All-new 2022 Acura MDX SUV, front driving

The current Acura MDX is a functional, family-friendly luxury midsized SUV that is comfortable, fuel efficient, and has a quiet cabin. These are just some of the attributes that help it perform well in our road tests and have made it popular with Consumer Reports members. So it isn’t too surprising that the MDX Prototype, which previews the next-gen 2022 Acura MDX, keeps much of what made the midsized three-row SUV a success.

This SUV accounts for nearly a third of Acura's annual sales in the U.S., so the automaker incorporated performance and technology features that it hopes will keep loyal MDX owners satisfied to buy the new one, plus attract those who have never owned an Acura before.

Like the RDX SUV and all-new TLX sedan, which just went on sale, the 2022 MDX will come with a variety of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as standard equipment. It also features Acura’s new infotainment system and control panel, which we’ve used extensively in the RDX and have experienced in the 2021 TLX.

The 2022 MDX will not only face competition from traditional luxury nameplates such as Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Volvo, but it will be challenged by some three-row midsized SUVs that can be outfitted with luxurylike interiors at decidedly non-luxury prices.

The next-generation 2022 MDX will continue to be built in East Liberty, Ohio. The engines, including a high-performance turbocharged V6, will be built in Anna, Ohio, while the transmission is assembled at the company’s manufacturing facility in Tallapoosa, Georgia.

Here’s what we know so far.

What it competes with: Audi Q7, Buick Enclave, Cadillac XT6, Hyundai Palisade, Land Rover Discovery, Infiniti QX60, Kia Telluride Lexus RXL, Lincoln Aviator, Volvo XC90
What it looks like: A more stylish and sculpted version of the current MDX, with an all-new grille, longer nose, and rakish roofline.
Powertrains: 3.5-liter V6 engine with 10-speed automatic transmission; 355-hp (est.), 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine; all-wheel drive
Price: $50,000–$60,000 (estimated)
One sale: Early 2021

CR's Take

The 2022 Acura MDX appears to be upgraded on just about every count. It's a stylish-looking model that is still easily recognized as the MDX. Acura says that it's roomier inside, with more head and cargo space, but the unintuitive Acura infotainment system might be a deal breaker for some buyers.

All-new 2022 Acura MDX SUV, from the side

Outside

It looks as if Acura sent the current MDX to the gym and an exclusive stylist, then wrapped it in designer duds. Even with some bulking up here along with nips and tucks there, the new look doesn’t mask that this is an MDX. 

Acura’s big pentagon-shaped grille is even larger than in the current MDX’s, and it is bracketed by two slim LED-filled headlights and daytime running lights. The SUVs body is lower and wider, and the windows are set further back from the front axle than in the current model.

The SUV's increased width is accentuated by large scoops and ducts on the side of the nose, with small fog lights sitting toward the bottom of the bodywork.

Acura says the 2022 MDX will have a nearly three-inch-longer wheelbase, which has been used to increase passenger and cargo room.

The windows taper toward the rear, meeting at a sharp point on the rear roof pillar. It gives the SUV a coupelike appearance in profile but, according to Acura, third-row headroom has increased in the new MDX. The rear of the SUV is highlighted by LED taillights and stylized tailpipes—it’s unknown if they are functional or decorative.

2022 Acura MDX interior

Inside

Acura took the interior styling of the RDX and all-new TLX sedan and applied it to the larger cabin of the MDX. A few elements dominate the cabin. The very wide center console between the seats houses the Acura True Touchpad, which is how the driver interacts with the infotainment system. The large 12.3-inch display screen that sits at the top, center of the dashboard is where all media, navigation, and vehicle settings are displayed.

The all-new 2022 MDX also gets the same large, snoutlike Drive Mode dial that is found in the RDX and TLX, as well as the NSX supercar. This prominent element takes up a huge space where the center console blends into the lower dashboard.

Given all the new features at the center of the front cabin, it wouldn't be surprising if shoppers overlooked the all-digital 12.3-inch gauge cluster. Acura has replaced the physical gauges with a customizable display it calls the Precision Cockpit.

The MDX prototype has rich-looking leather seats with detailed stitching for all three rows, along with leather-trimmed doors and armrests. The front sport seats pictured here have large bolsters and feature 16-way power adjustments with nine different massage modes—likely to be optional equipment on the real thing. Folding down the center seatback in the second row reveals a padded armrest with two cupholders and a storage compartment. 

Acura says the larger MDX will have more legroom in all three rows, and headroom has been increased for those in the front- and rear-most seats.

2022 Acura MDX seating

What Drives It

Acura will offer two engines in the 2022 MDX. Most versions will get a 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is used in the current MDX, and makes 290 hp. Acura hasn't announced the power output for the next MDX.

There will also be a performance-oriented MDX Type S version that, like the Type S version in the redesigned TLX, will feature a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine. Acura estimates it will produce 355 hp and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, and notes that it's the most powerful engine ever offered in an Acura SUV.

While the regular MDX will be available with front- or all-wheel drive, the MDX Type S models will come standard with all-wheel drive.

Like the new TLX, the 2022 MDX uses a double-wishbone front suspension. This is a more complicated and expensive design than what was used in the last MDX, and its main advantage should be improved handling. Acura says it used this suspension for handling and ride comfort improvements over the previous generation.

2022 Acura MDX rear view

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

All versions of the 2022 MDX will come with the AcuraWatch system of safety and driver-assist features as standard equipment. The system includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control as standard.

In addition, Acura told us that blind spot warning will also be standard. We applaud this move by the automaker to make BSW standard on all versions of the MDX. It also means that the MDX will be eligible to get full safety points in its Overall Score when we test it.