura MDX Type-S is rated for 13.8 L/100km (17 MPG) in a city and 11.2 L/100km (21 MPG) on a highway. I managed to average 13.2 L/100km (17.8 MPG) during my time with the SUV which is pretty respectable given the power and weight of the MDX Type-S.
Transmission – The 3.0L turbo V6 is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that has been beefed up to handle the extra grunt of the motor. The programming has also been changed to allow for 40% faster shifts in Sport+ mode. In everyday driving situations, it is just as smooth as the other 10-speed automatic in Acura vehicles.
Braking – Again, because of the added power of the engine, the brakes have had to be upgraded as well. The MDX Type-S receives 4-piston Brembo calipers on the front axle with larger discs. These binders clamp down hard on the discs but the great thing is, they don’t make city driving any less unbearable. If you’re smooth with the brake pedal, you can have smooth stops.
Handling – The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S comes standard with SH-AWD. This is a front-biased AWD system but Acura’s clever engineers have done wonders to reduce the amount of understeer a system like this naturally induces. In the Type-S, the SH-AWD can send up to 70% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels and up to 100% of that to either wheel when driving through a corner. The result is real torque vectoring which can better rotate the big SUV around twists and turns.
The 2022 MDX Type-S also benefits from adaptive and air suspension. A first for Acura. This air suspension setup can dynamically limit more body roll through corners and more quickly settle the body after a big bump or road undulation. There is also the added benefit of raising the body when you find yourself on rougher terrain.
There are also a few drive modes to choose from. These are Lift, Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+ & Individual. These not only change the characteristics of the engine and transmission but also of the steering weight and suspension dynamics.
Ride Comfort – With the aid of the air suspension, the ride of the MDX Type-S is good. Bumps like potholes or manhole covers are still going to be evident but they won’t feel harsh as the tires drive over them.
I do have to mention the seats that come with the MDX Type-S. They are soft and have a lot of adjustments including thigh extension and bolster adjustments. They also have a massage feature built in that genuinely feels good after a long day at the office.
Interior Space – First and second row occupants have a generous amount of space. Tall adults like myself at 6’4” can easily find a comfortable seating position in the front seats. The second row seats have just enough legroom behind my driving position for someone of my height. Also, you can remove the center seat for a pass-through. The third row, however, is to be only used by children. Legroom & headroom is extremely tight for an adult, even an average height adult. But getting into the back is super easy because there’s a button at the bottom of the second row seat. Push it and the seat springs into its most forward position. Best of all, when you push it back, it returns to the position it was rather than a default position.
Further behind the 3rd row, the trunk has quite a bit of cargo capacity. 513 L (18.1 cu-ft) with all rows of seats up, 1,368 L (48.3 cu-ft) with the 3rd row folded, & 2,690 L (95 cu-ft) with the 2nd & 3rd rows folded. There’s also a pretty sizable compartment underneath the floor that will easily fit a backpack and camera equipment.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The cabin is pretty quiet when driving around a bustling city. Engine noise is muted, unfortunately, and road noise is subdued. However, at higher speeds, the 21-inch summer tires can induce a lot of noise into the cabin. It’s not too bad if you listen to the radio while driving.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S can be yours for $79,000 CAD ($66,700 USD). This demo vehicle is the Ultra which will cost you $83,000 CAD ($72,050 USD, Advance).
Gadgets – For the money, this MDX Type-S is fully loaded with everything in the Acura features catalog. Leather upholstery, heated & ventilated & massaging front seats, heated 2nd row seats, panoramic sunroof, power programmable liftgate, head-up display, surround view cameras, satellite navigation, wireless CarPlay & Android Auto, ELS 3D audio system, wireless phone charging, and the list goes on and on.
The infotainment system is one that is used in all new Acura models. The screen is 12.3” in size and it is controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Acura calls it a True Touchpad Interface which means that wherever you touch on the pad, let’s say top right corner, then the top right item on the screen is highlighted. It takes a while to get used to this system but muscle memory eventually wins over. However, if you use Carplay or Android Auto often, this touchpad is extremely frustrating to use. It reverts to being controlled like a laptop touchpad so you’re endlessly swiping to highlight the item that you want in those apps. CarPlay & Android Auto were designed to work best with a touchscreen not a touchpad.
Interior Design – The MDX Type-S has an interior that is identical to the MDX A-Spec. In fact, the only way to tell that you’re in a special version of the MDX is by looking at the Type-S badge on the door sill or the little Type-S badge on the steering wheel. Apart from those two things, the Type-S receives the same steering wheel, the same red stitching (with black leather interior), the same ambient lighting system, the same trim pieces, everything is the same as the A-Spec. It’s not a bad looking interior by any means. But for a special trim like the Type-S, I was expecting something a bit more unique.
Exterior Design – On the outside, it is a little bit easier to distinguish the Type-S MDX from other trim levels. The biggest being all of the Type-S badges on the car. The next are the 4 exhaust pipes out the back. And finally, the large and bright red Brembo calipers behind the unique 21-inch wheels. There’s also the front grille which is actually functional. Normally, the diamond shapes in the grille are covered pieces. On the MDX Type-S, they are hollow to allow for more air that gets directed into the air box for the turbocharger.
Safety – The base trim of the Acura MDX receives all of the available standard and advanced safety systems except for low speed emergency braking. Moving up a trim will get you that feature. So the MDX Type-S already has all of the available safety features to keep you and your family safe.
The IIHS also thinks that this is a safe SUV which is why it was awarded with a Top Safety Pick+. It received good scores throughout every test they conducted.
Warranty – The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S has a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty and a 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. This powertrain warranty is 6 years & 70,000 miles in the United States. For more information on Acura’s Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – The 2022 Acura MDX Type-S sits in its own little bubble of the luxury 3-row SUV market. It doesn’t have that many direct competitors. The Mercedes GLE 450 is focused way more on luxury than sporty driving. The BMW X5 40i is more of a competitor to the MDX Type-S but once you add on packages and options to it, it becomes significantly more expensive. The only car that comes close to offering similar performance and value is maybe the Genesis GV80 with the twin-turbo V6. However, in my opinion, that one is also focused a bit more on luxury than driving dynamics.So this MDX Type-S is a great value SUV for those that want good driving characteristics but need to take the family on road trips too.
Thank you to Acura Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Acura.ca