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  • REVIEW:  2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Type S Advance

    REVIEW:  2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD Type S Advance

    This week I bring you the first Acura SUV to wear the brand's famed Type S performance badge, the flagship 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance. The Type S badging of course made historically famous by the iconic Acura NSX (which by the way just reached the end of production with the 2022 NSX Type S model).  Acura calls the Type S the most premium SUV its ever offered - and I don't disagree. It offers some important firsts for the brand - including the first-ever available massaging front seats in an Acura and perhaps even more importantly, the brand's first-ever air suspension.

    Exterior

    The MDX is a great-looking mid-size SUV, sporty and sophisticated at the same time.  A lot of exterior features differentiate the Type S from the rest of the lineup.  For one, this model wears the Type S-exclusive Tiger Eye Pearl paint.  The Advance package takes things up a notch further with gloss black wheel arch and lower body trim.

     

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    The Type S has a new front fascia with a more aggressive front spoiler, functional side air inlets, and an open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille that increases air flow to the engine bay.  It flanks Acura's Jewel-Eye LED headlights.  The Type S also features black-out trim and rides on 21-inch alloy wheels with Acura's first use of self-sealing tires. You'll also spot red Brembo brake calipers, always great to see.  In back you find quad exhaust finishers and on top the Advance package adds roof rails. 

    Powertrain


    The 2022 MDX starts with a fourth-generation platform engineered for Type S performance. It's powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that delivers 355-horses along with 354 pound-feet of torque.  Acceleration is terrific, as is the smooth-shifting 10-speed transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. Stop/start is a bit notable, but you can turn it off.

    The Type S comes standard with Acura's well-regarded Super Handling All-Wheel Drive  (SH-AWD) system and while yes, it can handle some light off-roading, I myself would prefer to keep this beauty on the pavement.  Notably, I drove the MDX during a torrential, street-flooding thunderstorm and can further attest that SH-AWD gives it incredible confidence on exceptionally wet roads. I felt quite safe too thanks to the grip of the tires. The rain sensing wipers also did their very job well in rough weather conditions.

    Interior

    You enter a tech'd out world when you open the MDX door and slip into the driver's seat. It's a roomy, comfortable space with a sporty vibe.  It's not a minimalistic interior by any stretch of the imagination.  There's a lot going on, and I like it. You're greeted by multi-textured surfaces that include a soft, but not super cushiony, dash along with nice wood trim thanks to the Advance package.  I really like the multi-textured door panels.

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    Type S Advance features include comfortable Sport Milano perforated leather seats with Ultrasuede trim and Type S-embossed headrests. They are 16-way power which is really outstanding,  as well as heated and ventilated. And yes, as I mentioned earlier, the MDX Type S introduces 9-way Massage Function front seats to the entire brand.  I felt like the massage power button was a bit hidden in the center stack controls, but the important part is that I finally figured out it was hiding in, as it were, plain sight.

    The Type S features sport pedals and a flat-bottom steering wheel.   I like the innovative design of the center stack and console area. It's two levels. The top part has your gear shift and I love how designers integrated the USB ports to the left of it. 

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    The MDX features standard 12.3-inch Acura Precision Cockpit all-digital, bright and really well-done, instrument display and Acura's largest ever 12.3-inch ultra wide HD multimedia display.  It sets back in the dash, so it's not a touchscreen. Instead you control it via steering wheel controls or Acura's True Touchpad Interface. There's a learning curve with the system as you'd expect with a touchpad, and swiping between screens was a bit tricky, but I like the palm rest provided, so ergonomically it's at least set up well.  The system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as HD radio, Bluetooth and Alexa Built-In.

    The Acura Navigation Voice Command system works okay for the most part, though it's not my favorite in the industry.   I do like that lists destination choices on the head-up display.  But you don't get navigations instructions in the digital display or head-up display.

    The Advance package's 25-speaker ELS STUDIO 3DÒ Signature Edition premium audio system sounds incredible and features nice speakers.

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    There is plenty of headroom in the MDX and natural light as well thanks to the panoramic sunroof.  There is tri-zone climate in here so everyone stays comfortable temp wise. Second-row passengers can also enjoy the available heated seats and manual sunshades. There's also a very nice, larger than normal drop-down section for 2nd-row passenger with cupholders and cubby hole space. 

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    No power-folding third-seats I'm afraid. But once back in the 3rd row I was pleasantly surprised at the room back there, and could see some adult fitting back there, though I wouldn't want take a cross country road trip back there. There's plenty of cargo space as well.  Especially with the 3rd-row fold-flat seats down. You'll find even more storage underneath the cargo floor.  

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    Packages

    Let's break down the two packages that each add a bunch of goodies to get us to the pinnacle of the lineup status.

    Advance package highlights include massage seats, surround view camera, 2nd-row heated seats, ELS sound system,  the sport front seats, head-up display and wood trim. 

    The Type S designation gives you exclusive badging, Iconic Drive Ambient cabin, the 16-way power front ventilated seats, remote engine start, LED fog lights, rain sensing wipers, sport pedals, second- row sunshades, air suspension, rear-cross traffic monitor and front and rear parking sensors.  

    Safety

    The MDX comes with standard AcuraWatch.  It includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, traffic jam assist and auto high-beam assist.

    IMG_6849I found the semi-autonomous features to work well in the MDX, Lane keep assist kept me in my lane nicely and of course you're warned to keep your hands on the wheel.

    The Type S is equipped with notably one of the largest speed limit head-up displays I've come across.  

    Ride and Drive

    I really like the ride quality in the MDX Type S -- directly attributable to the new air suspension. The ride was smooth even over all of the potholes along my commute and highway driving is even better. The Type S also of course handles very well.  Steering is on the looser side but gets decidedly stiffer as you go up the drive mode chain. I do have to say I didn't find the drive modes terribly intuitive to get the hang of, something unusual for me. Especially Sport+ mode. You have to hold down the drive mode control and twist it at the same time. A little too much for me to handle I guess. This is also a vehicle that feels perfectly weighted to me. Acceleration was great off the line, though I'll always wish for a rear electric motor for more torque and an extra jolt of power.  It does fly though in Sport S+.  It's quietness factor is middle of the road to me, or average.

    Verdict

    The 2022 Acura MDX S Type is an outstanding flagship SUV that has a few things I might make more intuitive for the driver. But the quality ride, premium materials, technology and creature comforts are overall outstanding and for $73,595 I consider it a great value.

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    1. What I Liked Most:  Performance, interior comforts,  sound system.
    2. What I would change:  A few things could more intuitive, like the drive mode controls, massage power button. 
    3. MSRP: Base price:  $72,050. As equipped $73,595.
    4. Fuel Economy: Rated at 17 City MPG/21 highway MPG/19 Combined.
    5. Odometer reading when tested:  5,595 miles.
    6. Weight:  Approximately 4,700 pounds.
    7. Spare tire:  Run-flat tires.
    8. Length-Width-Height: 198” long/79” wide/67” high.
    9. Fuel Tank Capacity:  18.5 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
    10. Towing Capacity:  5,000 pounds.
    11. Official Color:  Tiger Eye Pearl ($500)
    12. 2022 Acura MDX S Type in a few words:  A flagship SUV that does justice to the brand.
    13. Warranty:  4-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 8-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance. 
    14. Final Assembly Location: East Liberty, Ohio.
    15. Manufacturer's website:  Acura