- New 10-speed transmission paired with dulcet V-6
- Sharply tailored sheetmetal
- Strong on standard features and value
- Trackpad-controlled infotainment system
- Joyless third row
- Inconsistent road manners
The 2022 Acura MDX faced lots of pressure this year. The three-row SUV is the brand’s flagship and the sole Honda Motor Co. representative in this SUVOTY field, as no new Hondas were eligible. Add in the fact we’re on Honda’s home turf at its California Proving Center, and the MDX should come up aces, right?
On the tarmac, the MDX projects standout style. “Its new styling looks sharp, striking, and modern,” associate editor Alex Leanse said. “There’s enough complexity to grab your eye without going overboard; it’s a great look that’s distinctly Acura.”
Interior-wise, our judges split on the styling and control layout. Some called out the perforated leather seats as supportive, but judges had difficulty finding the heating and cooling controls on the center stack. Others hailed the smartphone charging pad under the wrist rest as a solid design, but at the expense of storage space for other items. There’s not much more we should say about the wonky trackpad controls; the concept car that previewed this latest MDX featured a touchscreen, so Acura likely plans to switch to such an interface soon.
As a premium people mover, the MDX has a comfortable, well-appointed second row. “All power options (110V and 12V) in the middle row, two USB-A slots, plus climate controls, seat heaters, window shades, and vents,” technical director Frank Markus noted. Although third-row access was hailed as the best across the board, the seating is a different story. “The buttons to fold the second row are perfect,” buyer’s guide director Zach Gale said. “Anyone can use and find them, and it works quickly. Bravo. Too bad you’d never want to spend time back there.” He echoed a sentiment most judges felt: The MDX needs more basic features like USB ports and additional HVAC vents for third-row occupants.
Although the 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 carries over from the previous generation, it’s mated to a new 10-speed transmission. The combination delivers thrust that sounds sweeter than the 7.5-second 0-60 time we clocked.
The steering came in for frequent comment from our judges, and they were split on ride quality. “Steering was too light for my driving and offered little to no on-/off-center feel and lacked torque build up through winding-road bends,” guest judge Gordon Dickie said. “On Honda’s 110 freeway [recreation] at 50 mph, the MDX tended to pick up secondary motion and was a little harsh on expansion joints.” Detroit editor Alisa Priddle disagreed; she found the steering “light but responsive” and was impressed with the chassis and suspension.
Despite having no fancy dedicated off-road modes, Honda’s sandy and silty off-road loop was no challenge for the MDX. We were able to turn traction control off and engage Sport or Snow modes for more power/wheelspin, or we simply left the Acura in Normal driving mode and cruised through.
Some of the MDX’s driver assistance systems did not fare so well. “On dark black asphalt with bright white lines painted on either side, this lane centering system never picked up the lanes or actually started lane centering,” Markus said. “Not impressive on its home track.”
The MDX is not our 2022 SUV of the Year, but it does succeed with many key attributes popular among buyers of FWD-based three-row SUVs. “Chiefly, it looks great, its cabin feels nice, and it’s priced attractively,” senior editor Greg Fink said.
Source: Read Full Article